Could you please provide some ideas about the different spots a school library should have? At this moment we only have an AV area that is the reading area as well. We have the computers and in front we have the tables to work and the shelves are distributed around the library. I also have some independent spots with a computer and a table.
My library school teacher, Dr. Mildred Laughlin, suggested that when it comes to school library facility planning that we create bubble diagrams to submit to architects instead of complete floor plans. The bubble diagrams, accompanied by a description of the activities in each area, show spacial relationships. Such diagrams are a great approach since they inform, but do not limit, the architect, Dr. Laughlin argued.
Given the changing nature of tasks and roles of physical libraries today, do bubble diagrams still make sense? I think so - perhaps even more so today, as libraries are designed not to meet some external standard but designed to meet the specific needs of individual programs and building needs and as the "learning commons" idea becomes more popular.
In answering the question above, I would certainly include the following areas in any new or redesigned school library....
- Entrance: access point to library, some seating, display areas, book return (if this can be through a wall to the hallway is best).
- Circulation: Near entrance. Circulation desk, materials checkout, librarian's desk (I do not like librarian offices, preferring the librarian's desk be on the floor of his/her "classroom.") Circulation desk should include electric needed for recharging laptops, netbooks or tablets for check out. Libraries have been adding "Genius Bars" where students can get tech help from either professional tech staff or student techs.
- Stacks: Sufficient (48" or lower) shelving for current, well-weeded print and AV resources. Best if moveable and removable when necessary for re-purposing of floor space as/if materials become available electronically.)
- Computer workstations for short time use: stand up workstations near librarian's desk/circulation desk to be used for short time access - accessing library catalog, quick reference searches, etc.
- Computer lab/production space: Space visually accessible from circulation desk for housing computers for production of media - movie editing, blogging, podcasting, photograph editing, desktop publishing, etc. One computer at a small table with 3-4 chairs to be used by team. 30 station lab(s) unnecessary if devices are available for check out or the school is BYOD or 1:1.
- Large group seating/work area(s): Seating adequate for the largest class in the school. Place for large group meetings. Tables with four chairs each. One area minimum; two ideal so one can be designated quiet and the other social.
- Presentation space/story area: Seating or floor space for largest class, or ideally, for two classes. Stage with podium, lecturn, puppet theater, etc. Projection equipment, sound amplification, response systems, document cameras, IWB available for teacher and student presentations.
- Small group spaces/conference rooms: Rooms or spaces capable of holding 6-8 persons for collaborative work. If conference rooms, consider making them adjoining with fold-back walls. Visual access into rooms critical. May serve as temporary office space.
- Areas for "learning commons" services: Offices and spaces for student services such as career planning, ELL services, student technology support, etc. Think "one-stop-shop" for students needing help.
- Technology staff room: Space for technicians to work and offices for technology integration specialists. Controlled (lockable) space for file servers and equipment racks, patch panels, etc.
- Storage/workroom: Small area for materials processing and shared equipment storage. Near doorway to hallway.
- Staff lounge/workroom: Adjoining library.
- Individual workspaces: Seating as allowed for individuals to read, research, write and compute. Away from, when possible, the busier, more social areas of the library.
OK, what areas am I forgetting Blue Skunk readers? Coffee shop? Before the bubble diagram can be put together, the areas do need to be defined.