21st century libraries are no longer just common repositories for books. Certainly traditional library buildings have been generally built to collect library collections and house study and research. However the development of the public library role has changed and expanded, libraries nowadays provide a growing variety of different services, which attracts more diverse audience than ever. Experts such as Cantor, Schomberg and Boone (Boone 2003) agree that libraries are faced with changing concepts about how we understand the form and function of library space and activities. This has resulted in a move away from the traditional storage space concept in terms of which libraries were likely to be viewed as storerooms of material, to one in which new library facilities are more advanced, complex and interactive environments with a variety of functions.
This thesis identifies the development of the public library as a distinctive building type and explores the effectiveness of a social and learning space. 'By reserving a special place in society for books and reading, the library signals the importance of learning (Edwards & Fisher 2002, p. 12). In this sense the library stands out as a cultural signifier. Moreover the library's symbolic value operates as a common signifier whilst, admittedly, improving its value.
In addition to this, this study looks at the way the changing political view of the power and the library happen to be in many ways further advantageous in terms of the library as architectural space. As Markus points out that 'Today another strategy is available: to make the building itself into a piece of structure independent of its contents' (Markus, 1993, p.171). This may seem to suggest that the present day library has necessarily to grapple with the demands of functionalism over meaning and that the value of the library as a visible establishment has been questioned. At this point Edwards and Fisher raises a question 'Does the library have any justification to survive as a building type when media has undergone such profound transformation?' (2002, p. x) From the point of view of this dissertation, the answer is yes, for the library is not just a functional storage place but also a cultural icon.
In addition to this Edwards and Fisher continues to argue that 'It is the library that matters as a social symbol and as a centre of community interaction and as place to celebrate knowledge' (2002, p. x). An example for this could be said that the museum, airport or stadium signify their individual utility and practical need, so the present library celebrate a thoughtful social idea. It is evident that the public library would be essential even if the book would fade away, simply for the reason that it encourages people to get together in the need of knowledge. Therefore this makes it clear that the library appears to be place for people not only for books.
In a sense it seems that the main focal point of this dissertation is twofold. On the one hand it aims to trace the significance of the architectural library space, by referring to Foucault's theories on power, knowledge, the body and disciplinary space. On the other hand it aims to analyze potentially new market places of knowledge. Nevertheless it could be said that the libraries are information exchange places as well as marketplaces for new exciting ideas although they are simply the buildings that holds the vast volume of human knowledge.
Nowadays information is practically available everywhere. From one point of view Lyotard refers to the fact that 'It is common knowledge that the miniaturization and commercialization of machines is already changing the way in which learning is acquired, classified, made available and exploited' (Lyotard, 1984, p. 4). However, another point of view suggests that the technology such as the Internet has liberated the library but it has not removed the justification for the library buildings, it has simply broken free of the limitation of buildings. This would suggest that knowledge, equally in a functional and enlightening framework, is a commodity, which libraries hold and make accessible to the community.
Therefore the following part of this study continues to analyse the influence of the digital media and transformation of the public library as a marketplace. It is very likely that in the same way that the invention of the printing press influenced access to knowledge, digital media technology has changed and will continue to change the way the new library operates. Since many public libraries are seen as intimidating institutions there is room for them to learn from the retail industry. LIBRARY the very word it self stands out as an incredibly strong behavioural power or in other words BRAND, which is more or less generally acknowledged by everyone. It could be said that the library is equivalent to the school or church, is not just a common building type, other than that it seems to represent certain values, ones which have established to be surprisingly long-lasting.
Furthermore it could be argued that many successful libraries becoming living vibrant buildings, where connection between reader and book take place. In addition to this it can be said that they are like marketplaces where shopping for knowledge and activity takes place, as well as searching for any type of material that someone might desire. The democracy of library space signifies freedom and choice for the public approach, which aims to be a living library as well as open and inviting. This makes it clear that a library structure that is dynamic and full of life has to be able to develop and to expand. As Boone states (Boone 2003) that libraries are no longer monasteries filled with books and knowledge; instead it is shifting to marketplaces where competition for consumers through the wide range of library services on offer takes a place. Conclusively, Boone states that the new library concept will be neither entirely monastic nor only market driven places but a selected combination of the two (Boone 2003).
