Coffee shops, gigs, free cinema tickets, flashy architecture . . . is this the future of our libraries?
Stuart Jeffries writes in the Guardian about the proposed Birmingham library, government plans to shake things up, and the people standing in their way. UK culture minister Margaret Hodge opines on libraries ("I do care passionately about libraries," she says, "but they have to change") and librarians, who should be replaced by volunteers.. "There's nothing that depresses me more," Hodge says, "than going into a library and being confronted by a computer and someone in authority who isn't going to deliver the citizen-focused services I think should be on offer. I won't have this. Libraries can't go on being merely traditional. That's why we should consider volunteers." Judging from the artist's conception, security will be tight; looks like Christo has been brought in to envelop the entire structure in gigantic chain-link fencing.