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Library does its research
By Joel Brown
The D.B. Weldon Library's recent renovations have piqued interest among planners of London's new Central Library.
"There's lots of things that we can learn from the Weldon example," said Margaret Mitchell, chair of the design committee for the Galleria project and director of corporation relations for the London Public Library.
Mitchell said the new library would implement aspects of the retail sector, similar to the recent additions to Weldon. Along with the addition of a coffee shop, she said she hoped to include display, layout, lighting and spacing techniques similar to the Chapters-like wave of bookstores.
"They want people to leave with bags in their hands, we want people to leave with things in their hands too," Mitchell laughed. "It's the same principle."
"We want to make the space inviting and comfortable as well as providing the necessary technology," she said.
Along with Quotes Café, Mitchell said she was impressed by the amount of technology at Weldon and the way it was utilized. She added she liked the instructional rooms, which could be used for either professional, academic, or public usage and the layout of the workstation areas which featured an extensive information area nearby.
Darrel Skidmore, chief executive officer of the London Public Library System, said he recently toured Weldon. "I was very impressed," he said. "There's a tremendous emphasis on the digital and training components. The high amount of service orientation is outstanding."
He said the new library would have 150 to 200 internet stations along with adult and student word processing areas.
Ann Mavrinac, head of Weldon Library, said she believed it was important for the library to implement marketing strategies used in the retail sector to ensure continued success. Since the first phase of the renovations in 1998, the amount of visitors to the library has jumped 45 per cent. "It's important we have a bright, clean, welcoming space with expert staff," she said.
Maria Alexiou, a fourth-year political science student and frequent visitor of Quotes, said she was a big fan of the changes. "It's more inviting for those needing to conduct group work and study.
"The changes have been awesome."