The library of the 21st century?

England and Wales have just adopted national standards for libraries, which call for improvements such as longer opening hours, free or cheap Internet access and convenient locations. The Guardian reports that this has led to a battle between modernists and traditionalists \"for the soul of the library\". Tower Hamlets in London has closed 5 of its 12 branch libraries in order to open 7 new hi-tech \"idea stores\", located in shopping centers and open supermarket hours. Several other cities are looking at a similar move, but there are concerns about the closures of branch libraries. The story is an interesting look at the future of public libraries and the changes that lie ahead.

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