Is There a Schism in Libraries?
Traditionalists v. Modernisers? From Times Online UK:
"Libraries gave us power”, the first line of the Manic Street Preachers’ Design for Life, powerfully articulates the value of a great utilitarian civic service. The lyricist Nicky Wire was prompted to write the song after a trip to the Victorian branch library in Pillgwenlly, Newport, where the phrase “Knowledge is power” sits above the door. Now, by way of a symbolic gesture to the march of progress, they adorn Cardiff’s new £15 million six-storey glass-and-concrete central library, which opened last summer complete with a white baby-grand piano and a Wagamama outlet.
The recently released Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) review ring-fenced the Libraries Act 1964, effectively preserving libraries as a cornerstone of our culture. However, its talk of free e-books, social networking use, community diversity and commercial links has fuelled a fierce debate about the purpose of a library in the modern age.
Talk to both sides and there is a clear schism between traditionalists and modernisers. For one it is about books and silence, for the other it’s about community usage, Facebook and cups of coffee or, in the words of Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate and now the chairman of the Museums Libraries and Archives Council, “shhh and fining or Starbucks and PCs”.
Thanks to Trevor Dawes for the tip.