How public libraries are reinventing themselves for the 21st century
Whitesides, William L. Reinvention of the public library for the 21st century.
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The Evolution of the Library
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Why the disconnect? I recently spent a year doing ethnographic research in libraries in New York City.
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For older people, especially widows, widowers and those who live alone, libraries are places for culture and company, through book clubs, movie nights, sewing circles and classes in art, current events and computing. For many, the library is the main place they interact with people from other generations. For children and teenagers, libraries help instill an ethic of responsibility, to themselves and to their neighbors, by teaching them what it means to borrow and take care of something public, and to return it so others can have it too.
For new parents, grandparents and caretakers who feel overwhelmed when watching an infant or a toddler by themselves, libraries are a godsend. Another is that the library staff members welcome them; in many branches, they even assign areas for teenagers to be with one another.
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These are valuable parts of the social infrastructure, but not everyone can afford to frequent them, and not all paying customers are welcome to stay for long. They know from experience that simply standing outside a high-end eatery can prompt managers to call the police. But you rarely see a police officer in a library. This is not to say that libraries are always peaceful and serene. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Reinvent Your School Library Space. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation? Why not share!
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