How to illuminate the interior of libraries?

How to illuminate the interior of libraries?

The library space is a place where readers and library employees meet with a common goal - contact with literature. For it to take place, appropriate conditions are necessary, including lighting. The lamps determine whether librarians will fulfill their duties correctly, without mistakes and with full commitment, and whether readers will become familiar with the selected book. That is why it is so important to design conscious and functional lighting solutions. Find out how to do it in the library and what technology to choose.

What are the standards in libraries?

Lighting in a library has a huge impact on how the institution functions and how it is perceived by people visiting it. Lighting standards in such places depend on various factors, including:

  • type of harvest;
  • staff working conditions;
  • functional layout of rooms;
  • readers' requirements.

However, it is generally accepted that the light in the library should be bright and even to facilitate reading and working at the computer. The Polish Standard PN-EN 12464-1:2004 is most often used in this case, according to which the light intensity level should be from 300 to 500 lux for public rooms (bathrooms, passageways, rooms with book collections) and about 500 lux for reading rooms. For special collections, such as manuscripts and old prints, the light level should be lower (even 20 to 50 lux). In this way, the risk of damage to delicate works will be significantly minimized.

The implementation of standards in a library may be hindered by the large number of rooms of various types and the obligation to reconcile the needs of employees and readers. Therefore, the lighting design in such a place should be based on a previous audit and an interview on needs conducted with both visitors and librarians.

Functionality testing of current and future solutions can be performed by external companies that deal with it in a professional manner. Thanks to their tools, they will be able to tell us which rooms we should pay special attention to, as well as whether the lighting fixtures we have chosen can be placed in this specific place.

What does light in a library influence?

Properly selected light promotes well-being and allows you to optimally perform your duties. It should be remembered that a library is not only a place where books are read and borrowed, but also a space where librarians work. Therefore, library lamps must have an intensity selected in such a way that it does not affect the sense of sight or cause fatigue or loss of concentration.

In addition, the presentation of the collections and the architecture of the library itself is also important. This is particularly important in the case of older historical institutions, but also modern buildings boasting innovative interior design solutions. Then, when creating a modern lighting system, you should also take into account lamps that illuminate the building's facade, individual decorations inside, and highlight selected spaces.

The better the lighting in the library is designed, the better it will be perceived by the local community and people visiting it. This applies in particular to people using library rooms for meetings of local initiatives (circles, support groups), schools and kindergartens, as well as writers coming to author meetings.

Library lighting design – advice

In order to plan and implement a library lighting project, it is worth following good arrangement practices. They will help you choose the right lamps and plan the space in such a way as to reconcile the interests of people working and visiting the library.

At the very beginning, it is worth making a functional division. It covers various spaces of the library including:

  • book shelves;
  • reading room;
  • librarians' workplace.

Places where book collections are stored, including shelves and passages between them, should be illuminated with light intensity of approximately 200 lux. It will brighten up routes and communication routes, and will also display books well. As we
mentioned earlier, in places where old prints and manuscripts are stored, the intensity should be lower (approx. 50 lux). In this way, we will protect the most important publications and works from fading or drying out.
The reading room is a place where visitors spend time reading, taking notes, and taking photos of publications. This is also where exhibitions and meetings with authors are organized, which is why this space requires lighting with an intensity of approximately 500 lux. It is worth equipping yourself with devices with controllers that allow you to quickly change lighting parameters and light color depending on the requirements of a given situation.

A similar value of light intensity should be maintained at librarians' workstations. It will help you work on computers, browse donated books and take handwritten notes. In this way, we will increase employee productivity and eliminate many errors that may arise as a result of too poor lighting (e.g. printing errors).

The remaining rooms in the library should be lit according to the following scheme:

  • corridors – 100 lux;
  • staircases – 150 lux;
  • toilets, changing rooms and archives – 200 lux.

As for other lighting parameters, the best solution will be to use a neutral or warm light color (range from 2700 - 4000 K) and evenly distribute the lamps to avoid shadows on desks and book pages. Due to the large area for lighting, it is worth taking advantage of the benefits of energy-saving LED technology and intelligent systems. In addition, lamps and fixtures should match the shape and color of the interior design style of the library.

Selection of lamps for library lighting

In the case of such large areas as libraries and the fact that these are state institutions, the best solution is to use intelligent lighting systems. They connect individual lamps into one network, which can be managed from a control panel located in key places or a mobile application. In this way, library employees can constantly adjust individual parameters, adjusting the light intensity, its color and the angle of incidence of rays to current needs.

This type of systems work best with energy-saving LED technology, which allows you to save on electricity bills, is ecological and extremely long-lasting. A good solution will be to choose lamps of various types, including: wall lamps and ceiling lamps that will complement each other, illuminating various library zones. It is important that most bindings can be adjusted, which makes a significant difference when changing the arrangement or moving book collections.

In addition to standard hanging lamps, libraries often have desk lamps. You can meet them in reading rooms, where they help you get acquainted with borrowed books or book collections. Devices with the iconic green lampshade and a cord switch are particularly popular.

When deciding to buy lamps for a library, it is worth paying attention to the offers of lighting companies. The best ones sell equipment in bulk and offer attractive discounts for large volumes. The best ones are able to confirm their portfolio with numerous projects for state institutions and other large entities.

Are you looking for the right lighting for your library? Or maybe you want to design the entire system from scratch? Contact us and together we will brighten up your space! At LAKO you will find a wide selection of solutions based on LED technology. Our lighting fixtures offer a wide range of light colors, which allows you to adapt them to individual preferences and the nature of the library.

Visit our website, check our implementation portfolio and contact us, and together we will design the perfect lighting.


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