A fight is brewing in Washington, D.C., between the city administration and preservationists concerning the District's central public library. The architect of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the seminal figures of the Modern movement, and while the '60s-era black box is not one of the master's great works, it is the only library that he ever built. Mies' architecture was intentionally impersonal and meant to be adaptable to future change, yet in 2006, a task force appointed by Mayor Anthony A. Williams found the library to be "an outmoded structure erected long before the advent of the digital world." It recommended selling the building to a developer (who would likely demolish it) and building a new library on another site. Historic preservation aside, this raises an interesting question: What sort of public library does the "digital world" of Google, Wikipedia, and Kindle require?
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