Salem has a fine public library. The whole Civic Center – library – Pringle Parkade – Pringle Tower project, done in the early 1970s, seems like it was good planning. At that time, the cost of a big public library probably seemed excessive. I don’t think the library was very busy during the early years. Have you been there lately? It’s a busy place.
The Project for Public Spaces website has a whole series of articles about Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever:
The creation of the “information superhighway” threatened to make libraries obsolete, but today they are as prominent as ever. Libraries are taking on a larger civic role, redefining themselves as community centers for the 21st Century. The old model of the library was the inward-focused “reading room,” the new one is more like a community “front porch.”