What is a library like in the 21st century? Is it how Bill Cope and Angus Phillip propose in the book 'The Future of the Book in the Digital Age' (date) that in this new age, a book is what a book does? This may indicate that the library is more or less identified by what it does? So what does a library do? All the way through history, libraries have been designed to accomplish a particular purpose for humanity: first of all, to reflect interest in knowledge, self-indulgence, avid power, private readers and collectors; afterwards, it appears as a foundation institution for stocking and circulating books as a declaration of generosity as a public and social good.
The image of a library in our imagination usually appears as a physical entity, full of book collections and storage. It can be argued that the recent changes in the way books are produced, stored and displayed, as a digital format as an alternative to ink and paper, do not do away with the need for libraries: a wider public makes libraries even more necessary than before.
Nowadays libraries contain the original collections of learning material based upon the print, and progressively more the digital, word. Libraries may perhaps be interactions of information and market places for ideas but they are also buildings, which contain the volume of human knowledge. At present knowledge is to all intents and purposes everywhere, it has separated from the limitation of the building. Digital information nowadays is obtainable to everybody. The Internet has enlightened the library but it has not changed the motive for the library buildings. In this significant sense the library has not really changed: it remains a special kind of building which signals the value we place upon learning and culture irrespective of the media we employ (Graham, 1998).
Digital media not only revolutionised commerce, education and our approach to information, it has changed the very nature of the building type. The library faces the prospect of redundancy as a traditional aspect of the urban environment. The appearance of a library is often designed to sight history but now with an unclear link to the future.
This may seem to suggest that with digital media the library as a unique place will gradually fade away (Davey, 1998). Since society has started to adopt digital technologies at such a speed, it gives an impression that the storage of books will become redundant with the release of specific compilations in a digital format. It can be argued, but it fails to admit the role of the library as symbolic domain. Yet with the enormous growth of digital media in the general public, the book still continues to enjoy great status. What a library essentially provides is a need for book storage and reading space. However beyond this function, the library denotes the value of the written word, of learning and the importance of the reader.
How is the library to communicate its high cultural duty at the same time as satisfying the challenging institution of almost instant access to book and electronic based information? The library challenge in the digital age is to develop a new, collective rational construct for the electronic library that allows the built form to serve a purpose and signifying a cultural wisdom.
There is furthermore an important debate for the library design that Eco (1987) puts up for all buildings. As a result it concerns the value and importance of a common language in communicating the social sense of foundations. Eco argues that common terms like library are not simply just a language of words; moreover it is a built solid. In addition to this, if one day the general public stop using the term library, it will rapidly lose sight of the function, appearance, structure and significance of libraries themselves, even though there are other terms already in use for libraries - learning resource centres, computing suites and etc. Then again without the every day use of the phrase library, architects and designers will not be able to awaken the authenticity of new libraries identities, especially digital ones. Marcus (1993) raises a comparable argument, when he strongly argues that attachment to the language protects and preserves culture alongside the breakdown of social structures and building changes to serve this. Therefore library is a term that has to be preserved in spite of elementary transformations in the digital media upon which it is gradually becoming more recognized.
In our culture, unless we have some kind of agreement about the meaning of signs, we would never be able to communicate with one another. So it is important when we say Library we have the idea of a particular image and part of the cultural senses it is the way we are brought up to have this shared understanding of language. Semiotic theorist Roland Barthes aimed to take the idea of this shared language a bit further; in our culture there are collections of meanings around particular kinds of signs. He describes the idea as pointing the relation of the signifier to the signified.
In an age of digital, all-encompassing information where place, time and depth have a trend to erode, the library is a building that gives symbolic presence to the contained.
This may seem to suggest that the duty for today is to encourage the progression of a fresh generation of libraries that represents libraryness in the mind of culture. In order to generate a new typological order for electronic, rich ideas, for a knowledge-based library, architects and designers might have to control the concept of cultural parameters.
