Page 58 - Winter 2020
P. 58

and backgrounds interacting as they engage in the
many other activities that occur in the “new” library. (2)Webs of ecological relationships connect the members of the community, such as the need to hear each other and also to be able to discern subtle
meanings and cues from the sounds of others.
(3) Acoustic calendars or rhythms occur for each of the sound cycles and activity cycles for each of the participants that usually result in some variations
of sounds and activities over a daily, monthly, yearly,
or other cycle.
(4) Acoustic rooms are specific locations with localized
sonic events that are uniquely colored or otherwise affected by the surroundings. In its simplest form, the acoustic room is literally a room with four walls, a floor, and a ceiling whose boundaries form the physical and sonic limits of the exchanges within it. The boundaries of the acoustic room are defined by the three-dimensional acoustical horizon of sounds and reflections that travel from one person to another and vary across the room.
public libraries were built in the United States. Rare book sections for scholars were included in some larger libraries beginning in the 1800s through the 1900s. Aural recordings on records, tapes, and later CDs and DVDs have been added to library collections in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Internet access and computer workstations have led to further increasing the scope of program and media in library collections.
Libraries of Antiquity
Libraries are among the oldest of building types, with many dating back to ancient times. Libraries in the ancient world archived religious and government documents, preserved literature and important records, and served as a meeting place for scholars and philosophers. Some libraries were part of religious complexes, whereas others were administrative or governmental. Visiting scholars could come and read or copy manuscripts. Private libraries such as the Library of Aristotle have also existed since early times, whereas libraries for public use evolved later. These libraries would have rooms with collections of documents in various media and rooms in which the documents could be read. Some even had halls for discussion.
(5) An acoustic itinerary is a path where the members
of each community move, create, and listen to
sounds during the course of their activities. There
are multiple complex itineraries in twenty-first- Traditional Libraries
century libraries. The communication that these sounds represent is one of the connective elements of a vital, functioning soundscape.
(6) Sonic niches are openings in space, volume, time, pitch, loudness, location, and rhythm arranged by the architect or soundscape designer so that sounds are heard alone or as a contributor to a larger soundscape. Soundscape analysis can be used to identify the types and structure of the niches so that the design can achieve compatibility with and enhancement of the aural exchanges in the spaces in the library.
(7) Sonic flows are sounds that occur within, between, and among acoustic rooms in the soundscape. The concept that soundscapes have somewhat permeable edges offers interesting design possibilities.
A Brief History
The media used in libraries has evolved with the development of technology. Early media were clay tablets, parchment or papyrus scrolls, and hand-copied books. Printed books and documents were the primary media in western libraries in the 1800s because the first
Reading rooms have been an important part of libraries since antiquity. These are typically large, open spaces with higher ceilings and windows to allow daylight to illuminate the space. In early libraries associated with academic institutions, governments, or religious institutions, these were rooms where people could copy manuscripts, read books that were housed in the library, and contemplate or search for higher truths.
The acoustical intent or identity of the main reading room in the traditional library was conceived as a place for quiet, individual study and contemplation. The large, main reading room often had a tall, vaulted ceiling. The room was constructed with primarily sound-reflective materials so that if you moved your chair out, spoke quietly to the person next to you, or dropped your pencil on the floor, everyone in the space noticed. The sounds reflected from the place where the sound occurred to other locations.
The long reverberation time of the large volume, accentuated by focused sound reflections from domes or vaults, prolonged sounds made in the space so
58 Acoustics Today • Winter 2020

   56   57   58   59   60