Draw your ideal library

Our local public library and the advanced methods class from Mount Allison University are circulating a paper requesting input on how to make our town library better.

What would you like your new Sackville Public Library to like inside and out?

On a piece of white paper ranging in size from 4″ x 6″ to 11″ x 17″ draw your ideal library. You can use any medium (crayon, marker, paint, etc.) Remember to be creative and original. If possible, please provide a brief explanation of your drawing.

I’m not crazy about the format or the limitations given, but I know that there are a lot of good ideas about libraries, library 2.0, etc. floating on the Net. I also know that some great designers and innovative librarians visit this site from time to time, including; Joyce Valenza; Christian Long; Ryan Deschamps; and maybe even Jenny, The Shifted Librarian (I read her blog).

I have some ideas, but it’s not really my field of knowledge or experience, so are there any great ideas that you’re willing to share?

Update: I’ve created a Library 2.0 tag to bookmark web sites related to new perspectives on libraries in the 21st Century.

15 Responses to “Draw your ideal library”

  1. Ryan Deschamps

    Freak them out: Take a stack of stickynotes and do a collage of conceptual drawings on an 11 by 17 sheet.

    Or here is a geeky option. Do your library as if it were a cascading style sheet and see if they get what you mean. For instance:

    background-color: #00FF00;
    fontstyle: learner_truetype;
    columns: 2;

    spacing: plenty;
    image: src=”/people/innovative”;

    Ok. That would be pretty geeky and would take too long. But it’s fun thinking about librarians trying to figure out what I meant by all this. 🙂

  2. Harold

    Ryan; I like the second option – geek them out. I wonder if it will lead anywhere, though. It would be great to have a real conversation about the future of the public library in a “ubiquitously connected and pervasively proximate” world, but I’m not sure if the various “stakeholders” are ready for that kind of frank discussion.

  3. Harold

    I came across these space recommendations from the Da Vinci Institute:

    4) Experiment with creative spaces so the future role of the library can define itself. Since the role of the library 20 years from now is still a mystery, we recommend that libraries put together creative spaces so staff members, library users, and the community at large can experiment and determine what ideas are drawing attention and getting traction. Some possible uses for these creative spaces include:

    a. Band practice rooms
    b. Podcasting stations
    c. Blogger stations
    d. Art studios
    e. Recording studios
    f. Video studios
    g. Imagination rooms
    h. Theater-drama practice rooms

    We have come a long ways from the time of da Vinci and the time when books were chained to lecterns. But we’ve only scratched the surface of many more changes to come. Writing the definitive history of modern libraries is a work in progress. Our best advice is to enjoy the journey and relish in the wonderment of what tomorrow may bring.


    Seems like a good start …

  4. Helene


    You just might be surprised at how many librarians might understand it. 🙂

    img {
    border: unbounded;
    display: visionary;

    But I love the concept of asking users to share their vision… my only question is do I have to draw it or can I cut my piece of paper up in little pieces and make all elements moveable, bendable and flexible?

  5. graham watt

    I’m going for the Guy’s/Frenchy’s model. Only the bins will have cupholders.

  6. graham watt

    Facetiousness aside, this looks a lot like a survey
    wrapped in a project with the ‘draw a picture’ idea
    a ruse to find out what Sackvillians think a library
    actually is. In that sense it’s kind of biased toward
    those who express themselves visually, and neatly
    removes any literate description. Why does a little
    town with a huge university library need another
    library? Especially in a time when schools everywhere
    are opening themselves to their communities?

  7. Joyce Valenza

    I love the Da Vinci Institute suggestions. Libraries are about accessing information and producing new information products. They are also about communicating information effectively and creatively, so I would add presentation and performance space and space for telecommunication collaborations and broadcasts. Room has to be flexible for changing types of information tasks, which definitely include group work. It is hard to DRAW a library these days. Sure, “library” remains energetic, physical space–but my bounded picture would spew out little post-it notes all over our learning community.

  8. Harold

    Note on libraries from the Globe & Mail:

    “Far from disappearing in the digital age, libraries are experiencing dramatic increases in both visits and circulation. The article notes that the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal gets 8,000 visitors per day, while other libraries are emerging as community centres for culture, education, and access to knowledge. The librarians note that they are taking a “user-centred” approach with lots of Internet-enabled computers and electronic databases (the Grande Bibliothèque spends 25 percent of its budget on electronic materials), reading areas, and coffee shops.”

    via Michael Geist http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

  9. graham watt

    One reason the Grande Bibliotheque gets 8,000 visitors a day is that there are very few public libraries in Montreal. Another reason is that
    people have sussed out that libraries contain stuff you can’t find on the net.

  10. Harold

    That’s a key role for my ideal library – stuff you can’t find on the Net. I also think that local libraries should have local knowledge, specific to our region that you can’t find elsewhere, like local history, habitat, etc. However, libraries should be places to connect, with other people, other libraries and beyond.

  11. Sari

    Re. The post about why they need a new library at all. It would be because the current size of the library does not meet size standards. As well, there are some safety issues with the current one.
    The aim of having the visual entry is that people can often miss little details when writing up what they desire. There is no cap on the artistic abilities. Anyone is encouraged to participate, even if all you can do is draw stick figures, and explanations and descriptions are welcome. The drawing element is an attempt to discover more. And although I agree that it is good for the university and community and mesh, I don’t believe we will be seeing the University installing kid’s rooms or a kid’s reading section anytime soon.
    Additionally, I wouldn’t be too concerned with “geeking” out people in this day and age. If that is your only goal than it will be a wasted effort.

  12. Harold

    Actually, Sari, my real interest is more the role of the library in the 21st century, and whether we need a better metaphor/model. The Library 2.0 wiki puts it concisely:

    “Library2.0 – following the meme

    Changing the library from managing a collection to enabling connections.”



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