Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Ohio & King Library.

with 5 comments

I’ve been in Ohio for the past few days visiting a friend from college who is teaching and working on her MA in English at Miami University (OH, not FL). Fall has struck hard here and the leaves are perfect. Yesterday I had a chance to visit King Library, the main library on campus. Ho-ly-cow. It’s beautiful!! Wonderful facilities, great interior design, and an excellent variety of spaces.

  • Clear, clean and creative signage. I was very impressed with their stacks signage, something that I’ve been thinking about lately with our upcoming renovation at Millersville. The large sign above the Circulation desk was also really well done, with all of their major services available at that desk listed (Reserves – Laptops – Study Rooms – Check Outs). I didn’t see any 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper stuck up with tape. Most signs were of high quality (engraved/etched) and anything that was printed seemed to be laminated or in a clear plastic holder.
  • Natural accents. I also noticed that they used a lot of natural wood, for shelf end-caps, tables, etc. It really does a lot to brighten the place up compared to darker woods. They also utilized natural lighting which makes everything more inviting, and lots of strategically placed plants.
  • Functional, appealing furniture. Instead of placing book carts around the stacks for books students are done with, they have small tables. It looks really classy! And it can’t be that much more work, because the staff can just push a cart around and collect the items instead of grabbing all those carts. It looks clean and cute, and you could probably get similar ones from Ikea (and cheap!). I loved all the curvy s-shaped couches – with footstools! The footstools are key, having them makes it soo much more comfy, especially with a computer on your lap. Another great idea was to outfit most of the large walls with an artwork hanging system. You may have seen a system like this in place at art galleries or in museums. It looks like a strip across the wall and then you hang framed artwork on thin wires. It’s great because you can do so much with it without being tied to banging nails into the walls (virtually ruining them and locking you into the same location every time even if you change the pieces). This might not seem clear, but I included a picture below. Great example of flexible design!

So the moral of the story is that even though I don’t go to this university, even though I didn’t even look at their collection of books or online resources, even though I didn’t use any of their services or ask any questions, I had a great experience there.The look and feel alone were enough to make me want to be in that building for coffee, to hang out, and to do my work (I was there for about 4 hours using their guest wireless which had no connectivity issues, was unlimited, didn’t require me to log in, and worked seamlessly with my Mac). Because I felt so comfortable with the surroundings, I would certainly feel confident approaching a service point with questions or if I needed help. Although I could have probably experienced similar spaces on campus with the same look and feel, the library should (and in this case does) have more investment in creating positive spaces. Why? Because if students feel comfortable there, if the space is meeting all of their needs, that confidence will spill over into their interactions with librarians as well as information. Creating a more beneficial experience for everyone, no?

Circulation desk sign (too large the fit the entire sign in the shot!)

Circulation desk sign (too large the fit the entire sign in the shot!)

S-shaped couches and footstools in beige, blueish green & purple

S-shaped couches and footstools in beige, blueish green & purple

Close up of the first floor directory

Close up of the first floor directory


Book return tables - natural wood

Book return tables - natural wood

Library directory signage - colorful & visible

Library directory signage - colorful & visible

"How call numbers work" signage - great!

"How call numbers work" signage - great!

Restroom sign - love that they include the nearest accessible restroom

Love that they include the nearest accessible restroom

Second floor directory and emergency plan

Second floor directory and emergency plan

Hanging system with art print

Hanging system with art print

Self check out machine with Information desk in the background

Self check out machine with Information desk in the background

Stacks end-cap - natural wood, clear, visible signage & an overview of what's there

Stacks end-cap - natural wood, clear, visible signage & an overview of what's there

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Written by Erin Dorney

October 13, 2009 at 2:30 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. I just found some more photos on Flickr that show the writing center and some more signage and furniture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenwaller/sets/72157620689820341/

    Pretty nice!

    Erin

    October 13, 2009 at 3:03 PM

  2. Great post! It looks like a wonderful library. Totally digging the signage.

    leah the librarian

    October 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM

  3. Thanks Leah! It was beautiful!

    Erin

    October 22, 2009 at 5:36 PM

  4. […] It’s a crucial element of an overall library experience. As an example I wanted to share a post written by Library Scenester about a visit to the library at Miami University at Ohio. Library Scenester is clearly impressed […]


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