The renowned Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg (State and City Library of Augsburg) is housed in a veritable nineteenth-century Palace of Books created in 1892– 1893 by the architects Fritz Steinhäußer and Martin Dülfer. Like many nineteenth century libraries, its viability in the twenty-first century was in doubt as costs of maintenance and renewal escalated and the role of the library was questioned. Successful initiatives have ensured improved prospects and a worthwhile future. Planning is underway for the renovation and extension of the building to ensure the preservation and appropriate presentation of Augsburg’s valuable collections and cultural heritage, and quality service delivery for an important region of Germany.
Library space, where librarians teach information literacy, should not look like an old-fashioned classroom or a computerized training room which might be found in a computer centre. In a traditional information technology training room or a computer laboratory. The furniture and its arrangement convey messages to occupants: don’t move, don’t discuss, don’t feel comfortable! Tables are usually placed in rows. There are rarely windows that allow views of the outside world. The computers and large monitors dominate, there might be some digitized displays – but there is limited space for the learners. The students using the facility will become tired very quickly. The following images of traditional training rooms typify the stereotyped and stultifying atmosphere which develops, even if the colours are bright.
Eawau Dübendorf (Switzerland)
Technical University Main Library Berlin (Germany)
The challenge in designing a perfect training room is to develop an environment for teaching in the library that is more than just user-friendly. The space must be inspiring and encourage learning. The space must promote information and media literacy. The environment must enhance the course content and delivery and contribute strongly to the success of the training being conducted. Space for training and instruction in libraries must provide a motivating and stimulating setting suitable for all users: for children in school libraries, for young people in universities and for adults of all ages in public libraries.