Libraries of the 21st century

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The flexibility of carpet tiles positively contributes to contemporary library usage.

Libraries of the 21st century

The McAllen Mail Library in Texas, USA.

When you think of a library, what do you think of? The image that we may have been brought up with is a big quiet building where a stern librarian is likely to shush you if you make noise and with rows and rows of shelves of books. It was a place to store, borrow and use books, and one of enforced quiet.

Libraries of the 21st century

Colours and patterns serve different purposes and evoke different moods.

Today’s libraries are adapting to changing times. They are places to gather and to promote interactive learning. They are adapting to and engaging with the myriad of types of media available: not just physical books but all types of digital media. They provide resources for the community with access to computers, printers and connectivity. While they still need to provide space for quiet, reflection, reading and study, contemporary libraries recognise the ways that the boundaries between study and social life, between quiet and activity, and between solitude and community are no longer as sharp.

Libraries of the 21st century

An entrance designed with children in mind.

In various projects involving Interface, we can see the example of how libraries are ensuring their accessibility to a new generation of patrons. In the McAllen Mail Library in McAllen, Texas and the Ramsey County Roseville Library in Roseville, Minnesota, Interface worked in partnership with MSR, the award-winning architecture and interior design firm to infuse the libraries’ new interiors with colour, inspiration and purpose.

Libraries of the 21st century

MSR has designed more than 180 libraries accross the USA.

The Minnesota library, dating from the 90s was ‘dark, unwelcoming, dated, and inefficient’. With a new focus on daylit open spaces and views, Interface carpet tiles were chosen in simple patchwork complementary colours to not only enliven the space with colour but also to provide easy wayfinding for different ages of library users: green for adults, orange for teens and magenta for children.

More dramatic wayfinding was used in the McAllen Main Library, which was transformed from an abandoned Walmart store in 2011. Here, colour schemes of both the carpet tiles and the adjacent interiors divide primary program areas such as the children’s library and community meeting rooms, and guide patrons between them.

Libraries of the 21st century

The McAllen Main Library was transformed from an abandoned Walmart store in 2011.

For both projects, colours and patterns serve different purposes and evoke different moods: the flooring leading to the children’s area grass-coloured as if a park or playground, more serious earth-tones for adult areas and study areas, and squares and blocks of colour to break up and bring to life the walking surfaces underneath.

MSR chose Interface carpet tile not only for is dependability as a flooring solution but because of the flexibility that it offered them to create a custom look for their clients, creatively combining products from ‘a broad product range of patterns, textures, colours and tile sizes’. In addition to aesthetic qualities, MSR complimented Interface for its ‘exceptional quality and construction’ as well as customer service, and for being ‘a leader in innovation and developing products with reduced environmental and social impacts’.

Libraries of the 21st century.

Ramsey County Roseville Library in Minnesota.

The firm MSR – Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle – is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Hyattsville, Maryland and since 1981 has earned a reputation for producing work of enduring value and designing exceptional new spaces and innovative ways to reuse buildings. They’ve designed spaces for more than 180 libraries across the USA.




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