Designers will be able to calculate the space requirements for the seven general areas indicated above, which are typical to public libraries, by carefully analyzing the following: Estimation of the library's collections and the space required to accommodate those offerings in order to satisfy the future demands of its users. Determination of the number and type of facilities that will be needed to serve the community. Evaluation of existing facilities to identify shortcomings that could affect their usefulness.
The final result is a plan for the library's facilities indicating exactly how much space each use requires and what type of facility will be necessary to house it properly. The planning process may include visits to other libraries to obtain ideas for improving the community's own facilities or borrowing equipment from another location if funds allow. After this initial design phase, revisions may be necessary as more information becomes available or ideas arise during construction.
Space planning is an important part of any library project. Careful thought must be given to how materials will be handled and stored, how visitors will move about the building, and many other factors related to the physical layout of the building. With some basic guidelines for sizing library spaces, designers can begin to create a plan that satisfies the needs of the community while providing comfortable and accessible accommodations for its users.
Calculate Your Book Storage Needs — Divide the total estimated number of volumes by 10 to approximate the square footage of book storage space (with aisles at least 36 inches wide). The entire expected collection divided by 25 equals the square footage required for compact book storage. This is the most accurate method because it takes into account the actual weight of the books.
The easiest way to calculate how much shelf space you will need is to divide the total number of volumes by 10 and then multiply that figure by 7.5 feet. For example, if you estimate that your library will have 250 titles, then you should plan for 25 feet of shelving. That would be enough space for about 220 volumes, depending on their size.
The quickest way to figure out your book storage needs is with the formula above. But if you want to be precise, then use this method: Calculate the volume of a cube with dimensions equal to the average thickness of the books (usually around 1 foot). Then multiply that figure by the number of feet of shelf space you need. For example, if your estimate is between 200 and 300 volumes, then you should plan for 20-30 feet of shelving.
Volumes of books are measured in cubic feet. 1 cubic foot contains approximately 56.4 inches of wall space. So if you can get by with shelves less than 24 inches high, you will need less space overall.
The majority of households will include a medium-sized home library. "Medium" is defined as a room between 500 and 800 square feet. This is plenty of space for both enthusiastic readers and writers. There will be lots of area for extra features, floor space to move around on, and the opportunity to have workstations, sofas, and a comfortable chair to rest in.
The size of your library should reflect how much time you want to spend reading. If you plan to read only one or two books at a time, then a small library is sufficient. But if you expect to find time to read several works at once, like today's best-selling authors, then a larger room is needed.
You should also consider how much of your time is spent reading fiction vs non-fiction. If most of your books are novels, for example, you'll want a room that's spacious enough for all the volumes you might want to put away!
Finally, you need to think about how often you want to host book discussions or events. If you rarely have people over, a smaller room may be enough. But if you plan to invite friends over for tea and cookies (or wine and cheese!), then you'll need more space.
So, overall, a room size of 500-800 square feet should be more than enough for a library. It's large enough for many books, but not so big that it becomes difficult to navigate or lacks character.