These ‘death doors’ in the Austin Central Library lead to nowhere -- here’s why

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These ‘death doors’ in the Austin Central Library lead to nowhere -- here’s why

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Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Open the wrong door at Austin’s new Central Library and you might consider staying home and switching to e-readers. 

About two months ago, Reddit user mcashaha posted a picture of a “death door,” leading seemingly to nowhere, on one of the top floors of the new downtown library. 

This death-door in the new Austin Public Library from CrappyDesign

After a couple of KUT listeners inquired about the doors, the radio station set out to get to the bottom of things. 

Question-askers’ theories included the door being a spot to lift unwieldy furniture and, more curiously, a Harry Potter “9 and 3/4-type situation.”

But what’s the real story?

Is the building unfinished? Did someone misorder a window? Is this a way-too-extended metaphor for the realms opened by reading?

“The doors are simply for maintenance,” KUT reports.

That’s right. But if you’re still impressed, “maintenance” mostly means window washing. 

“We can get our window cleaners through that door and suspend them and lower them down, so that they can clean the windows below them for the next five floors,” the library’s facilities process manager told KUT.

Read KUT’s full investigation here, or hold tight to your childlike sense of wonder and access platform 9 and 3/4 by visiting the new Austin library downtown.

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