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LIBRARY PLANNERS PLAY FOLLOW-THE-READER

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Forrest Spencer, age 27, was interviewed at a computer terminal in the library's basement. An assistant program director at KFYI radio, Spencer says he uses the library for "research and fun." His most recent trip came on a day off from work, to look through magazine stories. "I first fell in love with the library in grade school," Spencer says, adding that he's been following news accounts of the new library project. Better parking, an expanded selection of fiction and more out-of-town newspapers are Spencer's priorities for the new building. To Spencer, public give-and-take about the library's exterior design--the building's role in changing Phoenix's reputation with the international architecture community--isn't as interesting as discussion of the building's guts. "More important is the contents, what's inside the building," he says. "As long as it's a workable building, I think people will be satisfied."

That's also the opinion of Phoenix businessman Tass Tassielli, interviewed at a reference table in the business and sciences section, who estimates he uses the library at least once a week, usually bringing his kids to check out books and videotapes. On the whole, he has "no complaints" about the current library, which he also regularly uses to research projects for his company, Avanti Marketing.

Like a lot of library users--but unlike the design experts, politicians and special-interest groups--Tassielli seems easy to please. The one improvement he would like to see is an expanded selection of video movies for children. "My kids like Old Yeller," he says, "and you only see that movie on the shelves every two or three months."

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The selection of Bruder as lead architect is a genuine leap into the unknown by city fathers.

When Ralph Edwards dreams of the perfect library, he dreams of a box.

"I want to avoid having a big hole in the middle of the building."

"A book sitting on a bookshelf doesn't make a library. It's the interaction between the reader and a book."

Bruder, concerned that the boss's presence might throttle the staff's true feelings, shoved a chair Edwards' way across the front of the room.

Mistakes on the library would be, in many cases, fifty-year mistakes.

"The Phoenix City Hall competition became a political football. Like so many political footballs it never scored a touchdown. It was fumbled."

The request for big bronze cats was about the wackiest suggestion made during the discovery stage of library planning.

For starters, the card catalogue is history.

Service lines in reference areas will be replaced by take-a-number systems now used by ice cream stores and butcher shops.

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Dave Walker