Further Reading: An Analysis of the Public Library and the Implications of Technological Innovation on Architecture
The past two decades has seen an explosion of electronic media that has changed the way society is structured, and the way in which people interact with one-another. This technological change is forcing the library to question its functional role in society. Books are currently the predominant form of information and entertainment media represented. If this continues the library will struggle to assert its relevance in the future. This thesis analyses the public library, establishing an appropriate distinction between the formalities of the traditional library space and that suitable for a library in the information age. It acknowledges historical influence, and the library user’s role in establishing a truly public enterprise. It builds upon these influences through architectural analysis and experimentation to find one architectural design solution that re-establishes the public library typology. The outcome of this research identifies a strong future for the public library, but states that its physical and organisational form needs to be re-established. It finds that technology and architecture offer new opportunities useful for reinterpreting the typology. The thesis concludes that the implications of digital representation do not limit the public library to virtual space, but rather it can become a space that mediates the new emerging boundaries between digital and analogue by acknowledging the interaction between people.