• Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Kickstarting “the library” as a hub of empowerment.

    A low cost education system is critical to building up the youth in the 21st century knowledge economy. The ability to generate new ideas is critical for educational advancement. The social conditions are changing the way libraries are used. The economy is changing and libraries need to be able to do fundraising in the knowledge economy.

    The invention of funding platforms is beginning. During our investigations into innovation we found Kickstarter, a micro funding web site that creates tools for the average person to start a building project. For example, Architect David Dewane – Gensler, started a project to create educational hubs that are creation, generation, dissemination and production zones for the youth of Africa. CLICK HERE TO SEE LIBRII: NEW MODEL LIBRARY IN AFRICA

    In a “New Kind of Library” by Kira Gould – Dewane states – “This is a new kind of library. It will be the first that will actively engage users as content creators, the first that will operate on a sustainable business model, and the first designed to maximize the potential of high-speed information exchange in developing markets.” These strategies are helpful to include in the fundraising plan.

    What if you could create a network of libraries in Africa to feed communities with knowledge, creativity conduits, and revenue?

    What if you could create an innovative space in your library that will generate knowledge? Try Kickstarter to start the fundraising efforts.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    International Library Development – Baghdad Youth and Sport City Development

    Baghdad Library, Youth City, Baghdad Iraq
    Dates: Awarded November 2011, scheduled to tender late 2013
    Project size: 45,000 sqm
    Client: Ministry of Sports and Youth
    Services Provided: Library Planning / Architecture Support

    The new Library takes the shape of a drop-like peninsula, which projects out onto a lake. The 45,000 sqm structure will be the cultural center of Baghdad’s Youth and Sport City development.

    AMBS Architects and ACA have revealed their ambitious design for the new Baghdad Library. The building brings together form, function, and cultural significance. The 45,000 sqm structure will be the central focus of a planned Youth City that has been designed to inspire Iraq’s younger generations.

    The new Baghdad library scheduled to tender this year, will be a public space and cultural center designed to encourage intellectual, creative and social exchange. With this elegant, multipurpose building, AMBS Architects, who were commissioned by the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Iraq last year, hope to inspire a new model for libraries in Iraq and internationally.

    Saad Eskander, Director of the National Library of Iraq said: “It is imperative for the new Iraq to consolidate its young democracy and good governance through knowledge. New libraries have a notable role to play by promoting unconditional access to information, freedom of expression, cultural diversity, and transparency. By responding to the needs of Iraq’s next generations, the new library, we hope, will play an important role in the future of our country.”

    The project represents a crucial step in the rebuilding of Iraq, which has been underway since 2003. Over the past nine years AMBS founder Ali Mousawi has played a significant role in the country’s redevelopment. He said: “Before 2003 Iraq had almost collapsed after a thirteen year embargo and eight years of war. This kept the country isolated from the world and from modern technology. I had to leave Iraq myself in 1982 and returned in 2003 to assist with the rebuilding of the country, with the aim of revitalising Iraq and establishing a new vision for the future.

    “What I saw when I returned and still see today is that the Iraqi youth are in many ways lost. They have been surrounded by violence, and for years there has been a lack of services and few opportunities for work or personal development. We hope that the library will help shape Iraq’s next generation of intellects and politicians, artists and writers, poets and musicians, doctors and lawyers, and change makers.”

    AMBS Architects are partnering with New York based firm ACA Consultants, one of the world’s leading library consultants and planners, with the aim to build a collection of over three million books, including rare manuscripts and periodicals. The library will also house cutting edge technology, performance and event spaces. AMBS Director Amir Mousawi said: “This will be an accessible library for all ages. Our ambition is to create a space where people can run a serious and consolidated programme of public events; art exhibitions, book clubs, theatre events, educational conferences, film screenings and workshops.”

    A spokesperson for the Ministry of Sport and Youth said: “Our vision is to bring hope back to the young people, to build them a new cultural centre where they can express their talent and ideas. The whole library will be modern; it won’t simply be a place to find books, but a freely accessible place of knowledge.”

    The library is designed to engage and empower visitors, and to encourage open exchange. The building’s lightweight, single-span roof, creates a vast open plan space, allowing people to read and navigate the building logically. The practical and cultural importance of light is demonstrated through an encrypted message in the the design of the roof, which forms the word ‘read’ written in Arabic Kufic script. This is documented as the first word spoken by God to the Prophet (PBUH).

