Shivraj singhnegi bes


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Built Environment Study of Three Libraries.

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Shivraj singhnegi bes

  1. 1. Department of Humanities and social sciencesBuilt Environment StudiesComparing Built Environment of LibrariesShivraj Singh NegiHS07H022Libraries and their built environment influences and is influenced by their objective as well as the target group. In this paper we look at three libraries, two public libraries and one academic library to see how design differs with the objective and the target user. We will also look briefly how these libraries are adapting in order to stay relevant in an age where vast amounts of information are only a click away. <br />Contents TOC o "1-3" h z u Libraries: Public and Academic PAGEREF _Toc290914118 h 3Public Library PAGEREF _Toc290914119 h 3Academic Library PAGEREF _Toc290914120 h 3Connemara Public Library PAGEREF _Toc290914121 h 3Anna Centenary Library (ACL) PAGEREF _Toc290914122 h 4IIT Madras Central Library PAGEREF _Toc290914123 h 4Built Environment of Libraries PAGEREF _Toc290914124 h 5Design Establishes the Ethos PAGEREF _Toc290914125 h 6Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc290914126 h 12<br />Libraries: Public and Academic<br />A library in the traditional sense is defined as a collection of books. It refers to a collection of sources, resources and services. This collection is maintained inside a building by an institution, public body or an individual. In addition to providing materials, libraries also provide various kinds of services aimed at organizing and finding information. They also provide a place of silence for studying. Based upon the institution, variety of materials available, target users, services provided libraries can be divided into many categories. My focus in this paper is on the Public and the Academic libraries. <br />Public Library <br />Public library is a library accessible to general public and usually funded by public money and is operated by government employees. Their mandate is to serve the general information needs of the public, rather than serving a particular field of interest or target a limited category of users, and also offers material for general leisure purposes. They allow users to take books as well as have non-circulating reference collections. <br />Academic Library<br />An academic library is usually attached to the parent academic institution and serves the need of the teachers and the students. They are meant to help in the education and the research activities. The material depends upon the academic and the research interests of the parent institution. Unlike public libraries, they restrict the borrowing and reading privileges. In some cases, some academic libraries act as official government document repositories and are open to public, but even then members of the public are generally not allowed same privileges as students of the parent institution. <br />Connemara Public Library at Chennai was established by the then Governor of Madras, Lord Connemara, on 22 March 1890. Its roots go back to 1861, when hundreds of books were found surplus in the libraries of Haileybury College, England. These books were sent to the Madras Government, which in turn handed them over to the Madras Museum. These books were a part of the Madras Museum till 1890, when a need was felt for a ‘free public library’. This library was conceived on the lines of the British Museum Library. It was declared as one of the four National Depository Libraries under the Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries Act 1954) in 1954. Connemara Public Library <br />It receives a copy of all books, newspapers and periodicals published in India. The library acts as a repository of centuries-old publications, wherein lie some of the most respected works and collections in the country. It also serves as a depository library for the UN. The Library added a three storied building of 50000 sq.ft built at a cost of Rs.50 lakhs in 1974. An additional three storied building with a floor space of 21,235 sq.ft opened on 24th June 1999. The Library is part of a larger cultural complex which boasts of buildings that reflect elements from various stages of Indo-Saracenic development, from Gothic-Byzantine to Rajput Mughal and Southern Hindu Deccani.<br />Anna Centenary Library (ACL)<br />Anna Centenary Library is Chennai’s largest public library, and was inaugurated on 15th September, 2010. Built on 8 acres, the library is 9-stories high. It has been built at a cost of 180 crore rupees. The total area of the building is 333140 square feet and has a capacity to accommodate 1.2 million books. It has been designed to accommodate 1250 persons. It also has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1280, an amphitheatre on the terrace for 800 people and two conference halls. <br />Principle design criteria for this library were environment friendly features (appropriate orientation, scaling down the built mass, developing the roof of the auditorium as amphitheater, segregating movement patterns etc), durability, functionality, flexibility, user friendliness, comfort, security, efficiency, accessibility, and technology integration. It