Mansfield Library: the whole building came to life

Nottinghamshire County Council


The brief

We were commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council to create an interior personality for Mansfield Library that was unique and uplifting. A place that the community would want to visit time and time again, that they could call their own, irrespective of age. The project also required graphics to help intuitively guide users around the building and allow them to find what they were looking with minimal staff intervention.

The thinking

A library is a place where anyone can find out about literally ANYTHING. This might be via a book, video, CD, or via the internet, all of which can be found in Mansfield Library. In order to convey this idea we used clusters of random objects, every object with a story behind it. The ‘oddness’ encourages enquiry, whilst at the same time adding visual interest.

On arriving at the first floor the first impression is one of colour and space. The curved bookcases have illuminated header graphic panels. These follow the ‘objects’ theme, but link to the subject area of the bookcase, for example the gardening section features garden tools. Sections are also colour coded to help customers navigate.

A previously blank long wall behind the IT area was transformed with an 18 metre colourful wall graphic. Large scale graphics are used to identify other key areas, such as toilets, carefully positioned to ensure visibility from across the library. We felt it was important that children had a part of the library that was a place for them, so we created a children’s character called Scribble who is seen doing lots of fun things.

The result

Before the refurbishment, library staff were constantly dealing with customer complaints and comments about the state of the building infrastructure  and on its appearance (dull interior, very 1970s, dark and uninspiring). Since the refurbishment these negative comments are virtually eradicated, instead staff frequently receive glowing feedback from the library visitors. Some impressive statistics back this up (2010 was the last year before refurb, 2012 the first full year after completion):

  • +30% increase in library visitors (2010 vs. 2012)
  • +207% increase in new members (2010 vs. 2012)
  • +481% increase in event attendance (2010 vs. 2012)
  • +72% increase in book/stock issues (2010 vs. 2012)
  • +88% increase in computer/internet use in hours (2010 vs. 2012)

The library was looking good [after the builders finished], but when you came and installed the graphics the whole building came to life… we are all SO excited now, it feels like our library.

Aileen Prince, Nottinghamshire Library Service
Meet Scribble

Trumpet blowing

Newenglish Design WINNER at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2019 for Beeston Library.

We are pleased to announce that Newenglish Design has won aprestigious award for our work on Inspire Culture’s Beeston Library, Nottinghamshire at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2019. These Awards recognise projects that demonstrate design’s tangible effect on a business by drawing focus onto design’s strategic and commercial value.

The creative work resulted in a 62,721 increase in library visits, a 42% increase in new members, 135% increase in event attendance, and a 300% increase in room hire income.

Entered jointly by the client andNewenglish Design, the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards are an annual event that provide powerful evidence that design thinking combined with business acuity can bring about the right conditions for business transformation to occur.

The shortlisted winners had been selected through three rigorous rounds of judging, by a panel made up of design and marketing heads from leading brands and organisations.

Read the press release here

Hyson Green Library – Nottingham City Libraries

Our first job for Nottingham City Libraries.  

The library has been given a strong personality that reflects the vibrant multicultural nature of Hyson Green. The library features vibrant colours, line drawing illustrations and a character called ‘Skate’ in the children’s section.

Hyson Green library sits within the Mary Potter Centre which is also home to local GP practices, City Council Services, and Nottingham City Homes.

Reaction to the refreshed library has been extremely positive.

Arnold Library interior

We are busy installing our latest Library in Arnold Nottinghamshire.  

The children’s library walls feature an array of objects reflecting the nature of a library—i.e. you can find out about almost anything!For both the adult and young adult libraries, we have created unique pieces of artwork using elements from book covers to reflect different subjects areas. On the first floor in the internet area, wecarefully crafted largeunique pieces of artworkmade up from a mix of beautiful images.

The library is due to open to the public on the 17th August.