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An oasis of knowledge

A library should be more than a place to store books. The way a library is designed and equipped can make the difference between a room students begrudgingly enter when required to, and a space they look forward to visiting whenever they have the opportunity.

Here are some tips for creating a student-centered library with consideration for the function, comfort, and engagement that the space will provide.

1. Identify Student Needs

While it’s important to design for what students will do in a library space, it’s also necessary to design around the resources that the space will house. The library is a hub for student resources, so it’s key to consider what resources students will seek when they come to the space. Traditionally, libraries have been a home for books and paper materials, but a modern library also includes access to technology, learning spaces, and support from librarians. The technology that students use in a library space can vary widely, including presentation screens, personal devices, 3D printers, digital cameras, VR devices, and more. Student-centered library design should consider all of these resources and include storage and workspaces that make resources accessible.

2. Get Early Input From All Stakeholders

Get early input from all stakeholders, noting which design features and functions different user groups will be most likely to use. Being a part of the design process gives students and librarians greater ownership of the space, resulting in more effective use of the space long-term. There’s nothing worse than designing a space or adding a feature that ultimately goes unused. By getting input from the people who will be using the space each day, you can ensure each part of your design has purpose and that your investment is going towards effective solutions for all stakeholders.

3. Provide Choice

It’s impossible to create a library space that will meet the needs of every student, but providing choices improves the function and enjoyment of the space for everyone. For instance, standing desks are popular and functional for many students, but not every student wants to stand while they use a computer in the library. Adjustable height tables solve this problem, giving students the option to select their preferred desk height for optimal comfort and engagement. Similarly, a variety of seating around the library that is both mobile and adjustable allows students to configure their workspace to meet their needs. Mobile furnishings––including mobile whiteboards and mobile stations––make it easy to transform various areas throughout the library into the ideal space students or teachers need to work collaboratively and give presentations.

4. Design For the Future

Thinking about a “modern library” might elicit images of computer labs, podcast studios, and makerspaces, but in most schools, books are still very much a priority for students and educators, alike. With this in mind, a student-centered library space needs visible and accessible shelving for books and other physical materials. Gone are the days of bulky, dingy shelving organized into confusing, dark aisles. Modern library spaces remove excess, outdated media, and make all reading materials easier for students to find and use. In terms of technology, future tech developments could change the needs of a library space at any time. Building flexibility into your library design is key to ensure the space continues to be student-centered even when its media and technology changes.

Ready to begin? OnPoint can help.

Contact us for a consultation today and take the first step towards bringing your new Library to life.


OnPoint is committed to continually seeking out and partnering with industry-leaders in furniture, technology, and the construction of education spaces.

The content for this article is courtesy of a recent publication from one such partner: MiEN.

You can read the full article from MiEN using the link below:


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