Designing a dementia friendly library

By Phil Taylor, Design Unit Manager

sandal library

 

As part of a major refurbishment to Sandal Library, YPO worked with Wakefield Council and the Alzheimer’s Society to create the first fully dementia friendly library in the region. 

It was important that the library design incorporated a dementia friendly environment as libraries should be a welcoming environment for everyone, offering companionship, motivation and enjoyment. All aspects of design were taken into consideration such as lighting, patterns, colours, reflections, type and style of furniture to give a more homely feel and stimulate memories from the past.We produced full visuals and mood boards for the client showing colours and fabrics. An important part of the process also involved people with dementia adding their comments to the proposed designs.

The final design incorporated clear signage with symbols for each genre of book, no mirrors or chrome, non-contrasting mat, grey skirting boards to differentiate door and floor, chairs with wooden arms and plain fabric which were easy to get in and out of. The colour scheme was deep red making it warm, friendly and a calming space.
The centre piece of the new facility was the lounge which has been refurbished into a reminiscence room, with sofas and a flat screen TV which plays a slideshow of digitised images from the local history collection. This helps to stimulate long term memory and the library will hold regular reminiscence sessions.

It was a privilege to be part of the project and we learned a great deal from working with Wakefield and the Alzheimer’s Society.