Nooks take centre stage as libraries level up for the hybrid future
For many people, libraries have a special place in their heart. Not only do they provide essential free access to words and ideas, they also serve as vital community spaces – a place for people to meet, learn, relax and enjoy.
Now, libraries are embracing a new future. The pandemic has changed the way we work for good, and businesses are adopting hybrid working models which allow employees to work from the office, from home or from ‘third-spaces’.
Typically, these third-spaces have been purpose-designed flexible offices or similar, but not everybody is near to such a hub. Libraries are stepping up to the challenge, and many are re-designing to enhance their professional and productive environment for remote professionals looking for somewhere other than the home or office to get work done. Nook is playing a valuable role in enabling this new library focus.
In October 2020, the British Library launched Reset. Restart, a new bounce back business support service. Its aim is to support small businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate their way through the next normal.
The new service is delivered through the Library’s Business & IP Centre (BIPC) National Network – a partnership with regional and local centres in public libraries across the UK – providing entrepreneurs with free and low-cost information and business support to help them protect and commercialise their business ideas.
Nooks are playing a key role under the Reset. Restart banner by enabling libraries to adapt space quickly and affordably to better accommodate professionals who want near-to-home space in which to be productive.
We’ve really seen take-up of Nooks in libraries lift off, with 25 Nook installations in UK libraries and five new installations in the past month alone. Why? Because Nook really is a perfect fit. With very little disruption or relative expense compared to infrastructure, libraries are able to use Nooks to flex their capabilities, providing all existing and new users with comfortable and purpose-designed concentration and work space.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig, who has responsibility for Bristol’s library service, comments: “We have installed Nooks in several of our libraries across Bristol and they have proved popular as quiet study spaces.
“This year we have joined the British Library’s Business and IP Centre Network and we incorporated two Nooks into the design of our new Business Centre at our Central Library. They will provide informal meeting spaces within the centre as well as a significant degree of privacy for one-to-one meetings.”
Another library Co-ordinator in the North of England comments: “The Nooks are a popular space for group work that allow for a measure of privacy on the floor of the library where group discussion is permitted.”
Productivity and wellbeing
Nooks are also serving to provide an essential wellbeing role, and Sensory Nooks have been installed at libraries in Stourbridge and Partick. While the Nook is an emotionally intelligent workspace for one to one and group working, Sensory enhancements take it a step further.
Sensory Nooks create an encapsulated environment to positively influence mood, reduce challenging behaviour & lower anxiety levels. Nook is an internationally certified autism resource, and introducing this extra element of inclusivity has been a deciding factor for several of our library customers.
Remote working is part of the next normal. Working patterns have now changed, and libraries are leading the levelling-up by recognising this fact under the Reset. Restart banner – flexing services to attract the new workforce.