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Preconception to participation: young people’s experience of public library architecture

Woodford, Samuel 2016. Preconception to participation: young people’s experience of public library architecture. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This research tests the role of architecture in the experience of young people’s engagement with public libraries. It identifies interaction with both university students and non-students in the 16-25 age group as being of key importance to the library service, and hence to the built environments through which it is delivered. Interrogation of relevant literature demonstrates that libraries exist at the boundary of multiple disciplines, and have been subject to study through various methodologies. Consequently, terms are identified that locate the experience of libraries appropriately within the architectural field. This is built upon by a second review phase that links the research to previous work in the thematic areas inductively generated from its extensive body of primary data. The rationale for a qualitative and spatially-cued approach to data collection is established through an interpretivist framework, which posits that the meanings attached to reality are the product of social action and revision. This advances the initial premise that preconceptions as to the appearance, contents, occupants and functions that constitute a library pose challenges to young people’s participation in new architectural experiences. The findings reveal the complexity of library preconceptions that young people carry with them, as well as the social and spatial information they interact with and interpret when making the physical and mental journey from city to service interaction. Furthermore, due to the inclusion of a student participant group, what has emerged carries implications for the design of academic libraries in addition to public libraries. The study concludes that lines of sight, noise transfer, and the expectations of young people create complex patterns of interpretation that prevent modern library architecture from being immutable: it is judged against the architectural experiences of memory, against media and fictional representations, and according to the socio-spatial interior conditions of any given moment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: Young people; architecture; public libraries
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 May 2016
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 16:37

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