Starbucks for Chiswick Library?

Age old rules of etiquette to make way for coffee shops and conversation

Related Links

Chiswick Library

Future of Chiswick Library Back Under Discussion

Reduced services at Chiswick Library

Friends say radical change is required for library


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

The authoritarian reign of the austere librarian is about to come to an end after public libraries find themselves being forced into the 21st century.

In order to revitalize flagging membership, libraries are finding it necessary to drop their rigid rules of etiquette and allow coffee shops and conversation on their premises.

According to a recent report, libraries are being increasingly shunned in favour of the internet with the number of books borrowed in the past ten years falling by 34% leading to a warning from Society of Chief Librarians “to diversify or die out”.

The main library in Hillingdon saw a 32% rise in book borrowing after the council introduced a Starbucks café. Outlets of the coffee chain will start in all 17 of the borough’s libraries over the next year.

We asked Hounslow Council to comment on whether a similar initiative would be introduced in Chiswick’s library but we have received no response.

Earlier this year residents repeated calls for a public consultation on the future of Chiswick library. In response, Hounslow Council Leader Peter Thompson said, "There will, of course, have to be full public consultation on how we can develop our services and on top of this the usual planning process will have to be followed."

September 26, 2008