    Functionality, intuitive organisation, and rational user-friendly design were all key concepts which shaped the building from the inside out. AMBS Co-Director Marcos De Andres said: “The Baghdad Library is more than simply a sleek and strikingly beautiful structure – what makes this building truly remarkable is the user interface. Our focus was the building’s behaviour, and our systematic approach started with a creative dialogue; thinking rationally, reasoning and discussing how the building should work. We have challenged the conventional library model, conceiving it as a modern, multi-functional public space. We identified core activities and paid special attention to the exchanges we wanted to engender through use. Thoughts and ideas gave shape to a set of unique spaces, and little by little an ideal model was formed.”

    Images of New Innovative Library

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Learning with Technology

    The most visible signs of our embrace of digital media belongs to the students – young and old. The way they learn using computers, iPads, e-readers and smartphones are different than the past. They are quick to embrace the “library in the cloud” as Sugata Mitra describes in Build a School in the Cloud. It is natural for them to work in groups to learn. With just a little support from a “grandma” or someone who is older that encourages them as Mitra points out, the students can learn anything from a device connected to the net.

    The shift taking place in libraries is proving to be transformative in the ways we use information. It is not only Community Colleges and Universities that are being transformed, but as the Strategic Content Alliance stated in Sustaining Our Digital Future: Institutional Strategies for Digital Content – “The use of dynamic digital resources — websites, digital collections, databases of crowdsourced or born digital content pose opportunities and challenges that are all their own.”

    Our universities are working to understand the impact of globalization on higher education in an increasingly transformed environment. This ranges from overseas universities offering cheaper undergraduate and graduate programs to the development of “massive open online courses”, or MOOC’s.”

    It has become clear that a great deal of the content that libraries are holding today is expected to endure because of our natural embrace of technology. We need to start rethinking how libraries and learning centers can support this paradigm shift in the 21st century.


  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    The Library of Unborrowed Books and the Future of Learning Spaces

    In the Art of Browsing by Claire Barliant we started to reflect about the book as a trend in our quest for knowledge. We learned about the “Library of Unborrowed Books” – an art installation developed by Meriç Algün Ringborg that manifests itself in the languages and titles of each book in the collection.

    Meriç Algün Ringborg’s art installation looks at the library as a contemporary moment. The project presents hundreds of books that have never been borrowed from the Center for Fiction’s library. The framework hints at what has been disregarded, knowledge essentially unconsumed. It puts on display what eludes us.

    Librarians know that the act of browsing for a book in a large collection is an idea generator. It provides the patron that is walking in the library with an awareness and openness to new ideas, stories, history and science. Claire Barliant reflects on the real changes occuring in our world. She stated, “But with every trend, however modest, you have to wonder, why now? Is it possible that book browsing is already strange and unusual enough to be considered material for art?”

    “Everyone agrees that the future of publishing is electronic, with words beamed to us instantaneously. But in that case, what will happen to all of the books and the places that store them? When they’re gone, where will we randomly stumble on the knowledge we didn’t even know we wanted to know?”

    We believe the library will continue to represent the gaps and cracks of history through book and media circulation. We believe in the digital catalog, providing a collection where access and ownership and subscription licenses are intermixed. Most importantly, the library will provide professional support through readers advisory and information literacy.

    The library of the future will be where primary materials and extended access co-exist to create an experience that enhances our learning process and research outcomes.

    Library of Unborrowed Books

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    The Library is an Incubator for Applied Design

    Paola Antonelli was on the Colbert Report to talk about Applied Design, an exhibition running at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Paola is the senior curator of the Design and Architecture department, focusing on a new way to look at space.

    Paola Antonelli has some great insights on the future of learning spaces, which really resonates with our library planning team. For example, Paola Antonelli stated – “The idea of having this research and development at a museum is about trying to figure out truly what kind of position the museum has to take on the inside and the outside for the future. My basic thought is that museums are, together with schools, the R&D of society. It’s about this chain of research and understanding.”

    Our view is that the Library is an incubator for Applied Design. It is a place where the chain of research and understanding can be successfully implemented. The library is in a unique position to allow learning activities to exist. It serves the function of R&D in our society and should be encouraged.

  • Library Planning Research

    Making in the Library Incubator

    Libraries serve as a community hub – a common service and a content space to share and make things. The support we give to enhance culture is also a major strategy. When we share knowledge in our libraries, we are breaking out from yesterday’s technology.

    At the American Library Association meeting in Seattle, there was a interesting event that drew a large crowd. It was a program that discussed how the maker space is developing and how libraries will be part of the trend. A group from Make Magazine created a lot of excitement.

    In “Libraries and Makerspaces: a match made in heaven” – Cory Doctorow recognizes that “Libraries also serve as community hubs, places where the curious, the scholarly, and the intellectually excitable can gather in the company of one another, surrounding by untold information-wealth, presiding over by skilled information professionals who lend technical assistance where needed.”