Open, unmanned libraries - what is this?

August 31 /

Open, unmanned libraries are open to visitors, also when they are not manned by personnel. This allows for extended opening hours and yet, greater public service.

The reasons for having an open, unmanned library are many;  

Increase the accessibility for those who want to visit the library with longer opening hours. In today’s society we more or less require services of all kinds to be available when we need it.

The possibility to have open, unmanned libraries has increased in pace with technological advances. Internet reservations, self-service machines and card readers are examples of this, as well as technology with automatic start / stop of light, code locks on doors, etc.

It may also be due to pure cost savings. In Denmark, for example, closure of several branch libraries in 2007 was the result of a restructuring of the local government. To somehow compensate for this, unmanned, open libraries were introduced to increase accessibility.


Hayridge Public Library, United Kingdom

No need to stop and ask for directions

5 November / Signage

Clear signage steers people to the right product

We all know the feeling of not being able to find what we are looking for and let’s be honest, we’d rather find it ourselves than have to ask.

That is why signage is so important in a library. It gives people the information they need to find what they are looking for without having to take up a librarian’s time.

Wayfinding or directory signage placed at the entrance of a library, will quickly and easily direct people to the correct zone within the library. Once in the right area, clear shelf signage will help them find exactly what they are after.

Longsight Public Library, United Kingdom
Manchester City Public Library, United Kingdom

What's your study style?

22 October / Academic libraries

Not every student prefers silence to study

An Academic Library provides students with the perfect study environment, especially because the information and resources they need to ace their exams and assignments is right at their fingertips.

Some students prefer to study alone, whereas others learn better in a group setting. When designing an academic library, it therefore fundamental to accommodate students’ various learning styles. Quiet study zones where students can focus and learn individually, as well as group areas where students can discuss and collaborate, need to be integrated in the library layout.

Darmstadt Academic Library, Germany
Newport University, Wales, United Kingdom
Queen Mary University, London, United Kingdom

Relate to children at their level

23 August / Children's zone

Sindal Public Library, Denmark

Child-size furniture for the perfect-fit library

Do you remember how big everything was when you were a child? The world was an unexplored expanse waiting to be discovered. And you longed for your independence to go on adventures without needing an adult.

To nurture that curiosity and fuel that independence, a children’s library zone needs to be child-size. The shelving needs to be at a height where they can reach the books on the top shelf. The tables and chairs need to be the perfect fit. The display needs to be at their eye-level. All of this so that children can feel the space is made especially for them and that they can enjoy all it has to offer with or without mum and dad.

Be inspired here....

Accessorize your library and grab attention

12 March / Display & exhibition

Missing introduction

A new handbag, shiny necklace or colourful pair of shoes - the right accessories can grab attention and easily change your appearance from drab to fab. 

So then why not use accessories to spice up your library? Like our colourful, fluorescent “In-between” index blocks; or our “Wawes” book displays.

It may be 'mission impossible' to organise the contents of your handbag, but we promise these accessories will bring pizzazz, as well as organisation to your library.

See more in our webshop.

Waves displays in neon colours
Waves displays in neon colours

A cool place to hang out

24 February / Youth zone

Create a cosy area for your teens

The youth zone is a cosy area for the young users – those who don’t want to be seen as children but still aren’t adults – the TEENS. The zone should be a cool place with its own identity and funny furniture you will not find anywhere else in the library. A place where the teens can hang out and have a good time with friends.

Nesodden Public Library, Norway
Nes Public Library, Norway

Give your shelving a makeover

19 January / Shelving functions

You don’t have to stick to boring straight shelves

Add new life to your library by giving your old and boring shelving a makeover. By simply replacing existing straight shelves with different function components, you can create a brand new look and extend the use and functionality of your shelving system.

More than just books

18 December / Public libraries

Today, the libraries are much more than just books. It is often seen that libraries are placed in connection with other cultural function and part of a cultural centre with several functions. In Denmark and in the United Kingdom, public service/county offices are integrated in some libraries, thereby combining different entities and making it easier for citizens.

Furthermore, in many countries, the library has become a place to meet and hang out with friends.

