“[I]n its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent.”
Slate.com has a nice photo essay about the architecture of public libraries in the “Age of Google.” There are some amazingly huge, spacious and interesting designs here, such as the Salt Lake City Public Library, which is shown at bottom. Evidently, it contains several shops, so it doesn’t just look like a mall, it kind of functions like one, too.
As the Kewaskum Library looks forward to a future expansion/remodeling/building project (and when I say “future,” I really mean it. . .), we have to figure out exactly what kind of space the community would need. We have gotten a few complaints lately on noise levels in the library, but the era of the shushing librarian is over; we are a place for books and for studying, but we are also a cherished “third place,” one of the last bastions of the idea of the public meeting house. So we know we need space for people who want to sit, relax, read, work on homework, etc. AND we also need space for kids to hang out, for parents to chat, for the exchange of ideas. Can we fit all of that into our vision for the future of the Kewaskum Public Library? I think so. Can we fit all that into a physical space of less than 4000 square feet? Probably not. Let’s keep thinking about the kind of space we want to offer the community, drop a comment below and let me know what your ideas are!