The fitting out of libraries involves many different actors: planners, librarians, architects, engineers, interior designers and builders. Each person involved has a common goal. Each wants to ensure that the completed building is architecturally interesting, welcoming, aesthetically pleasing and able to provide an excellent library service. However, there is one aspect that is frequently not properly resolved and which tends to get worse over time: the wiring.
This posting addresses the problem of wiring in libraries. There are many devices in today’s libraries which need to be connected to electrical power. Making the appropriate choice and ensuring the most effective layout of electrical equipment, cabling, switches, connecting cords, plugs, power points and panels is vital to achieve effective service delivery. In the first part of this posting, there are photographs showing how the wiring issue is tackled in most libraries. An effective method of planning the wiring project is then presented, recommendations and solutions to wiring problems are outlined and photographs of best practice provided. Continue reading →
In 2014, amendments to the Public Libraries Act of Norway came into force. The revision included an enhanced role for public libraries:
…to promote the spread of information, education and other cultural activities through active dissemination and by making books and other media available for the free use of all the inhabitants of Norway. Public libraries are to be an independent meeting place and arena for public discussions and debates.
Of particular significance is the emphasis on the “active” role of public libraries and the use of the public library as a “meeting place”. What does the new approach mean for libraries? How should public libraries respond to new directions? How are any changes planned and implemented? What consequences are there for the design of “library rooms”? How is the rethinking of the design of physical library space undertaken? This blog posting outlines two projects in Troms in Norway, which have proactively changed the role of the library, the first through examining use of library space and the second through presenting libraries as houses of literature.
Environment, Sustainability and Libraries (ENSULIB) is a special interest group under IFLA. With generous sponsorship from De Gruyter Publishing (Boston/Berlin), the group circulated a Call for Submissions for the IFLA Green Library Award for the second year in a row. To ENSULIB’s great delight, 35 submissions were received from around the world, including India, Ukraine, Serbia, China, USA, Columbia, Italy, Portugal, Kenya, Nigeria, and Iran.
After much deliberation, the winner was selected: the public library Stadtbibliothek Bad Oldesloe, Germany. Their project, “Ernte deine Stadt – Harvest Your City: Three Years of Green and Sustainable Library Commitment in the Stadtbibliothek Bad Oldesloe” combines urban gardening with maker-spaces and community building efforts, demonstrating that libraries are more than just book-lending-stations. Another byproduct has been the launching of the region’s first Community Supported Agriculture. The Bad Oldesloe project fulfills the goals of the Green Library award, which include, communicating the library’s commitment to environmental sustainability and creating awareness of libraries’ social responsibility and leadership in environmental education. More generally, the Award aims to support and promote the worldwide Green Library movement and encourage Green Libraries to present their activities to an international audience. Following the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Sustainable Development, the award advances the profession through illuminating the role of libraries and librarians in the advancement of sustainability standards and the promotion of specialized knowledge within professional practice.
The five runners up for the award came from Kenya, Serbia, Ukraine, China and Hong Kong. The various polarities of the submissions created a mighty challenge for the reviewers. For instance, cool weather countries grapple with how to warm a building, while those in hot climates aim to cool their buildings. Three of the submissions (from Kenya, Serbia and Ukraine) focused on children, with libraries promoting literacy and environmental awareness to the next generation. These three projects are very low-cost, illuminating how a library can successfully create environmental awareness in children without big money. The Chinese submission focused on green library building which offers a haven in the bustling, polluted city of Guangzhou, however with governmental support. The Hong Kong submission hinged on the fact that Hong Kong is not yet committed to environmental issues and sustainability, as seen in the lack of green values in its business center. In this case, a university library takes a leading role by creating a clear environmental policy and strategy which manifest in everyday routines.