A library is a space often overlooked by those interested in architecture. There are many buildings that have intricate designs that require years of building and designing. Libraries are a place that is created for a very specific use - reading.
Of course, other things go on at libraries. Users have very specific reasons for why they go to libraries and what they expect from those spaces. There are computers that can be used, places to meet or have conferences and much more, but the main element of libraries has always stayed the same.
It can be incredibly difficult to build a space with enough storage or the correct layout to make everything run efficiently and work productively knowing how much you have to store, but with a library, that volume is constantly changing and evolving. Even with high density shelving and other forms of adaptable storage it can be difficult to design and plan the layout and architecture of libraries. So, where do you even begin?
Determining the future
When looking to design a new library it is important to try and evaluate how that library will be used. Who will be using the library? Is it mainly adults or children? Is it in an urban or rural area? How will most people get to the library? This is important when determining the size of a parking lot. What collections will the library house? This plays into what types of individuals you think will be using the library most often. How much do you think you can determine about the future collections that might make their way into the library?
Trying to plan for the future is difficult, but when starting out it is necessary. Of course, what you determined may not be the case when the time comes, but having a plan makes it much easier to create an adaptable and flexible space that can be used for all of the appropriate functions.
Specific, but flexible
This may sound like somewhat of a contradiction, and that’s because it is. When designing a library, it should be done specifically to the audience that will be using it. This means taking into consideration the location of the organization. You should determine the objectives of the community and work to somehow fit those into the design. This also includes when books and collections are being ordered to be housed in the facility.
What does this community want to read? What types of spaces will they need to achieve the community objectives? This can help determine the flow of the space, where users are directed, stop and sit. It can also help determine the amount of “other” spaces you need. How many conference or meeting rooms should be included or how many computers should be installed.
While your plan should be specific to your community, it should also be flexible and adaptable. Chances are your community and their objectives will change far before a new library is being built. Provide a space that can grow with the people using it and is able to be rearranged to fit new needs.
What will you need?
In order to keep your organization flexible, it is important to have the correct type of storage. The days of traditional, stationary shelves are over. Our Spacesaver Library Shelving and high density shelving is the ultimate way to keep your library space versatile and adaptable. With shelves that are able to be completely customized, you are sure to get exactly what you need to fit your space.
Beyond what you may think a library needs, many are now providing spaces for users to store their things. Whether it is a backpack, purse, coat or other belongings, providing secure areas boosts security and can also play into the aesthetics of the building. KuL lockers are a great way to maximize storage while encouraging users to stay at your facility a bit longer.
Libraries are an important facility in a community. They provide a space for those of all ages to learn, teach, research, collaborate and relax by providing storage and more space with high density shelving. Wherever your building may be going, there are always ways to be sure you are getting the most out of your space and providing the most for your community.