Libraries as linchpins of urban renewal

So I was in Boston over the weekend and enjoyed the breathtaking reverence of the Boston Public Library — an ornate and awe-inspiring fortress of learning.

But as establishment as it is, the “BPL” could be considered a model for the kinds of “libraries of the future” being discussed by Jonathan Lerner, a New Urbanist advocate and accomplished Atlanta writer, for Miller McCune.

These libraries join together gyms, shops, cafes and spaces that are public and private, noisy and silent and altogether fluid to create vibrant  urban centers a la New Urbanism. Fascinating examples have taken shape in Seattle, Salt Lake and Vancouver among other cities.

What’s interesting is that New Urbanism — a fantastic movement — really advocates the return to the old urbanism: walkable, mixed-use cities with lots of access for everyone and central, communal spaces.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that our great classic libraries, The Boston Public Library, like the New York Public Library, function(ed) in these roles — as majestic urban pillars that play host to myriad resources from lectures and activities to cafes along with treasure troves of books. Of course, these are exceptions to ordinary libraries that serve as quiet enclaves for study.

I’m very excited about reclaiming the library in a modern incarnation of all its glory.

Read more about it here: