The evolution of modern libraries has been closely related to the development of modernity in Western societies, both in relation to the development of social life in the last centuries and to the growing importance of reading, information, and knowledge and to the ideas of enlightenment, democracy, tolerance, and the open society. The increasing number of library buildings and the development of library space are part of the greater accessibility of information, the opening of the organization of knowledge, and the creation of a public sphere. This article examines the making of the modern library building and the related discourse by selecting important model buildings, guidelines, discussions, and experiments reflecting various cultural and social visions of democracy and openness. The perspective is international. An investigation is made of the physical as well as the social construction of the modern library space and of its identity and “libraryness.”


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pp. 11-42
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