Architects, designers, and librarians alike are faced with many challenges when making design decisions. There is usually an emphasis on natural light and bright open spaces, but what about the furniture?
Whilst tables and chairs seem to be making way for relocatable desks, pods, and bench seats, there are other options for creating bright, open spaces and comfortable, personalised places.
Real Student Experiences
Students at the Phoenix P-12 Community College in Sebastopol, Victoria, Australia are using a range of beanbags in their Redan Campus library.
After consultation with students, teachers selected a range of popular colours and different shapes, using twenty-six beanbags in total.
The idea behind the exercise was to make an environment where kids enjoy sitting down to read. The beanbags were sourced from Bean Bags R Us Australia.
The kids love the heavy-duty material because they can be used inside and outside. That same material also makes them easy to keep clean in the long term.
It may be argued that the more comfortable students can be while reading, the more inclined they will be to pick up a book even if they are not at school!
With the trend towards tablets and Kindle readers, kids are definitely engaged in reading in a different way. This change is emphasised when they are sitting in a different kind of furniture.
Factors Include Colour, Style & Comfort
It’s important to consider your clients when working with different kinds of furniture. For example, beanbags work well with kids, but are probably not ideal for a space used by older adults.
When choosing furniture, consider all aspects – comfort, style, and design. Younger children seem to prefer brighter colours, with a preference to pink, red, and yellow.
Children between five and eight seem to dislike black, white, grey, and dark brown. Children in this age group often prefer lime, orange, yellow, and purple.
The use of colour to warm and brighten these spaces can encourage students to read. It can also be an inexpensive way of refreshing a space without having to completely remodel.
Consider picking up the bright colours of non-traditional furniture with bright wall graphics or coloured shelves. You may also consider the use of abstract art or bright privacy screens and room dividers.
Perhaps exhibiting art from local artists or school children will make your interior more appealing. Rugs and different types of floor coverings for different areas is another idea.
Many kids like to sit on the floor, so it may be worthwhile to consider some crash-mats or soft flooring in a big open space instead of traditional tables and chairs.
One would conclude there may be substantial benefits from the use of furnishings that children enjoy using every time they come into the library.
The trend in business these days is to do business the way your customers want you to. In a library, the children are your customers. When was the last time you asked them what they would like to see inside the library?