is expected to provide open, hospitable and conducive learning and research environment for the people. The library has partnered with UNESCO for World Digital Library Program. <br />A food court is also being constructed to serve 180 people at any given point in time. It also has parking facilities for cars and two-wheelers. A separate power sub-station of 3200 KV capacity has also been installed. The library is yet to open its lending services to members of the public as the integrated library management system is yet to be installed. <br />IIT Madras Central Library<br />The current building of the central library called Millennium Library Building was formally inaugurated by Professor R. Natarajan, former Director of the institute on 7th of July in 2000 C.E. and the second phase of the building was inaugurated by Prof. M.S. Ananth, the director of the institute on 7th of January in 2004. The new building has been carefully planned to have more space and natural lighting for the comfort of the users. The reference section is fully air-conditioned and the current journals are kept in one place for easy reference. Attractive lobby area, spacious counters, Digital Knowledge center are some special features. <br />It has been awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification by RWTUV of Germany for the establishment and maintenance of quality library systems and procedures. Although it is primarily meant for use by faculty and students of the institute, the membership is open to alumni, industrial and corporate groups and general public subject to terms and conditions and annual fee. <br />Built Environment of Libraries<br />The design and the built environment of libraries influences and is influenced by certain values. The design is meant to embody social values of a particular time, and it should be adaptable to change. The three libraries studied in the report were constructed at three different points of time and had different purposes. They were meant to convey different purposes and meanings. <br />Libraries today have to face enormous challenges, as society and the demographic mix changes more rapidly than ever before. They also have to respond to the challenge posed by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as they provide people with the information without them having to move outside the house. They also have to respond to the increasingly individualistic culture and as education spreads out to the whole of society, and people start valuing leisure, recreation and personal development. <br />The designer has to respond to these challenges and should recognize the fact that while the buildings themselves may change in their external appearance and in their internal design, along with the services offered, there is nevertheless a core library service and culture which has proven to be highly resilient through many decades, and is likely to continue to be so. This skeleton has to be maintained even as new flesh and skin is put on to respond to changing ethos. <br />Broadly speaking, we can observe following changes in these libraries over time and I will dwell upon these in the following paragraphs. <br />Old Library Design (Connemara Public Library and IIT Madras Central Library)New Library Design (Anna Centenary Library)Needs of disabled people unmetGood disability accessDomes and RotundaAtriumsGalleries and MezzaninesEscalators and liftsArtificial LightningAtrium light, natural light maximizedRestricted accessOpen AccessBookshelves requiring laddersBookshelves at human scaleTemple of knowledge for PublicRead with ‘living room’ leisure’ Institutional furnitureDomestic or club furnitureLibrary only buildingProvides many more public spaces than just a libraryIndividual study carrelsSeminar rooms and computer suitesIsolated spaceNetworked spaceChild freeChild friendlyLittle care given to EnvironmentDesign has Environment Friendly featuresFunctional Design with Elements of TraditionModern Free DesignRule of SilenceMutual Respect and Technological Surveillance <br />All these changes have been done for the people for whom the library service is intended (along with library staff), the category and variety of services provided, the institution/ partners of the library and the place of the library itself (along with the spaces it offers to meet its designated program most efficiently and effectively).<br />Design Establishes the Ethos<br />Every Library design needs to reflect its purpose in a specific way to the public. It is a heritage learning centre, a cultural public space, a setting for aspirational lifestyle or a meeting place. The design should reflect the priority and its particular set of users. <br />New Building of Connemara LibraryOld Building of Connemara LibraryConnemara Library was set up as a learning centre on the lines of British Libraries. A place where learning was seen as the pursuit of the intelligent and not everyone could afford it. The old building which housed library till 70s had a grand architecture with large halls and other features of colonial architecture. It was a gift of the Raj to Indian. The next building completely did away with these features, as the library was turned into one of the four principle public libraries. It was simple building