A Monday morning between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Paris, and the line for modern art museum Centre Georges Pompidou winds around the block. But the patrons waiting in the cold aren’t eager tourists hoping for a glimpse of a Magritte—they’re young locals queueing for access through the museum’s back door to another attraction altogether: Bibliothèque publique d'information, or the public library.
In a digital age that has left book publishers reeling, libraries in the world’s major cities seem poised for a comeback, though it’s one that has very little to do with books. The Independent Library Report—published in December by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport—found that libraries across that nation should be positioning themselves as “vibrant and attractive community hubs,” focusing on the “need to create digital literacy—and in an ideal world, digital fluency.”...more
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