Continuing education and professional development is an important aspect of many professional fields. People in design, insurance, law, education, accounting and many others stay up-to-date on the latest trends and research by taking classes, participating in webinars and attending conferences. So more and more over the last several years, offices have been Including spaces for these important activities to occur right on their campuses or inside headquarters. 

For lack of a better term, I call these spaces Office Libraries because they ideally include references and resources for learning, as well as a conducive atmosphere for these activities to take place.

Some of the items you might include in your company library are:

  • Industry-specific magazines/books
  • Company research like Steelcase's 360 Magazine
  • Professional development books
  • Industry reference resources
  • Employee-choice fictions and non-fiction

Beyond the resources included in this space, the correct atmosphere should play an important role in helping staff actually learn, sharpen skills and utilize the space. Think through the way optimum learning environments are laid out. Resources are on-hand. Lighting is just right. And it's quiet. There is literally nothing worse than trying to concentrate on something when "Bill from sales" yaks it up with his new account and you suffer, starting the same paragraph ten times.

An in-office library also indirectly helps staff answer the question of when and where they are supposed spend time developing professionally. Rather than the only answer being "at home," staff can use some company time to grow in ways that will help them do their job better or more efficiently.

If you're wondering how to make a new office library after reading this, here's a look at 9 of my favorites spaces:

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