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School Library Design: Essential Areas

Elements of Good Library Design

  • Adequate and flexible space for simultaneous activities (whole group, small groups, individuals)
  • Library arranged for effective use with designated areas for specific activities (storytelling, research, technology use, etc.)
  • Location of library in school allows equitable access and fosters collaboration between librarian and teachers


The heart of the library is the materials it offers to the school community.  


This is the area where library materials are checked in and out.  A book drop with depressible book truck beneath is used for returns. This area may also function as an information desk and work area.  It is usually located near the library media center's main entrance but should be placed so that the entire library is visible from the charge desk. Components may include:

·         charge desk and staff work area

·         book drop

·         book carts/trucks

·         shelving for reserves and special collections

·         circulation computer with administrator access

·         electrical outlets and data drops for network access

·         telephone / intercom

·         public access catalogs

·         security system

·         copier

·         display


Independent Reading

Independent reading, pleasure reading, free voluntary reading -- whatever you call it, reading beyond the reading the required for school is the heart of lifelong learning. So we want to invite students to do all kinds of reading, including independent reading in the library and offer a comfortable place for them to do it.  The independent reading area is furnished with comfortable seating -- more of a living room than a classroom.

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