designed to store large number of books to be used by public. There were no elements of the grand architecture. <br />T<br />The New Anna Centenary Library wants to project a different image. It aspires to become a landmark of the rapidly industrializing city which is slowly establishing itself on the world map. It attempts to woo the rapidly changing and the socially mobile Chennai. The design attempts to tackle two principle challenges of rapidly changing demographics as well as staying relevant in the age of easy availability of information. <br />A growing proportion of the Chennai’s urban population is made up of business professionals who travel a lot, workers from other states, large student population and a newly educated generation. These groups have little time left from their daily schedules for spending time reading. So a library should offer much more than the traditional services. It should become a place to stay in touch with colleagues, friends, a kind of meeting place, where people can call in on a daily basis (as with an internet cafe to send and pick up their emails).<br />Unlike traditional libraries which had a ‘temple of learning’ hallowed ambience, the new library has been designed as a ‘living room away from home’. This is applicable to even services as many catalogues go online, enabling people to order, reserve or renew library stock, and even read electronically sitting in the comfort of home. As a result the library is being de-institutionalized, and becoming more like a club or leisure centre. ‘The living room in the city’ or even ‘reading club’ of a modern city. Interior design and furnishing can help create a more domestic, club-like sense of membership and belonging: a home from home. The following pictures demonstrate the club or home like feel deliberately designed. <br />The library aims not only to just provide a modern reading ambience but uses technology to enhance the range and the quality of the services provided. It provides access to two lakh ‘e-books’ and 20000 ‘e-journals’. It is implementing a system of integrated library management system for automated issues and return of books, user smartcards, access controls, RFID tags on books, providing internet and search facilities on every floor and reading section. <br />It is also much more family friendly. While Connemara does not have any special section for children, ACL has a kid’s section designed by art director Thotta Tharani, with books, computer games and other attractions for kids. Books for kids are arranged in short shelves. Even the books in the regular halls are arranged in Shelves of human height and do not require any support to browse them. Besides this, rest rooms have been provided on every floor. All these features enhance the ease with which library facilties can be used. The library remains a socially inclusive institution and this needs to be reflected in issues of physical access and family-friendly design. These features encourage people to stay longer, and use more than one facility. The library becomes as much a learning centre, a homework club and a leisure venue for young people as it is a place where books are borrowed and returned in as little time as possible.<br />There is one prominent aspect in which the design of two libraries is similar. Both provide public place.<br />Library design has emphasized its public nature, with imposing entrances (for ACL and the old building of Connemara), high ceilings and domed roofs and becoming a landmark in the area they are located in. The seating arrangement has no secluded or isolated place. It is meant to foster discussions and provide equal space to everyone using the Library. This public space is not very prominent in IIT Madras Central Library. <br />If we look at some of the images of the Connemara Library from inside, we will realize the old perspective of Library as a temple of learning where learning was seen as a high pursuit, but not as a leisurely activity. The design is not very user friendly, as marked by the lack of any other facilities (parking, eateries, ramps, lefts etc), use of artificial lightning even during day. It does not want to attract the urban, mobile user but dedicated readers or researchers who come to library looking for the rare books and using the massive collection that Library has. Since it is so much oriented to research and the people with heavy reading needs (people preparing for various examinations for example) it does not make any special effort to attract children or families. <br />Security issues are much better handled in ACL compared to Connemara. In a busy library like ACL which is used by all sections of the population, security is an important issue, to be handled sensitively if it is not to create the wrong effect. This is largely done electronically, with security gates at the entrance which can detect books, videos or CDs, which have not been processed and ticketed, 500 CCTVs, entry logs maintained at every gate and entrance. Security also helps in maintaining silence and discipline. Connemara does not even have RFID tags on the books to prevent the theft. Although, the culture of mutual respect and silence is stronger in Connemara. <br />Dilapidated condition of books at ConnemaraOld