• Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

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Welcome to the library of the twenty first century

Bycbs editor

Jul 25, 2022

On a current Monday morning, the residents of Kanawha County, West Virginia, got here to test out a brand new bankruptcy withinside the lifestyles of an antique institution. After extra than years and $32 million in renovations, downtown Charleston’s public library reopened to the public – much less a warehouse of books, and extra a marketplaces of ideas.

Inside, traffic determined a brand-new cafe, a tool-lending library, and an “concept lab” complete of the present day technology. From podcasting cubicles to automated stitching machines to augmented truth screens, the power has been up to date for the present day age.

There became an pleasure you may see AND hear – that is precisely what the librarians had been hoping for. Erika Connelly, director of the Kanawha County Library, stated, “Librarians from time immemorial, like, you are ‘Shh’!”

Sunday Morning
Welcome to the library of the twenty first century
sunday-morning

July 24, 2022 / 9:eleven AM / CBS News

On a current Monday morning, the residents of Kanawha County, West Virginia, got here to test out a brand new bankruptcy withinside the lifestyles of an antique institution. After extra than years and $32 million in renovations, downtown Charleston’s public library reopened to the public – much less a warehouse of books, and extra a marketplaces of ideas.

Inside, traffic determined a brand-new cafe, a tool-lending library, and an “concept lab” complete of the present day technology. From podcasting cubicles to automated stitching machines to augmented truth screens, the power has been up to date for the present day age.
kanawha-county-library-augmented-truth.jpg
The Kanawha County Library’s zSpace augmented truth computers. CBS News

There became an pleasure you may see AND hear – that is precisely what the librarians had been hoping for. Erika Connelly, director of the Kanawha County Library, stated, “Librarians from time immemorial, like, you are ‘Shh’!”

Correspondent Conor Knighton asked, “Are we past the age of shushing?”

“We’re past the age of that, yeah!”

“I let you know what I’m now no longer seeing here; I’m now no longer seeing a ton of books.”

“No! We have 3-d machines, we’ve robotics, we’ve 3-d pens.”
While there are nevertheless lots of books, the redecorate allowed the body of workers to reconsider how they had been displayed.

“It became extra approximately the engagement, how we desired our public to have interaction in the library,” Connelly stated. “And it wasn’t on the shelves. It wasn’t simply grabbing a ee-e book after which leaving. We desired them to stay.”

Across the united states of america, library attendance has declined 21% from 2009 to 2019. But borrowing has truly multiplied; it is simply moved on line, as collections have shifted from bodily to virtual material. That’s triggered libraries to shift their wondering in phrases of what would possibly deliver humans thru the doors.

Austin Public Library director Roosevelt Weeks starts offevolved every day greeting customers as they input the downtown branch. The 200,000-square-foot constructing fills up fast.

Knighton asked, “You’ve been open for all of 9 mins at this point, and it is bustling already.”

“It’s constantly like that!” Weeks replied.

People come to Austin’s library to play board video games, video video games, even video games of massive chess.

Alongside the real books, there are Chromebooks and MacBooks to test out. The youngsterager vicinity hosts jam periods providing the library’s series of guitars.

Knighton asked, “What do you observed is the maximum surprising bodily object that you may take a look at out on the library?”

Weeks replied, “Seeds. If you need to plant a garden, we’ve seeds that you may take a look at out.”

“So, that is now no longer some thing you need to return, right? There’s no overdue prices on seeds?”

“The ‘return’ is, come display us what you acquire out of your garden.”

When Austin’s Central Library opened in 2017, it right away have become a network hub. Visitation multiplied in next years. Weeks defined commencing day as “one of the maximum superb days of my lifestyles. We had 17,000 humans ready to get into this constructing.”

The constructing itself is a part of the draw. Bright and open, complete of areas to front room and meet, present day libraries are trying to fulfill the wishes of nowadays whilst staying bendy for the destiny.

“More and extra of those libraries are being constructed so that they’ve very open ground plans,” stated Miguel Figueroa, former director of the Center for the Future of Libraries. “And I suppose a part of this is that imaginative and prescient of long-term. We do not know what the subsequent issue would possibly be.

“It’s definitely clean to reflect onconsideration on the destiny as solely technological. And I suppose a whole lot of libraries are retaining tempo with that. At the identical time, I suppose we are beginning to see that there may be a definitely incredible destiny for those establishments as area – the fee of getting an open, public area for your town, for your neighborhood.”

In 2009, the town of San Francisco have become the primary withinside the united states of america to lease a complete-time social employee for its primary library. Dozens of towns throughout the united states of america have accompanied suit.

Figueroa stated, “A lot of the social protection nets were underfunded or removed. And unfortunately, that frequently method that there may be a crunch on different public establishments, like public libraries. They are very relied on establishments, and those sense welcome inside them.”

People like Andrew Constatino, who, for a time, became a every day tourist to the downtown Seattle library. “The library is like your grandmother’s house,” he stated. “If you are homeless or dwelling in poverty, that is precisely what it is like, whilst you are allowed to be on the library. Whereas, you know, in case you are homeless, you are now no longer allowed to be many places.”

Years ago, Constatino became dwelling at the Seattle streets and in shelters. The library became his refuge, an area to get out the rain and get returned on his feet.

Knighton asked, “You cited the significance of feeling welcome here. What became it want to now no longer sense welcome elsewhere?”

“Oh, it sucks!” Constatino replied. “It’s like anywhere in our society you’ve got got to shop for access, you know? If I need to apply your bathroom, I actually have to shop for a soda pop.”

Public libraries are public – an area wherein anyone can come together. In one room, current immigrants exercise English. In another, first-time laptop customers discover ways to navigate the internet.

The internet – an constantly-on, endless hub of records – failed to update libraries. It can also additionally have made them extra essential.

Miguel Figueroa stated, “The aspect results of a number of the technologies, wherein we do end up so centered in on on line records or on line discourse, that we neglect about how to connect to different humans? Libraries retrain you, I suppose, to be a member of the public, to be a part of the civic discourse.”

While COVID made the ones connections challenging (maximum libraries closed for the duration of the peak the pandemic), there may be been a current slew of grand openings. Newly-renovated libraries have popped up anywhere from Flint, Michigan to Fayetteville, Arkansas … from Spokane, Washington to Washington, D.C.

Andrew Constantino stated, “I definitely suppose that a ways from any concept that a few humans would possibly have that the library is in some way obsolescent, you know, or, irrelevant, it’s miles truly the opposite. I suppose that our society as an entire wishes extra establishments and public regions which can be just like the library. It’s plenty extra a version for a way we have to deal with different humans than simply an artifact of the past.”