I attended Next Library conference opening event this evening which was held at Aarhus Urban Mediaspace this year. It was an opportunity to meet delegates from all over the world who were collectively considering the role of libraries in society today. I met with individuals from Singapore, Brazil, Australia (to name but a few).
The opening event was an opportunity for them to mingle together to share their ideas, for example, on how to deal with a lack of funding, how to encourage individuals to remain interested in books, and how to encourage teenagers to use libraries.
Since I am interested in how we design libraries, I was particularly concerned by how the library as a ‘day time’ space became transformed into a ‘night time’ space.
As I anticipated, the first floor of the library became an events space for the delegates, who helped themselves to the buffet on the long tables in the café and ate their food on the chairs and sofas in the adjacent reading room. The delegates, some 200, spilled into the reception area towards the entrance. The auditorium in the centre of the library, a link between the first floor and second floor, became a formal seating area where delegates attended the presentations. And later, when the softs seats in the auditorium were removed, leaving only the concrete steps, it became a venue for the resident DJ.
Whilst chatting to delegates, I fluidly moved from the first floor to the second floor, from buffet area to presentation area, from reception, eating, to entertainment. The library has been designed as a multi-functional space for both day-time and night-time which required an adaptable layout and flexible furniture (and mobile guests).