By: Jim Semmelroth, Missoula Public Library Network Manager
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.