March 6, 2008
What's a Library For?
This Slate piece was apparently precision-engineered to appeal to me: Witold Rybczynski on public libraries in the age of Google, set to pictures of some new-ish American Alexandrias.
Some of the spaces are very appealing — the new Denver Public Library and, of course, the Seattle Public Library — but I wonder if anyone has tried a more distributed approach? I think of all the branches of the San Francisco Public Library scattered throughout the city — most are pretty lame and outdated at this point. But they could become an archipelago of coolness with the right kind of design and attention.
I almost think the public library of the future has more in common with Starbucks than the stately fortresses of old: comfortable, accessible, intimate, omnipresent.
And of course, there is coffee and free wifi.
(Via the excellent Design Observer.)
P.S. As an aside — and I might have mentioned this before — librarians were the single group most fervently interested in sharing EPIC with their colleagues and talking about its implications. This is a group of people that’s actually thinking hard about their — and our — future.