Basic Principles of Library Building Design

Basic Principles of Library Building Design: Some of the basic principles of library building design are mentioned below-

a) Functional Design: A library building should have functional design rather than a monumental one. There should be provision for documents, users, staff, and service areas.  There should be areas for senior professional’s rooms, library staff, seminar room, binding section, reprographic section, digital library section with additional areas for acquisition section, technical section, reference section, reading room, room for stack book, circulation section, etc.

b) Open Access: The availability of the number of library staff, the user demand and the type of collection are the deciding factors for a library to go for open access or closed access system. In a closed access library the users are prohibited to enter the library, they should write their demands in some slips. The building design for open access is also considered useful for closed access system. However, vice versa is not true. But, in both the closed and the open access systems, library property counter and some such a thing are a must, because the users are free to enter the reading room and the periodical section in both the cases. Both the systems require that the library building should have a single entrance and one exit point for keeping a proper control on incoming and outgoing users. The whole building should be accessible from the entrance to different parts of the building by means of simple and easy to understand plan requiring only a few directions or guides. Doors and windows should be protected by means of wire fabric to avoid any loss of books.

c) Future Growth: A library building should be planned for at least next 20 years, keeping in view the rate of collection development, number of readers, technology enhancements, etc. The building should be extendable to allow for future growth with minimum of disruption. There should also be adequate provision for future expansion, both horizontally and vertically.

d) Flexible: There should be the means of interchangeability of all major stack areas, service areas, reading room, and staff areas. The whole design should be such that if any change in library function takes place in future it will be possible to adjust the layout without carrying out major structural operations. There should be no interior load bearing walls but the building should be able to bear the stack load anywhere.

e) Air-conditioning, Lighting and Noise: Uniform standards of lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, noise prevention, communications, fumigation and flooring are necessary to meet the criteria of interchangeability. The natural light should come inside the whole building throughout the day time. Outside or background noises generally cannot be controlled except by double glazing which involves air conditioning. The inside noise of human voice, equipment and mechanical device, impact of footsteps, banging of doors should be reduced by using insulating materials and devices, use of acoustical material for walls and ceilings in corridors, reading rooms and work rooms. Use of proper floor coverings is also essential.

f) Modular Design: A building on modular system is the one which is supported by columns placed at regular interval. The basic dimensions of library building should be in multiples or submultiples of some module/column. Even while only the columns are load bearing inside the building, outside walls may also bear the load. Columns, stairways, lifts, hearing facilities, plumbing and ducts are all fixed and everything else is movable. Thus, the modular system leads to flexibility.

g) Economic: The design should be such that the operation of the library can be carried out with the minimum of staff and finance. The windows should be covered with net.

h) Secure: The building should be free from dust, dirt, and cobwebs. To deal with other vermin the best remedy would be to have a rat proof building. The water may not enter the stack room either through ventilators and windows or due to leakage of roof. The stacking material should be fire proof. Sufficient number of fire extinguishers and fire buckets should be fixed at various strategic places in the building. The library building should also be designed to guard against some detrimental habits of the readers, visitors and outsiders.

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