As activities gradually shift in space and time, the buildings start to move away from existing human and electronic movement. The mental construct ahead, on which these buildings are based, represents a new model, which is not yet marked in history but the geometrical demands of new technology, new ways of approaching information and fresh ecological concern. The principle of tradition is not totally forgotten but, as with the Peckham Public Library designed by Alsop and Stormer, given fresh meaning by transformation; moreover it smoothly responds to new cultural plans by developing a fresh architectural language for the library. It seeks to make reading trendy once more.
Libraries are all about connecting people with information and knowledge across space and time, they did that in the past and still do. By taking book reader as an example, it is evident that someone who reads in one format usually reads in another, as a result the book reader also reads journals and newspapers; however there is not enough evidence that this media can be simply overturned. As a result large part of society comfortably works around and with digital media. As described by Lyman Bryson 'Technology is explicitness', justifies that all-new technologies are ways of translating one kind of knowledge. (McLuhan, cited in Understanding Media: the extension of man 1964, p.)
In addition to this many theorists describe technology as a mode being. In general the network communication is also a study of how we come to know others and how we write what we think we know. As Grumet (1991) states, we speak and we write because these are crucial ways of connecting with others. This makes spontaneous sense; people experience cyberspaces as they experience life - it is not that intensely different. All life experiences and knowledge can be more significant at certain times than at other times.
Among the post-modern philosophers Jean Baudrillard has developed the theories of McLuhan, sharing his view that the medium of communication is a central feature of media culture. All kinds of media objects that we consume in our living surroundings are an expression and a social statement of who we are and what we think and believe. Other than that we need a change of the media and variety. According to Marshall McLuhan (1964), every new technology turns the old technology into an art form.
It can be argued more and more that the contemporary version of the library is increasingly turning into the wisdom of computers and their systems. Before taking the argument any further, it is not about the physical space but the digital space. Is the modern library not really a virtual world which we are able to access from everywhere? This may seem to suggest that if that is so, why does the library not develop into a sort of cyber-caf - a place where only intelligence assembles rather than a building mass where the reader joins the book? Eventually new technology makes space unnecessary - it leads to the loss of distance as an issue in building design. When the reader can effortlessly access every text from a single digital screen the assumption upon which library design is based erodes. With the loss of functional space goes the need to reappraise the purpose of the library as a building type and the space within it.
This dissertation will explore the issues of authentic and digital library at present and in the future. The literature used for this study up to the present day demonstrates many differences of opinion regarding the cultural values of library society.
Shifting library concepts
Just as a modern art gallery can be considered to have become an object of cultural value without consideration of the collection it contains, one of the many examples being the Guggenheim Gallery in Bilbao, so the library is a building, which increasingly exists independently of the printed word. Perhaps as a consequence of this, more and more public libraries have begun to adopt a greater variety of activities within the library environment, as they learned that their role is much more than being a repository of reading material.
It could be said that libraries have seen more changes in the past twenty years than at any time in the past hundred. The history of libraries has gradually progressed. At first they have traditionally been the buildings where the dialogue between word, book and society takes place. Libraries have been established as places where collecting and storing of all sorts of materials and collections took place. Subsequently libraries shifted in the direction of connecting the user with the collections. Thus, before the public library appeared in society, there was imposing dominant library space followed by power and control with its archives of contracts, laws, plans and written cultural artefacts. An example of this in the 21st century still breathing spaces is British Museum Library and Trinity College Library, Dublin. (Figure1-2)
As stated in the Introduction the purpose of this study is to explore the values of the public library as a social and cultural space. However, in order to understand and engage with this subject, an investigation of the library history as a disciplinary space, where power and control took place, is essential. This is where Michel Foucault's theories become relevant; several historical studies have been selected which unfold the establishment of certain fields of knowledge within some of the key institutions that make up society (Foucault, 1965: Foucault, 1973; Foucault, 1977; Foucault, 1978).
Foucault's theories on the subject of controlled societies predate the broadly spread digital media technology of modern society by years. He introduced his key ideas in relation to power and knowledge, which are still emerging in any study of power connections within enclosed organizations. This seems to suggest that the need for modernized studies linking the history of the disciplinary space to the democratic and virtual libraries are available throughout computer space. It could be argued that the library can be linked to the other controlled spaces of the past. At a certain level it is similar to the prison, military camp, the hospital, industrial unit or more likely school.
