Friday, January 21, 2011

Ideas (Good and Bad) from a Public Library: Almere Library, the Netherlands

The planners of this library took a look at how retail stores appeal to customers. They came up with new ideas for displaying books to make them more browsing friendly. Duplicate copies of titles are stacked vertically. Customers can grab a copy from the top without other titles falling over, which happens in traditional shelving.
It's useful to glean ideas from retail stores, to look for things that might work well in a school library. We do, after all, need to challenge old ways of doing things. However, we need to be careful that we don’t take it too far. We are, after all, libraries not bookstores.
In this library I like the overall ambiance. It’s fresh, new, and exciting. Lots of visual appeal. I also like the way functions such as seating, workplaces, and info terminals are integrated into the bookcases.
This is an interesting rug. It must indicate a cell phone zone.
They might work in a public library, but I’m pretty certain the light fixtures built into the bench seating would never hold up in a school library. They are begging for abuse. I’m also puzzled by the sheer number of cube stools in the children's area. It looks strange, a bit like a demolition zone, and what child could resist a real romp here.

When you look at other libraries and public spaces, make a note of what you like and dislike, what you think could work in a school library and what you are pretty certain would not.

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