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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Making the Most of the Space You Have

Shift your thinking - and your furniture

Flexibility is the key to increasing the functionality of your space

Mobile shelving and/or furniture is the easiest way to add flexibility

Mobile shelving

Mobile shelving has an obvious advantage: it can be moved to create space for other activities.

The example to the left is in the Edgartown (MA) Free Public Library. It has a traditional feel, with mobile shelving in a small area between taller stacks.

The example below is in the Whistler (BC) Public Library, with a more contemporary look. This entire wing can be cleared out in about 15 minutes, creating a space that can hold events for up to 300 people.

Mobile shelves

Mobile shelving

Nesting flip-top tables for meeting rooms, makerspaces, or other areas make reconfiguration easy, and they take up less space when stored.

Flip-top table

Nested mobile tables

 Movable study table with attached fabric wall

Small tables with adjacent whiteboards

Small, movable tables with adjacent partitions create comfortable, private workspaces.

Retrofitting existing pieces

The photo to the left is an example of existing wooden shelving that was retrofitted with casters.

If you are thinking of doing this, make sure the shelves aren't taller than 5' high, and that they are wide enough at the base for stability. Very tall shelves are not suitable for casters.

The example below shows retractable wheels installed on an existing (very heavy) wooden table. Now it doesn't take four strong men to move the tables.

Retractable caster - closeup

Wooden table with retractable casters