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The Evolution of Library Architecture

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Yulianquan | Dreamstime

Libraries have been undergoing the need for a facelift ever since the introduction of the computing revolution. This type of institution is providing for more than simply the borrowing of books. New functions are defining how libraries serve their communities as they continue to emerge. Computer terminals with internet access and digital book inventory access are quickly becoming things of the past as even newer library programs surface. Libraries are evolving and surrounding communities are benefiting.

Nowadays, libraries are focusing on youth as they continue to refine their market beyond information sharing. Cutting-edge libraries are fostering fun activities that provide place for youth to go – a hang-out of sorts. According to the article Libraries Tap Pop Culture to Reach Teenagers in the Boston Globe, libraries are becoming a place where kids can go to do homework, check email, hang out or even play Wii. Thus, library design becomes more than an institution for sharing information. It is evolving more and more by integrating latest technologies to interact with surrounding community culture.

Hopefully, by targeting youth, libraries are becoming fun places that foster a learning culture. Some programs discussed in the article involve origami workshops and gingerbread house making. Perhaps libraries will be able to make information sharing a more interactive, hands on experience.

It is nice to see how libraries are finding there place in modern-day society. With the advent of the internet, libraries were thought by some to eventually disappear as they were predicted to fade into the background. How do you think libraries will continue to evolve? Will they continue to cater to information sharing by hosting more and more computer terminals and interactive applications? …or will libraries evolve into community center type schools where learning is the key function? Perhaps the merger of the two scenarios is best.

It is my hope that libraries continue to evolve, finding their own proper place in community and society. Perhaps as new technologies unfold, libraries may specialize in a type of data mining where information is not only available but can be intelligently searched and sorted for users. As the quantity of information grows and grows, libraries may find their niche by continuing as research and learning centers that integrate advanced technologies.

There is no doubt that libraries can be fun learning centers. As technology continues to integrate into library functions, we will most likely see new and creative way to research, learn and interact within a community. Undoubtedly, libraries will continue to find their path as societies and communities advance. The key is for libraries to not shut out developing technologies. As a whole, this institution type must embrace them as they target youth and adults alike.

Finding purpose in going to a library is crucial. Social interaction in learning is great for all ages and research assistance makes for meaningful practice. Libraries as social, research and learning institutions will continue onward. We just have to convince financial stakeholders to update them for modern-day and future use. Yes, libraries can continue to be social learning community hubs. They just have to know how to embrace change through their design as they grow evermore technologically interactive.

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McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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