Name of the Library: Ryde Library
Parent Organisation: Council of the City of Ryde
Street Address: 1 Pope St, RYDE NSW 2112
Postal Address: Locked Bag 2069, North Ryde 1680
Telephone : (+612) 9952 8352
(incl Country code)
Web Address: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/library
Library Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Library Central/ Main Library
Population served: 124, 505
Project Type : New Building
Size (square metres): 2031
Date of Completion: May 2011
Architect: Graham Bakewell Architects
Ryde Library is an inspiration of light, colour and activity, designed to create an inviting people space. Its clever use of subtle design elements creates a fresh, clean look that seamlessly guides foot traffic and meets the diverse needs of library users. Located next to the restaurants of a bustling shopping centre, the library is in an ideal location to be the heart of its community.
Its key strengths can be detailed in two ways; its form and flexibility.
In terms of form, Ryde Library has streamlined the traditional library model by zoning its floor plan and controlling curve and shape to direct pedestrian traffic. Areas are co-located by noise level and purpose. The entrance to the library gives way to a cathedral like area where computers, graphic novels and junior fiction are grouped in an exciting area. Long, stretching windows festooned with lounge chairs fill this vibrant and high energy space with light and the sprawling vista of the bustling highway below. There can be no mistake, with its array of comfortable chairs and tables, this area is intended for collaboration. The second, quieter area forested with the collection and desk/booth style seating is the domain of quiet study and book perusal, flagged by a lower ceiling and the nested design of the shelving.
An innovative use of curves and angles attracts the eye and prompts library users into a walking flow that offers them a view of all available areas as they pass before delivering them directly into the library’s extensive collection. Colours also interplay with shape to allow for the easy identification of key areas. Walls curve and stretch, blazoned in a bright orange that pulls the library user into the space. This is complemented by orange and green lounging chairs which line walls and furnish nooks to keep the eye engaged. Angled rooms combine with angled shelving configurations to encourage users to leave no path unexplored.
In terms of flexibility, the library floor plan is easily worked into multiple configurations. With all its shelving on wheels and with movable furniture, the library can be moulded to fit its current purpose or need. Events and programs with larger audiences can easily be accommodated by adjusting shelving placement and supplying additional lightweight seating that would normally reside out of sight in nearby storage. For example, large authors platform events with journalist Paul Barry (2014) and astronomer Fred Watson (2013) that brought over one hundred attendees were easily furnished through the innate dexterity of the floor plan. Wheeled tables in meeting rooms allow for space repurposing for small events of fifty or less. Cushioned ‘lilypads’ and bollards transform the children’s area from an exploratory, self-determined space into a welcoming, softer zone for Rhymetimes and Storytimes where library staff can seamlessly create parking space for prams, direct incoming pedestrian traffic and engage audiences of one hundred or more at a time. After the session, the area easily returned to its former glory with the reintroduction of games and equipment, including a giant chess set.
This flexibility also allows the accommodation of ‘reading nooks’ and ‘genre rooms’ as library shelving can be easily moved to create corners and enclosed areas. These inviting alcoves, fitted with low tables and lounge chairs, create a feeling of comfort and protection. These niches surround the reader in their subject or genre of choice – Students, for example, throng together in the science and technology section as they study and use the resources (and gossip too) while the Lee Child enthusiast will pull up a chair in the curve of the crime and mystery section, looking over to the thriller section, encasing them in a visual representation of their favourite stories and novels. Well placed television screens provide a rotating presentation of library events and information, while a large projection screen beyond the service desk provides an ever-changing display of favourite literary quotes, poems and artworks to inspire readers old and new. Power sockets and library wifi allow users to choose any area that pleases them.
Ryde Library continues to experience growth in visits, loans and wifi logins which demonstrates its growing role in the local community. Its clear and distinctive design makes it an evident landmark and a vibrant community space. Its form provides easy access to its treasures, as its flexibility tailors to the breadth of the library’s services.