This is where Foucault's studies of the classroom disciplinary space turns out to be applicable from the viewpoint of this dissertation. If a library could be seen as a classroom where interaction, communication and access to knowledge as well as discipline and control takes place. It could be argued that the major role of the library in the controlled society is to distribute individual groups of people in space (Foucault, 1977, p. 141-149). This may seem to suggest that Foucault's theories of knowledge lead to the creation of the 'docile body', that is "the body that is manipulated, shaped, trained, which obeys, responds, becomes skilful and increases its forces" (Foucault, 1977, p. 136).
In terms of the relevance of Foucault's ideas of the disciplinary space to this study, in his book 'Discipline and Punish' he explains his key areas of knowledge by connecting the body to the disciplinary space. First of all he talks about 'the art of distribution' (Foucault, 1977, p. 141) where space and body connection is controlled through divided spaces and closed surroundings. The next key area that he discusses is 'the control of activity' (p. 149) where he links all the temporal elements of orders for instance timekeeping, schedule, and regularity of certain actions. Than he brings up 'the organization of geneses' (p. 156), where his idea of taking full advantage of bodies in connection to space and time takes place. Moreover as a final point he discusses the idea of 'the composition of forces' (p. 162), which identify that all human bodies could form a solid areas of a superior supremacy for instance the school or the army. Furthermore Foucault notes that: 'The school became a machine for learning, in which each pupil, each level and each moment, if correctly combined, were permanently utilized in the general process of teaching' (Foucault, 1977, p. 165). It can be said that if the classroom experience relates to the library, that in this case it is the librarian who has the power and ability to control the library space as well as the user in position to show a common sense of responsibility.
On the other hand it can be argued that even if from the librarian's perspective the library could be seen as an extension of the classroom, nowadays libraries have developed digital media effects which have resulted in more individual freedom. It is evident that the present day library has become electronic as well as virtual, which in this sense could imply that a library building loosely and casually holds the different elements of power and knowledge. Lyotard argues that '... knowledge and power are simply two sides of the same question: who decides what knowledge is, and who knows what needs to be decided? In the computer age, the question of knowledge is now more than ever a question of government' (Lyotard, 1984, p. 8). Therefore one could argue that the more the library becomes disperse beneath of the great compute power influence, the more significant becomes the architectural building type.
To a certain extent it could be said that the traditional library concept could be rather intimidating to some people, and as a result the integration of the latest digital technology and expansion of activities has in fact changed the library into a more fundamental and significant place of community life. It can be said that the library is the place of foundation, where up and coming digital technologies merge with traditional knowledge to encourage new ways of reaching for knowledge.
Today library could be seen as an amalgamation of the past with its printed word and the present with its digital media technology; this suggests that the library should be seen through a new viewpoint and understanding whether it is the possibility of the increasing value of the library function or it is simply moving towards the library's future.
With the emergence of digital media and the integration of the virtual library, it could be said that many expected that the library as a physical library space and as an important part of society in the near future would become outdated. If access to any type of information or knowledge were accessible anywhere through the computer screen, therefore why would somebody still need to go to the library? This is where McLuhan's narrative of technology become relevant, as he states 'Our new technology...extends our senses and nerves in global embrace...Today computers hold out the promise of a means of instant translation of any code language into any other code or language. The computer...in short, promises by technology a Pentecostal condition of universal understanding and unity (McLuhan, 1964, p. 80). As a result in today's society computers take their place alongside books and journals in any library.
