As the 21st century dawned, bringing with it an unprecedented explosion in networked electronic information, the doomsayers were predicting the end of libraries as we know them and a declining need for new library buildings. Certainly there has been a shift in focus from the collection-based libraries of the past to a more user-centred approach where access to information takes precedence over its storage, but the libraries in cyberspace have not had it all their own way. Peter Davey, writing in the Architectural review in September 2001 on the role of cultural and art institutions in the new age of the Internet, pointed out that despite the power of digitisation and the availability of a wealth of information in electronic versions, ‘we need physical libraries and the books they contain because culture is far more complex than acquisition and assembly of facts. It is about thought and sensation’. He went on to say, in the context of Snøhetta’s design for the Biblotheca Alexandrina, that ‘it must provide a place in which scholarship is fostered, not just functionally, but socially as well’.