Saturday, October 11, 2008

Space to think..'companionable silence'

The Culture Secretary in England is proposing that libraries should become noiser places and apparently more 'joyous'. Mobile phones and loud conversations are the way of the future in his vision and silent reflection and contemplation too gloomy for him and his ilk. It seems a particularly odd view, particularly given the dearth of space and time for thinking in modern society with its constant and rapid-fire noise and hubbub. Maybe he's missing the point and should direct his attention to the lack of public/civic space in many towns and cities to support a range of activities and atmospheres. The commercialisation of town centres, the selling off of parks to developers and the lack of non-commercial social space in housing developments are perhaps better targets for his ire, rather than promoting the 'starbuck-isation' of libraries.

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