When we think of a library, many of us tend to think of a quiet space, walls lined with books, rows of desks and chairs and maybe a comfy armchair here and there. Those facilities are great and certainly serve a purpose but, as it turns out, students have quite specific views when it comes to what they want from their school library.

When Dr Hilary Hughes, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, QUT, decided to find out what those views are, he received some unexpected responses, from waterfalls and a cupboard to Narnia to a rocket-powered lift. However, alongside the more fantastical ideas were many revealing answers, and four key elements emerged:

– Peacefulness

– Connectedness

– Adventure

– Technology

All the points are certainly different but they can all be designed and built into the learning environment. Peacefulness for the students means, according to Hughes, “secluded nooks to read” and comfy, informal study areas. Connectedness can be achieved with views of nature and access to outdoor spaces, and it also manifests through access to the internet. Computers, tablets and online learning tick the box for technology, but students do also crave books and physical resources alongside them. As for adventure? A rocket-powered lift would certainly work but, failing that, students look to storytelling, creative activities and digital exploration.

By listening to what students want and designing a space around those needs, we can provide the best environment that fulfils every need.

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