Herning Public Library, Denmark
Stockton Public Library, United Kingdom

A place for everyone

18 December / Public libraries

Herning Public Library, Denmark

The public library is a place for everybody and therefore needs to accommodate the needs of many different target groups. The public library is therefore divided into several different zones. There needs to be a zone for the children where they can play and enjoy the wonders of books, a zone for the teens where they can hang out and enjoy the library on their premises, a zone for the parents who want to read the newest bestseller on the shelf, and a zone for the grand parents who want to catch up on the news.   

A part of the children's education

18 December / Schoool libraries

Being that the users of the school library are children from the age of 5 to the age of 16/18, it is important that the library accommodate the needs of the whole age span as well as focus on being a school library. Areas for learning, study, computers and space for group work are essential in a school library as some tutorials can take place in the school library instead of in the classroom. The library needs to accommodate the different learning styles depending on the different national school reforms.

Visualise the media

18 December / Technology

Integrate media into library furniture

Integrating screens into shelving can be a way of visualising the media you can’t hold in your hands. The screens are mostly integrated into end panels, but it is also a possibility to integrate the screen into a display, such as Ordrup display, where the news can run over the screen. The screens can be an eye-catcher in the library and inspire the users in their search after new books. The screens can have several different functions such as way finding, a search tool for the users, give information to the users from the library and advertisement. Many of screens are interactive and can be used by the users.

The screens are customised for the users and the function with each project. 

Integrating screens into shelving is an area in development and always changing.

Avedøre Public Library, Denmark
Ørestaden Public Library, Denmark

The library of the future is here

18 December / Technology

Keep up-to-date!

We constantly keep abreast of the latest happenings and developments in the library world in order to fuel our inspiration and feed our hunger to remain at the forefront of library design.

The Hunt Library, located on North Carolina State University’s research campus, is without a doubt the library of the future. It is a flagship and benchmark for libraries wanting to embrace digital technology.

With high-tech tools, immersive spaces and an environment that fosters collaboration, the Hunt Library helps students turn ideas into reality.

It is a place of passion and vision; reflection and creativity – all of which are assisted and nurtured through the use of interactive computing, multimedia and large-scale visualization tools, enabling revolutionary ways to see and use information.

This library is evidence that the libraries of the future are not buildings where dust settles on books, but rather lively hubs where people can interact with new technologies and create amazing things.

Hunt Academic Library, North Carolina, USA
Hunt Academic Library, North Carolina, USA

Room for both the smaller and the older children

18 December / Schoool libraries

School libraries are mainly for children from the age of 5 to the age of 16 or 18, depending on the age of the pupils in the connecting school. Because of the large age span, it is important that the library contains something for the smaller as well as the older children.

The school library can be placed centrally in the school and be an area that the pupils cross several time a day. It is also a possibility that the school library is an integrated part of a public library, known as a combi-library. A combi-library needs to meet the needs of those using the library during the day to read the newspaper, while making sure that there is room for many children at the same time.

Let the books sell themselves

December 4 /

Interesting book displays are crucial in unmanned, open libraries

During ‘staff-less’ opening hours, when there are no librarians present to explain and guide readers, it is very important that the books are able to sell themselves. Placing books on display units or sloping shelves, breaks the monotony of rows of books on straight shelves and assists library visitors in choosing an interesting read by catching their attention and showing the beautifully designed book covers.

Much like the retail environment where products are placed near the cash register or entrance to tempt you to purchase, today’s modern libraries are mimicking this ‘shop-concept’ and placing ‘quick choices’ and new arrivals near the entrance or library counter. This provides visitors with an easy reference point to choose a book that the library is showcasing and recommending. These displays take the hassle and guesswork out of finding a good book and use the book covers to sell themselves.

Hayridge Public Library, United Kingdom
Manchester City Library, United Kingdom

Highlight the books

4 December / Lighting

Eccles Public Library, United Kingdom

Modern LED lights are a simple yet effective way to solve poor lighting conditions

Lighting often poses a problem in a library and can cause discomfort and difficulty when trying to distinguish one book from another, especially in poorly lit corners or on bottom shelves. Rather than having to put in new ceiling lights, installing LED lights onto the shelves themselves is a nifty solution to this problem.

Installing LED lighting on the shelves, will light up each row of shelving and will make reading the titles on the spines of the books much easier. It will also modernise your shelving and create a very sophisticated look.

Always seek professional guidance when deciding which lights to install on shelving.