Redesigning the library
What makes the library a welcoming place in the community? What does your ideal library look like? Along with Anythink's commitment to delivering superior customer service, our physical buildings are designed to invite and encourage discovery and conversation. Over the years, the physical library space has changed dramatically to accommodate new and ever-changing community, informational and technological needs. Library designers incorporate these needs into the building design through a balance of aesthetics and functionality.
Traditionally, many public libraries were designed simply to store books, with little consideration given to how people would use the space. The result (think Carnegie libraries) was rows and rows of bookcases stacked to the ceiling with the occasional wooden table and chair for reading or studying. As library users changed and new technology developed, the demand for physical books diminished while the need for other services rapidly increased. Libraries now are expected to inlcude programming spaces, public meeting rooms and plenty of technology, ranging from public computers loaded with the newest applications to 3D printers and video equipment. Visit your local Anythink and you will notice the amount of space dedicated to technology and non-book space is considerable. Another recent example of an open floor plan that incorporates various technolgies is the Seattle Public Library (see picture).
An additional growing trend in library design is incorporating open space and natural light into the library instead of simply maximizing the number of shelves crammed into the space (see photo of the Indianapolis Public Library). Comfortable furniture in these open spaces allows users to spread out and enjoy the space for reading, studying, group work or socializing. Many people began going to coffeeshops and bookstores instead of libraries for these activities simply because of the atmosphere and open space. And food and coffee always helps. Luckily, along with these open spaces, most public libraries, including Anythink now welcome the use of food and drinks in the library. Or if you are in the mood for a coffeehouse, the Anythink Café at Anythink Wright Farms is the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee while you read or study.
Interested in learning more? There are many great titles to browse for more information about the history of libraries or the evolution of library design. Also, Flavorwire compiled a list of the 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries. Take a look and let us know which are your favorites (besides Anythink, of course).