Intelligent Life, The Economist’s quarterly “culture magazine” profiles architect Francine Houben, and in so doing, looks at the role of the library building in the community.  Houben is designing Birmingham (UK) Public Library, which the Council and chief librarian, Brian Gambles, see will be an image-changer, for the Library as well for the community. How many public libraries are “image changers” in their communities?

The article, Reinventing the Library,  also looks at the game changers  over past centuries – including technologies – that have impacted communities and libraries.

The building is designed to be provisional, with flexible spaces that can adapt when the next technology takes over.

Houben’s design focuses on how the “new library could be a social hub, a place where the target of 10,000 people a day come to meet, or be alone, or be alone in a crowd; a place for co-operation or silent study, for fun or hard work, a place to learn or just to linger over a skinny cappuccino. A place the whole city could use. A part of its soul.” In fact, she sees “Libraries are the new cathedrals – secular cathedrals.”

Is your community library viewed as a “cathedral”? What a concept……..

Delft Library designed by Houben