12 Major Trends in Library Design By Thomas Sens
Title: 12 Major Trends in Library Design
Author: Thomas Sens, Architect
Source: LibraryWorks (12 Major Trends in Library Design)
Here is an excerpt from this article:
Many academic planners assumed that the coming of the Internet would lead to the decline of the library as we know it. To the contrary, many academic libraries have experienced significantly increased patron use in recent years.
One reason for this phenomenon is that today’s college students have heightened expectations and demands for academic libraries based on new approaches to learning. While the Internet can provide 24/7 access to information, it can also isolate learners. In contrast, the new academic library model provides a forum for students to collaborate, enjoy fellowship, engage in healthy debate, create and challenge ideas, and experience learning and discovery in a multitude of meaningful ways. The following 12 trends define how the library has evolved to maintain its essential position within the academic landscape.
1 Envision the library as place.
As Geoffrey Freeman noted in The Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space, academic libraries are no longer simply a location to collect and organize print resources. They have become an integral part of a university’s learning culture and academics.
Today’s libraries serve four key functions, in addition to their traditional role of housing printed materials. First, they are a locus for collaboration. As pedagogy shifts and learning becomes more team oriented and less individualistic, there is a new demand for collaboration space for students. Having a place to come together is critical to student success and the full utilization of the library as a learning space. Spaces where students can openly discuss and debate without having to keep their voices down are the new norm.
Second, while providing collaborative space is critical, there is also a need for individual, contemplative space—not the long library tables of the past, but rather a variety of spaces to suit the individual needs and learning styles of today’s students. Private, traditional study carrels suit some students, while comfortable lounge furniture is ideal for others. A blend of formal and informal spaces can create environments where all students can have their needs met. Of course, sound control is critical to the coexistence of lively, sometimes loud, areas with these more quiet spaces.
The third function of libraries is to provide a home for services, such as writing, communication, and tutoring centers, advanced lab spaces, and other specialty spaces.
And last, libraries must continue to provide both traditional research and technical services while also providing the latest in computer technology and associated technology support services.