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Q&A with Penny Gromatzky
Penny has been a consultant for private, public and school libraries for 34 years. Her extensive education includes Environmental Design at Texas A&M, Interior Design at El Centro College and Architectural History at SMU Abroad, Salzburg. Penny is the founder and owner of Haddock and Associates, as well as LibraTech.
What do you think are the driving forces behind library design?
It is important to have a library consultant to ensure the correct collection count, flow of the library and age appropriate seating is available for the children’s, teen and young adult areas. (i.e. reader tables and lounge furniture areas)
Do you see libraries becoming more of combination of library and community space? If so, how does that factor into your design choices?
Libraries have been heading in that direction for the past 25 years, combining traditional library space with community areas. It’s important to make sure you have separate age appropriate areas for children, adults, seniors, as well as collaborative areas
What are the current trends in library design?
The trends we are currently seeing are:
- Shelving should be no higher than 72”. Beyond that, it’s hard to reach the top shelf and people won’t use those books as much.
- More collaborative lounge and table areas.
- Most table and lounge areas have built in USB and electrical outlets.
How have the changes in libraries affected the furniture you chose for the space?
Today there is a need for more collaborative spaces and less shelving. Collaborative spaces are becoming much more important as libraries shift to part community centers. We’re seeing less shelving because of technology and the availability of resources online, and more landing spots to sit and read. While libraries are doing more outdoor spaces, the management of those can be difficult.
What is your favorite part of working on libraries?
We love incorporating the personal touches of the school or library by using their school colors, mascots or community touches. We also like creating the design flow and overall color scheme with appropriate shelving and furniture.