The story of libraries is one of constant change and adaptation, of transformation and evolution. The library is a hub, a social space, a window on knowledge, a source of inspiration, a laboratory, a place of creation and connection; it is a learning space, it is a communication node, a refuge, and a third space.
Libraries are places rich with culture and legacy, places embroidered with tradition, sounds and smells, tactile and sensual. They are symbols; it is no wonder that many of the world’s finest buildings are libraries.
Everyone has an image – a snapshot, an Instagram – of what a library is from their own experience, from popular culture – films and TV, from books themselves, from history.
What should a library of the future look like? If you were going to build one, what would it contain?
Books certainly, computers of course, desks and tables, screens, 3D printers, art, laser cutters and other fabrication technologies, printers, screens, film editing, graphics, archives, performance, open noisy collision space, silent scriptorium space. A space for collaboration and a space for quiet contemplation; a place to inspire and a space to reflect.
Libraries are also places online, labyrinthine windows to all the worlds’ knowledge. Libraries mediate, facilitate and empower, they are neutral spaces, and they encourage interdisciplinarity. They are places which exemplify institutional activity and aspiration, they are major University assets.
So share your stories, ideas, observations, help to build a future library.
David J Parkes
Director of Library and Learning Services