A library is more than a collection of books... consider the Library of Alexandria circa 145 BCE...
"...the library comprised a Peripatos walk, gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, meeting rooms and lecture halls." (from Wikipedia entry)
Guess, what... scholars, whether they be 13 or 31 or 85, still need spaces to read, meet, discuss, collaborate and sit in quiet reflection. The modern view of the library as Information Commons, or even better Learning Commons, requires space and investment.
Over at Confessions of a Jesuit School CIO, +JD Ferries-Rowe has been discussing the redesign of classroom space in a 1:1 BYOT learning environment. Consider this the sister post - Redesign the Library. Taking ideas from Susan McMullen (US Academic Libraries: Today's Learning Commons Model) and Dr. Paul Mihailidis (Media Literacy and the Learning Commons in the Digital Age) among others, design discussions revolve around the need for spaces to promote:
- and yes, Reading
- Reclaimed space in existing footprint (we have a rabbit warren of offices, storage and even a hallway to nowhere in the existing space that can be reclaimed for student learning).
- A welcome desk/reference desk at the main point of entry
- Flexible furniture including tables, ottomans, chairs, benches to promote collaboration
- Small conference style rooms for presentation design and practice, tutoring or collaboration requiring a little more noise (and therefore soundproofing)
- Study carrels and single, soft seating
- Computer lab - with sliding glass wall to create teaching space when needed.
- IT and Library staff located together in the space for full information services.
- Taking a page from retail space design - louder, brighter attractive space at the front of the library. As the learner moves through the space the more reflective and quiet the space becomes (think Macy's... the flashy seasonal sale items up front and the soft, quiet bedding in the back).