Public libraries and the right to the [smart] city

John Blewitt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The future of public libraries has been threatened by funding cuts and new digital technologies which have led many people to question their traditional role and purpose. However, freedom of information, ready access to knowledge and information literacy in all its digital and analog guises are more important than ever. Thus, public libraries remain significant spaces and places where people can socially interact and learn. In many countries public libraries are reinventing themselves and part of this process has been the redesign of library services and the design and construction of new library building and facilities that articulate the values, purpose and role of what has been termed 'the next library'. Following discussion of new library developments in London, Birmingham and Worcester in the UK, Aarhus in Denmark and Helsinki in Finland, the article concludes that public libraries are now both social and media spaces as well as being important physical places that can help city dwellers decide what type of urban world they want to see.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


  • freedom of information
  • London
  • media spaces
  • public libraries
  • social spaces


Dive into the research topics of 'Public libraries and the right to the [smart] city'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this