Hundreds of libraries are closing across the UK, but in Southwark, London, there is a new one, see

The opening of this new library, at a cost of £14.1m, is at the heart of Southwark Council’s investment in the libraries service, which is being protected despite cuts in central government funding.

In a first for London, visitors to the library will not only get their fix of some 40,000 books, music CDs & films but will also be able to:

  • Enjoy day and night time theatre performances, run by the Albany , Deptford’s renowned performing arts venue, in the 150 seater theatre and culture space.
  • Have a coffee at the Waters Edge Café on the ground floor
  • Attend meetings at the same theatre space which converts into an open floor area of 150 m².
  • Take in an early evening class in one of the three separate learning spaces
  • Log on to free internet at one of the library’s 79 computers
  • Use the tube station whose exit and entrance is incorporated into the building, checking real time train times on the library plasma screens
  • Access council services such as benefits and council tax help, from January
  • Take in amazing views of the historic Canada Water basin, which it overhangs

The library’s wi-fi network, with nearly 30 laptops available for hire, reflects the growing trend towards the ‘library as living room’ ethos. Across Southwark’s libraries members currently clock up more than 10,000 hours of internet use each month on their wi-fi network alone.

Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics at Southwark Council, said:

“I’m so proud to be unveiling this amazing building. It’s an incredible, breath-taking use of space, both inside and out, and has all that you could need under one roof. You could find yourself learning in the morning, listening to a poetry performance at lunchtime, studying in the afternoon, watching first class theatre at night, and then relaxing in the cafe after that.

We’re definitely leading the way in London with our libraries – first the iconic Peckham Library, then our refit of John Harvard Library resulting in visitor number records beaten, and next year two more brand new libraries for the borough.

And now with this new ‘super’ library, we aim to put Southwark on the map as a forward-thinking, pioneering borough with libraries right at our heart.”


ISPs to police your downloads

If you are with Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus or Internode, it is maybe time to look for a new ISP, see:

“Communications Alliance and five of Australia’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) today unveiled a ground-breaking proposed scheme to combat the growing problem of online copyright infringement.

The scheme is designed to encourage a sustained and positive change in the behaviour of internet users who engage in online activity that may be an infringement of copyright laws and potentially illegal under the Copyright Act 1968, typically via peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing or unauthorised content downloads.”

Essentially it’s three warnings and then we inform on you to or some other litigious entity.

We shall how the scheme develops, if it does commence.

How do you search?

Are you getting the most out of your searching? Mashable points out a few things that librarians have been telling their information literacy students for years on how to find what you really want, using the search giant Google as its search platform of choice. Need to find that needle in a haystack? You’re on!

How to use Google search more effectively via Mashable

Yes, of course I donated, who ever sees Jimmy Wales face and doesn’t donate, why they’d be a monster.

From Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff.Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views.Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.

If everyone reading this donated $10, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $10, $20, $30 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

Yes Jimmy, Wikipedia is like a library except in your version, you can rewrite the books to make them better. How good is that. Of course unlike a library, you can’t sit in it, and get the benefit of its people, and feel its warmth in the winter and its cool in the summer, or any of the other myriad good things of a physical space. But, go donate anyway at

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart

The newly opened Mailänder Platz branch of the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart is a wonder to behold. From the outside, some have described it as a jail, the stark exterior barely hinting at the treasures that lie within. On the inside, the endless stairs, and just a glimpse of sky above, might have you agreeing with the jail analogy.

Endless stairs inside the bibliothek

Endless stairs inside the bibliothek, via The Coolist

But look closer, and you’ll soon see that this space is more than the sum of its utilitarian parts. A modern white interior plays backdrop to the colourful spines of thousands of books, couches on every level beckon you to sit and read, and there’s plenty of space for the kids and to listen to music.

Just add people and books and what a difference!

Just add people and books and what a difference! Image via The Coolist

You can take a virtual look around the new space via one of Oliver Wendel‘s amazing panoramas of the main library space and the “heart” of the building, and get a sense of the excitement of opening night via the library’s Flickr set or  in Karl-Stefan Röser‘s video.