Failing that, he should set himself apart by thinking small or, at least, smaller. Mr. Obama has written a moving book about his early life; there’s no need to retell that story. His library should be more of an archive and less of a museum, more of a house, less of a shrine. In an austere age, a modest library could be the grandest statement of all.That's Witold Rybczynski, the urbanism scholar, and I love this idea of presidential humility and minimalism and can even imagine Barack Obama opting to further his glorification and magnification through the old humility and minimalism gambit.
But come on. Well, maybe he will go smallish or arguably smallish... if that's the only way left to make a big impression. Personally, I find gigantic presidential libraries creepy and embarrassing, but then I've only ever been to one. I can't imagine making a pilgrimage to the library of some President I adulated, but then, that's not how I've ever felt about a President, so I'd inevitably be keeping the grim in pilgrimage.
Also, I'd like to question this line of Rybczyki's: "Mr. Obama has written a moving book about his early life; there’s no need to retell that story." That book was written at the outset of his political career, part of an enterprise of packaging, framing, and mythologizing. It is quite obviously in need of retelling. And Obama in his own preface to the 2004 edition acknowledged that he could (and perhaps should) have written a different book:
I think sometimes that had I known [my mother] would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book—less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won’t try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her.