The Future For Public Libraries: Specialized Features Not Starbucks March 29, 2014 – Posted in: Libraries, public libraries

South Korea libraries

My head is still spinning from Panos Mourdoukoutas’ post at Forbes last week suggesting that there should be a Starbucks in every local library. Granted it appeared in Forbes and they slant corporate but it might just be the most near-sighted, wackiest story I have read in some time.

Of course he starts out proclaiming his love for his local library but before it’s over he says “Simply put, Starbucks and local libraries supplement each other nicely—they are both “third places” with different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments. That’s a good reason to have a Starbucks store in every library.”

Why not put a jail in every library for it also has “different rules of conduct, catering to different community segments.”  They would compliment each other nicely by providing literacy services and job training to inmates while scaring the pants off the kids so they won’t go astray of the law.

Thankfully, I recently ran across a story at the Korea Joonang Daily that alerted me to some of the awesome features that South Korea is adding to its public libraries.

Over half of all the public libraries in Gyeonggi, a city northwest of Seoul “offer some sort of specialized features” with close to 100 “dedicated to some other function than book lending or reading”

south korea libraries 1

“The main purpose of specialized libraries is to encourage a “reading culture,” which these days is losing the public’s interest. They encourage people to read books and enjoy cultural institutions at the same time.”

“Adding cultural elements to public libraries meets the demand,” said Cho Hyun-yang, professor of library and information science at Kyonggi University. “The spread of specialized libraries plays a positive role by increasing citizens’ satisfaction with life.”

Oh, and the government covered all the costs of constructing these specialized libraries.

In Gyeonggi, new libraries aren’t just about books-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily.

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