Hephzibah Anderson: – “[T]he notion of an open-plan library is ridiculous, especially if you’re going to allow people to talk.”
August 23, 2008
As much as I might agree that libraries are buying slightly too much into modern trends with architecture and not putting in backup plans for people who do need quiet space (at least, academic libraries often seem to be), I scoff at someone who, by her own admission, almost never goes to the library, criticizing what makes the library a pleasant place for all the regular library goers she DOES see there. She doesn’t go to the library, but she would like to believe that it is quiet. All those other people chatting away go to the library on a regular basis, and they like it just the way it is.
The author’s romantic idea that there are these silent bastions of whispering intellectualism somewhere out there in the world, but which she never cares to attend, is not actually going to keep libraries in business.
I’m a new librarian, and I’m not sure what to think of the library-as-community-center movement. There are people who still do go to the library looking for a quiet place to study or read – where do libraries suggest they go now? By turning the library into a community center, it seems as though libraries are eliminating the one characteristic that is unique to them: silence.
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