Animating a children’s library space
The children’s area had not been refreshed since construction in 1996 and it was looking tired. It was not particularly welcoming. Some sort of barrier or partition was also badly needed where the adult computer desks faced directly into the children’s area.
A layout for discovery
Planning began with a presentation by Rachel Van Riel, hosted by Schoolhouse Products at their showroom in Toronto, about changing trends in library design and Opening the Book’s Discovery Layouts.
Lisa Miettinen, Chief Librarian of Oxford County, said: "I was so impressed with Rachel’s presentation, and her insights into the impact library shelving design has on behaviour. The new 'propeller' shape of OTB shelving was so attractive and unique, I knew we had to consider it for the Ingersoll project. OTB shelving is manufactured right here in North America."
Opening the Book developed a Discovery Layout for Ingersoll which used the unique curves of the shelving to create the much needed zoning between the children’s area and the adult computer area. The space is now better zoned for different ages – under-fives and 6-11s – so children and families can easily navigate to the right section.
Consultation with children who used the library had identified that a Lego Wall was a big priority and the library staff successfully created one with the children.
Ingersoll chose Opening the Book’s Performance Shelving line in a white laminate that has brightened their space considerably. The under-fives have their own special area with Picturebook Wall Units and Picturebook Tunnels which combine play and display for the youngest age group.
The response to the new library shelving and design has been overwhelmingly positive, from both children and adults. Kids are now racing into the space. Patrons comment on how bright the space looks; how it looks so much bigger; how inviting it is; how much fun. Staff have noticed that children and their parents are now more likely to linger, utilizing the space and furnishings, rather than “grab and go".