Everything’s fine: how design and public library communities interact in South Dublin

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Doyle, Shane
Issue Date
MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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The research seeks to understand how physical design strategies are implemented, what priorities are involved and if those strategies are aligned with the goals of engaging communities. Four qualitative semi-structured interviews with senior librarians were conducted as part of the research. International best practices suggest that flexible environments with multi-purpose spaces are best suited to meet the needs of their communities. The research finds that librarians in South Dublin agree that flexible, multifunctional spaces are required in modern library environments. The librarians feel removed from the overall design process, which is driven by architects. Informal knowledge-sharing practices are often used in public libraries, regarding layout and design. Unlike international examples, communities are not involved in the design process. Engagement and facilities in South Dublin libraries appear slanted towards academic and educational activities, especially for younger users. Community exhibitions may prove instrumental in centralising the library conceptually in the community.