Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Canada Water Library, London, by CZWG

In spite of funding cuts and its lack of public-sector experience, CZWG has created an imaginative public library in London’s Docklands
’What we have to protect is not library buildings but library services,” culture secretary Jeremy Hunt told a select committee tasked with investigating the wave of library closures last month. Thirty-three libraries have closed in the last year, following cuts to local authority budgets, while the future of 600 others still hangs in the balance. Such savagery prompted co-ordinated action up and down the country, with organised mass book withdrawals, 24-hour vigils and occupation “read-ins” — a polite prelude to August’s riots.
“They are like a demonstration but friendlier, with story readings and someone there to entertain the children,” Lynne Copperstone of the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign told the Guardian.
Hunt may have a vision of dematerialised libraries, freed from the confines of walls and roofs, following the coalition’s anti-buildings strategy, along the lines of Gove’s plan for schools without classrooms. But in Southwark, the council has sent out the message that buildings still matter. The south London borough has retained all 12 of its existing libraries, and just opened a brand new one, designed by CZWG: the £14 million “jewel in the crown” of Canada Water on the Rotherhithe peninsula.
Read full article here
Originally published in BD, 14 December 2011