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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Pretty Libraries – I want one for me, too

I love books. I love libraries. I love to look at pictures of libraries. I guess this makes me architecturally envious. Currently I feel like my library is a box. I sketched it out roughly so you can see what I’m working with. In the big open space under nonfiction, there is enough seating for about 60 students at round and square tables. There are 3 lounge style 1-person chairs need the magazines around a short round table. 

Due to budgets, I have eliminated half the reference collection so there is a two-sided long (HEAVY) shelving unit standing empty. Since we have a large Nonfiction collection, I plan to fill up the empty shelves with the 900 section of nf. 

A big problem with our space is that our screen is along the "empty" wall and those 60 students fill that large space. We don’t really have designated quiet or group areas. While we can accomodate two classes at once, it’s hard to maintain interest in a class lesson to the left facing the empty wall and keep the circulation traffic focused on their task. 

Our library club is over 260 students now and I’m assigning them the task of dreaming of new spaces. Unfortunately, most of them don’t have any experience with the exciting learning commons type libraries that exist. I will take two field trips with club members to the Nashville Public Library main branch to see the teen room, but we need more ideas.

Could anyone suggest sites to view online of creative libraries and their space? I welcome all of your ideas and creativity. I’m hesitating to just plop the reference shelf in the middle of the library because that takes away from the flexibility we currently have to rearrange the library and hold large events (plus those faculty meetings where they want to see each other). 

How about innovative lounge style furniture to divide the space? I’ve looked at some modular furniture that can be grouped back to back, S-curved, etc. What would you do? All ideas are welcomed.