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Knowledge is information, whether it be hardcore data or a poetic narrative. In order for it to exist, it must be compounded by communication, and the ideal agent do bring this about is the library. Knowledge is the library’s commodity, and as a result it attracts producers and consumers of knowledge. As with any business, the library – the public library in particular - must also remain aware of and be adaptable to any changes and influences that modify the demand and supply of its product.
In an age in which information and communication are profuse and - perhaps more importantly - the boundaries between producers and consumers of information are increasingly blurred, the concept of what a public library is and its potential in this evolution is an urgent matter. Already, the notion of a classical library in the nineteenth/twentieth tradition - with a formal collection, academic environment, established staff, et cetera – is wavering. As a typology, the library enjoys an affluent history as being an important element of public space within the urban fabric. As a building, the library has also been a constant destination, which is why -to this present day- governments are keen to employ their presence to enhance the image of their cities.
Simultaneously, like the present day explosive growth of cities, more and more libraries are expanding their physical breadth with the introduction of web browsers, on-line retrieval and other new media. The dimensions that these media offer are turning the walls of the library itself into a formality. The building itself is and should always remain an important location of public gathering, information and learning, yet more and more the knowledge which is produced and gathered there exorbitantly extends beyond its physical boundaries. This exit takes the library into a new realm of public space wherein information is collectively produced and consumed. A consequence of this seemingly utopic abundance of knowledge is that the attention span needed to process information has grown shorter and splintered.
As consumers we get distracted by a great many things, and as producers of knowledge we seem unaware of the collective potential of our contribution. Here the relationship between the production of information has become unbalanced with its communication and reception. An urgent question for the library is therefore whether it can offer an added value in this situation of abundance. What form and position will its physical structure need to take in order to endure the changes taking place in the data saturated realm of public/private society? In turn, how will this structure need to relate to its expanding existence in the digital fourth dimension, which also deals with issues of public/private domain and strategic mapping? It is in the best interest of the library - in order to secure its business prospects – to involve itself with these matters and take up a position in how it sees itself in the future.
The architecture of knowledge.The library of the future.
Event 06 july 2009 - 17 july 2009 | 'The architecture of knowledge.The public library of the future.' is a collaborative project organized by The Netherlands Public Library Association and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) in 2009, consisting of a lecture series followed by a two week workshop for students.
The Netherlands Public Library Association
In May 2009, the NAI and the Vereniging van Openbare Bibliotheken organized a series of lectures on the possibilities and meaning of the library of the future and the architecture of knowledge. Markus Miessen concluded this series on thursday June 25th. Missed a lecture? Watch them online!
The Fantasmagoric Library
15 July 2009 - Annemarie van den Berg | The fantastic library is coming along nicely, traveling into the deepest recesses of our imagination and beyond, our group is asking the foundational questions in the libraries context. Drawing our inspiration from sources of high fiction we are investigating the concept of knowledge in the coming centuries.