Libraries as Disappearing Public Spaces

With funding in question, the future of public libraries is uncertain. This slideshow explores how libraries function as a commons and public space in American cities.
April 12, 2011, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"What's at stake here is more than access to a room full of books. The modern American public library is reading room, book lender, video rental outlet, internet café, town hall, concert venue, youth activity center, research archive, history museum, art gallery, homeless day shelter, office suite, coffeeshop, seniors' clubhouse and romantic hideaway rolled into one. [1] In small towns of the American West, it is also the post office and the backdrop of the local gun range. These are functions that the digital public libraries of the future will never be able to recreate."

Photographer Robert Dawson has visited hundreds of American libraries, and presents images of these places as they face possible extinction.

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Published on Monday, April 11, 2011 in Places
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