I am an old fashioned grumpy, and I like my libraries to look like a library, and not to be used for other purposes. A library should be a place that raises the human spirit, and gives a feeling of well being and contentment.
Greenway is situated at an idyllic location on the River Dart, Paignton's £6.5 million lottery funded library is not.
The traffic roars past the library, and the surrounding area must be one of the bleakest places in what is one of England's loveliest counties. I think libraries should be places to seek enlightenment and to have moments of quiet reflection reading a newspaper, or a book, or looking up facts in reference books or even on a computer.
I am sorry to say Paignton's library is like a busy train station that seems to have been designed by Albert Speer, and Wayne Rooney after a night out on the tiles. The upper floor was being advertised for rent at £17,000 a year, which would leave the train station downstairs on its own.
The library is also a community hub with offices for the police, a benefits office, and a small cafe. The toilet facilities were clearly inadequate for use by large numbers of visitors; and this had been recognised because the staff had their own facility protected by a code entry system.
But my main criticism is that the library/hub is situated on a site which is isolated by a stream of fast traffic. The pedestrian crossing is situated at the point where the vehicles reach maximum speed, and an elderly person weighed down by a few books would need to be fairly nifty on their feet to get across.
I suppose after the pending budget cuts we will be lucky to keep any of our libraries in any form, so perhaps I should not complain.
[The three photos of the library, and one of Greenway, don't actually convey the cheerlessness of one, and the beauty of the other.]