I was at the library last week. I’m not sure the expansion is a necessary ingredient of the Philadelphia ego. Chasing technology as an improvement when the city is not flush is foolish. I can’t imagine it’s a good thing to chase down short attention spans.
Before building it the city should do an evaluation of how much is actually part of the library and not transitory technology.
What only librarians who work in the system know is that the “expansion” makes much less room for books. When the FLP decided to expand the administration it asked librarians at Central to weed one-third of their (flagship, unique) collections. This is a disaster for researchers and readers who rely on Central’s collections.
What many librarians would prefer is to take over the Family Court building which already matches Central for design, is the greener option (only renovation is needed, and maybe a skybridge to connect) and could effectively double the space rather than reducing it, for collections.
Finally, in our enthusiasm for technology, let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. Most books are best read in hard copy, and please do not believe that we will eventually be able to find all that we would like to read on the Internet.