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This one-day conference was held at the State Library of Queensland, as part of a series of events about architecture and design. It was great to have the opportunity to hear from this range of international and local speakers.
Traci Lesneski from MSR Design talked about the importance of libraries to supporting well being, and also the need to design for inclusion. Louisville Free Public Library Southwest Regional Library was used as an example of this. There is the need for choice so that there is different furniture for people to be able to use. Different kinds of furniture will facilitate different uses of a space. Madison Central Library showed some of these points. This library also has an excellent maker space. Traci Lesneski described how healthy lighting is crucial, with different levels of light, potentially changing over time, daylight moving and changing, for example Hennepin County Library–Maple Grove. You can see more examples of interesting libraries here.
One of the points which was made by Gulcin Crib, from Singapore Management University was that different furniture and planning for different uses in the same space (on the same day and over time) are important. Some furniture should be able to be rearranged by readers. Does your library design enable rearrangement of the library? How easy is it for people to move furniture in your library? People have their spots that they like to sit in, collaborate in.
A panel of international librarians highlighted:
- Storyhouse in Cheshire which is a theatre, cinema and library and much more
- The Hive has combined public and university library with archives and archaeology
- Sheffield University has the Diamond
- Free University's Philology Library is around 6000m on multiple levels, and has natural ventilation
- Luckenwalde Library is an example of reuse and an extension (it was previously a train station)
- Austin Central Library has solar panels for shade
- Mobile shelving, mobile or moveable service desks are still important and many of the examples can be seen here.
Klaus Werner stated that the beauty of the building must be part of the function, and needs ease of maintenance.
Various session throught the day higlighted the importance of making sure a new or renovated library is big enough and includes planning for growth in use. Top tips from the speakers involved include: make the library bigger, listen to people for the planning of the design, don’t put clients offside, and make sure your community has the opportunity to be involved in the process including people who don’t use the library.