Having not stepped inside a Surrey library for many years, I decided to visit the new City Centre Library.
The building is certainly an impressive one, with big sloping walls of concrete and glass – a beautifully designed structure.
Once inside the building, I was again impressed by the huge open space and suspended white floors. It was a moment of awe and delight.
As I moved around, however, it began to dawn on me that something didn’t add up. Most of the interior is open, empty space, with a smattering of chairs and a few computer areas. The huge atrium is void of anything useful.
Then I realized that the number of books on display is probably about the same number they used to cram into the old Guildford library – not very much material at all. The books are also dated. For example, there is a large section of automotive repair manuals that date from the 1960s to the ’90s. It occurred to me that lots of taxpayer money was spent on this fabulous shell, but that the old books from Guildford were simply relocated into it.
My conclusion was that this magnificent structure is a white elephant with little substance or function.