Creating library space that adds to the community and respects it
Every day, thousands of people use Toronto Public Library branches to read, study, collaborate, borrow books, use the computer, attend a program or meeting and more. There is great demand for public space. The variety of use and space needs in library branches is ever increasing. How can the library respond and provide spaces in branches that meet the wide range of customer needs and inspire people of all ages across the city?
At Bloor/Gladstone, we tried to balance the different types of uses by designing different zones while still keeping the space light, open and accessible.
Public consultation is an essential component of branch space planning. Aside from branch specific issues like the need for an elevator or washroom upgrades, several common themes arise. We hear about the importance of public space in each community and the desire for branches that are well designed, beautiful, inspiring and imaginative, that add to the life of the community and respect it. Sustainable buildings that are efficient and green are expected. Another common theme is the need for space that is functional, that works well and accommodates everyone. People also want space that is flexible and can adapt to changing uses.
At Kennedy/Eglinton, we partnered to create a ProTech Media Lab for local youth.
Flexibility is a key feature as we look to the future. For example, in the past people mainly read and studied alone. We’ve seen a lot of changes in information, how it is provided and used. Today, people read and study alone and together in groups. People work alone and they collaborate together. People read books and create their own content. People use the library’s computers and they bring their own devices to use in the library. Flexible spaces that can accommodate all of these uses helps create welcoming spaces for everyone. Are you seeing changes that the library needs to respond to?
At several branches including Dufferin/St. Clair we’ve developed interactive early literacy centres for children.
Walk through a branch and tell us what you think, what you like and don’t like. What else can the library do to create spaces in branches that inspire innovation, and creation for people of all ages?