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Save libraries by changing them

As hundreds of libraries close across the country, it is time to think radically about how to reinvent them

By Sameer Rahim  

The opening of the new Library of Birmingham in September 2013. © Ray Tang/Rex

The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History edited by Alice Crawford (Princeton, £24.95)

Speaking at the opening of Manchester’s Free Public Library in 1852, Charles Dickens declared an “earnest hope that the books thus made available will prove a source of pleasure and improvement in the cottages, the garrets and the cellars of the poorest of our people.” This library was the first…

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