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Monday, September 17, 2012

How would you design your new Library space?

I came across this wonderful link with pictures of a Learning Commons in Perth, Wesley College 
Trenaman Library. A few of the images got me a bit excited given the school that I am working at is in the throws of re-designing a new library/learning space.

Source via Flickr

I love this little reading space that Wesley College has. Coincidentally, I was at Endeavour Hills Library tonight for a talk and they had a nice little space smack bang in the middle of the fiction setting. The Librarian was saying that "teens" normally like this space. It was a nice surprise when I moved through the Fiction space to see a nice casual space that invited you to sit down and grab a book.

Many researchers, including Winzenried (2010), talk about Libraries as being all about the relationship between the learner and the resources. Creating environments where the learner, teacher and resources interact seamlessly seems to be a commonality between many new library environments.

Source via Flickr

These study booths are wonderful! Very 1950's, I can imagine my students packing into these booths to either play computer games or work on a project. I can imagine students bringing their own devices and lunch and eating in this space.

Eating in the Library/Learning Commons is quite a contentious issue! Winzenried (p223, 2010) states that "rules such as the 'No food' oldie must be reassessed, and quite possibly consigned to the dustbin of history". Talk to our Librarians and they will tell you that when kids bring food into the Library, they feel like cleaners. They spend most of their time chasing food waste. So if you were to allow food, would you need some bus boys like cafe's have? ie. people to purely clean throughout the day.

Source via Flickr

Here is another booth at the Bill Robertson Library, Dunedin via their Flickr page. The colours and textures look fabulous and the dividing wall all the way up to the roof would be good for sound control. The idea of a TV or even a touch screen in each space could work wonderfully. There is a virtual tour of the library space including lovely quiet study spaces surrounding the Atrium. Everywhere I look I can see power points acknowledging the BYOD environment that the University has. Bill Robertson Library has a "student lounge" with access to vending machines, hot and cold drinks.

Source via Flickr

Back to Wesley College, and I love the aesthetics of these "thinkers" at the end of each row of books. Conversation starters for teachers and students and perhaps even the opportunity to think about how these people contributed to society. There is something to be said for clean lines.

There is a lot of great articles and research papers on the lessons learnt when designing a library space. Designing Libraries UK has some great links to architectural firms who have designed libraries. Library as Place has some good articles on the evolution of the space.

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