Public Libraries – future community hubs?

Where do men go on Saturday? Good question! In the past, it would have been football matches, golf courses and those ‘of a certain age’ the bowling club. But the public library – come off it!

Well so I thought until visiting my local book lender this Saturday morning. And it was packed out with males; some on laptops, others browsing the newspapers and more online on the library’s PCs. Some were even drinking coffee, looking at the books and nipping out for a quick puff on the now internally banned tobacco.

Now probably the recession requires those out of work to surf the job ads and those in work to study to stay so. Yet the sense of a busy community life about the place, both for  effort and pleasure, was palpable.

But libraries are for books and tatty governmental leaflets surely with the odd notice (in every sense of the word) for the local spiritualists’ meeting. Well, if  this is the purpose which the customers seem to want, don’t knock it. Since it might prevent public libraries,  going the way of the village pub, the parish church and the corner shop.

In fact, with our granulated, home-working, coffee shop meeting business environment, maybe these traditional ‘information centres’ have a future as communuty meeting points, business venues and just hubs for daily life. Evolve or die then in my book.


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