Model Programme for Public Libraries

Kultur styrrelsen



Redesign of Grønlandstorv Library on a limited budget

The refurbishment of Grønlandstorv Library is a good example of how you can create a more inviting and accommodating library with few means and existing furniture. Great changes do not necessarily depend on large budgets.

The purpose of redesigning Grønlandstorv Library, a small library in Aalborg Municipality in Denmark, was to create a library where visitors with different needs could move around without disturbing others. In recent years, the local area around Grønlandstorv Library has undergone development, adding new user segments to the library. This has created new possibilities and new needs among the visitors. The library is now self-serviced during the majority of the opening hours, and the success of this depends on a clear, self-instructing layout and a pleasant atmosphere at the library. This meant that the redesign had to meet various interior design challenges and create space for new activities. Conditions called for existing furniture to be reused, and the total budget for the refurbishment was DKK 30,000.

Space for both 'life and activity' and 'quiet contemplation'

The redesign of Grønlandstorv Library started as a wish to separate the children's area from the adults' area, creating room for older children and teenagers as well as a more natural flow in the transition between 'life and activity' and 'quiet contemplation'.

The plan drawing for the new interior design marking out the Welcome Area, the Children's Area and the zone division for 'quiet contemplation', 'life and activity' and 'the borderland', which is the transition between the two zones. In 'the borderland', the furniture is more informal, signalling a change in the areas instead of 'prohibitory signs'. The yellow area delimits the welcome area with its high level of activity. The pink area is the children's area, the blue is the borderland, and the green area shows the library's spaces for 'quiet contemplation'.

The children's area for the youngest children has now been placed in connection with the welcome area, where the loan and return machines are also located. In this way, children can play in the children's area and their adults can keep an eye on them while making a drive-in visit to the welcome area or browsing through the books on offer as 14-day loans in the Zone. With this layout, reserved materials and materials for loan or return have been given a more central and appropriate place.

The Welcome Area – The loan and return machines used to be located at some distance from the entrance, i.e. in the middle of the library. They have now been moved right up to the entrance along with reserved books. The entire welcome area signals 'life and activity'.

BEFORE AND AFTER – The Children's Area is now located closer to The Zone, which offers books on 14-day loans. Parents can now 'browse' while keeping an eye on their children.

Although the children's area consists of a limited number of square metres, it has been divided into zones according to age groups: The first part is for the youngest children, followed by an area for older children and then an area for even older children / teenagers, which has been laid out with a lounge area and a bar counter with computers for games etc. From here, there is a natural transition to the adults' area.

A clearer boundary has been created between 'life and activity' and 'quiet contemplation', accommodating the needs of everybody, regardless of whether they are adult users, students, playing children, gamers, newspaper readers or other.

The Children's Area– In the area for the youngest children, materials are placed in deep book trolleys on wheels, which also serve as low screening. The small tent is often used as a den for quiet reading. Easy-to-read materials and children's fiction have been placed in the transition to the area dedicated to older children.

The Children's Area– At the back of the children's area, a bar counter has been equipped with gaming PCs, serving as a transition to the youth area. The youth area features PS3 and a small lounge area with sofas and poufs.

BEFORE AND AFTER – The computers for adults used to be placed on high tables with stools right next to the table for newspaper readers. The computers were mainly used by children who would play games and disturb the newspaper readers. Adults preferred to sit on ordinary chairs and would opt to sit by the computers in the children's area. The new solution shown here features the reused bar counter, which is now frequently used by students. The area is enhanced by the curry yellow and black walls.

BEFORE AND AFTER – The lounge area for newspaper readers in the area for 'quiet contemplation'. Located at the back of the library, which is most peaceful and which benefits from most direct daylight. The decoration consists of the library's own posters with library images and graphics in the library's new colour scheme.

Large, bombastic service point unstaffed 68 hours per week

The service point in the former layout took up far too much space, and the signal value of being met by an unstaffed counter that many hours per week was not very hospitable. The actual space in which the library is located has several angles that make it difficult to take in the entire library at a glance. The service point has therefore been split in two and placed more strategically. This has resulted in greater clarity and a more unobstructed view for the staff, and the two smaller service points now appear much less dominant.

Service points – The new service points are less bombastic. Clear signage provides details about unstaffed opening hours. The lamps support the library's colour scheme – here in a combination of black, orange and yellow.

New activities and increased flexibility

For the refurbishment of Grønlandstorv Library, the Model Programme's tools have been applied: The 4-space model and the Library's 24-hour Rhythm, combined with the library's proprietary functional descriptions. This supports the new design and activities at the library, and allows space for new initiatives. It was essential that the furniture was made more flexible and that new furniture would be multifunctional to accommodate the need to quickly clear a large area for large events. Seating, for instance, should be useable for various purposes, e.g. as study places, homework café, new IT café etc.

Seating – Different needs require flexible furniture. Here, a large table with a cable tray in the centre. It is used for study work, eating packed lunches, homework café, IT café etc. Other places have been equipped with small tables, which can quickly and easily be put together or removed so that the space can be used for large events at the library.

Design and graphical expression

The re-design of the library has added a golden thread to the interior design. Other libraries have been altered to a similar extent with the same graphical expressions so that visitors experience a sense of recognisability, regardless of which library they visit in the municipality. The recognisability is evident in the information colours, specific types of furniture, signage, the graphical design line etc.

Each library is also given its own signature. This may be in the form of a theme or specific colours that are supported by the layout and the furniture. Grønlandstorv Library's signature is a new colour combination of black, white, red, orange and curry. These colours are used throughout the library and feature prominently in the entire design.

BEFORE AND AFTER– All doors were blue, but have now been painted white. The gallery shelving with books in The Zone (14-day loans) is in the same place as before, but now appears much more welcoming.

BEFORE AND AFTER– All painted columns and wall decorations have now been painted white. Selected walls have been painted in a particular colour to highlight a specific area. The collection was trimmed, and exposure in the collection has been replaced by combined exposure spots on the shelves – either horizontally or vertically.

Inspiration and information for the visitors gathered in one place

Event posters and similar are no longer spread out across the library but gathered and concentrated in a few places. Items are no longer exposed in the collection. Instead, materials and events are presented compactly on tilted shelves in selected spots and in the theme spot.

Theme spot– The library's theme spot is strategically located as an eye-catching feature at the heart of the library. The theme exhibition spot communicates the Public Libraries' Thematic Collaboration. Here, the theme is 'Woman'.

It was a challenge to find room for posters as the wall space is limited and the library has many large windows. The solution was to display posters in self-adhesive A3 magnet frames, which can be seen from both sides of the windows.

Entrance– All event posters are now gathered in the Welcome Area.

All pamphlets have also been gathered in plexiglass pamphlet holders and 'framed' by a black wall.

Pamphlets – All pamphlets have now been gathered in specific spots in plexiglass pamphlet holders from BCI. Before the refurbishment, pamphlets and posters were spread randomly throughout the library on tables, walls, columns etc. 

Signage – All signage follows the library's sign and brand guide with the library's own graphical expression. Here, instructions for the photocopier are displayed in click frames.

Grønlandstorv Library has managed, within a limited budget, to compose a new expression and a new interior design, to the great benefit of the users. The library now has a much clearer layout, and the delimited areas based on activity levels are much better suited to accommodate the library's users and their diverse requirements and wishes.

18. Sep 2017 at. 14:07

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