When I was young I used to enjoy visits to libraries, they were a place of refuge. Peaceful, quiet, a nice atmosphere, the smell of books. And I enjoyed reading.
Now .it's all changed.
My local library ( as have most of the libraries in the city) has been refurbished and renamed a community hub.
Now there are few books, .lots of computers, uniformed security guards, meeting rooms, help and advice experts on council services, jobs & benefits. And finally the local post office has closed down and moved into this library itself.
On one side of the room there is a bookcase and next to it a queue of people using the post office.
I miss the old traditional libraries. With wooden bookshelves, books, a librarian and cardboard library tickets in books with dated stamps.
I like the way libraries were: as you say, a place of refuge. When I was a child I was taught to be quiet in a library (even the village library which did not have room for studying). Indeed, if the librarians considered someone was making too much noise they were asked to be quiet or leave. And that is how I believe it should have been and how it should be now.
My local library even has a group for babies. I found that out by walking into the library one day to be met with clapping, singing, shouting, crying, etc. I did not stay long. I cannot see how anyone can think that a group for babies is compatible with a library.
I suspect no impact assessments were done when libraries were turned into community centres. Where are the replacement places of quiet and reflection? Those of us with a need for quiet had our rights trampled over.
If you have plenty of money and live close/fairly close to London then the London Library sounds a good option. Unfortunately, I do not have plenty of money but I dream of being able to afford membership one day. The London Library's rules contain a section entitled 'Consideration for others' and includes these rules:
Members should show due consideration for others when making use of the Library’s facilities, observing the need for quiet in all areas adjacent to reader desks and treating fellow members, visitors and staff with courtesy at all times, including staff discharging their duty to enforce the Library’s Rules. If the use of personal equipment of any kind disturbs other users, members may be asked to stop using it or to move to another location.
Laptops and mobile devices may be used in silent mode for the processing or transmission of text or data except in the main Reading Room, where tablet and e-reader devices may be used for silent reading only and the use of all other electronic communication devices including personal audio equipment is prohibited. Even where the use of such equipment is permitted, sound reproduction must be limited to personal headphones and not broadcast by speaker.
I obviously expect too much by expecting such rules to be in force in all libraries.