The role of a library is not just for recreation; it's to provide information and knowledge that meets learning needs. Until the computer age, that knowledge was mostly put down on paper. But paper is now just another part of a vast communications platform that people use in a world that grows more complex by the day.
Most libraries are continually adapting to the modern world of knowledge, bringing a more appealing atmosphere and offering activities to create a hands-on experience for users. Areas are dedicated to specific content, cutting-edge digital technology is available, and efforts are made to produce innovations that deliver proactive services or provide easier access to library resources.
Following are some good examples of new type libraries which have their own unique features and services, but still preserve their original purpose.
New look, spatial design
Knowledge Center of Chachoengsao
Managers today are prepared to adjust the physical aspects and environments of their libraries, making them more relaxing places to visit. Some adopt the “living library” approach by decorating their facilities with lively and bright colors. Knowledge Center of Chachoengsao is worth mentioning as a facility that has outstanding architecture, both interior and exterior.
The design of the center’s building looks like four giant stacks of books. There are nine zones inside to serve different functions and activities, for example, reading, watching movies, displays on the history of Chachoengsao province, and commom space for events. The 6,000 square-meter facility is the largest modern public learning center in the East. It is currently undergoing a trial operation covering just the first two floors before the official opening.
Focus on variety and behavior
Building sustainable reading habits starts at an early age, but many libraries fail to attract children and spark a passion for reading. This is because children have different interests from adults and the reason why specific reading areas for children are a must in libraries.
A City Hall-operated “Cartoon Library” in Bangkok’s Huay Kwang district is enjoying wild success among children and young people with its 7,000-plus select cartoons and visual books that nourish the imagination and inspire creativity.
The library has an animation film room, a reading-of-tales room, 3D cartoon corner and free space for skill-building activities, such as cartoon drawing and coloring.
Connecting knowledge with the people’s way of life.
Another role of a library is to encourage people to use knowledge obtained from books and other materials in their daily lives. Take “Soon Kwarm Roo Kin Dai” (Edible Knowledge Centre) in Ubon Ratchathani as an example. The Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education and the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (Public Organisation) have renovated the province’s public library and allocated part of it for career development and developing services for residents, in order to elevate their quality of life. Under a project called “Klong Kwarm Roo Gin Dai” (Edible Knowledge Box), sets of books and documents that cover specific and pertinent topics can be used for the benefit of a community. They cover, for example, organic agriculture, knitting, raising catfish, and cereals processing — the sets are lent out and circulate among communities. This project aims to deliver knowledge from books to people outside the library in order to help create job opportunities. Also, the centre regularly organises exhibitions, workshops and seminars about career options as well as provides a database covering certain issues.
Use of modern technology
Many libraries have adapted well to the digital age. Information and communications technology is playing a key role in providing more convenient access to library resources and services such as online catalogues and renewing items online. Some libraries offer computers with internet access and tablets for reading e-books and/e-magazines. NIDA’s library and information centre is named as one of the most complete electronic libraries in Southeast Asia. The library spends about 10 million baht each year on buying copyright to e-books in order to provide fresh teaching and learning resources for NIDA lecturers, students and the general public. By taking less than 30 minutes to buy and add a new e-book to its catalogue, the NIDA library is sure to keep up to date with what is going on in fields related to business administration and national development.
Respond to diverse specific needs
A special library of specialised information resources on a particular subject will be more important to national development in the future. Even though today’s ICT tools are used to seek personal knowledge, access to a particular subject is still expensive. A big book on architecture or design can cost several thousands of baht. There has been an increase in the number of specialist libraries in the past 10 years, including Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC) which was established to support the use of creativity and design to enhance Thai entrepreneurs’ global competitiveness. The centre has two branches, one in Bangkok and the other in Chiang Mai. Others include KU Eco-Library of Kasetsart University and Tourism Library of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. KU Eco-Library is Thailand’s first eco-library for learning about preservation of the environment and conservation of energy. Waste materials and discarded furniture were used in the design. The Tourism Library is home to Thai and English books related to the tourism industry.
Instill reading with “Thailand’s first Cartoon Library, (book.truelife.com)