Title: School Library Media Center Design Considerations And Recommendations
Author: Martha Alewine, Consultant
Source: South Carolina Department of Education – School Library Media Services – Office of Technology (http://ed.sc.gov)
I like to provide a variety of opinions and resources regarding school library media centers and how they should be designed to create dynamic learning environments…Below is an excerpt from a recent article I have found:
When schools and library media centers are planned, architects and school district officials must be visionaries to plan for growth, technology changes, and other enhancements that will take place during the life of the school and library. Experience tells us that schools will often be in use as long as fifty years. What we design today must be able to accommodate future online learning, to facilitate self-constructed instructional materials, to provide flexible learning spaces, to accommodate collaboration locally and globally.
Schools and libraries must also support the instructional environment in today’s schools. Traditional learning spaces in classrooms and libraries today can be transformed into tomorrow’s flexible learning spaces with a little planning and forethought during the design phase of the construction process.
These design considerations for 21st Century school library media centers offer suggestions for a traditional library space and also include suggestions and recommendations to make the space flexible as the instructional environment changes, as technology becomes more ubiquitous, and as students take more responsibility for their own learning through self-directed learning producing and publishing instructional content.
Areas To Be Included In The Library Media Center
1. Library Media Center Office Area, Work Area, and Storage Area
This area include the office space for library professionals and support staff, library work room, library staff restroom, storage for such things as equipment, A-V materials, library supplies, materials awaiting processing, etc.
2. Circulation Area
This area is for material check-in, check-out, and information questions. This area includes telephone access and library staff circulation administrative computers with local area network (LAN) and Internet connectivity. This area may also include a computer workstation for express self-checkout.
3. Information-Reference Area
This area includes user access to photocopiers, computers with OPAC (online public access card catalogs) access and LAN and Internet connectivity, printers, shelving units for general print reference materials (reference and non-fiction books) and appropriate furnishings.
4. Production Area
This area is for multimedia production for and by teachers and students. Equipment in this area would include computers with OPAC access, Internet and LAN connectivity including wireless access point(s), other technology such as scanners, printers, digital cameras (still and video), LCD projector, screen, and appropriate furnishings for production and planning. This area also includes a studio for video and audio recordings and broadcasts.
5. Instruction Area
This area is the main “classroom area” of the media center and should be large enough to accommodate at least 2 classes simultaneously. Internet and LAN connectivity should be available here. Large group instruction should be facilitated through computer, LCD projector and screen, and interactive white board.
6. Technology Connectivity Area
This area is the school’s main connectivity location for all file servers, cabling, LAN, electrical, telephone, television closed circuit distribution system.
7. Reading Area
This area is for recreational reading and includes shelving units for the fiction books, magazines, and newspapers.
8. Professional Area
This area is for the faculty, staff, and administrators and should include at least one computer workstation with OPAC access, LAN and Internet connectivity, printer(s), telephone, conference table and chairs, comfortable seating, and shelving unit(s) for professional books, magazines/periodicals, and other professional materials.
9. Social Area
This area is for students, teachers, and other library visitors to socialize while in the library. This area should be removed from the work-related areas so that conversations do not disturb instruction, multimedia production, and other library-related activities.
10. Conference Room
This area is for small group work, committee meetings, and community use.
BCI Eurobib encourages architects, interior designers and library directors to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) their floor plans for a free evaluation and library planning suggestions. Our consultants will provide their expertise to advise on library furniture interiors, space planning ideas, and adherence to shelving & equipment budgets.
Architects, interior designers and library directors currently planning library construction projects should contact BCI Eurobib’s library representatives Longo Associates (www.longolibraries.com) to arrange an appointment. Longo’s experienced staff will be able to assist in evaluating library plans, design/drawings, budgeting, project management, furnishings and installation services. Longo’s library consultants can be reached by emailing (email@example.com) or calling 800-635-6646.