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By Alistair Black

Books, structures and Social Engineering an immense impact at the cultural and academic lifetime of the rustic, British public libraries started to be supported via neighborhood taxation in 1850 yet their constructions now signify a tough architectural challenge for lots of groups. This booklet provides socio-architectural background of public library constructions from 1850 to 1939.

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The building was opened in conjunction with an industrial exhibition and parade. Courtesy of Oldham Local Studies and Archives Department. BOOKS, BUILDINGS AND SOCIAL ENGINEERING workforce required to underpin the shift that occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century, and which might be termed the second industrial revolution, to a teclmologically more complex economy. ' 34 Public libraries were certainly contributing to this awakening. Between 1855 and 1902 legislation permitted library authorities to also provide classes in science and art, and by 1900 around a hundred libraries shared their premises with schools of science and art.

Libraries also reached out to communities in the form of lecture programmes, adult education classes, reading circles, musical recitals, liaison with the National Home Reading Union, co-operation with the University Extension Movement and art exhibitions. 28 The increased dynamism that characterised the 'endowed' public library can be partly explained by changing attihrdes to poverty. The prevailing view of the poor was that they could be divided into two basic categories: the deserving and the undeserving.

McDermott, 'Inspiring public places', Public Library journal (Winter 2007), 5-9. C. Harrison, 'Building a record', Public Library journal, Vol. 3 (2000), 70. 15 This enthusiasm is symbolised by the shortlisting of the design of the Idea Store in London's Whitechapel for the 2006 Royal Institute of British Architect's Stirling Prize. Also, since 1995 the Public Libraries Group of the Chartered Instihtte of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has run a biennial public library design competition: the Public Library Building Awards.

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