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Boat by Tim Green is licensed under CC by 2.0

Thing 2 Do we want old people in public libraries?

Or to put it a different way; will making libraries a pleasant place to visit for the older patron negatively affect everyone else, and if it does do we think it’s worth it? In many ways, they don’t fit in with the steady march forward towards the ultimate goal of a modern, streamlined, technology driven service punctuated by community activities and child centered freedoms. Lots of them want quiet spaces, comfortable seating and staff who will issue loans and do other old-fashioned things for them. They are an anachronism, with outdated expectations which are at odds with the needs of young people. Libraries need to attract children, the community of the future, or so the thinking goes. It is a disappearing demographic – the young are the patrons of the future.
But the old are always being replaced by new older people. And the young grow up into teenagers who wish their juniors would be a bit quieter so they could study. If public libraries are to be truly inclusive spaces,…