These days, the demand for more flexibility in public spaces has never been greater. Not only do we want to maximize the use of space, but we want the freedom to reimagine and adapt spaces to our ever-changing needs. Nowhere is this truer than in modern library spaces, which are increasingly required to provide more services and options for their communities than ever before.
The way we designed our libraries 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, no longer serves us the way it once did. Gone are the days when most of your space was taken up with immovable rows of shelves with a few seating areas mixed in. Today, your visitors now need and want different things, and sometimes those needs even change month-to-month or week-to-week! Libraries are now expected to provide abundant work areas, collaborative spaces, and occasionally even host lectures with seating for dozens or hundreds of people! How can modern libraries make their spaces flexible enough to keep pace with these evolving demands?
One clear answer: add mobility to your library design, particularly with the use of wheels. Adding wheels to furniture, shelving, and displays gives you the ability to quickly and easily reconfigure your space as needed. It opens up a world of possibilities for what a library can be and do. Let’s discuss a few key ways that adding wheels can add tremendous flexibility to your library space.
Adjust Your Layout Quickly to Changing Traffic Patterns
During the year, you may find your study areas insufficient as more patrons and/or students congregate to study. Or you might notice that the fiction section gets neglected in favor of busier areas like the soft seating or quiet study spaces. Rather than leave these areas underutilized, you can quickly and easily reconfigure by rolling displays and shelving units to where they’ll be most effective–and out of the areas where they’re getting in the way. This way, you can make sure every corner of your library is being put to good use.
Create Flexible, Functional Group Study Areas
Group study is more popular than ever, but not all groups are created equal. Some need large, open spaces to sprawl out; others might prefer smaller, more intimate nooks. And of course, the furniture needs to be comfortable enough to encourage people to stay awhile. By mobilizing your furniture and shelving, you can create group study areas that can be quickly and easily reconfigured to meet the needs of any group.
Host a Variety of Events with Ease
Libraries today are being called on to host an ever-increasing variety of events, from author readings and book clubs to job fairs and community lectures. The key to being able to accommodate all of these events is to have a space that can be easily transformed to fit the needs of each one. Again, mobile furniture and shelving are key here. By clearing out a large open area, you can easily transform your library into a versatile event space that can be used for everything from book sales to community gatherings.
Optimize Functionality with Space Limitations
Between budget restrictions and increased demands to provide more services, libraries are often expected to do more with less. If your library has limited square footage to accommodate these demands, a mobile design is your answer. You can set up different configurations for different days of the week according to how the space is needed–adding or removing seating for high-traffic and low-traffic days, for example. You can also dedicate certain days and times of day to certain activities (e.g., Wednesday nights might be “study night”) and move things around to accommodate those events.
If you’re seeking to redesign your library space with more flexible options, Creative Library Concepts offers attractive shelving and furnishings on wheels that can give you the mobility you need. Reach out to us today to discuss these and other creative solutions.