It wasn’t too long ago that futurologists were predicting that libraries would be extinct by the end of the decade. While libraries face enormous challenges in meeting the rapid social and technological changes of the 21st century, they are strengthening their relevance through reinvention, becoming community hubs of hands-on learning.
To transform into active public spaces of meeting, learning and reading, today’s public libraries are moving away from structured, institutional designs to fresh, modern environments that are collaborative, flexible and engaging.
One of the major challenges for a modern library is handling the conflicting demands of users – solitary studiers, discussion groups, computer users and small children all need to share the library environment. By creating a variety of work areas and “libraries within libraries”, the differing requirements of the diverse range of library users can be met.
Spaces for individuals wanting a quiet place to read or study continue to be essential, along with specialised areas for children, conference-style meeting spaces and lounge areas for groups. These zones may be defined by signage, types of furniture, or by their positioning within the library.
Libraries are increasingly aware that what has worked previously may become quickly outdated. A library’s needs can also change daily depending on what events may be taking place, and the types of visitors expected on that day of the week. Library environments need to be flexible to respond to these changes, with areas able to be quickly reconfigured, and furniture easily movable and modular. Tables can be moved together to cater for meetings, lounge chairs connected for study groups, and chairs stackable to provide more floor space for functions or children’s activities.
In modern libraries, users want to interact with library services both physically and digitally. Embedding digital services in the library environment allows library-goers to quickly utilise knowledge resources from outside that individual library. While computers have been included in libraries for some time, many visitors to a library will usually bring their own device so making a reliable connection to Wi-Fi, providing plenty of power points and a mix of lounge areas and study tables is essential.
To discuss how Premis Solutions can assist you with your next library project, call us today on 1300 773 647. You can also check out our build and refurbishment projects here.