New Library Design: Spaces That Connect, Cultivate, and Transform Communities

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Summary

This article goes in depth about multiple examples of how libraries are changing from only holding books to becoming a public meeting space that caters to a more diverse audience. “Modern libraries should be transformational and not just transactional, Schnee says, adding: ‘We want to create library spaces that empower customers to have the kinds of experiences their communities desire’.” The furniture layout and design is also accommodating for new needs, such as mobile service desks, height-adjustable desks, and flip-top surfaces for storage. “The heavy, blocky furniture that used to be common in libraries is being replaced by flexible, nimble furnishings that can be moved around easily to support various uses of the space.” These new libraries are including new technologies and even makerspaces, “Collections are still important. But as libraries acquire more digital materials, they’re devoting less space to housing physical items. Instead, they’re creating flexible, multiuse spaces for people to gather, interact, and learn new skills. The modern library is a coffee house, a digital creation studio, a multigenerational meeting place, and much more.”

“Modern libraries should be transformational and not just transactional, Schnee says, adding: ‘We want to create library spaces that empower customers to have the kinds of experiences their communities desire.” Transforming libraries has become the whole focus of certain companies, such as Group 4 Architects. Another example was the design of the Lakewood Branch Library and Learning Center which kept in mind that all demographics needed to be accommodated for. There are separate spaces for children, teens, and adults.

Analysis:

This article was of particular interest to me because of the similarities between public libraries and my senior thesis. “‘Libraries are becoming less about material and more about the experience of connecting and collaborating with the community.'” This quote really resonates with the purpose of DESIS and the DPP Lab. There were so many overlaps and connections to my senior thesis. The experience is what this Lab is all about, just as libraries are trying to cultivate positive experiences for multiple different people. Especially the way that 3branch, a design firm in Illinois, focused on how furniture can play a key role in enhancing the user experience, adding more then seven different examples of furniture designs that are inspirational. Indian Creek Library was also notable, they transformed an abandoned supermarket into an open-floor library that includes, “a café, a glass-enclosed makerspace, gaming computers, and video editing stations.” They also included “separate acoustic zones that keep noisy and quiet areas separate.” I hope to look more into each of these examples to gather insights from each.

Source:

Pierce, D. (n.d.). New Library Design: Spaces that connect, cultivate, and transform communities. Library Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://www.libraryjournal.com/story/new-library-design-spaces-that-connect-cultivate-and-transform-communities