Cataloging System at Connemara<br />Attempts are being made to transform Connemara to a library which would be attractable to all, but the building design has placed limits on the flexibility of use. Although it does have computing facilities inside, it cannot really answer the challenge of IT as effectively and incorporate IT into its functioning as effectively as ACL. <br />IIT Maras Central Library has a different purpose but even it has to deal with changing social ethos and demographics as well as deal with the challenge of rise of Information Technologies. Keeping in line with the academic requirements, this library has Current Journals reading halls, books and reference reading halls, back volumes reading halls for Engineering and Technology, theses consultation rooms, a large book bank, Digital Knowledge Centre for providing computing facilities, Newspapers, facilities for book binding, photocopying and technical processing. There is a very small children section near the entrance. <br />Furniture and the reading spaces are sparse (in the Millennium Reading Hall for example) and very functional. There are isolated study areas in the research carrels which are intended to provide studying areas for group studies. The library has a mini-auditorium on the fourth floor. The design is not very eco-friendly as in some places natural lightning is adequate but not in others, where artificial lights are needed even during the day. The overall design is functional with some prominent modern elements like the front facade made of glass panels. There are very few traditional elements apart from a few paintings. The bookshelves, either by design or due to lack of space, are not as comfortable to browse through as they are in ACL. They need support or ladders in some cases. The system for securing the books is very efficient with all the books tagged with RFID chips and detection systems at the entrance. The library has used the internet to provide access to journals and e-resources through its website. Digital Knowledge Centre (DKC) was built in 2004, in order to provide computing facilities to users, but with the advent of cheaper computers, most of the students in the institute have personal computers. This led to dwindling number of users for DKC and it is closed as of now. The Library is right now undergoing several changes as it is made centrally cooled. This is being done to make it more user friendly. Overall, this is a library which has the ‘temple of learning’ feel with few elements of modern design incorporated. It has successfully used the IT to extend the range and nature of services even as it tries to adapt to a new restive individualistic student crowd, which has many interests apart from reading and knowledge gathering. <br />Artificial Lights used even during dayA<br /> <br />While both Connemara and ACL have large open halls and other meeting places like auditorium and Open Air Theatre, and they are located near prominent places, IIT Madras central Library has no such feature. The small auditorium called Media Research Centre is primarily meant to serve the needs of the institute. There are very few non-student regular users and none can be found inside the library on a normal working day. The user crowd inside the library is very homogenous. Discussion is not allowed as there is a strong culture of mutual self respect. Only the top two floors, where there are books of general interest, magazines and newspapers kept are open for buzzing discussions. Students often use this floor for conducting informal meetings. <br />Construction Work going insideDiscussion Places available to students on top floors<br />There are several drivers of the changes to which these libraries are responding through their design. The first is the rise of higher education as large number of new colleges attract students from all over the country to Chennai and first generation learners seek knowledge, second rise of new technologies may make libraries irrelevant as large online resources are available to users, third environmental concerns favor new norms of recycling and minimum environmental impact and fourth, the rise of new urban professional class has given birth to a new kind of user for whom reading is a leisurely activity and hence libraries have to provide a comfortable environment.<br />Conclusions <br />Thus we can see that libraries are slowly changing to provide more user friendly services as reading changes from a hallowed status to a leisurely activity and new categories of users displace old patrons. These functions have to ensure time flexibility in use (from checking in to return a book to spending a whole day studying), ensuring that the spaces for special functions auditorium, food court, kids section seminar room etc do not conflict in terms of noise and activity, with space allocated for studying and browsing. They are also providing dedicated space for children’s services which is engaging. They are also ensuring that the needs of different groups of users – the elderly, school parties, students – are respected. They are changing to adapt to the new social scenario and technologies but yet at the same time trying hard to maintain the individuality of their buildings and their primary mandate. <br />