Unique Library Spaces

The New York Times posted a bit on Amsterdam’s main public library, Bibliotheek.

Bibliotheek, Exterior from http://www.ctrlaltdelete.org

Bibliotheek, Interior from http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/04kLedzchTfiW/610x.jpg

Bibliotheek, Interior from http://trendslator.files.wordpress.com

Bibliotheek seems to offer unique features and design that could be percieved as innovative and engaging.  However, it can be argued that the design aspect may seem distracting and uncomfortable.  Although this library is in Amsterdam, could this type of design and architecture fit and be accepted by the Canadian community?  The Royal Ontario Museum saw a change or addition to the building, while some cheered and other jeered at the new design, could the mixed reviews be a reflection of Canadians and their lack of acceptance for something fresh and new?

Is design really an important aspect of creating the ideal library space?  Must or can it be both functional and engaging?  Perhaps a design is reflective of the institutions goals and missions.  For example, collaborative learning is an important consideration when looking at library spaces as well as providing a quiet study space for students who require a space for that function.  As a result, a library is constantly seeking a balance in space to meet the various functional needs.  As long as the functions of the library are met, does design still matter?  Personally, I believe that function and design are important aspects of the library space because visually appealing and engaging space create an environment and atmosphere.  It is important that a warm and inviting atmosphere is created to maintain attendance and visitation from students, faculty and staff.