Sunday, August 06, 2017

Loussac Facelift Done, But Not All The Stitches Out Yet

The Loussac library renovations in Anchorage were supposed to be done last October.  They had the grad reopening July 19, but I couldn't go.  I did finally get by there today while running some errands.

In the image below, above is the architect's rendition and below is what it looks like today.  The black is unfinished, so those white panels may still show up.  The stairs have been gone a long time and William Seward is now down in this entrance way - lower left of lower picture.

When this is all complete, I'll do a series of pictures from before renovation to completion.

The new entrance is on the ground floor.   The lobby is approximately the old lobby for the Assembly (Anchorage's city council) on the left and the Marston Theater on the right.  [I made some changes to this paragraph and the next, because they needed it.  I think I must have switched something around it it didn't make sense anymore.]

Here's what it looks like inside.  There used to be a conference room straight ahead, and the elevator and indoor stairs to the second floor - which was the library entrance - are gone.  There's a cafe here to the right now.   Those doors (below the yellow panels) are the entrance from the lobby to the library

Some of this is for former Anchorage residents who are living Outside now.  To the left from this point is the entrance to the Assembly chambers.

And to the right is the Wilda Marston Theater.

Besides the cafe, the lobby sports this huge metal sculpture hanging from the ceiling.  I'm guessing it might be a whale.  There's  boat way up near where the tail would be and another whale or large fish. I'm guessing there will be other interesting views of this from the second floor.  I didn't go up today.

It didn't dazzle me at first sight.  But looking up into the 'mouth' was interesting.

Aside from the colored lights, there's a mirror.

There was also a exhibit of photos of people who use the library.  Good pictures by Joshua Corbett.  Here are two.

Here's inside the library inner entrance.  So far, there isn't much inside those doors yet.  There's someone to check out books off to the right.  There are some unfinished stairs to the right.

There's this large Rube Goldberg like machine that the librarian said takes book back upstairs from the book drop.  I'm waiting to see it in action, though it does seem a bit excessive for this mundane task.

My only serious disappointment is the same I had after the downtown Museum was renovated - the entrance no longer takes you into the heart of the building - the books.  There are none in sight so far. Instead you now have to negotiate either an elevator or stairs to actually get to the books.  (At the museum, you don't see any art or exhibits until you walk quite a ways.)

When I walked out, the Alaska and Anchorage flags were waving in the breeze with the US flag.

The library now has is probably the world's fanciest book drop sign.  Though I haven't investigated this claim and who knows what other libraries have.   Let's hope they never have to move the book drop.

There are caribou etched (I guess) on a metal sign.  This is on the west side of the library where the entrance has been during the renovation.


  1. The steps were a real disaster, I think the original plans had a parking garage that was supposed to connect with the upper level. The ground level always had an elevator as well as steps so if you did not want to use the steps you could, though I think they might have locked those doors the past few years because of the homeless problem in that area and people were forced to use the steps. The cost for the project I think ended up being a little over 18 million dollars since they found some serious structural problems with the building once work started. I just think that a much less expensive option could have been found to get people from the ground floor up to the main level. I remember when the city could not afford the $400,000.00 to keep the Dimond branch open. Marshalling 18 million dollars for a lot of cosmetic work and silliness (book machine) seems like a waste. Sure it’s pretty but imagine just a couple of millions of those dollars being used for literacy programs, more computers or even a good old fashion bookmobile.


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