Creating the Cozy: Seating Cubbies

By: Jim Semmelroth, Missoula Public Library Network Manager
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Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

One feature commonly seen in the libraries/culture houses we visited is a kind of seating one might call cubby seating. This is a seat characterized by providing a sense of seclusion from the surrounding area.   This kind of seating is provided for all age groups, but specific seats are always aimed at a specific age group.
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Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

For example, at the Kista library we saw a couple examples of preschool seating embedded in the stacks for that age group so that a kid can simply grab a book from a bin and settle down next to it on a comfy pad and read.  More spots are provided in the kid’s area for parents and children to sit together in a secluded spot as well.
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Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

Cubby seating is commonly seen in areas designed for teenagers. An interesting style seen in the Kulturehaus downtown Stockholm is an egg-shaped or spherically-shaped shell, either sitting atop a single post on which it can spin or hanging from a single line, so it can sswing as well as spin.  This kind of seating provided excellent acoustic seclusion and was often placed next to a glass wall overlooking a large and crowded space so that it supported people watching as well.
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Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

To a lesser extent, we also saw secluded seating in adult areas as well, usually combined with bright lighting.  These areas provide a quiet and well-lighted spot for the retired crowd to read newspapers or their favorite author’s latest release.
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Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

A contemporary library must be many things to many people and cubby seating is certainly important.  Age-specific, acoustically and/or visually secluded seating adjacent to appropriate materials seems to be a common feature for libraries in both Sweden and Montana.
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Author relaxing. Photo by Logan Castor-Parson

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