Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Toronto library study pods take page from science fiction


The Toronto Reference Library is offering study pods to help students work in a quiet environment.  With the condo boom in the downtown, the demand for study space is high.  These pods don't require any structural changes to the library building which is cheaper, causes less distruption and can be moved as needs change.
However, I don't know if I would want to work in one of these.  As a public librarian, I understand that these spaces need to monitored and visible.  As a patron, I would feel like I was a manequin on display in a store window.  Some  might feel claustrophobic.
What do you think of the study pods?

Linda Mackenzie and pods

Josh Tapper/Toronto Star Linda Mackenzie, director of research and reference libraries at the Toronto Reference Library, said the new glass study pods support the branch's "open and transparent ethic."
Josh Tapper
Toronto Star Staff Reporter
Published on Wednesday October 17, 2012
When it comes to study space, the downtown Toronto Reference Library is thinking beyond the ordinary. Light years beyond.
As part of its five-year, $34-million revitalization, the library will open five futuristic study pods on the second floor in the next two weeks. Ten more of the tubular glass pods will be installed over the coming months.
“We wanted to create something a little more private and less distracting,” said Linda Mackenzie, the Toronto Public Library’s director of research and reference libraries, sitting at a light brown open work table, a holdover from the library’s original late-1970s design.
“Part of the overall plan for revitalization was to create varied study and work space in the library.”
Mackenzie said the 5-square-metre pods, which resemble pneumatic tubes, fit snugly into the library’s floor design.
While the two-seater pods won’t be completely silent, Mackenzie said they should cut out ambient noise.
As part its revitalization, to be completed this year, the reference library has also constructed a three-storey glass entrance cube, “Idea Gardens” on each floor which, according to its website, promote “reflection and inspiration,” and a special collections rotunda. Moriyama & Teshima Architects handled the massive redesign at the Bloor St. and Yonge St. branch.
Closed off with caution tape Wednesday as they awaited electrical wiring, the pods drew curious stares from library patrons sitting at more conventional study spaces.
“They look very clinical,” said Heather Meek, a Schulich Business School student working on a class project at a nearby table. “It reminds me of science fiction. But I guess the idea is that it’s quiet in there.”
Polly D’Arcy, who had been staring at the pods from behind her laptop at a distant study table, said they looked “cool,” but perhaps not conducive to getting work done.
“I’d feel claustrophobic in there,” she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment