A library (from French "librairie"; Latin "liber" = book) is an organized collection of information resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films,maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audio books, databases, and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items.
* A public library “should encourage the following uses: browsing, seeking, studying, meeting, and borrowing. Major trends likely to influence library design in the foreseeable future include: a 30% increase in pensioners by 2025, and a significant diminution in those of working age; a significant increase in those with a higher education; more part- time work; more jobs in knowledge-based areas, and fewer in manufacturing.
The concept of the ‘public library’ evolved from the Guildhall Library in 15th century London. In the 17th and 18th centuries, most libraries were created by gift or endowment, but by the beginning of the 19th century, these had generally been superseded by either institutional (e.g. those attached to mechanics’ institutes or literary and philosophical societies) or subscription libraries. The Public Libraries Act of 1850 was one of several social reforms of the mid- 19th century, and was generally intended to create ‘free libraries’, available to all classes of society throughout the country. The first two purpose- designed public libraries were Norwich and Warrington, in 1857.
The Public Libraries Act of 1919 further extended library provision. Besides the lending library and the reading room, most libraries now had a reference department, and many had separate children’s departments. After 1918 there was a considerable increase in technical and commercial libraries (over 115 by 1924). By the 1930~~ most libraries had adopted open access (as opposed to books being available over a counter via the library staff), which required more sophisticated classification and cataloguing systems - the Dewey system was generally adopted.
Increasing literacy and leisure time plus the ‘information explosion’ make it important to plan for maximum flexibility and for future expansion. New techniques are changing methods of control, indexing and retrieval. The growing availability of computerized information (particularly on compact discs and on-line electronic systems) means there is a change in emphasis from book storage to information exchange utilizing computer equipment. These require additional ventilation and secure power supplies, and suitable lighting levels for users. The wide availability of computers means that the problem of space, and particularly the location of a library in a single building, may no longer be critical.
* Space Requirements
* Public services - A central library may serve in the region of one million customers per year, with a peak daily count of approximately 5000 to 6000 people and a peak hourly count of up to 400. The following service areas may be provided * Branch library - May be included as a discrete section of a central library, probably near the entrance, and cater for more popular books and related material. There will be only a few thousand volumes, acting as a ‘taster’ invitation to what is available elsewhere in the library. The library may be divided into subject areas, perhaps with defined enquiry points. Study spaces, browsing areas, and publicly available computer terminals can also be provided in each subject area. The various areas may be open plan, but must be visually...