A must-read for library designers (guest post)

Interior of library

Library 10, Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Huw Evans. (You can borrow the instruments and record music in the library.)

A new year, a new face (or keyboard). This guest post has been written my colleague Huw Evans who has a keen interest in library design. Over to Huw:

In December I picked up details of the Danish Agency for Culture’s Model Programme for Public Libraries website on the Designing Libraries website. The bilingual Model Programme Danish website says it:

“…  offers an interactive, web-based inspiration catalogue and tools that are to communicate new knowledge, best practice and inspiration for brand new space/function interplay for library developers.”

The thought-provoking resources on the website challenge library designers to look at the impact of current and future patterns of library use and the changing needs of the public. As stated on the website it is of international relevance:

“The challenges are international, and the development is reflected in slogans such as ‘from collection to connection’, ‘from book container to community centre’ and ‘from transaction to relation’.

The website is not just theory though. The toolkit provides plenty of practical case studies and articles around central themes such as the library as a learning, inspiration, meeting and performing space. ‘Nothing new’, some of you may say? Please visit the website and meander around the rich pickings before you decide.

Libray interior

Oulunkylä library, Finland. Photo by Huw Evans

For me one of the most interesting messages is the greater emphasis on the library as a place for activities, and often those organised by the public themselves.

Exterior of library

Library 10, Helsinki, Finland. Photo by Huw Evans

This changing emphasis on the library as a place of ‘doing things’ with the users taking a leading role in library design and developing the programme of activities is encapsulated in a video presentation in English by Kari Lämsä, head of Library 10 in Helsinki.

Exterior of library

Oulunkylä Library, Finland. Photo by Huw Evans

There are plenty of thought-provoking resources on the website and I am slowly ploughing my way through the website.  

However, to finish, I would like to recommend a document on the refurbishment of Oulunkylä branch library (built surface 812 m2) in Helsinki as part of testing some design concepts for the new main Helsinki Library. 

I also recommend the excellent presentation by Jens Thorhauge, former Director General of the Danish Agency for Libraries and Media at the CILIPS 2013 Conference in Dundee on: From Collection to Connection to Creativity: Towards a New Library Concept (keynote 3). In his own subtle style he highlighted the need for change sooner rather than later!

— O —

What libraries do you like design-wise? This post is about public libraries, but what designs are needed for future academic libraries?

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in Buildings, Libraries, Public libraries and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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