Collaborative Learning Spaces and Library Furniture

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Types of furniture that promote collaborative learning


As functioning community centers designed to promote not only reading and reflection but also collaboration and learning, many of today’s modern libraries incorporate classrooms, lecture rooms, and other collaborative learning spaces. The way these spaces are furnished have an impact on how well they meet their goals.


In addition to writing surfaces on walls and a variety of different types and sizes of electronic display surfaces, today’s collaborative learning spaces feature moveable, reconfigurable, and comfortable furniture.


This furniture can accommodate groups of many different sizes, and can be arranged to complement individual or group work.  In addition to traditional classroom set-ups, moveable library furniture allows for less traditional configuration.  In addition to being lightweight, library furniture may also be on wheels to enable easy navigation.


Desks, chairs, and tables typically support power and charging, so that technology can be used. In many cases, furniture has built-in outlets and ports to ensure that power is right at the user’s fingertips. Mobil carts support laptop use, and can be used as powering stations for laptops when not in use.


When designing collaborative learning spaces, it’s important to choose furniture that supports:


• Quick access to information

• Interactivity and socialization

• Communications technologies


For more information on designing, planning, or furnishing your library’s collaborative learning spaces, visit BCI Libraries.


15 May 2014 no comments / READ MORE

The Public Library Evolves

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Public library changes driving furniture choice


Like yesterday’s libraries, today’s public libraries are primarily tasked with providing access to information. But unlike yesterday’s libraries, today’s libraries serve a much wider purpose. In addition to being a place of reading and learning, today’s public libraries also serve as community centers – places where people can meet, collaborate, learn, and even socialize.


As the public library evolves, so too does its furniture needs. In addition to traditional library furniture such as shelving, bookcases, desks, and study carrels, public libraries must consider the following furniture:


• Soft seating. Comfortable chairs and couches enable users to read, meet, socialize, and collaborate. Soft seating comes in many different styles and colors, to complement your library’s décor. Soft seating is typically used in community spaces and common areas, and can often be rearranged to accommodate different sized groups.


• Classroom furniture. As today’s library doubles as a community learning center, more libraries are incorporating teaching classrooms into their designs. Desks, podiums, tables, and chairs are commonly used in these situations.


• Children’s furniture. One of the goals of today’s library is to engage users of all ages. Furniture designed specifically for children, and designed to enhance their experience, is available in a wide variety of styles and colors.


• Café furniture. Many of today’s libraries include a place to eat, drink, relax, and socialize. Library cafes are typically furnished with small café tables chairs, intimately arranged soft seating, and booths.


• Furniture designed to support technology. Furniture designed to completely integrate technology include laptop-equipped study cubicles and carrels, and tables, chairs, and desks designed to facilitate computer use.


For more information on furnishing your public library, visit BCI Libraries.

07 May 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Library Circulation Desks

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Five things to consider when choosing a library circulation desk


The library circulation desk serves as the focal point of your library. Because it’s typically located at or near the library entrance, it’s one of the first things that patrons see. It’s also where users receive lending services and information. Because it plays such an important role in the success of your library, it’s important to consider the needs of both your patrons and employees when choosing a circulation desk. This article explores four things to consider.


  1. Size. A circulation desk should be large enough to accommodate the number of patrons being serviced, but not so large that it overwhelms the space. In addition to considering the number of patrons using the circulation desk, be sure to consider the number of employees using it. There should be enough room for all employees to have their own space, and to comfortably do their jobs.
  2. Function. Will the circulation desk serve primarily as a place to service customers, or will employees also be doing work there? If the circulation desk also doubles as work space, be sure there are enough surfaces to suit employee needs. Circulation desks that serve several purposes often have space divider options, or comprise modular pieces of varying heights to delineate different areas.
  3. Budget. Before choosing a circulation desk, determine your budget. Fortunately, there are a good variety of high-quality circulation desks for just about any budget.
  4. Décor. Because the circulation desk is the focal point of your library, it should match your library’s décor. Today’s circulation desks come in a wide variety of materials and colors, to suit just about any library décor.


For more information about library circulation desks, visit BCI Libraries.

28 Apr 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Furnishing the Hybrid Library

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Furnishing the Hybrid Library


Today’s hybrid library does so much more than store books


The modern library contains not only a mix of printed and digital material, it also promotes learning, collaboration, and socialization. When planning the furnishing of these spaces, designers must think well beyond traditional library shelving, carrels, and desks.


Furnishing Learning Spaces


The modern library is home to classrooms and other spaces that enable patrons to learn. A combination of desks that can be used by individuals and also for group learning is often needed. Modular furniture that can be rearranged as the needs of the space change is ideal.


Furnishing Collaborative Spaces


Today’s libraries promote communication and group collaboration. While there is still an need for quiet, individual spaces such as study carrels, there is also the need for areas that enable patrons to interact, share ideas, and learn together. Collaborative spaces are furnished with comfortable chairs, couches, and tables, with plenty of outlets and ports for the use of technology. Ideally, furniture is soft, comfortable, and moveable, which allows collaborative learners to configure space as needed.


Furnishing Socialization Areas


Areas such as cafes, lounges, and outdoor spaces that enable users to socialize are becoming more popular in libraries. An assortment of café tables and chairs and soft seating make cafes and lounges attractive to those who want to meet with friends or colleagues. In warmer climes, special outdoor seating enables library patrons to gather.


For more information on furnishing your hybrid library, visit BCI Libraries.


15 Apr 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Flexible Library Spaces

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Flexible library spaces are key to future planning


As library patrons demand more from their libraries, space needs change. Libraries are no longer simple book warehouses. Today, they serve as technology hubs, community centers, and learning spaces. As the needs of the library patron change, it’s important that modern libraries keep pace with these needs.


