To me, a library is a thing not a place.
I wrote about a fictional library, called Kumbu, for my FRONTIER game background over on lategaming. In this description, I describe libraries as places to store knowledge in order to prevent a future dark age. That is the core function of a library, to my mind.
This comes because the UK government is, in the wake of saving the workplaces of a few scumbags who brought the global economy to its knees, has now to make difficult decisions and perhaps close a selection of libraries in order to help rebalance the economy.
A lively debate on Twitter ensued because I’m not positive that we should be saving libraries in their current form. The defence council for libraries is arguing that they are community hubs, they contain DVDs, music, magazines, places for community groups to meet. Apparently they also contain the odd book or three.
I would argue it was access to books and literature which made one a writer. Not a library.
And a library as a refuge for the homeless? That’s hardly a good use of a library.
I remain unconvinced on the utility of the library as a place. Libraries must be more than just rooms filled with stacks of dead trees.