Creating a Library for the future

Well, that’s what we hope we’ve done. Created a Library for the future, that is.

When we started planning Toorak College’s new Norman Carson Library, we knew this would be a space that had to meet the needs of a school population into a future that will see a physical collection change as society becomes increasingly comfortable with digital storage and usage. The space needed to be flexible and able to accomodate our book collection, but we didn’t want the books to be the predominant feature. We realise that fiction will be with us for some time, but our non fiction collection we see as a shrinking collection. We needed to find a way to make it inviting, but able to be transformed with changing times.  You get one shot to get things right. Our students return next week, and we can’t wait to see their reaction to the space. It will be their usage of the spaces that will let us know if we’ve hit the mark. I thought I’d share some pictures here to demonstrate the thinking behind the design.

The non fiction shelving in our large learning commons space. We wanted to utilise the wall as much as possible so that we could hopefully accomodate two classes in this space. We will have to see if it is possible once our furniture arrives.There are three break out rooms at the back of the learning commons space. We see these as small group work spaces, meeting spaces and private study areas. Each room has it’s own LCD TV to be used for presentations by students and staff. A divider separates two rooms so that we can create a larger space for a small class if necessary.

Room divider

This is the large conference/work/relax space at the front of the learning commons area. This room has a large divider (see below) that can provide us with a large room for Year level presentations. It has a projector and very large screen for this purpose. (see below) We aim to provide flexible furnishings in this space that can allow for it to be transformed for different purposes. This vista of this space is simply beautiful. It looks out to our Edna Walling designed gardens and historic Hamilton Building.

High pitched ceilings give the library a feeling of additional space, and louvre windows will help with the release of heat when the air conditioning is not being used.

Here is the circulation desk, opposite the entrance, with the library workroom behind. It divides the two spaces of the library and allows for visibility to the learning commons space and the reading and multimedia spaces.

The library workroom is centrally located, with windows all around giving visibility to all areas.

This is our Multimedia room, that will be fitted out with Mac desktops. It adjoins our fiction/reading spaces.

This is our Fiction collection, looking out to our reading space. We are going to replace a standing double bay with wall shelving to help us maximise space.

Our reading space. We intend to make this an L Shaped space, once we have the wall shelving in place.

Opening doors at the rear of the reading space open to this deck, making this an indoor/outdoor reading space. The tree behind has had its canopy trimmed since this photo was taken, and it looks even more picturesque.

This tiered room, for chillin’ out and relaxing, or for presentations to groups, adjoins our fiction/reading space. It’s my favourite room, and has a very high ceiling giving it an interesting acoustic quality.

It is so exciting having the opportunity to help plan and realise a new learning space for students. Like I said, the proof of its effectiveness will lie with student usage. Seeing their reaction to this space when they return next Monday will be something to savour I’m sure. There are floorboxes with data and power dotted throughout the space for our power needs (we are a laptop school), and we will have netbooks and iPads available for student use when their own devices are not with them.

Our next step is furniture, and this is exciting too. February will see the first installment with more to come in a second stage. Flip tables are being used, as are ottamans, colourful chairs and what we are calling a snake lounge, and that will be the signature piece of the Library space.

Hopefully this will be a space that will meet our students needs well into the future. We wanted it to be welcoming, and it certainly has a homely feel when you enter it. It has been enthusiastically embraced by staff, and I expect to see the same reaction from our students, maybe an even more effusive one. I’ll let you know how it’s received.

 

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Creating a Library for the future

  1. Very, very nice, Jenny. Love the purple circulation desk. Hopefully I can see your beautiful library for myself one day. Worth waiting for? I’ll be interested in watching how you use and manage the ipads.

    • jennylu

      Definitely worth waiting for. : ) I’ll be interested in seeing how we manage those iPads too. I don’t envisage it to be all that easy to be honest with you.

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  3. Dianne McKenzie

    Looks fabulous Jenny, it makes such a difference when the people who work in these spaces and work with students are involved in the planning. I am sure the students will love it and love to make it their own.

  4. Hi Jenny

    What a wonderful space Jenny!! Has it turned out as you had envisioned? A great variety of flexible learning spaces for your students and staff to utilise. I too love your purple Circulation Desk! Are they mini bean bags in the tiered room?

    I’ll look forward to hearing about your students’ reaction to their fabulous new Library. I hope you get a few days to relax now before school returns.

    Kim :)

    • jennylu

      Hi Kim,
      It has turned out as we envisioned – even better in fact. The builders did a wonderful job. They are mini bean bags in the tiered room. They were purchased for our temporary library space, but they look great in there.
      I hope yours turns out just as well Kim. With you in it, it’s bound to be a wonderfully inviting space.
      Jenny : )

  5. NatashaG

    WOW!WOW!WOW! What a change!
    I know there are many challenges ahead of you and the library staff, but all of you will anjoy working in the new library. Can’t wait to visit you all!

    • jennylu

      It is a wonderful space Natasha. A very big change after the last 12 months. You’ll love it when you see it for real.
      Jenny : )

  6. Judith

    Wow!! looks amazing. Congratulations on all your hard work.

  7. That looks great – can’t wait to hear the stories about how it is used and what students think. Hopefully will get to visit one day soon.

    Tony

  8. Pingback: Creating a Library for the future – Part two! | Lucacept – intercepting the Web

  9. Monica

    looks lovely until I saw the metal, white shelves! EEEEK!!!

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