What to consider when refurbishing a school library
We caught up with one of our Scholar Furniture Business Development Managers, Beckett Neshat, about what to consider when refurbishing a school library.
What’s the most exciting thing to refurb in a school library?
A library should encourage creativity and imagination. There are many factors to consider in achieving this such as colour, acoustics, furnishings and placement, all of which have a big impact on students and can make the library a happier place for them to spend their time.School libraries have typically been dull areas in the past. However, with the introduction of soft seating, schools are using this as a way to bring colour into the libraries, brightening up spaces. In terms of sound, using Autex panels around walls in libraries provides much better acoustics.
Are there current or changing trends in library design?
We are definitely seeing changing trends in library design. Libraries are now being used as student centres as well. In the past, there may have been groups of tables and classroom chairs to accommodate 20 - 30 students. Now the requirement is more for collaborative, interactive furniture to create quiet areas for reading and study, small group areas, along with using soft furniture to create areas for large groups.
You will find more ottomans and sofas in libraries now than in previous years. These items have become popular as they can be moved around to create different areas, such as quiet learning areas, small groups, or space for large groups. Many ottomans used will have large backs for privacy.
How can a library refurb reflect teachers’ needs as well as students?
Teachers are benefiting due to the fact these different areas can be created, as it provides them easy flexibility to work with small or large groups as required. Often soft furnishing is placed in a ‘bonfire’ situation for storytelling to the younger students.
What’s important to think about when planning a library refurbishment?
Consider the space available and the number of students that could be in the library at any given time. Also, as there are not so many books in a library nowadays, shelving is not so prevalent as before.
Schools often have an office area in a library as well as multiple computer stations on high benches where they can be seen. Additionally, consideration needs to be given to soft/lounge breakout seating and about the placement of furniture to suit library genres.
Architects are being used far more than in the past to create layouts for new areas such as libraries, which helps the librarian in creating an effective, creative and inspiring working area for students and teachers alike.