At this point it is clear that the digital media technology has not yet erased the library as a physical structure and its books form our society, and it is not apparent if this will happen in the near future. It could be said that the digital media has had a surprising and quite unexpected impact on the function of the library, and in particular in terms of all the predictions of library use declining and them being replaced. In fact, it seems that the use of many libraries has increased noticeably for the reason that the libraries have been moving towards a fundamental change in the range of services that they provide. This gives rise to an argument that even though the Internet creates the vast possibilities for accessing diversity of information, at the same time it gives rise to certain difficulties, it tends to isolate people in their individual spaces, while, on the other hand, the library can be seen as a real place for people with the entirely opposite function. In this context once more McLuhan's theories of media become relevant: the 'hot' medium, print, discourages connection, where the 'cool' medium, in this case digital media such as computer, creates advanced level of involvement (McLuhan, 1964, p. 22-23).
In contrast and going beyond function, the significance of the library without a doubt is the value of the written word, of knowledge and the importance of the reader. This makes it clear that the reader demands the reading space as much as the book, and it expands the dialogue relating the reading room and the storage space of the written or digital word (Edwards & Fisher 2002). However the reading act depends not just on a reader itself, it is about bringing people together with two material entities - books and space. Roche states that in this way: ' The relationship between the presence of books and the space in which they are put to their diverse uses cast light upon the manner in which social and educational organisations exist as invisible and abstract entities, and structure the practices of the educated and of the mass of the people' (Roche 1979, p. 141).
The evolution of the written text from the scroll to the hand-written book, printed book, mass-produced scientific journal and up-to-date Internet has had a significant effect on changing the importance of the library. As it follows it could be said that the library has an advanced access to knowledge, where a century ago libraries gave the access to knowledge merely through books, newspapers or conference, therefore the present day library still has vast open access to knowledge through the same media as well as computer, to remain up to date with fast changing world.
The dominance of the book, journal or any kind of paper has changed; nowadays it is expected to be digital as well as real, since falling book prices and the idea of continuing development of computers and digital media have influenced the growth of the reader and the recognition of the library reading space as the medium of interchange. Yet it seems that the book still continues to be as popular as ever. It might suggest that the changes in the ways that we store and broadcast knowledge may affect the form and content of libraries but they do not make the library redundant.
An example of this is one of the latest new generation libraries - The Peckham Library designed by Alsop and Stormer; the new library is a people orientated building designed in strong coloured glass and surrounded by new public spaces. The building pushes at the frontiers of library design, taking the challenge of IT, the needs of young people and multi-culture as the agenda for a fresh library architecture, where people come before books, and exciting design comes before monotony (Edwards & Fisher 2002).
It is evident that the technology has gradually changed and at the same time challenged the dominance of the book, and even though lead people questioning the true identity and function of the traditional library. However despite the revolution of the non-paper based media the libraries still exists as a public building type.
In addition to this the libraries take on a different character and role. If the library's role is to remain a centre of the written word culture and democratic freedom in the digital age, then their needs to be a smooth interface between books, computer screens and people. In order to be successful according to Frankl the library should be 'a complete, closed, self-sufficient unit' against 'a incomplete fragment' (cited in Markus, 1993, p. 11). Moreover libraries must develop into more open and interactive places, becoming digital market places while readers become navigators of electronic systems. This means that the books will not be replaced by the media changes but will take on a different role.
The marketplace: shopping for ideas
One current trend in the library design is to break down the barriers between libraries, education and shopping. The motive for this comes from the popularity of shopping as a leisure pursuit as well as the success of bookshop chains with their relaxing environments. Big modern bookshops allow the customer to browse, to listen to the music and to enjoy refreshments while they shop. It could be said that the public libraries are often seen as intimidating institutions and there is undoubtedly room for them to learn from the retail trade. The writings of Foucault, Borges, Eco and Castillo, Flaubert, Asimov and King have long indicated that library users are commonly intimidated by traditional libraries: Eco's 'fortress library' in The Name of the Rose is, perhaps, one such literary example (Eco 1983). For many people the 'hushed library with its columns of books, with its titles aligned on shelves to form a tight enclosure' is not such an inviting place for certain people (Foucault, 1967-1977, p. 90).
In many ways, the traditional library experience, for both the librarian and the user, was structured by the values of order, control and suppression (Chelton 1996). This type of experience is linked to a positivist epistemology, which proposes that the library is a detached, cold and mechanistic place. This makes it clear that the 21st century should bring about a change in direction in which libraries become less system-oriented and more person-oriented and address broad social issues by bringing the concept of the library, education and leisure together in one single building.
