Everywhere is here – is that the school library of the future?

This is Guy Adam Ailion’s animation, an introduction to his Architectural Masters Thesis called EVERYWHERE IS HERE. He has posted it to YouTube and has included this explanatory text to accompany it;

What is a library when ‘everywhere is here’? This architectural animation explores the question of the role of the public library when digital information is everywhere and is everything. What happens to the spaces of books? and how should traditional spaces of information change for a digital world? Even better… in the developing world, how could the library nurture an information society, when people don’t have access at home? Could the future of the library be an urban information bar? or a theatre of knowledge? and what does that really mean anyway?

These are question not just for public libraries, but for school libraries too. I like his ideas. Thinking of libraries as ‘Urban information bars’, or ‘Theatres of Knowledge’ conjures images of busy bustling centres for all. Just the kind of environment that is equally important in a school setting. It’s important that students have a space where all are welcome, where everyone can congregate and share ideas, where everyone can ‘fit’ without worrying about cliques and social strata.

These are considerations that will occupy my thinking over the next six or so months. Our school has received funding for redevelopment of our School Library. While we have the exterior building design pretty much sorted, it’s the interior design and functionality of space that has me excited. As a library staff, we are looking to create something special that will meet our needs for the long term. We want comfort, a space that that is welcoming and creates a sense of belonging for our school community. We want to find new ways to utilise space, creating learning nooks and relaxing recreational areas. We want to be creative with signage and we want to rationalise our collection to meet the changing needs of our community of users. 

These are ideas we have been knocking around, but I think we need to go to our users and ask them what they would like to see happen in the space. We have a large display board, circa 1960′s I’ll have you note, and I’m going to create a banner to adorn it asking;

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN YOUR NEW SCHOOL LIBRARY?

I’m going to invite our students to share with us their thoughts and post them on this display board. I’m interested in finding out what they see as important.  They’re a creative lot, it’s more than likely that they will generate some ideas that we haven’t contemplated. What would be great would be if they could be really creative and produce designs for us to contemplate. I’m sure we could come up with a competition idea to support this with a prize or two that will help to get some creative juices flowing. Our kids learn how to create design briefs in their design and technology classes so we might as well give them a real life scenario to work towards. Perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised and find that they meld with our thinking or we may be even more surprised and find that they take our thinking to new places.   

Thanks to Marianne Lenox for pointing me in the direction of Guy’s animation. 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Everywhere is here – is that the school library of the future?

  1. Hi Jenny,

    It is really fantastic to see that the discussion is spreading and on the net of course, that is the whole purpose!

    The truth is that the future of the library should not be in the hands of those that roll out the red-tape, and rather realized through world-wide discussions. In an age of mass collaboration, the library belongs to the world.

    • jennylu

      Great to have you visit and comment Guy. That’s the true nature of Libraries really; centres where the everyman can grow their knowledge. Now those centres encapsulate mass collaboration and the possibilities for discussion and growth are endless.

  2. Andy

    I love the idea of a concept board! While I’m a public librarian, it’s still an excellent crowdsourcing option. I would hope that the fear of someone putting up something rude or nasty would not prevent me from doing something similar.

    At any rate, I completely agree that we (as a library) have to reinvent our look, our feel, and how we interact with patrons. Fresh new information sources need fresh new interfaces!

  3. Hi Andy!
    as a public librarian, how do you think the program of a library, if at all, might/should change?
    or rather what services need to be made subordinate to newer ones, ie. to accommodate new sections of interaction/ greater social participation.. a knowledge playground if u will… where a space in the library whether that might be the foyer or reception, or courtyard becomes more of a place of exploration. or more internet and PC consoles, and why should it be a larger replica of an urban internet cafe… what makes the library space, attractive and special?

    regards
    G

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