Saturday, December 14, 2013

SLIA's Dear Librarian: Sunk Bay Area

I got a question from Ms. Candy May Schijf of the DLSU - STC Campus:

Hi Ms. Zarah, I'm Candy May Schijf po from DLSU (Integrated School). Question po, are you familiar with the "Sunk Bay Area" used for Pre-School Libraries?

This is my answer:

Hi May!

A sunk bay area is like a pit where readers can sink themselves in and read comfortably or in any other position they like. They can roll on their stomachs, lay down on their backs, lie down on a pillow or cushions or have mom or dad lap read with them in there. It's also a cool place for storytelling in small groups - five to ten kids at a time.

The first time I saw this kind of arrangement for a reading area is at the old International School Manila Children's Media Center. The new one at the Fort does not have it, but they have bean bags and lounging chairs, sofas and little pockets of reading spaces for pre-school kids. The TK Park in Bangkok has one too, located in the children's area. They pushed the design further on by creating a reading tree house and reading hive. It is an amazing design for libraries that aim to service children. 

The "sunk bay area" at The Knowledge Park, Bangkok Thailand.
The idea of a sunk bay area, a reading tree and a reading hive is for kids to read as freely as their imagination would allow them. The design concept being that FORM follows FUNCTION. Reading as a form is seen as limitless, enjoyable, easy, not required, fun and creative. So, the design of a reading space lends to this function.
The "reading hive" at The Knowledge Park in Bangkok, Thailand
A preschooler, or any student for this matter, sitting on a chair with an open book on a table would suggest a more serious concept of reading. Reading for this purpose is serious and directed to specific learning goals. As librarians, we can look at reading and its purposes, both for fun and serious study and create learning spaces that adhere to these concepts. I think it is not only preschoolers who can benefit from a sunk bay area Even high school students need a place to read as leisurely as possible. Thus, high school libraries have carpeted areas where there are sofas and reading stools.

Reading may have its purposes, but it is for all. Everybody reads and libraries, I think must provide for this need to its readers young and young at heart.

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