Library 'no longer fit for purpose'
JULIE Boston is concerned (Central Library: "Come and meet us Simon Cook", Opinion, Aug 14) about the Cathedral School's plans to take over the two lower floors of Bristol's central library for its new primary school and wants Councillor Simon Cook (responsible for culture, sport and capital programmes) to meet with her/others; presumably they hope to get him to abandon any such plans. I would encourage him not to do any such thing.
I recently advocated that the central library should be relocated into a shopping complex such as the Galleries, Broadmead or Cabot Circus as it is such an old building that is surely no longer fit for purpose in the 21st century. Borrowers obviously expect more from a building than historic/architectural erudition! Confirmation of this is that the Trinity Road library which was opened in 1896 had to make way for its brand new successor, the internet café style Junction 3 library in Easton.
Moreover, times are changing, and I suspect that the overwhelming number of visitors to Bristol's civic libraries are not there to borrow books, but to use the 'free' computers courtesy of the taxpayer!
However, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the opinion of Anthony Beeson who was the art librarian for many years. He firmly believes in the retention of the Lending Reserve bookstock, housed on the two floors which are being threatened by the sudden incursion of the new primary school. I have certain sympathies with this view, but we are constantly being reminded that we live in a digital age. Thus could not this entire resource be put on computer discs for instantaneous retrieval, rather than the laborious physicality of checking through hard copies?
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