9 Tips to Redesign your Library, including furniture and shelving

Libraries are undergoing a tremendous overhaul right now, what with the introduction of e-readers and the ease of accessing information on the internet. It’s certain that libraries won’t disappear anytime soon, but you should plan to update library storage including shelving and library furniture to continue drawing a diverse audience, one that visits the library more for community events, exchange of ideas, socialize or to pick up digital materials.
Here are the top tips to redesign your library.

1.- See What Your Customers See

You get used to the way your library looks because you’re there every day. Clear your mind and try to look at the existing setup with fresh eyes. Pretend you have never been here before and determine if the following is true:
•    It’s easy to locate different sections of the library from the entrance.
•    You can clearly where to go for help.
•    The restroom signs are visible from the main area.
The goal is to prevent any visual noise from getting in the way and making these statements false.

2.- Remove Visual and Physical Barriers

You want patrons to easily use your library to the fullest. Consider installing lower library shelving to create a more open atmosphere. This should be easy to implement, what with physical collections becoming more compact thanks to the growing amount of digital materials found in libraries today.
Also, consider opening up any sections with closed doors to make them more inviting to patrons. Since the younger generation tends to work more as a team these days, study areas might be used more if they were open rather than completely closed off.

3.- Remember Less is More

Consider paring down displays and signage so those that remain attract positive attention. Visual chaos is overwhelming and unappealing to the eye. Books have a tendency to clutter up library furniture by themselves, so don’t add to the noise by cluttering every free space with rules and information about library services. Only post information that isn’t intuitive. For everything else, allow interactions between staff and customers to answer questions.

4.- Consider the Whole

Remember the power of color-coordinated sections and matching library furniture. Mismatched furniture and walls painted differently for no apparent reason appear jarring. Don’t accept every piece of donated library shelving just to keep costs down. Instead, look for library storage and furnishings that contribute to the whole.
Consistency in color, form and material helps customers make sense of your library. One easy way to accomplish consistency is by selecting library storage and other furnishings from a single retailer. A bundle order often results in discounts.

5.- Remember One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While consistency is important in each library section, the entire interior isn’t required to match. That means the children’s section can incorporate younger, more juvenile designs and colors to attract that audience. The teen section should provide lounge chairs, study tables and computer stations so each customer can choose the experience they want. The seating in each area may differ in color and shape, but they should fall within the same design category for visual consistency.

6.- Appeal to Human Nature

When you hope to settle down with a good book, the aspects that likely draw you in are natural light, beautiful outdoor views and privacy. Examine your library’s existing features that support reading books with these qualities. You may be able to rotate library shelves or rearrange furniture to let more natural light in and expose views to the exterior. The change may require nothing more than a fresh eye and a little time to rearrange the space.

7.- Take Light into Account

As you strive to bring more natural light inside, remember that the human eye tires quickly when required to constantly adjust between, say, a dark wall right next to a brightly lit window. Anywhere with direct light should have lighter furnishings and paint colors to not only enliven the space, but to decrease contrast and the eyestrain it causes.

8.- Create Zones

Many people flock to the library for peace and quiet to get homework done. Others want to attend free community events with their children. Balance these conflicting activities and keep everyone happy by separating the spaces where they take place.
For example, supply comfortable armchairs and study desks away from the library checkout area and copy machine. The building’s architecture or strategically placed library shelves can add to the sense of privacy and physically block sound from noisier library sections.

9.- Embrace Color

Colors highlight boundaries, create focal points, and signal how to behave. Changing the paint is an easy and inexpensive way to redesign your library. For example:

•    Consider forgoing cluttered signage identifying the kid’s area; instead, paint the walls colorfully to differentiate the space.
•    Paint the wall behind the customer service desk a different color to draw attention to it.
•    Leave most of the walls a neutral color, but paint the walls surrounding study areas a calming autumn color to separate it from the adjacent sections.

Your library has so much potential to attract customer of all ages. No matter what services you emphasize, make sure the library furniture coincides. For more information, please contact a Hi-Cube representative. We will gladly share the expertise we have gained from our more than twenty years in library design.

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