Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Face of the Modern Libraries

The Library has been one of my favorite places in every school. If you have been reading my posts, you know that I work in an academic institution. Aside from home and friends, my life has evolved on studying schools. (Yes you read it right. I study schools! I am not a student. It's the schools that I have been studying.)  

After college, my first employer was a school. When I started working, my environment was relatively not new to me. I went back to school not as a student, but as an employee. My first job was a Researcher. I worked at the Research Department of one of the oldest colleges in the Philippines. I conduct studies that are used by the school's management as reference for planning and decision making. 

I grew up in the field of research and this later gave me the opportunity to teach. After completing my MBA, the management gave me the chance to teach. Up to this date, I still handle research related subjects such as Thesis, Feasibility Study and Business Plan Writing.  My teaching job is not my full time assignment though. I still work in one of the offices of the school. After serving the Research Department for some time, I was transferred to the Corporate Planning Office. A lot of people always get surprised when I tell them that schools also have a Planning Office. You see, educational institutions are businesses too. They need to develop strategies and actions to improve and keep in pace with the demands of the industry.

Since my job entailed research, one department has been my constant companion over the last years. The Library has been my steady partner. And when I say "the library" I meant the entire force that run the library. I have worked and gained friends with a number of Librarians.  

A lot of parents and students do not realize that the Library is one indicator of a school's position and quality of education. Aside from the qualifications of the faculty members, a school should have adequate and state of the art library materials. Books and all those printed materials are a must. But today's technology have brought evolution on the stereotype libraries we once grew up with. The Digital Age conceived the existence of the Modern and Digital Libraries.

The best Digital Library I have seen is posted in the website of Facto Design. Here are some pictures I have taken from the site. 

This Post Print Library belongs to the University of Amsterdam. The library gave the University the 2010 Dutch Design Award. 

So how does the book less or  Post Print library work? According to Facto Design, these red crates store books and other materials requested by students online. Through the Online Catalog, students are able to search their materials faster even in the comfort of their on homes or dormitories. Students just submit their chosen materials online and drop by the library to pick up their request. 

Aside from the technological advancements adopted by libraries, I have been fascinated by the new design of the Modern Libraries. 

Photo from Arch Inspire

Photo from Beautiful Libraries

Photo from DecoModes
These libraries have diverted from the traditional image of "closed" libraries, characterized by blinds, thick and heavy curtains. Libraries with transparent glass windows looks more alive, relaxing and conducive for users, especially for those students who spend lenghty hours of research. I hope the management of schools would realize the advantage of using the daylight. Electricity consumption will be be lessened to some degree. Students will likewise not anymore feel bored and fall asleep with these libraries. 

This modern library from Japan really impressed me. 

Photo from Momoy's Home Trends, Decoration, Gardening

Photo from Momoy's Home Trends, Decoration, Gardening

Photo from Momoy's Home Trends, Decoration, Gardening
This magnificent and unique library belongs to the Musashino Art University Library of Japan. The library perfectly exemplified the architecture of aesthetics and functionality. The library was made so spacious with all those towering shelves. The site also mentioned that all the shelves were arranged in a circular way to accommodate a wider study area. The library has taken into consideration the main clientele of the library, the students. Libraries are after all not just about books. It should also consider the welfare and preferences of the students. Surely, this library provides more than enough space for students to remain focussed and undistracted.

Here is a library that braved with unique colors and furniture pieces.

Photo taken by Laura Stamer from Interior Design News
A never ending bookshelf?

Photo taken by Laura Stamer from Interior Design News

Photo taken by Laura Stamer from Interior Design News
This is the Hjorring Central Library in Denmark. The library also made use of large panel glass windows to capitalize on the natural light and the nice view from the outside.
Another unique design from the National Library of Belarus in Russia.

Photo from Design Float
Libraries with high ceilings project a wider illusion of space. 

Photo from Design Float
This is the National Library of Singapore. It has the arrangement of traditional libraries but the high ceiling and the transparent glass windows broke that monotonous look of libraries. The facade of the library reflects more of the contemporary architecture.

Photo from 1st Sin at Thru-Hiker
And what's wrong with having a garden inside the library?

Photo from 1st Sin at Thru-Hiker

I also love the idea of moving away with the typical library chairs and tables. Libraries could divert in these colorful and modern furnitures.

The following pictures were all taken from BCI Library Design.

The Stockholm Cultural House in Sweden

The Vestfold University Library in Norway

Open Space Design from the New Public Library of the United Arab Emirates.

This one will be well loved by the females who are into Pink and Purple.

Photo taken from the Modern Architecture Contemporary Style
This is from the Library of the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology in Netherlands.

Photo from Home Design Ideas
Among the libraries I have googled, this one amazed me the most

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from History of Science
The Seattle's Public Library is the library of modern libraries. The glass work of the roof is magnificent. I love it's architecture, adequate and modern furnitures, and of course the effect of using natural light in the library. Going to libraries will never be dull and boring in Seattle.

Modern libraries have diverted from the design of typical and classic libraries. Dark colored walls and furniture, monotonous blinds, bulky curtains, and monobloc chairs are out. Space, high ceilings, ergonomically designed furnitures, and transparent glass windows are common trends among modern libraries. 

Creating and transforming to Modern Libraries require extensive financial resources. I know most of the schools' management will be reluctant in adopting the design of the Modern Libraries. Believe me, I work in a school! I have observed the system. The regular acquisition and update of library collections already consume a significant amount of the school's budget. But as you can see, this transformation is likewise not achieved overnight. Schools can develop a Library Transformation Plan, with the help of engineers, architects and all those who are knowledgeable in infrastructure development. The plan should contain a time table and target achievements, which the school can undertake every year. This approach will demand time and to be specific even years. But with an organized plan and direction, we all know that those baby steps will later on lead us to that target goal.

Ooops, did I just become too serious? ;-)

I am joining Kim of Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday and Paisley Passions & Inspiring You to Save's Wandering Wednesday.


  1. You don't know how much I trully enjoyed this post! I too LOVE librarys. I have always found it exciting to go to them since I was very little. In fact I'm off to my daughters school library today :) I happily volunteer there each week. Nothing better then helping kids get excited about reading too :)

  2. I love libraries too! This was just wonderful! Thanks for popping in to see me today.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  3. HI Diane, I am happy to follow you! I think we alrady share a connection: my daughter just got married in Sept. and her grooms Mother is from the Phillipines!!!!!! Have a great weekend. XO, Pinky

  4. Ang galing-galing naman! Ginastusan talaga nila ng milyones ang libraries na ito. Maraming salamat sa pagdalaw sa blog ko :)

  5. I love libraries and was amazed at these photos! Thanks for putting together such a wonderful post! WOW!!! ♥

  6. I love libraries. It's a pity we don't have good libraries here in the Philippines. When I got a chance to talk to SM's Henry Sy I told him SM Malls should have libraries like the malls in Australia and other countries, and he said it's really the call of government. When we visited Vancouver, we were always at the library cause it was huge! Patsy from


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