Tokyo Tech’s student library supporters have created a video to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Tokyo Institute of Technology Ookayama Library. The video, which includes an interview with Tokyo Tech Professor Koichi Yasuda, one of the architects of the library, provides background information on the architectural design and the campus landscape that was considered when creating the building. It also includes some recommended spots for users of the facility.
Virtual library tours born during pandemic
In 2020, new Tokyo Tech students were unable to use the library, and in-person library tours for high school students also had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions prompted the library supporters to begin creating virtual tours using videos and photos. Volunteers convened to brainstorm video themes, and then shot and edited a total of six videos which were published on Tokyo Tech’s YouTube channel. In March 2021, the group also created a video about the underground passage that now connects the library with Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza, the new landmark exchange hub on Ookayama Campus. The positive feedback on these videos encouraged the library supporters to continue creating videos from various perspectives in order to convey the appeal of the facility to its users.
Inside story from architect’s perspective
The Ookayama Library, which connects the Main Gate to the wood deck in front of the Main Building, is in the center of Ookayama Campus. It features an underground floor that holds approximately 630,000 books and an above-ground component which is used as a study space. This type of design is unique for a library. The above-ground component is a triangular, glass-encased structure which is affectionately referred to as “the cheesecake” by students.
When the idea of a commemorative video about the library emerged ten years after it opened, doctoral student Haruna Watanabe proposed content focusing on “landscape design, space creation, and the library,” as these topics are closely related to her specialization. The final result was a nine-minute video that provides interesting insight from architect Yasuda and reveals the inside story behind the birth of the library.
Comments from library supporter
2nd-year doctoral student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Through my interview with Professor Koichi Yasuda, I learned that people can utilize the library not only to access information, but also to create a personal space which they can enjoy in various ways. If you need to concentrate on your work, you can choose a desk tucked away behind the bookshelves. If you need a bit of reinvigoration, you can enjoy the view from the window while reading a novel. The absence of structural pillars, the natural and indirect light, the height of the bookshelves, and other interior design choices in the library were all made with the user in mind. I hope viewers can recognize this perspective when viewing the video we created.
What do library supporters do?
Tokyo Tech’s student library supporters began their activities in 2010. They aim to improve the Institute’s library services by incorporating students’ opinions and ideas into operations, as well as deepen students’ understanding of the library and Tokyo Tech as a whole. The daily activities of these supporters include labeling materials, organizing bookshelves, and creating signs that introduce recommended books displayed in the library. During Open Campus and Homecoming Day, they also host library tours for visitors.
In 2020, the library supporters were unable to recruit new members due to COVID-19, but this year, eight more students joined the group. Today, 23 library supporters work at the libraries on Ookayama and Suzukakedai Campuses.
The 10th anniversary Tokyo Institute of Technology Library video (Japanese) can be viewed on Tokyo Tech’s official YouTube channel.