Wiegand has identified the current 'understudied, everyday ubiquity of libraries' (Wiegand 1999). Some academics, therefore, argue that libraries are ordinary places that 'makes their power discourse all the more sinister and hidden, perhaps even demonstrating that libraries and reading are more culturally and economically domineering than McDonalds - or television' (Bushman 2006, 270-299). It could be said that books are no longer the one and only focus of libraries: the 'library' arguably stands out as a brand, exerting a powerful behavioural influence. This is truer than ever now that current library design borrows many elements from retail culture - including possible locations - and there is now a much larger synthesis between traditional architectural and interior design codes and practices.
Communities must now accept that libraries in a variety of locations present in very specific ways and can provide very specific experiences: for example, centres of lifelong learning, cultural marketplaces, providers of public information and benefit rights, settings for a variety of inspirational lifestyles and community meeting places and facilities.
It is also worth noting that the library and the home are becoming interrelated, in the same way as the home and the shop are becoming interrelated through the benefit of the Internet. Just as the individual can shop online for clothes, food and other luxuries so can the library user shop for knowledge by browsing library catalogues and order, reserve or renew books. Through this method of intimacy the library is becoming de-institutionalised, for as Walsh writes, 'the library is apparently ripe for decentralising' (Walsh 1982, 212).
Perhaps it could be stated that the library is becoming more of a club, shopping or leisure centre. In Sweden the public library is identified as 'the living room in the city' and interior design and furnishings generate a domestic, homely sense of membership and belonging: this is much the same as the approach taken by many retail outlets and their changing and shopping areas.
The impact of digital media on libraries does not threaten the existence of the public library - instead they provide valuable and effective services for users. An example of how digital media relate to this can be seen in such things as 'commenting, tagging, bookmarking, and discussions, use of social software, plug-ins, and widgets' (Cohen 2007: 47). With its inspiration in information sharing this is an attempt to make the library more user-driven as an institution.
This physical and technological shift can be traced through academia and literature since Borges argued that the meaning of a symbol such as the 'library' is not determined by a particular correspondence or existing object or aspect of reality. In essence he argues that the concept of a library gains meaning by virtue of its context in relation to other symbols with which it might be interrelated. As the language and symbols shift so too does the meaning of the word 'library' (Borges 1962). This is what is currently happening with the interrelation of education, retail and the library.
It could be argued that modern 'retail therapy' allows people the chance to escape although it is clear that for many years the traditional library has done the same thing for man - offered them an escape from their daily routine. Individuals have been afforded the opportunity to escape to fantasy worlds through books and journals as well as being offered the opportunity to educate themselves or seek academic assistance. This has, traditionally, been reflected in the architecture and interior design of the library. The designs of the libraries of the future on the other hand will reflect the pleasure, self-enrichment, and life-enhancing nature of such pursuits. Foucault brings forward the presence of an intimate number of spaces 'in the intervals between books' in which reside the 'possibility of impossible worlds; worlds other than the objective world constructed in the disciplined arrangements of science' (Foucault 1977, 90). Eco also indicates that the library is not just a storehouse of texts but a labyrinth where 'every point can be connected with every other point, and, where the connections are not yet designed, they are, however, conceivable and designable. A net is an unlimited territory' (Eco 1977, 90). In the same manner as retail outlets and shop frontages now offer greater visual transparency between the interior and exterior worlds, so too do the new libraries in the promise of openness and democracy.
An example of this 21st century approach can be seen in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets where a chain of Idea Stores have been created. Here newly constructed libraries are sharing the same development as supermarkets and offer access to library services and training programs. Idea Stores have created a whole new concept of learning. They aim to attract people who would not necessary use a traditional library:
'People are attracted tohow we work, what we offer and it challenges how we think. Barriers are broken and opportunities arise to our local community, again, being exposed to things that they will not find it a library. If you compare our website to other authorities you will see that although libraries offer reading facilities, we provide a whole lot more. It makes a difference to people's lives.' (L. Randall Canary Wharf 'Idea Store' manager 2009, pers. comm., 11 November)
This may seem to suggest that the Idea Store concept has a different approach for the community: they do offer a big variety of activities, but the focal point is still based abound literature and books. The Idea Store nevertheless breaks the boundaries of the traditional library with its informal and playful outlook designed to help people engage with different media and activities.
