Guest contribution from John McLaughlin, Library Storage Specialist with Patterson Pope.
Compelling design and aesthetics, thoughtful customer service, world class amenities, state-of-the-art facilities...Sounds like an advertisement for a spa or a luxury hotel, right?
Collaboration, community, creativity, pride, ownership, synergy. Surely a description of the culture at successful businesses and organizations, right?
Put all this together and what do you have? The library of future. Like the old TV commercial “this isn’t your father’s Buick,” the library of the future is "not your father’s library" - just the building where you went to get books.
The library repurposing movement is well underway, and has impacted small community libraries, regional library systems, and higher education libraries alike.
Library repurposing trends require storage of all media collections to be housed in smaller footprints in order to recapture square footage for common areas and collaborative spaces.
Effective space planning, and the selective use of high density storage equipment, can provide as much as double the media storage capacity as traditional storage shelving, or provide the same amount of storage capacity in approximately half the original footprint.
(Watch the video to learn how Rutgers University used high-density mobile to recapture square footage)
Off-site storage of lesser used collections using fixed shelving, high density mobile systems, or high bay mobile storage is becoming increasingly popular as a way to store growing collections while creating more room for common areas in the main library.
Newly developed shelving colors, as well as new end panel and canopy materials and colors are now available to create more stylized and aesthetically pleasing storage shelving to tie into the architectural and design elements of the exterior and interiors of today’s library.
In the future space will be at an even greater premium, as the amount of “stuff" that needs to be stored grows, and the space in which we have to store it shrinks. Well-designed storage is an important component in the design of the library of the future.
The next chapter in your library story.
Library /ˈlīˌbrerē/noun (plural libraries)
A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or the members of an institution.
Oxford Dictionary 2012
This definition of library was taken from a recent edition of the Oxford Dictionary. While it is a true description, it lacks detail. Libraries are so much more now than before.
Long gone are the days when the main purpose of a library was to store the books and media for the community to borrow, for a period of two weeks or be subjected to a small fine for a tardy return. Today, libraries are repurposing themselves to address the ever-changing needs and wants of the community. It isn’t just the nerdy kid with Buddy Holly glasses who visits the library anymore. No, it’s people seeking employment or self-improvement visiting the library. It’s teens looking for a place to hang out who go to the library. Families looking for entertainment without having to secure a second mortgage go to the library. And, yes, folks still go to the library in search of nostalgia in the form of printed books and periodicals.
Library repurposing has become a trend across the country. Computer labs, employment and entrepreneurial incubators, conference and workshop venues, youth centers and deliverable services are sprouting up everywhere. A few libraries have even designated space for coffee cafés, allowing patrons an upscale literary experience. Some of repurposing is reactive, but much of it is pro-active. Libraries realize that they must repurpose to maintain and grow their membership.
Akron's Children's Library with Spacesaver Shelving
Spacesaver offers many storage solutions for any type of library repurposing project.
Do you need more space and a capital campaign to build a new wing is not realistic? Consider a mobile storage solution and storing infrequently accessed materials off-site. You will be able to decrease your storage footprint by at least 50% and provide the area for new library services.
Thinking of adding a new or making over an existing reading room? How about using 4-post and cantilever shelving to add some pizazz to the new space? With this type of storage, you’ll be able to showcase a variety of media, making it a more inviting space for your patrons.
Is an area for teens to hang out or a computer lab is on your To Do list? Try 4-post and case type shelving available with an endless palette of color choices and end panel, workspace and countertop materials such as granite, marble and wood laminate and frosted acrylic. It’ll make the new space pop, will be extremely durable and won’t break your budget.
The possibilities are endless. Let Spacesaver help you plan and deliver your repurposing project. Visit our Library Storage Solutions page today!