Learning Spaces and School Libraries

This time last year I was involved in a planning day with a large number of schools and their staff, on the matter of  21st Century School Libraries Learning Learning.  There is so much to think about in the design or re-design of such facilities no matter what the budget.

Here is another presentation that piqued my interest, with relevance to school libraries.

‘Impressive new buildings are, on their own, NO GUARANTEE that improved learning will be achieved; although they may be useful in marketing terms, by helping brand an institution’.

“teaching and learning should drive design, rather than vice-versa”

Take a look as there are  some good points to take away for your own deliberations…..

Retro design in our library

A key feature of our library is its integration of 70s retro design – within a very modern 21st century look.  I WILL post up a whole set of images and story of our renovation – when it’s done.

“What?”, you say. “It’s still not fininshed?”.

When you restrict work to holiday periods for a major overhaul – it’s gotta be a long-haul renovation.  But we’re nearly there. Here’s what it looks like at the moment…creating a new office, and new AV department!  Phew!

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about how to add an interesting graphic element to the space behind the front desk (currently hidden behind those boards/shovel)

It’s a large area – smooth lime green cupboards, that hide filing drawers, slide-out storage baskets, books storage etc,  and two whole purpose-designed laptop storage cupboards for laptops for loan.  (Designed these ourselves!!)  Each drawer has a ventilated base, a swing arm that delivers power and data within the drawer to fixed points – easy to connect laptops quickly.

Pictures later!

What I want to do with the smooth green doors is have different vinyl lettering/images that can transform the interface.

So I was having fun looking at these 40+ Vintage Posters to inspire my developing design ideas.

Next – we need Dean Groom to come on over and get cracking with more ideas.

Learning and design in your library

Following on from my last post, I was really lucky to do my presentation after Kevin Hennah, and help put library design into the context of the digital changes that are impacting on 21st century learning. We did try to Ustream the event, but it wasn’t one of our successful efforts :-)

However, I know that the all the wonderful people that were there for the day were all putting an enormous amount of energy, care and thought into planning their renovations, extensions, or new school library buildings. Here’s the presentation slides – I know that some people are looking for some of the hyperlinks.  Thanks to everyone in Cairns, and for making me feel so welcomed so far up north.

[thanks to Kim Cofino for some of her inspirational images. Kevin Hennah is going to drop in and visit Kim in a few weeks. Fab.]

The best bookmongers

During my holidays I have had plenty of opportunities to visit bookshops, and my favourite local library. Searching for a book I wanted to buy at a variety of bookstores, I was struck by the changes that have taken place in marketing, accessibility and presentation of at our best bookmongers.

I catalogue.jpgmust say that in a few of the stores I found myself foundering – where do I find the book? Is it there? Here I was, an information professional, confused and disoriented as I tried to make sense of the layout and organisation of the store!! Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything. Bad luck bookstore.

But in two places (both highly successful and well patronised) I felt at home – and clearly so did everyone else – ages ranging from toddlers to grey-power!

What was the common feature of these two places:

  • visually appealing furniture, layout, and spaces
  • nice displays and signage
  • easy to understand organisation e.g. scifi/fantasy, crime, biography, history, travel, sport
  • no shelf clutter, with attractive jackets on display
  • lots of comfy chairs to sit and browse
  • magazines, dvds, audio books and more
  • a handy computer so that I could carry out a catalogue search to help me find what I wanted – easily with a good human interface, not a “library” interface
  • wireless access
  • my favourite – a great coffee shop!

I love the carpet that’s on the floor and the different places you can settle down and read a book.

I love the use of object architecture to add interest.

Oh, and I’m a regular visitor of the coffee shop in the last picture.

So the two most successful places are Borders book store and my favourite Library, which does have its own fabulous coffee shop – including a super outdoor terrace with water features.

This is interesting don’t you think? It slams home the changes needed in our school libraries quite nicely.

But you know the great thing is that our public and school libraries can offer a lot more than even the best bookshop – loads of extra services, learning support, community support, meeting and study rooms, lots of computers, reference and information services.

Better still, at my favourite library I can scan and issue the books out to myself – sometimes after I have picked out new releases to borrow that I have just read about in the Saturday paper! Good one! Saves me a bomb.

How can a bookstore compete with this service, especially since some of the books I get are ones that I have reserved online at home.

The astounding thing is that its all free!!

First Photo: At Borders