Reader Mailbox: Answers to Your Library Space Design Questions

Reader_MailboxDo you have questions about what to do with some part of your library space? How to make it more user-friendly, liven it up, or incorporate a makerspace? Your colleagues have these same questions.

If you’ve watched any of the free on-demand webinars on Demco’s Ideas + Inspiration site, you know we are fortunate to partner with smart folks who generously share their expertise and experiences. What you may not know is that each webinar has an archive of the questions attendees asked before or during the live session and our experts’ answers to them, along with helpful resources. Here we’re highlighting a few of the many questions posed as part of the Space Design collection of webinars.


1. From Library as Center of Innovation, presented by Traci Lesneski, Principal at MSR
  • Kite-Tables_Eastern-Christian
    Muzo Kite® Mini Mobile Flip Tables are a popular choice for libraries looking to add flexibility to their spaces.

    When I think of some of the things described as multi-use or multi-functioning, I think of Alton Brown from the Food Network. He likes to talk about “the evilness of unitaskers” and how every tool in his kitchen needs to be a multi-tasker.

    That’s kind of how I think of the 21st century library, whatever kind of library it might be. Spaces need to be pressed into multiple types of service.

    So if you have only 1 table and chair available for studying, it may be that you need to design the space during the day so that it can be used for innovation or maker- or STEM-related activities, and at other times of the day it can be set aside for quiet study or research. It could be that you need to think about the kinds of tables or chairs that would allow for that to take place. It may be that you need to have craft paper on hand that can be spread out over a table so that when you are moving from a clean activity to a messy one, it can be done with minimal cleanup. Or it may be that you need to do some reconfiguration of a space to help you to find more space. Sometimes taking a fresh look at how your shelving is located and how windows are used (or not) can help free up space and create variety in your spaces.



3. From New Approaches to Existing Spaces, presented by Dan Meehan, Founding Principal of HBM Architects
  • Answer:
    Color selections can have a big impact, but strong colors need to be carefully used. Strong colors focus attention and, used properly, can pull you into a space, but they can also close off a space. There are also great photo murals out there that you can create and have printed to cover a portion of a wall. This can create outdoor scenes or the feel of a window if you like. You can make it part of an art program in school to create changing art by creating a mural on a wall. It can change monthly or less frequently to draw interest. This creates a focus, and while you’re not able to have a changing view of the outside, the space can still be dynamic and changing inside. You can also use color to define focal points and create attention within the space.

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4. From Make It Last: Choosing Colors, Fabrics and Finishes, presented by Jessica Mahne, instructor and program director for the Interior Design Program at Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wisconsin
5. From Rethink & Re-envision: Dramatic Redesigns of Existing Spaces, presented by Kim Bolan Cullin, Principal Consultant at Kimberly Bolan & Associates

Need your questions answered? Consider the library for librarians. When you seek answers, this is a great place to start, as it’s loaded with helpful resources and project photos for inspiration and ideas. Pick your topic.

You can also consider DEMCO Interiors for help with your library space planning needs.


Angie Schoeneck

Angie Schoeneck

Growth Strategy Manager at Demco, Inc.
Angie is the Growth Strategy Manager at Demco. She focuses on the evolving needs and trends in education and library environments, their patrons and communities, and translating these into relevant products and services. She has an extensive background in new product development, product management and business process improvement.