Some interesting essays were presented here. I think the final one, "To a temporary place in time...", sparked my imagination the most. As I was reading the final paragraphs, I envisioned a "premium" library, with monthly dues, much like a gym membership. At first I thought this may seem too elitist for a library to participate in, but everyone offers upgrades these days. Why not a library? It could be a private library rather than a public library.
Would someone pay to become a member of a library? There could be a market for a place like this. We already have people coming in buying daily passes to use the computers. Maybe something around the size of a small branch to start off with, then it could be expanded or more private branches could be built as demand increases.
A membership at the "mind gym" could include all Internet service, and include a wide range of reference and current materials that may not be as easily accessed from your home computer. A membership could also include use of quiet rooms, since quiet seems to be a forgotten art in libraries these days. Librarians could be the personal "trainers" to help members flex their brains. All the services and equipment a library offers, just geared to a more personalized application.
Hopefully, I don't sound too flip about the subject. But I'm only half joking here. I can see a need for a place like this as libraries become more like community centers and Internet cafes, and less conducive to studying and thinking. Perhaps there are already places like this. Anyway, just something that popped in my head as I was reading...