Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ebooks, Netflix, and Library Building Projects (Part 101, Surrey Public Library)

The library is not just a book warehouse anymore. (Toronto Globe & Mail, 8/20/2011)

Excerpt: After all, this is a library – Surrey’s new central library, to be precise. But its 150,000 books will take up just half of the available space, the most obvious sign of the accelerating transformation of the library in the 21st century.

“Libraries are not book warehouses anymore, they are active places to find inspiration or knowledge,” says Surrey’s chief librarian, Beth Barlow. As a result, Surrey’s new library, slated to open next month, has scampered even further down the path that many public libraries have headed toward in recent years: community meeting ground and social hub.

“It’s becoming that third place,” says Ms. Barlow’s deputy, Melanie Houlden, talking about the idea popularized by American writer Ray Oldenburg. His 1989 book The Great Good Place argued that “third places” – cafés, barber shops and bookstores, where people gather and talk separate from where they live or where they work – are the foundations of civil society

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