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It used to be that library furniture had to accommodate people and their print research materials. Simple tables, desks, and chairs did the job. Typically, there was a combination of furniture designed for private study and for groups.

Today, thanks to the use of Internet technology and digital media, modern libraries have expanded to include computer stations and digital media centers.

Computer Stations

Computer stations enable library users to use computers for word processing as well as access the Internet. Stations are typically set up so they can be used by individuals, but also be configured to support group study. The typical computer station is a desk equipped with a desktop or laptop computer, mouse, and keyboard, with ample room for cords and wires.

Computer stations come in a variety of heights, depending upon if they are for adults or children, or are meant to be used standing or sitting. Computer stations can be square, rectangular, or circular, and come in materials including wood, metal, and laminate.

Computer stations are usually located in the library's media center.

students using a library computer
This photo depicts two university students pointing to information on a computer screen while using a library computer at a computer workstation.

Media Centers

Media centers are areas within a library designated for media use. In addition to computer stations, media stations may feature a wide variety of multimedia development software, and access to audio and visual equipment. Many media centers offer training, classes, and workshops on technology, so are furnished to promote group learning as well as individual study. In addition to computer stations, media centers often feature furniture such as instructor's desks, tables, and television cabinets.

media center with computers and audio-visual equipment
This photo depicts a library media center with rows of desktop computers, a ceiling-mounted video projector, and a movie screen as well as a stereo system and a pair of audio headphones.
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Computer Stations and Media Centers