What Features To Consider For School Library Design?

School Library Shelves

A school library is more than just a room lined with books. A school library is an educational hive of activity that, with the right learning spaces and utilisation, can inspire children and young people to want a brighter and more educated future, Library Design is very important for young minds. 

Libraries are epicentres of education and can be a living, breathing resource for learning and engagement. From research conducted by the National Literacy Trust, it was discovered that two-thirds of children and young people actively use their school library. With that in mind, it’s essential to create a space that is both stylish and functional.

The most common reason for children and young people to use the library was access to interesting reading materials, closely followed by libraries being seen as friendly and relaxing spaces.

Contextual factors can have a huge impact on a child or young person’s educational and emotional development and libraries are centres of development where they can unlock fantastical worlds or find support for their homework with peers or staff.

So how do you create a space that’s built to encourage while still remaining functional and to specifications? Read on to find out how our school library furniture design ideas can inspire your next project.

Inspirational Library Design

When designing an educational space, it’s important to evaluate the purpose of a room. As a contractor or architect, your plans will naturally build themselves around the movement of activity and fill spaces with products such as seating and shelving to accommodate the users’ needs.

Libraries, even though some are small, are comprised of key functional ‘areas’. With different areas designed for different purposes, bringing the overall design together can initially seem difficult. With Benchmark Products, you can make organising your fittings as managed as the Dewey Decimal System.

Cloaks & Storage Areas

Libraries can be busy places. With lots of books, people and furniture, loose bags and coats can be a mess and tripping hazard. When you enter a school library, there’s more often than not an area where students can deposit coats and bags that they can collect later.

For the purpose of safety and tidiness, this is an area that we highly recommend utilising a storage system for. Our cloakroom areas are made to measure in our own factory to make sure they can fit any space. Our storage areas and shelving solutions can also provide great utility for stowing resources safely away.

school cloak room
Cloakroom area at The Downs Primary School

Group Work Areas

Although reading is mostly considered a solitary activity, interactive and group learning is a great way to promote engagement and develop key skills. From primary schools to secondary schools, the focus on group learning has increased over the years as studies on the benefits of group learning have been produced.

Benchmark can create group work area furniture that utilises space and incorporates furniture that will enable students and teachers to work together cooperatively. Seating clusters (such as the one seen in the image below) are great ways to let students work in an area of their own. Built-in furniture storage provides quick access to learning equipment and resources.

School Library Furniture
Seating area at Orton Winston Primary School

I.T. Suites

I.T. Suites are centres of learning in their own right. With access to software and learning programmes, students of all age groups can learn fundamental technology skills and have access to updated information books may not be able to provide.

Although I.T. suites can also be separate classrooms, libraries use technology suites to allow students to write essays and access learning tools. They can also be used as teaching spaces for instructive and guided learning.

A new ICT suite design for education can be a substantial investment. Any school or college will want to ensure every target for quality, performance and future technology is met.

Our bespoke service makes working around the available space easy. Whether your design features individual study sections or continuous surfaces, Benchmark can create an IT suite that works exactly with your client’s requirements.

For workspaces, we can design individual workstations. To meet DDA requirements in line with the Disability Discrimination Act, these can be manufactured to include height adjustable frames to suit all students.

Benchmark can create post formed laminate or ABS lipped work surfaces in a range of finishes. The legs are constructed from strong welded, ERW mild steel and powder-coated in colours to complement or contrast the work-surfaces. Functionality, strength and design are key elements of the products Benchmark manufacturer to make sure all finishes are the best standard.

Study furniture, computer desks
I.T. area at UEA Employability Centre

Private Study

Opening up a book and delving into the pages can open up new worlds and thoughts for children of all ages. Reading is a fundamental tool for children to broaden their knowledge and improve their language skills.

But reading is also escapism. It’s fundamental to their development but many children will happily open a book to relax.

When we designed a school library for a Junior School in Norwich, it was important to ensure children had a quiet place to read – especially as the library was designed as a thoroughfare.

We proposed curved shelving that would not only act as pathway guidance but would also create separation between areas and create solitude for young readers.

This project was installed into a small area so we manufactured white furniture to provide a clean and spacious look. The combination of lime green on the upholstery and decorations gave the library a distinct but not overwhelming look.

The use of bookcases as dividers not only provides functional storage for books and resources but creates a natural separation between areas and naturally block out noise from busier group work areas of technology suites.

Bespoke library furniture
School Library at Cantley Primary School

Help Desks

Although it may appear like a  reception area, every library usually has some form of help desk where students and staff can ask questions or gain access to resources. Very few schools have moved toward digitised book systems due to costs, so depositing and taking out books is usually done through a dedicated staff team.

Teachers do not usually frequent libraries during breaks and lunchtimes so help desks let students feel safer as there are still adults around that can support them if necessary.

Benchmark’s in-house design service can help make your help desk fit in perfectly with the whole composition of your library, creating surfaces and storage to specification to keep things organised. We can also provide security & privacy screens to create areas for staff privacy.

reception furniture, help desk

Choose the right library furniture suppliers

At Benchmark Products, create functional and aesthetic spaces for learning is a task we take very seriously. We manufacture all our products in-house so that we have full control over the innovation, lead-times and can directly compensate for any queries or problems you may have.

Our products are made from high-quality woods and metals to make sure that they don’t just look good but they remain strong and in top shape, even if they are subjected to the rough and tumble environment of schools. 

We work closely with you to make sure your concepts become a reality and with a dedicated team devoted to installation, we can give you one complete service to make your life easier.

Do you want to create a library that inspires? Contact Benchmark Products on 01953 889 603 or email enquiries@benchmarkproducts.co.uk

This article was written by Dean Fryer, Estimator at Benchmark FF&E Solutions since 2012.

Dean at Benchmark Products

Passionate about the collaboration between sub-contractors on-site and a demonstrated history in assisting building contractors and architects with producing comprehensive and definitive schedules at pre-tender and pre-contract stage, Dean is an invaluable asset to Benchmark Products and contributes towards the end goal of perfect delivery every time.