Designing a New Children's Space for the Fort St John Public Library

by Lesley Kok



Community Survey

Library Requirements & Justifications for Planning Decisions


Appendix A

Appendix B

Capping Paper


As a child I spent countless hours visiting the local Public Library with my family in Fort St John, BC. Growing up in a family of avid readers who didn’t place much value on television, the library, which was only a 10 minute walk from our house, served as a perfect venue for me and my brothers to let our imaginations soar amidst the plethora of books. Thinking back to the children’s section of that first library, I have extremely fond memories of the space, although it was very minimal and is not to be compared to the children’s libraries that I have seen recently. Even the children’s section in the new Fort St John Public Library is not exactly the most optimal place for children to flourish. It is small, cramped and there isn’t much room for the active and sometimes noisy play that is an integral part of a children’s space. I worked at the Public Library as a Page for two years and often there were complaints about the noise levels coming from the children’s section. It is not blocked off in any way, other than the fact that the short children’s shelves run perpendicular to the Adult fiction section and it is tucked into the back corner near the Young Adults section. When I first started thinking about this project I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me to design a new children’s section for the public library, using the demographics of my home town.

The following planning project will discuss the design of a new children’s section of a public library using the demographics of Fort St John and the user population of the Fort St John Public Library. The information that I have about the Fort St John Public Library statistics are limited, so I will use the information I have and make up the rest for purpose of this fictional project. The assumption is that the program room that was previously shared by the library and the Art Gallery is now being annexed into library space and is to be solely used for children’s services with a new children’s librarian. The old children’s space will then be able to be converted entirely into a Young Adults/teen zone area, but that will not be discussed in this project. This paper will focus on the issues and requirements necessary to design a space within an existing building for children. I will use recommendations and standards from authorities on public library planning, such as Anders Dahlgren. I will discuss the spatial requirements necessary for the user population of Fort St John and thus the requirements for the whole library, but the actual design part of the paper will focus on the children’s section.

Last updated: March 15 2008
Contact: lkok@ ualberta . ca

Some of this project was fictional due to the lack of information on actual size of the building and collection. However the demographics of the city are real.