In addition to this the genesis of the Idea Store can be found in retail language; it has its own identity and it stands out as a recognizable brand. There are no restrictions for accessing the Idea Store, as it is open to everyone. The design itself is curious and inviting - it is easy just to wander the space without any intimidation. The design is deliberately eye-catching with highly glazed facades, bright colours and a dramatic roof. It is a building that provides an enjoyable, highly sociable atmosphere and one that seems to fit comfortably into its Whitechapel location. It is genuinely populist - and popular - because of the multiplicity of its design.
David Adjaye designed the Whitechapel Idea Store with the intention of building 'the architecture of the post-city' (Dyckhoff 2004). This new type of public architecture avoids the language that Victorian and Edwardian architects used for their institutions - portly columns and pompous gothic facades plucked from stately homes and cathedrals. David Adjaye's different version of a traditional library takes its colourful character from the sunshade of the surrounding market stalls and is praised for being 'civic and inclusive, iconic, contextual and popular with its users' (Dyckhoff 2004).
Outside of London further examples of barrier breaking library designs are evident. A notable exemplar is that of Coventry's Arena Park Library which is based within the Arena Shopping Park. Funding for the library came from the city council and Tesco, again a retail connection. The library itself offers a huge variety of services: jobs advice; a police surgery; age concern drop in; genealogy sessions; religious sessions and its situation - between Marks & Spencer's and Burger King - make it truly part of the shopping experience. Examples such as the Idea Stores and the Arena Library indicate that, 'the public library has truly become a multi-purpose agency with multi-purpose roles covering the areas of information and life-long learning, recreation and leisure, culture and research' (Smith 2005: 4).
This suggests that the libraries located within retail outlets far more likely to be found in places of retail development bringing the potential experience of the library closer to the individual. It must also be noted that such libraries are likely to be designed for people who intend to borrow CD's and DVD's, or who want to access the internet as well as borrow books, simply because these individuals see such activity as a public involvement in consumer lifestyles. Like any shop or retail outlet such libraries need a large storefront presence providing high visibility and transparency and interior dcor in such libraries reflects that of multimedia retailing.
As Castells writes, 'the structure of how the library controls the flow of information is more important than what the structure contains'. He characterised this as 'schizophrenia between structure and meaning' (Castells 2000). In this sense, as with the Idea Stores, new libraries are required to detach areas at different times of the day or night in order to meet the variety of community and individual needs. In the same way as many retail outlets consider time-management in the share of space and patterns of circulation so must this be reflected in the libraries of the future. However in practice, this could be seen as a being significant in terms of obvious patterns of library space circulation, architectural and spatial clarity as well as coherent and attractive signage. This mirrors the pattern of good retail outlets with their clear signage, floor maps and obvious flow and patterns of movement.
The design of the library, however, suffers from conflicts that are unrelated to those of retail outlets and other types of educational institutions. When a wide number of people use libraries, a variety of expectations and uses become visible. For example, children in a library may well bring noise and games, so interior designs need to be considered that will minimise the impact of such noise. Teens tend to require areas to sit and talk, read magazines or listen to music on listening posts (in the same way as they may do in, for example, HMV). It is no longer possible, useful nor desirable to replicate those hushed libraries which Foucault critiqued.
Clearly libraries are becoming more neutral in the sense that bespoke personalities can be imprinted depending upon need. The library is no longer simply the domain of order in which, in contrast the user falls into the domain of uncertainty. As Foucault writes, the library should be the production of 'a fantasia from a domain previously given to reason, rationality and order'...this is 'the modern experience' (Foucault 1967/1977, p. 90-91). Finally, Radford writes, 'the library becomes an instrument of possibility rather than a place where possibility seems exhausted' (Radford 1992). In conclusion it seems clear that Radford's definition has never been so true as it is today with the libraries of the 21st Century.
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