If you're not much of a bookworm, you might not have set foot in a library for a while. Although there's often plenty of space to peruse pages, libraries are also hubs of research, areas to complete homework, apply for jobs in the computer labs, work on groups projects in study rooms and sometimes host events. As a result, library lighting has to be as multifaceted as the tasks that happen around the stacks. Additionally, it has to highlight all of the knick knacks and posters on the wall while operating at a brightness that won't be damaging to any older texts.
The answer to these demands is fixtures equipped with dimmer switches, according to Libris Design.
Penn State University, Dickinson School of Law Library, University Park, PA | Lighting Design: Brandston Partnership Inc. | Architecture: Polshek Partnership Architects | Lighting: Vode System stack mounted WingRail | Image: George Brown Studio NYC
Dimmable lighting to save the day
Libraries often have media rooms for presentations or even movies, and they have computer labs for working online. For optimal usage of projector and computer screens, the lighting has to have minimal glare. With dimmable LED indoor lighting, glare can be reduced by lowering the lumen output so library guests can make sure their name is spelled correctly on a job application or catch every moment of a documentary on sharks.
If there is a guest lecturer, the fixtures can be dimmed for a PowerPoint presentation, but there will still be enough light for note taking.
A combination lighting solutions
The necessity for dimmable lighting in media rooms and computer labs reflects the design demands of the entire building. Libraries need to incorporate various types of fixtures, including linear lighting for stacks, perimeter lighting, downlighting and wall sconces. A combination of solutions for the community area and stack lighting ensures that readers have enough light to see the text in the books.
Meanwhile, teen patrons can collaborate on a science project and librarians can peruse the stacks for a requested archive copy of Psychology Today.
Shedding light in the library
In addition to including dimmers as a means of adding versatility to a library, they can be used in partnership with photosensors to allow more natural light to flow between the stacks. During the day, readers can be bathed in the warm glow of the sun and take advantage of full-spectrum illumination from skylights and windows while skimming a novella, reference book or magazine.
When the sun goes down, the lumen levels can be turned up to compensate for the lack of natural light while adjusting to the specific conditions required for the individual areas.
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