Today, after buying a pile of books at Elliot Bay Books, we spent a couple of hours in the Central Library of the Seattle Public Library. It was pretty amazing. I think the Salt Lake City Library is a more beautiful building, but this Koolhaas-designed space is more interesting. (I took tons of pictures--here's my flickr set, if you're interested.)
What mesmerized me--I could have watched it for an hour--was a functional digital installation by George Legrady, "Making Visible the Invisible." There are six plasma screens behind the research librarians' desk on the 5th floor. At different times, the screens display streams of information that are constantly changing: the titles of books being checked out; a "Dot Matrix Rain," which is the Dewey Decimal categories of the books in a digital fall; key word map attack, which is the key words associated with the titles, blooming forward and fading out; and the vital statistics for the day so far. (We talked to a research librarian, who said that so far on most days, books win out over other media--it's close, but books usually win. That's one for you bibliophiles.) Here's a little video to give you an idea.