Offering a comfortable, welcoming community space is a vital element of a public library's service. As such, when purchasing furniture for a new or established public library space, considering the needs of your patrons should be prioritised over fashion or aesthetics. As seniors form a large portion of many Australian public library patron numbers, check out these handy tips for selecting suitable library furniture for seniors.
Choose flexible furniture for a variety of applications
As modern public libraries host a range of activities and programs for all age groups and user needs, it is important that the space can be easily rearranged to suit varying daily requirements. Selecting furniture that can be utilised for a variety of applications is subsequently vital to the success of a local public library's service delivery- particularly in context of tight funding allocations.
When purchasing library furniture specifically for senior patrons, consider the range of activities this age group participate in. While many senior patrons prefer quiet solitary time reading the newspaper or their favourite author's latest novel, group activities such as chess, knitting club and playing cards are popular, as are computer classes. You can accommodate these varied needs by purchasing good quality seating and tables with lockable castor wheels. Look for integrated features such as armrests and handles that make it easier for senior patrons to get in and out of their seat.
Consider the height, depth and softness of seating
When purchasing library seating comfort and durability are important; however, senior patrons will benefit most from seating that is easy for them to use. A firm seat deck facilitates ease of sitting and standing: for extra support, provide large firm cushions to aid both standing up and comfort while seated. Do not purchase seating that is too low to the ground for seniors, as it can be very difficult and uncomfortable for them to get back on their feet. Instead, look for sturdy, high seating with a suitable back pitch and tall armrests.
Ask senior library patrons for input
To truly meet the needs of your local senior patrons when purchasing library furniture, it is highly advisable that you ask them directly for input. This can take the form of an informal discussion with regular senior users or a short formal survey with specific questions regarding preferred furniture styles, ergonomics and usage. This is a great way to make senior patrons feel involved and welcome, encouraging increased use of your public library space and services.
For more detailed information on speciality furniture availability, contact your local trusted furnishing business for expert advice.