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Evolving Libraries: Meeting, Sharing, and Learning in a Digital Age


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Taking inspiration from her tour of public libraries, funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and recent projects in the office and residential sectors, Gemma John explores the blurred boundaries between learning, working and living environments. In particular, she draws on contemporary case studies from Europe, North America and Australia to highlight the emerging importance of the public library as a workplace.

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Evolving Libraries: Meeting, Sharing, and Learning in a Digital Age

  1. 1. Human City TM
  2. 2. TM Dr. Gemma John Human City Blurred Boundaries
  3. 3. “The library is emerging as a new typology of workplace combining concentration and collaboration...”. Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design Royal College of Art
  4. 4. Experience matters Designing libraries Blurred boundaries How experience matters more than ever How libraries are being designed for today How libraries and workplaces combine
  5. 5. Experience Matters
  6. 6. Technology is changing the wqy welive and w-ork
  7. 7. More choice means better service... Property owners need to work closely with the occupiers – a transparent relationship and a hands-on approach that can help establish what the consumer wants.
  8. 8. Designing Libraries
  9. 9. Chicago Raleigh Seattle Vancouver Calgary Halifax Helsinki Delft Almere Copenhagen Aarhus
  10. 10. .. t
  11. 11. D
  12. 12. Cultur e Service s Desig n
  13. 13. Cultur e Service s Desig n
  14. 14. Connection Ownership Personalisation Libraries are places where customers are supported at an individual level. Libraries are places where customers are encouraged to take ownership, and make decisions. Libraries are places where people ‘connect’ with the collection and each other.
  15. 15. Cultur e Service s Desig n
  16. 16. Tampines Singapore, Singapore Automation . National Library Board mobile app is “[y]our personal companion to reading on the go and all things library - anytime, anywhere”. Senior Librarian National Library Board
  17. 17. WANTTO READ eBOOKS? HERE'S HOW: Download NLB Mobile t0day1 - '"8Boolt1nc1tcaritheoACOdeon lhesereenIOborrow e8ooka.,,.,.beautomatJc:;uyretumecia er2t days I•
  18. 18. Cultur e Service s Desig n
  19. 19. Integrated Open Adaptable Libraries have to be part of the fabric of the city. Libraries have to remove barriers to access. Libraries have to make effective use of their spaces.
  20. 20. Blurred Boundaries
  21. 21. Library 10 Helsinki, Finland Diversificatio n Fig 1 Tuuka, Official Guide, Helsinki. Fig 2 His business card.. “Small business owners, freelancers, and others who work from home can come here and meet other people” Regional Manager
  22. 22. Fig 1 Customers work in the children’s area. Opposite. Bookable partitions are used to create enclosed areas.
  23. 23. Fig 1 Customers works in the cafe as well as quiet spaces. Fig 2 Students gather in the central library in Halifax in Canada.
  24. 24. 2016 Woollahra Library Sydney, Australia “Today, libraries are a flexible space; they are a community hub. People come to be entertained. They come to study. Libraries are also full of business people”. Library as Workplace Fig 1 The ground floor is noisy and active. Fig 2 The upper floor is quiet study space. Director of Community Services Woollahra Public Library
  25. 25. 2018 Arup Sydney, Australia In corporate environments, libraries are playing an increased role in the provision of collaborative workspace and innovation. Arup Library Library as Workspace. Fig 1 Informal networking area within Arup Library. Fig 2 Smaller collection.
  26. 26. Recommendations
  27. 27. Always innovatePrioritise simplicityCollect data
  28. 28. TM Dr. Gemma John uk M + 44 771 430 0507 Thank you
  29. 29. Dr. Gemma John Anthropologist Human City k Questions?