Waller McGuire | St. Louis Public Radio

Waller McGuire

Barr branch library
File photo | Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mere months ago, the two largest library systems in the St. Louis region kicked off the year 2020 with a major announcement: that their libraries, moving forward, were officially fine-free.

“We’re not about fines,” St. Louis Public Library’s CEO Waller McGuire said at the time. “We’re not about rules. We’re about helping people learn. Helping people enjoy themselves. Helping people gain access to information, which is vital to their lives.”

Weeks later, the change proved to be an unusually prescient one. As both the city and county library facilities closed their doors indefinitely amid the COVID-19 shutdown, both systems were quick to assure patrons that they needn’t worry about returning overdue items during the crisis.

St. Louis Public Library's "Print to Pixel" exhibit looks at the history and power of the printed word.
Jen Hatton | St. Louis Public Library

With items on display ranging from cuneiform to 3D printers, the new exhibit at St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library branch showcases the evolution of print over the course of two millennia.

Titled “Print to Pixels,” it looks at how words have changed the world “in nearly every way possible,” as Waller McGuire puts it.

“[And it] continues to do so,” the SLPL CEO told host Don Marsh during Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “People [now] talk about creating print that is introduced directly into the brain, and it makes one think: Will that be print? How do we react to that?”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 5, 2012 - “Dream!” is just one of billions of words inside millions of books in the renovated St. Louis Central Library.

But this particular directive to wish and fantasize is literally writ large upon the wall of the children’s fiction room. Nearby, the word “Be!” is the library’s brief missive to maturing minds in the teen hub.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 3, 2012 - Thoughtful, responsible, context-sensitive architects and their concerned and apprehensive clients should approach alterations of canonical buildings such as the Central Library Building of the St. Louis Public Library system with reverence, and perhaps with trepidation.

The Central Library renovations are now complete and the building will reopen to the public on Dec. 9. Beacon Associate Editor Robert Duffy went through the building on a recent AIA tour.