Because reading is the most important undertaking in libraries, lighting is a major consideration during the design process. While traditional libraries employed a combination of ceiling, table, and floor lamps, today’s libraries, with their focus on technology, have new lighting requirements.
Many library furniture manufacturers and retailers offer library shelving that can be accessorized with LED lighting. LED lighting is not only the most energy efficient way of illumination, it also has a long life. Typical LED lighting can go for 11 years of continuous operation or 22 years at 50% operation before replacement.
LED lighting is extremely flexible, and can be combined into just about any shape to produce efficient illumination. Many library furniture manufacturers and retailers have developed LED lighting systems that work with shelving units. These lighting systems are often placed on brackets on top of the shelving units, so they cast light on the entire shelving unit. They are typically available in lengths and sizes that complement the shelving unit.
Some library shelving, display cases, and cabinetry have the option of recessed lighting. Recessed lighting is built into the units, and shines light directly on the space below it.
In addition to illuminating space, lighting is a very important consideration in libraries because it can cause damage to documents, drawings, and photographs. In certain areas of the library, it’s important to minimize light damage by choosing lighting of the right wavelength and intensity, and by ensuring that the duration of lighting is not too long.