Material Library in interior design firms

Not many interior design firms have a full-time librarian to upkeep their material libraries, and it must be a consistent effort to keep it easily accessible and organized. We’re going to implement a new management of the material library and I’ve been doing some searching for some tips we can use. Thought I might share.

  • Set up your library like a retail environment. That means all samples are accessible and everything is clearly marked with signage. I don’t like to store individual boxes of samples; box lids only keep designers from looking inside the box, and I prefer to group all of the same materials together, apples to apples, for the best library experience.

 

  • A new product display can entice and inspire library visitors. Since most libraries are not managed by someone full-time, showcasing samples can be a serendipitous path towards design innovation. Every resource library, regardless of size, should inspire the people using it to make great spaces.

 

 

  • Group materials ergonomically by application and association. This may sounds like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many libraries I have seen that have had 12×12 stone samples on a high shelf and wood flooring stored in three separate sections of the library for no reason.

 

  • Include a sample return box. This may sounds like another no-brainer, but it is surprising how many design firms do not have a system to re-integrate samples into their library. Each resource library is an ecosystem, and the sample return is both the end and the beginning of that system. It is also a great way for the librarian to get to know what materials the firm is currently evaluating. (I especially like this. Like a drop-off at the public library.)

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