Yesterday I took a trip to Ramsgate library with a couple of members of staff to see if it could generate ideas for improving the layout of our library. It was a good opportunity to step outside our normal working environment and see some different approaches to the use of library space. Personally, I think this is a good idea as it encourages you to look at your own space in a different way and re-appraise the areas that you tend to overlook.
Ramsgate library has only recently re-opened following a massive refurbishment due to arson back in 2004. Despite suffering massive damage to the interior, the listed facade remained intact. Due to the damage to the interior, huge changes were made to the layout of the library including the addition of seminar rooms and community spaces. The result is a very impressive interior that feels very spacious and welcoming compared to many ‘traditional’ libraries.
The entrance is particularly spacious, with only a few small front facing display stands lining the view. The displays at the front have been colour co-ordinated so that books of a similar colour are grouped together. This has quite an impact as you walk into the library. I also really liked the guiding that was written on the pillars throughout the library:
Nice, clean, simple and effective.
Upstairs is also very spacious looking (even with a mezzanine) and has an impressive stained glass window down one end that was partly designed by local school children:
The non-fiction section on this floor is actually dubbed ‘Information’ and is shelved in categories rather than in Dewey. The feel is very reminiscent of a bookshop and, although I wasn’t sure about the category shelving, it has proven to be popular with the local people and that is, after all, the most important thing for any public library. Overall, I have to say I was very impressed and hopefully we can generate some ideas from the visit to improve the layout of our library too.
You can see more photos of Ramsgate library here.