I have just watched the video [video opens on a web page] of a fascinating talk by Joshua Prince-Ramus, the principal architect of the Seattle Public Library. He talks about two core positions. The first is that books are a technology, something, he suggests that people tend to forget. They have been a dominant technology but will have to share that dominance with "any other form of truly potent technology or media". The second position is that the library has a social role which needs to be designed for alongside the media role. He then shows in a few decisive steps how they built up a picture of the library consistent with these two positions and the design principles he introduced at the beginning of his talk. I was only in the library once, briefly; I need to go back now ;-)
This lecture is one in the TED series, which I came across last year. There are now many more talks available. I looked it again as I was pointed by John Naughton to the amusing and moving presentation [video starts up in web page] by Sir Ken Robinson on how schools stifle creativity.
I was interested to hear Prince-Ramus talk about books as technology given my remarks on this topic the other day.