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4 Key Factors that Have Impacted Furniture in the Changing Library Environment

Today’s libraries serve as a hub for multi-generational learning and collaboration, address community challenges such as the need for greater access to technology, and provide an environment for social engagement.

Contrary to the predictions of eventual obsolescence, libraries are adapting to meet the changing needs of their patrons and ensure long-term sustainability. Beyond offering traditional resources, libraries strive for a user-focused, service-rich environment that supports today’s social and educational patterns of learning, teaching and engagement. Technology plays a pivotal role in this transformation. In fact, libraries are using technology as a catalyst for change, while rethinking the role of the physical library through new approaches to space design. The digital age impacts libraries beyond simply offering new technologies to patrons. Library staff continue to research new ways to foster a sense of community and encourage collaboration, without increasing their budget.

Multipurpose furniture allows more people, businesses and organizations to utilize the same library spaces, tailoring the room layout to meet the needs of each category of user. In addition to its role in the reconfiguring of spaces within the library, furniture plays a key role in helping to modernize a library’s culture.

There are 4 key factors that have impacted furniture in the changing library environment:
  • Flexability
  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Attractiveness

Cullin’s research supports the need for change, stating,

“Many non-library users I interview say they would use their libraries more if … the furniture was more comfortable and attractive.”

— Kimberly Bolan Cullin, MLIS, President and Principal
  Consultant of Kimberly Bolan & Associates, LLC

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