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Making libraries more accessible, open and inviting

Very few of us feel that libraries are accessible spaces. Most of us find them daunting, alienating and overwhelming. The way libraries are organised often requires specially trained people to manage and administer them. The library’s common users might be experienced and might have expertise in their own fields but they still might not be familiar with the rigid, hierarchical information that the library follows.

There are different ways of making libraries more accessible – bookshelf design, space design, knowledge space design and information management. The first two would physically alter the library space, the third would alter the logic of arrangement used in the library and the fourth would basically intervene in the software space to alter how the books are searched and retrieved.

The knowledge space design of the library would make the visual scanning of the library more productive and informative. In the conventional library space, visual scanning of the bookshelves is not productive and does not hold any surprise value or knowledge potential. A conventional library is not meant to be a knowledge space – it is only designed to be a space for stacking and storing. We want to change this.

We want to design ways in which knowledge discovery can happen in a library in a more fluid way. This fluid manner of knowledge discovery will involve an arrangement of books following a pattern that is not defined in any hierarchically defined manner. Many new ontological systems are being developed to address this problem. Additions to existing bookshelves in libraries are also being designed to optimise the existing infrastructure too.