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In the midst of an economic slump that has libraries everywhere cutting to the bare bones, it's a special pleasure to be able to present a showcase of new and renovated facilities that can hold its own against any other we've published since the annual feature began in 1977 with a modest story called "Solar Nexus: Library Pioneers in Tapping the Sun's Energy." The article examined the Troy--Miami County (Ohio) Public Library's visionary plan for building a library that could harness solar power "for human use."
I asked Rachelle Miller, the library's current director, how the vision had panned out. "I'm afraid the concept didn't work as well as …