Nan Li, Nan Li
“Libraries are community spaces that holds a very special place in people’s hearts, even though role of the library and librarian has changed tremendously.” Here's Caroline's library story.
When Librarian Caroline Pang was presented with the opportunity to build a medical library for the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU she rose to the challenge and began the 2-year long journey of creating a modern space for her library users. In the video below she shares some of the story behind the library’s creation.
Hear more from Caroline at our upcoming webinar: Configuring Library Spaces for the Future
She started with the vision of creating a highly accessible and welcoming space, and that vision is now reflected in every corner of the library. Huge windows fill the library with light creating an atmosphere that is bright and open, with stunning views of the Singapore skyline. Bespoke furniture is upcycled from trees cut down for the campus and gives the library an extra touch of uniqueness and modernity.
The library offers spaces categorized into four functions for its users:
Users can gather in small groups with moderate levels of noise at the Collaboration space. The space was set up with flexibility in mind and can accommodate group discussions of various sizes, with movable furniture.
For users who prefer an unobtrusive space – the Quiet and General Collections is nestled beside a few bookshelves and offers a conducive environment in which to work. Caroline shared the approach the library takes towards building physical collections – the content simply has to appreciate in value over time.
Special print editions that her library collects are the Singapore Doctors collection and the Medical Humanity collection.
For a livelier ambiance, the library accommodates a Café Area which doubles as a study or discussion space. By designating a space for eating and drinking the library doesn’t have the burden of operating a café, yet users can still enjoy the convenience of having food and drinks within the compound.
Last but not least, the Flexi-Space is an area designed for hosting events and community gatherings. As its name implies, the space is used for a variety of functions, from MOU signings, to workshops, to formal dinners or a study hall for students during exam periods.
The way these spaces are set up today can be configured for different purposes tomorrow, Caroline told us. “If you would really like to future proof your library, you should consider furniture that is easy to configure and move around for future intents, such as an increase or decrease in student population.”
The library is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With that said, security is an issue as it continues to operate after office hours, unmanned. To ensure a safe atmosphere and environment for users through the wee hours, lighting plays an important part and security measures are in place.
A special hotline allows users to reach out to security personnel should they observe any suspicious activity. The immense amount of trust the library has in its users and the adequate security measures are reflected in the low pilferage rate the library has recorded so far.
When asked about her thoughts on the future library, Caroline shared that it will continue to be a space for its users. The sense of community is a feeling that cannot be replicated anywhere else on campus.
The role of the library and the librarian may have changed, but the bond between the library and its users remains the same.
Special thanks to Caroline and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University for sharing their library’s story.
Do you have a special story about your library? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your library’s journey.