Interviews + Site Observation

Interviews + Site Observation

This assignment is about to select the site you will be working with and begin to observe using a variety of recording methods.

My partner and I spent time looking and truly observed in the space we have chosen: New York Public Library

And I used the following recording methods:

  • Photo
  • Sound Record
  • Senses
    • Sound
    • Temperature
    • Visual
  • Counting
    • Number of people
    • Number of objects
    • Number of flow of passengers
  • Sketch

Voice Recorded:



Pictures of NYPL:

NYPL in 1999:


Counting & Interview Questions:



Interview Answers:



  • The origins of this remarkable institution date back to the time when New York was emerging as one of the world’s most important cities.
  • Prominent among them was one-time governor Samuel J. Tilden (1814-1886), who upon his death bequeathed the bulk of his fortune — about $2.4 million — to “establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York.”
  • The site chosen for the home of the new Public Library was the Croton Reservoir, a popular strolling place that occupied a two-block section of Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets.
  • Work progressed slowly but steadily on the monumental Library which would eventually cost $9 million to complete.
  • The first morning, New York’s very public Public Library officially opened its doors. The response was overwhelming. Between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors streamed through the building the first day it was open.

Objects we have chosen:

  • Book
  • Lion Sculpture

I came about the idea about book and lamp in the Library, and we decide to use the book as the object. Books are the main characters in the library, and some of the books stayed in the library more than a century as well. And it “saw” what’s happening inside of the library:

  • People reading and working in the library
  • People who lend them to their house

And my partner came up with the idea of the lion sculpture in front of the NYPL since it “saw” everything happened around the NYPL over time and the changed of New York City.

We are allowed to use two objects for our video, so we are going to work on these two objects separately.

And I am in charge of doing the book part.

The book should be:

  • Have been in the library since the library was built
  • In the normal size
  • Made by paper and leather
  • Positioned on the public bookshelf, but it’s in the private bookshelf now.
    • It’s been a century so it’s fragile, need to be protected,

Script (Monolog of a Book):

This is the script I have so far:


  1. History
  2. Past (I was blah blah blah)
  3. How it grows (Change of the city, and the library)
  4. Now (Lock in the warehouse of books for professional research. But I don’t like it, I want to “go out” again)

The New York Public Library, my home, is a place I stayed for more than a century. That means my house has provided essential access to books and information for a long time and it’s aged. This remarkable institution dates back to the time when New York was emerging as one of the world’s most important cities in the 19th century, and this is the also the case now. I have been lend from many people and went to different people’s houses. I see the change in the library and the people’s homes. From candles to light bulbs and the decreasing of people who study and work in the library. There is a massive flow of passengers in the library, but they didn’t come for the books and the resources here anymore. The reason for coming to the library is mostly about to check out this splendid and gorgeous building is the architectural feature and the history. That’s alright, and I’m still really proud of the library — my home. I wish they don’t forget the primary purpose of the library — research, studying, reading and working. Since I am not able to do anything and I have locked in the warehouse for a few decades. People said we are too old, delicate and fragile; we are not able to go out and list on the shelves for people to read. My job is mainly for professional research. But who likes that? I want to be lend from the public again until the cover flaking off from me.

Summary of What I have learned from my Observation, interviews, and research:

  1. If you spend more time on observation, you will always find something different than the beginning. (Fact, [ers[ective, and details)
  2. Good observation –> Need to spend a Long Time but spend a Longtime ≠ Good Observation.


Bibliography/ Citation:

  1. NYPL. “History of The New York Public Library.” The New York Public Library, 2018,
  2. “NYPL in 1911.” Google Search, Google, 2018,

Leave a reply

Skip to toolbar