Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Revolution in Seattle

Crosscut.com has a great article about the departure of the Seattle library director and her legacy in their library building. The story highlights some of the tensions in modern library design and things communities should consider about library facilities.

A few relevant quotes from the article:

architects must do more than create a visually spectacular structure. They must also make sure the building “works.” Is it efficient, comfortable, and able to do the job for which it was intended?

Libraries today are less about the real estate necessary for storing books, and much more about being a public forum — a space for meetings, performances, gatherings, and centers for community communication.

the public is choosing the atmosphere of the new bookstores over public libraries. ... public librarians must create an environment that will attract young children and keep them coming. ... bookstores could empty public libraries if they don't become more inviting and convenient to match the public's busy lifestyles.

...libraries need to respond to changes, not just build to the old models.... libraries offer hope and guidance to new immigrants and provide a place of acceptance in a world that disenfranchises many people.... if we are to attract children of all ethnic origins and their families into new concepts of citizenship as well as the joys of reading, libraries are the place to start.

Libraries today are spaces for meetings, performances, gatherings, and centers for community communication. Future librarians will be pied pipers, organizers of events that expand horizons and arouse curiosity in books and reading.

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