August 20, 2013, by Jenny Gallow

A Library That Blurs The Lines Between Work, Home & Play

The dramatic changes in technology over the past few decades has greatly impacted the way we design spaces - and that rate of change continues to increase year to year (month to month, day to day??!!). Some of my co-worked have blogged about how tablets and BYOD (bring your own device) have impacted the design of schools … how the need for collaborative, informal lounge space is shaping the corporate office … how the mobile world is breaking down walls and allowing learning and working to happen anywhere; blurring the lines between work, home, and play.

SHP is currently working with the The Lane Public Library on their new Oxford Branch. Oxford is fortunate to be building a brand new library and has the opportunity the define what a future-forward library looks like.

I'm sure it's no surprise that e-readers and the internet have changed what a library needs (and wants) to be. Libraries are a place to stop, spend time, and connect … they are a place to learn from (not only) the books they house but the people who visit.

Today it's not uncommon to design the space (the experience) - and then trim the book collections count to fit into a leaner stack space … instead of designing around a book count. Oxford is taking this approach. The library will be open, inviting, and filled with different spaces for different experiences. There will be an informal lounge that looks more like a student union … self-check out near a scaled down circulation desk … low bookshelves instead of those high to the ceiling.

For children, libraries are taking cues from children's museums and becoming interactive places to learn and play … getting kids excited about reading. If they learn while playing a game or climbing the walls (maybe literally?!) even better. A well designed space will be a place for interaction … and those experiences a means for learning to read (and being excited while doing it). Interactive panels, game tables, and video games are just some of the tools libraries are using to promote literacy.

I am excited to be a part of this project and eager to unfold the design with our team. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the City of Oxford and SHP is happy to play a part.