Flip Through

Monday, August 09, 2010

Heaven is a sort of library

I am an assistant librarian currently. In a year (give or take a few months) I will have a Master's Degree in library and information science. Hopefully soon after that I will be working in a public library in youth services.

I love libraries. Always have. One of my earliest memories is of my hometown children's librarian singing "Wombat Stew" during a story time. I volunteered in that library throughout middle and high school and spent 80% of my waking hours throughout undergrad holed up in USF's main library. I have been in most of the locations in my county's library system--today I was in a new one, and it was awesome!--and I have some strictish ideas about how public libraries should be laid out.

1. Clearly demarcated areas. This is for the good of everyone involved. The youth deserve and need their own space; so do the children, and so do the adults. The computers ideally are NOT located in the same space as the reference materials and study tables. The circulation desk ideally greets the patrons as they come through the front door.

2. Natural light. Windows, windows, windows. High ceilings and sky lights. As little dependance on fluorescent bulbs as possible. I find this makes for a far more peaceful atmosphere (which a library needs, depending on how many children it serves).

3. Art and plants. I love a library with interesting art, especially if it is local. The location I was at this morning had a cool display of quilts made by the Brandon Piecemakers (teehee); another library in the system has a mural in the lobby made by local kids. And plants, like natural light, provide a calming sense as well as freshening the air inside (again, see children).

4. Every book its reader. Ranganathan was right, peeps--for every book there is someone who wants, and every reader should have access to books he wants to read. This is still one of the core principles of libraries. Broaden your horizons; listen to what your community wants.

5. Every patron her librarian. The staff of a library, of course, are extremely significant. The reference desk should be a hub, and patrons should feel comfortable asking questions. A patron who is there to find a great book for her niece should be able to speak with a staff member who can provide ideas; similarly, a patron who is there to conduct geneaology work should have access to a staff member who can navigate those twisty waters.

What does your ideal library contain?


Anonymous said...

my ideal library is in my house, I have a huge room the size of my current house and all thats in there is books and massive bean bags all over the place that I can fling myself on to read. Also there is a whole enormous shelf just for books by me!

Diana said...

My own home library is definitely a future goal for me! I especially want a rolling ladder like Belle has in Beauty and the Beast. :D

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