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China just built a new, futuristic library. And while it's not quite as amazing as it seems, it's still an architectural marvel.

Real books are making a comeback. Yes, everyone loves a good ebook — or even better, a good audio book — but nothing beats the look and feel of a real, honest-to-God book in your hands.

Need proof that print books aren't going away anytime soon? Just check out the new (and lavish) Tianjin Binhai Library, located outside of Beijing. It's an incredible sight to behold.


We're used to seeing impeccably architected libraries, but the appeal is often historic. After just a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library is bringing libraries into the 21st century and taking its place among the world's most beautiful.

Well. Sort of.

All photos by Ossip van Duivenbode/MVRDV. Used with permission.

The new library is 36,000 square feet, covering five stories floor to ceiling. But there's a catch.

The main room is touted as being large enough to hold a staggering 1.2 million books. Unfortunately, a miscommunication between the architectural firm and local authorities led the stunning main hall to be approved only for sitting, reading, and gathering ... but not actually storing books.

(The Chinese government has never been the biggest champion of free information.)

Sadly, those bookshelves that line the walls and stretch for thousands of feet, writhing and winding their way around the entire structure, are only for show.

If you look carefully, you'll notice the majority of the books in the library's photos are actually flat decals stuck to the wall. The few real books shown were placed only for promotion and will also be removed soon. The sections of the library that are approved for storage will only hold a couple hundred thousand books.

The giant orb in the center, one of the building's most distinguishing features, has earned the library its nickname, "The Eye of Binhai."

Inside the sphere is an auditorium.

At least that part is real!

Cleverly tucked away behind the stacks are reading rooms, work spaces, and offices.

You could seriously get lost in this library — and a good story or two — for days.

As of October 2017, this library is open to all.

These look like concept renderings, but they're real photos of the actual building as it stands today.

The library's going viral for its unreal architectural beauty, and though it turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment, it's still symbolic of something important.

Worldwide, more and more libraries are shutting down every year. It's sad to think that the places for people to pick up a real book are dwindling — but it's important to remember that libraries are so much more than just the tomes they hold.

They help revitalize communities, promote literacy in under-served neighborhoods, and often offer special programs that aid children, the elderly, disabled people, immigrants, and other groups.

Research is split on whether physical books have any advantage over other forms of reading. But as a community staple, libraries are irreplaceable.

It's awesome to see a new one pop up while so many are closing down, even if it ultimately is a little more surface than substance. People are still excited by the beauty of the building and going in droves to see it in person.

Hopefully the excitement over the Tianjin Binhai Library will inspire more cities around the world to step up their own library game.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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