It's a Friday... the Friday before Memorial Day, and I'm guessing that the numbers of people today in the week-old SPL are probably around what they'd be on an average weekend. It's crowded, full of tourists, people checking out books, having coffee (which you're allowed to carry with you through the building), buying postcards in the shop, taking advantage of the free wireless in the 5th Floor Reading Room.
Unlike opening day, it's quiet enough to overhear people, and maybe it's possible to glimpse the reality of using the space. An older couple holding tightly to each other complains that the escalators move too fast. The three publicly accessible elevators have better than 5 minute wait times, and the crowd seems enough to force a claustrophobe or two to take the stairs... which may take some effort to locate.
Two competing sets of staircases cause some confusion. One is publicly accessible, and the other (not so clearly marked) is for emergency use only. Unfortunately, this one runs between the 1st floor checkout and the parking garage. At least one person sets off the alarm as we pass by.
The connections between floors require a certain amount of exploration to find, with the "red stairs" to the floor with meeting rooms tucked behind the escalators... which skip the floor entirely. There are signs everywhere, but very little is for wayfinding. Distinguishing an info desk from a checkout counter is easy, but only signage at the elevators indicates the usage of different floors. That said, there seems to be a natural flow with the neon escalators connecting the high traffic spaces in the building. Admittedly, the stairs to the meeting rooms may elude you, but that's probably not where you're going.
A giant voice booms over the PA system announcing meeting locations for separated parties, a sound reminiscent more of an airport terminal than a library. Sitting in the reading room, nestled in the sky among office towers, I'm not so bothered by this association.
Validated parking under 2 hours costs $7, but 2-3 hours jumps to $16... encouraging a slightly shorter stay than many may want. Maybe this will change over time.
My last impression is of tangerine stairwells, scuffed pink and brown floors, mint bathrooms, chipped wood flooring. It's as if the colors were chosen to be out of fashion before they could go out of fashion. Maybe built-in aging avoids the perception of getting old.