Refresh Your Library With MiEN: 5 Design Tips for a Modern Media Center
School libraries are no longer just a place for finding and reading books. A modern media center holds a wide range of functions, from reading and research to collaborative learning to esports and makerspaces. Students utilize the space before and after school for individual and group work, access to technology, and more.
With all these purposes in mind, function, comfort, and student engagement are top considerations when designing a modern media center. The furnishings, color palette, and layout of your space are critical pieces in creating an engaging and useful space that all students and teachers can benefit from. That’s why it’s important to team up with a furniture partner to design an inspiring and engaging space with functional and durable furnishings that will serve the needs of your media center for years to come.
Here are five design tips for a modern media center:
- Create a flexible space.
Modern media centers are a centralized hub for research, innovation, collaboration, exploration, and more. With the wide range of purposes your media center holds, it’s important to design a flexible space that can be transformed to fit the changing needs of the space. Lightweight and mobile furnishings––such as lightweight bookshelves, tables and chairs, and storage solutions on casters that are designed to be easy to move––make it easy for the space to be reconfigured as needed.
- Prioritize student needs and accessibility.
Depending on the age group your media center will serve, it’s important to make sure that reading materials and technology tools will be accessible to all students. In an elementary media center, this might include smaller shelving that is at students’ height for easy access. You also can accommodate a variety of students of different age groups––and learning preferences––by using height-adjustable seating and tables that allow students to customize their personal learning area to meet their physical and comfort needs.
- Find a happy medium between comfort and durability.
Durability is an essential quality of the furnishings utilized in a modern media center. Throughout the day, many different groups of students will come and go from the space, and––if you design the space to be flexible––furniture will be shifted regularly. However, even though furniture needs to be sturdy and durable to handle the test of time, it’s still important to choose pieces that are comfortable and that students will want to use––like the Chameleon Lounge Square Chairs with tablet arms used in the Greenport Library design ––ensuring a more engaging and usable space for all.
- Foster engagement and collaboration.
The media center shouldn’t only be a place for finding and reading books and using computers, it should also function as a gathering space and a place for students to explore different skills and subjects while making connections with peers and librarians. Creating a space that facilitates a balance between collaboration and independent working is key to encouraging personal interactions in modern library spaces. Different seating options can facilitate collaboration and foster engagement, such as modular seating, floor seating options, or even a tiered seating area. The Greenport Library, utilized the MiEN FLEX series to create a flexible and functional group area.
- Design a lively and bright interior.
Colors, patterns, and textures are not just an aesthetic choice, they also help to set the mood of your modern media center. The color palette of your space is important, as the colors in learning spaces can influence mood, behaviors, and perceptions. Selecting vibrant, lively furnishings in an interesting color palette can help to create an engaging space for students to flourish.
These design tips can help you create an engaging and functional media center that students and teachers are excited to use. MiEN is a manufacturer of future proof media center furniture. A.T. Equipment partners with MiEN to design lively and innovative spaces that support active learning and collaboration. If you are looking to create something similar, give us a call!