2030. The Public Library has been incrementally transformed into the Universal Knowledge Repository known as the InfoSphere. The InfoSphere is a generally accessible, multi-lingual digital archive that expands exponentially on an hourly basis. The public accesses the InfoSphere independently of the library building, and the role of the library and librarians has shifted to accommodate these changes: local public libraries now assist people in locating the bits they need in this overwhelming the data flow. They also issue reading licenses, which are necessary to access various tiers of knowledge, and enforce information access filters.
Now that book objects are seen as an inefficient way to access, store, distribute and further utilize knowledge, they have fallen out of daily use by the public. With the advent of e-books, books themselves became more a state of mind and since the Great Silverfish Attack of 2012, book objects have become relics of history needing preservation for the ages. In 2030 there still exist people who have passionate memories of "book culture" and see it as important to maintain even in its increasingly anachronistic state, so the Library building still exists. But instead of the bustling lending library and IT access site we know today, it is now a museum for book objects. The entire of the libraries book holdings have been designated a "special collection" which can only be accessed via the on-site InfoSpherian.
The InfoSpherian is ts now essentially clhe 2030 equivalent to the Information or reference desk librarian. She is stationed within the library building, which iosed to the public, and is accessed through projected video screens. If one wants to see a book in its object form, one can request it from InfoSpherian. You must be patient. It may take some time.
The InfoSpherian also oversees the issuing and enforcement of reading licenses to the reading public. If one is disconnected from their mobile access (due to suspected reading license violations) or needs to obtain a reading license fee waiver, one can come plead ones case to her. In between her exchanges with the public, The InfoSpherian takes breaks (during which she plays clips from the extensive media archive), and periodically exhibits a library museum "artifact, " explaining its use in the past.
The only other people who inhabit the library building are library functionaries known as THE SEARCHER and THE STACKER. They are the workers who retrieve and replace the books the public requests. Since there are not many requests, they are not very busy, but gracefully and purposefully "perform" their activities. Their exaggerated gestures make us feel as if what they are doing is important, but their languid movement tells a story of another time, when people wandered haphazardly through the library stacks looking for a book.
Outside the library, the public lines up at the InfoSpherian’s public portal to renew their access, extend their licenses, and submit sincere requests to see favorite books. Some people like to just sit & watch THE STACKER and THE SEARCHER, using them as performance aids to explain to their grandchildren how things used to be.
Later in the evening, the library grounds host a shadowy Black Market for book objects. While books are not strictly illegal, one is considered suspicious if one is seen with a book object, since it is understood as the height in laziness & privilege to read a whole book, rather than efficiently extract the information one needs through the tools of the InfoSphere.) In addition, it is seen as selfish to own one’s own book objects, since they should be properly preserved inside the library building for the entire public good. Nevertheless, against all rationality, there are some people who still cherish book objects. Attention Authorities, who are tasked with maintaining high productivity among the public, have noticed the rise in blackmarket book sellers on the library grounds and have instituted a ground-level Sousveillance grid to SnapCapture and identify those people suspected with wasting their time or intending to waste time. The Poetxt team has hacked into the Sousveillance Grid and is changing the charge IDs as soon as they are entered.
The FoolBook wanders the library grounds as usual.