Libraries Round the World: The Coates Library

The Trinity University Coates Library contains a 15 by 80-foot mural considered the largest montage in the world. The massive black and white artwork titled “Man’s Evolving Images, Printing and Writing” was completed in 1983 by Artist James Sicner. The mural surrounds a staircase in the library and is a panorama of the history of printing, writing, and other signs of visual expression. Perfect artwork for a library!

Trinity is a liberal arts university in San Antonio, Texas, founded in 1869 in other parts of Texas before consolidation. The university’s current location was built on the site of an old quarry in 1942. Beforehand student housing, classes, and the library were located in local military barracks and galvanized steel, semi-circular shaped Quonset huts.

Another unique aspect of the library is naming it for a woman, Elizabeth Huth Coates. A longtime supporter of the arts and education, she established a charitable foundation to continue her legacy. Her husband was a wildcatter oilman and founded Coates Energy in 1920.

The library is innovative and attempts to stay up with current needs. In 2014, they conducted an ethnographic design study. Despite the digital age, students needed extra surface areas for books, notebooks, and laptops, so the powers-that-be added more tables. They also improved lighting and obtained new furniture to enhance the lounge and reading room areas of the library.  Website info

Knitted Scarfs Around Concrete Columns:

Karen Stensgaard enjoys visiting libraries, blogging about them, and writing novels. Her first, AQUAVIT, is available on Amazon.

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