The majority of the library used to be taken up by books, but that's no longer the case. While
books and other media are still the primary focus of libraries, modern, high-tech libraries
are getting creative with their spaces so they can accommodate today's patron.
For example, the University of Chicago's library stores 3.5 million volumes in an underground
storage area. San Francisco State University keeps only 25% of its books on site. The rest are
stored in five separate buildings on campus. When users requests books that are held in any of
these storage units, they are retrieved by robots.
These libraries, and others like it, are finding ways to maximize space so they can accommodate
the technology and social needs of their users. Today's modern library is designed to:
To meet all of the above needs, modern libraries are including reading areas, meeting rooms,
digital media areas, coffee shops, outdoor areas, and teaching spaces in their design — all
with the goal of enabling patrons to access both print materials and digital media to
facilitate learning and growth.
- Include flexible spaces that enable students to read, research, and create individually and in groups.
- Include classrooms and other teaching spaces.
- Complement the flexibility and freedom that wireless technology offers, by ensuring that power outlets,
charging stations, and computer ports are liberally installed in all spaces.
- Promote learning with comfortable seating in formal and informal areas.
- Include social spaces that allow for the sharing ideas, collaboration, and group study.
This photo depicts a digital media space in a modern library. Toward the front are tables and chairs for reading and studying;
toward the rear are computer workstations and relevant reference materials.
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