But how does one keep pace with such rapidly changing needs, with minimal time and without breaking the bank? The key is to develop flexible library spaces that work now, but that will also work in the future without time-consuming, expensive renovations.


Consider Collaboration


Today’s libraries double as community centers where people come together to learn, trade ideas, and create. Instead of static furniture that allows just a few configurations, furnish your library with moveable furniture that can be arranged in several different ways – for the classroom, for group study, or for meetings. Flexible furniture ensures that one room can serve the needs of many, with just a little rearrangement.


Renovation On Wheels


Many library furniture manufacturers offer bookshelves on wheels as well as modular bookshelves that can be configured in several different ways. This enables you to move your bookshelves, minimize them, enlarge them, or otherwise change them to suit the room’s needs. Easily moved, flexible furniture enables you to change the entire look, feel, and purpose of a room, without the cost of major renovations.


Double-Duty Furniture


Library furniture makers know that keeping pace with change is key, and so they’ve designed furniture that does double duty. Book and magazine holders that double as computer desks, comfortable chairs that double as listening pods, and computer stations that can be adjusted to suit the users specific needs are all ways that library furniture makers are helping libraries become the quick-change artists that their patrons are asking them to be.


For more information on designing and planning flexible library spaces, visit BCI Libraries.


24 Mar 2014 no comments / READ MORE

The Tech-Friendly Library

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Four ways to ensure your library meets today’s technology standards


Today’s libraries are way more than just places to find and read books. State-of-the-art technology enhances the user experience by making it easier than ever for them to connect to resources. This article explores four ways to make technology a part of your library.


  1. Be “connected.” Make sure that your tech-friendly library is outfitted with plenty of outlets and USB ports, so that users can use their laptops, tablets, and Smartphones with ease. Today’s library furniture manufacturers make it easier than ever to ensure that patrons can easily plug in by building outlets and USB ports directly into tables and study carrels.
  2. Become a technology “hub.” A recent study shows that the average tech-friendly library has 16 computers available for public use. The same study shows that almost 100% of libraries in the United States offer access to the Internet, while more than 85% offer wireless access. Offering Internet and wireless use does not require a large up-front investment, and can be done relatively quickly.
  3. Help your patrons access more information. In addition to what’s on your shelves, increase the number of resources you offer by subscribing to online databases and catalogs. Even the largest library in the world can’t house the millions of resources available online. Help your patrons study, learn new things, and access information by providing a wide variety of online resources.
  4. Teach patrons how to use technology. Technology is helpful only if you know how to use it. Be sure to provide classes as well as one-on-one assistance that helps library patrons learn how to get the most out of technology.


Remember, technology is one of the best ways to engage today’s tech-friendly library patrons. For more information on incorporating technology into your library design, visit BCI Libraries.


10 Mar 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Library Design for Children and Adolescents

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Four tips for designing libraries that are attractive to the younger crowd


Many of today’s modern libraries consider the needs of children and adolescents during the library design phase. What separates those that are successful, from those that are not? This article shares four tips for designing library spaces that young people love.


Tip #1: Gather opinions. In order to ensure that children and teens truly enjoy the space you design, you have to get a feel for what they want. To the extent that you can, involve them in the library design process.  Build a focus group or ask local children and teens to serve on a planning committee, and find out what features young users desire, and what they would like the space to look like.


Tip #2: Determine the function of your library space. In addition to housing books, what other purposes will it serve? Today’s modern libraries include features such as cafes, study rooms, listening and viewing areas, art exhibits, and even dance floors designed specifically for children and teens.


Tip #3: Choose materials. Keeping the aesthetics of your main space in mind, and considering the needs and desires of your younger library patrons, determine what kinds of materials you’ll use to build your children’s and young adults areas.


Tip #4: Figure out what types of furniture will best suit your needs. You’ll want furniture that suits every feature, from reading areas to cafes, from group gathering places to study areas. When choosing furniture during the library design process, remember that it should be sturdy, aesthetically pleasing to young people, comfortable, and sized and ergonomically designed with younger, smaller bodies in mind.


When you follow these four tips, you’ll be more likely to design a library space that younger patrons appreciate and use. For more inspiration on library design, visit BCI Libraries.

26 Feb 2014 no comments / READ MORE

Library Design: Five Things to Consider

Posted by Dawn Dugan in News

Basic library design considerations for libraries of all types


While all libraries are not created equal and each will have its own unique needs to consider during the design process, there are some basic matters to contemplate during the planning and design phases. This article explores five things to think about.


  1. Technology. Today’s libraries must provide easy access to technology. Carrels and desks should be equipped with the necessary outlets and ports, and there should be plenty of computer tables scattered throughout the library to meet user need. Storage shelves for different types of media, including CDs, is also important to consider during the library design phase.
  2. Accessibility. The library must be accessible to its demographic. Children’s areas should feature appropriately sized shelving, tables, and chairs. Many of today’s computer tables are adjustable, making them easy to use for people of all heights, as well as while sitting or standing. Wheelchair accessible furniture is also necessary.
  3. Lighting. Good lighting is key in any library, and should comprise a combination of natural lighting, overhead lighting, and table lighting. Today’s library furniture often comes with built-in lighting to improve the patron experience. In addition, many shelving units also come with lighting features that make it easier to find and see displayed books.
  4. User-Friendliness. Today’s libraries must be easy to use. Strategically placed information desks reduce user stress, help orient the visitor, and ensure that there is always a place to ask where to find materials and service.
  5. Comfort. The best libraries are those that have welcoming atmospheres, and are attractive and inviting. While every library will have a slightly different layout, it’s important that comfortable seating areas, designed for both individuals and groups, are included in the library design.


For more information about the library design and planning phases, be sure to visit BCI Libraries’ design process page.


17 Feb 2014 1 comment / READ MORE