Core Library Facilities and Interiors Interest Group

last person joined: 9 days ago 

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Purpose: Studies, evaluates, and recommends in matters relating to library furniture, equipment, and building planning for all types of libraries.

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This interest group is part of Core's Buildings and Operations Section.

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  • 1.  Meditation Rooms and behavior

    Posted Jun 21, 2021 09:57 AM
    Edited by Gili Meerovitch Jun 21, 2021 12:43 PM

    Question from Shellie Jeffries, Library Director at Aquinas College, Grace Hauenstein Library, Grand Rapids MI:

    Hello,

    My library is considering creating a meditation/prayer/relaxation room, which we hope will help with, among other things, any post-pandemic trauma our students may experience in the fall. The room we have available has a solid door and no windows. We would like it to be unlocked so students can drop in whenever, without having to ask for a key, but it can be locked.

    Question we have are: do we need to be worried about inappropriate behavior in such a private room? Has this been an issue for those of you in libraries with a similar room? How are you handling it? Should we be concerned about and/or make a plan to mitigate any potential inappropriate behavior? Would keeping it locked and requiring a key make it even more private than leaving it unlocked (what with the potential for walk-ins/interrupters and all)?

    We're probably overthinking this and there might not be a problem at all, but any insights and advice you have are much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Shellie Jeffries
    Library Director
    Aquinas College, Grace Hauenstein Library
    Grand Rapids MI



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    Gili Meerovitch
    Principal
    Pfeiffer Partners Architects
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  • 2.  RE: Meditation Rooms and behavior

    Posted Jun 22, 2021 08:52 AM
    Answer for Shellie's question:
    Will the room accommodate more than one person at a time? If so, will it be part of your policy (as it is for the room in our Library) that the room is to remain open and welcoming to multiple people using the room for different purposes at the same time? Either way, for security reasons (namely those who would seek to use the room not for the purpose you intended) and since it has a solid door and windows, I would take away the ability for the Library user to lock the door. I know that doors are expensive, but changing the door to include a half light (window) helps to give the image that the room is visible (so others are more likely not to try anything with the better chance of being caught) while keeping the Library user comfortable (if multiple people can use the room and it is post-pandemic, would they want to be in a room with a solid, lockable door with no windows?).

    The only issue that has come up with our room is that those praying as part of the Muslim faith were leaving their prayer rugs spread out on the floor in between their times of prayer. This took up floor space and was not welcoming to those using the room for other purposes and religions. We added a bookshelf so that the rugs could be folded and left on the shelves, along with shoes, communicating with the Muslim student group along the way.  We also added two chairs against the wall in the space and a simple sign in a plastic sleeve to indicate which side of the room faced "East" towards Mecca, to help those of the Muslim faith. 
    Hope this helps! Shelly


    Shelly McCoy

    Associate University Librarian for Communication and Space Planning

    Interim Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Outreach

    University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press

    181 S. College Ave, Newark, DE 19717

    University of Delaware

    302-831-6363