6 Essential Library Spaces: Beyond the Books
- July 17, 2023
- Sean Downey
With the new function of media centers, there are a lot more zones to consider to meet all student and faculty needs. These six essential spaces created with MiEN products can help you create a 21st century library that provides function and comfort for all who use it!
The modern media center goes far beyond the books, offering a hub for connection, collaboration, creativity, and more. For decades, libraries have been centered around two main spaces: a space for books and a space for instruction, often including a computer lab. Modern libraries have so much more to offer, with a variety of different zones to support multiple modalities of learning, different group sizes, and new activities.
Using some of our most popular products, we’ve created six essential spaces that every media center needs to reach its full potential!
Modern libraries provide more than just books and other physical media––they now are centers for technology and collaboration, too. Every library should have a space that enables students to collaborate effectively using their personal devices and other edtech tools. A variety of seating that is comfortable is key––such as the Chameleon Lounge series––and all seats should be focused around the presentation area for easy viewing. Include a wall-mounted screen that connects wirelessly to a variety of devices, and you have the perfect collaborative media space for students to gather around in the library.
Having instructional space in the library is essential, but it can also be useful to have flexible furnishings that make the space adaptable to a variety of needs. For instance, the OTM Height Adjustable Flip-Top Table is lightweight and mobile, easily folding and nesting away to open up additional floor space. These desks enable reconfiguration of a library instructional space for different purposes, such as meetings, professional development seminars, presentations, and more. Height-adjustment makes the tables accessible to more students, and provides flexibility if facility needs change. Additionally, the low-profile flip and nest feature makes it easy to store tables whenever––and wherever.
As media centers grow to become a central hub in the school, it’s essential to provide students with a place to be creative. Creating a makerspace or other creativity hub provides students with a space for innovation, often self-led and experimental. This type of learning is crucial for young students, helping them to build confidence, learn important STEM concepts, and flex their creative muscles. There are many ways to furnish a makerspace, as these spaces are highly flexible, but we recommend the all-in-one mobile storage workspace of the KIO Tinker Table. For a more specialized space, or one focused around a school robotics club, the Robotics Table has a durable work surface and built-in edge to keep expensive robotics equipment from falling to the floor.
Between club meetings, small group activities, and breakout groups, small lounge meeting spaces in the library are essential. These zones enable collaboration and make it easy to gather a group within the media center’s common space, keeping students engaged. Including two-tiered seating allows students to decide whether they would like to have a desk, stand to work, or sit comfortably in the lounge area. A curved profile keeps the meeting area focused around a central point, making it easy to share materials and give presentations to a small group.
Students still visit the library for books and materials, but many students come to the media center to use or access technology and devices. This makes it essential for all library spaces to have an abundance of charging stations, outlets, and USB charging ports. MiEN’s SHARE Table has built-in power outlets and a large flat workspace perfect for studying and group projects. Paired with comfortable and flexible FLEX stools, this charging station becomes a tech-centered collaborative space that can meet a variety of student needs in the library.
While modern libraries might not be fully focused on books, book storage and displays are still an essential part of any library space. Books should be easy to access and intuitively organized. Choosing practical but unique shelving can help connect students with reading materials in the library space by improving their browsing experience. The KIO 360 bookcase is a great option for any media center with its low height and curved edges. A four-sided shelf, the KIO 360 offers a lot of storage in a small footprint. Plus, casters make the shelf mobile, making it easy to move around the library.
These six essential spaces and MiEN’s latest products will take your media center to the next level, providing a modern environment that supports all students!