The Entresse Library’s soundscape has been improved
The Entresse Library participated as one of Finland’s libraries in a nationwide soundscape project from 2016-2017. The need for this project was discovered back in 2012: in the last few decades libraries have started to have many new and new kinds of activities that cause noise, which is not enjoyable for all the patrons.
These new activities are often considered in the new library areas’ visual and functional plans, but the forming of the library’s soundscape was not taken into consideration in time. The project researched the soundscape and its possible challenges in Espoo’s Entresse library, in Helsinki’s Malmi library, in Lappeenranta’s library, in Seinäjoki’s Apila library and in Vihti’s Nummela library.
The Entresse Library, located in Espoo, had already felt too noisy for a long time. There had been a constant flow of patron feedback about the noise. The complaint had been that the noise from the children and youth areas had been carried through the entire library. The youth area had been especially resonant. There are many hard surfaces there and the resonance was so bad that it forced patrons to talk louder and louder.
How was the situation improved? The basis of the project wanted to decrease the reverberation before anything else. Now the youth area has one long hard wall surface that has been upholstered. One short side of the windows is now curtains. A long noise isolation bookshelf has been placed in the center of the space. The front of the game console places has been turned so that the worst noise doesn’t compound against the back wall and there are now veiled screens on acoustic plates surrounding the game area.
The bookshelf that acts as a space divider as well as a noise-isolater has made it possible for more than one activity to take place in the same area. On one side is the game area where there are console games, computer games, a ping pong table and a chess board. On the other side is a group of sofas, sitting areas, and table groups appropriate for reading.
Measurement and patron feedback show that reverberation has decreased and the noise level in other parts of the library has lessened.
More information (in Finnish):
Yleisten kirjastojen muuttuva äänimaisema, (loppuraportti, pdf) 2018
Kirjastojen äänimaisemasta Kirjastot.fi:ssä
Espoo City Library
Translation in English: