I love libraries. Mostly, in the same way I love typewriters: they remind me of a simpler time when the device I was writing on didn’t also have access to naked photos of people. I spent most of my college years in a gross library with no computer lab and I loved it. It was silent because no one wanted to go there. Now, however, libraries are updating to meet the demands of today’s readers. Frankly, I think it’s a mistake. They should make it even harder to use. Make it borderline miserable to be there. Then, the libraries will again be for the true die-hard fans.
I’m joking, of course. We need books to be more enticing than ever, and we need our libraries to feel cutting-edge and cool. Otherwise, we’ll lose a whole generation to some other form of research, like YouTube videos. Not sure if you saw the QAnon documentary, but that’s not where people should get all their information.
Luckily, public libraries are still kicking. They’re more advanced than I realized.
The libraries of the future are already here, and they are a sight to behold:
1. The Kadowaka Cultural Center Library in Japan. A bit of screen time to find the books.
2. This new library in China holds 1.2 million books.
3. The library places the books on the lower shelves on their sides so the titles are easier to read. It’s the little things.
4. “Basement floor of my campus library has a treadmill with a computer, so you can exercise & study at the same time.” Sitting is the new smoking!
5. I worked in a bookstore and someone did this once a day. Good for this library for making lives easier.
6. At my library you can pick up bags of books in a certain genre without knowing what those books are.
7. This sign at my University with the number for the library police.
8. These little dots on the stair rail of our library indicate which floor you reached walking up the stairs.
9. This train station has a library book vending machine.
10. This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.
11. My library gives out earplugs on the silent floor.
12. My library loans out themed “Binge Boxes.”
13. This subway car in Seoul has a mini library.
14. My library receipt shows how much money I’ve saved.
15. Had a volunteer help me make these stools out of our discarded books for new library seating.
16. At this library in Philadelphia you can rent cake pans.
17. Library has a “Recently Returned” section so you can see what other people have been reading.
18. My local library has a beehive in the kid’s section, with a tube that leads to the outside.
19. My local library has a vault you can go into to talk on your phone.
20. I got a warning for leaving my laptop unattended in the library.
21. The National Library of Kosovo as seen from above.
22. My school’s library has noise-level guides that change color when it gets too loud.
23. My university library has a wall where you can quite literally take a seat.