Seattle sets up public libraries in area shopping malls

A Seattle-area county is setting up library branches, with reduced book collections, in shopping malls:

While traditional libraries have larger collections and can be intimidating, a Library Connection branch is more inviting and resembles a cafe or bookstore, county officials say. Book covers face outward toward visitors, and comfortable seating, including chairs for kids, is available.

And because the branch will open in a shopping mall, it will be less expensive than building a traditional freestanding structure, said Jeanne Thorsen, foundation director.

Many area residents are enthusiastic and expect to stop in at the library more often. And there’s always the chance Seattle mall rats will read something as they wait their turn to search for unblocked pornography on the public computers. But is it a good idea to set up public libraries in private spaces? What kind of “reduced collections” will be available at these branches?

Opinions from librarians are welcome. (Via Notes in the Margin.)

Update: Jessa Crispin says: “This story about Seattle libraries in malls isn’t actually anything new. When I lived in Dallas suburbs, I would go to the library in a Fort Worth mall. It was always busier than the other libraries and had books geared to younger adults.”

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