Buggy storage as part of the library design plan
It isn’t until you are working on designing a public space project that you become aware of the small details that make a space an attractive destination. We spend a lot of time creating children’s libraries that WOW parents and children. From reading tunnels, to funky seating, bridges and towers and slides to services such as author visits, rhyme and reading times, Lego groups and Minecraft classes – the excitement levels are high.
What’s easy to overlook are the practicalities that parents and guardian face when actually visiting the library. With some parents splashing out more than £1,000 on the latest prams and buggies, the ‘buggy black market’ is on the rise. It’s therefore no surprise that parents are reluctant to leave these unattended in public spaces as well as the fact that buggies often double as extra storage for high risk items such shopping, handbags, purses and mobile phones.
A recent news feature stated that data collected from two-thirds of Britain police force found theft of buggies had increased by 23 per cent since 209 with one in 14 parents with young children now say they have fallen victim to the crime. According to a Daily Telegraph article in 2013 the black market in stolen pushchairs was worth £60million. In the same year, The Daily Mail reported that LV paid out £70million in insurance claims for stolen buggies. The company estimated that 340,000 parents with children under 5 had lost buggies in this way. It’s just too easy to walk off with a buggy without raising suspicion.
We spoke to a librarian of a busy public library and she said that during rhyme time the children’s library and surrounding areas was ‘rammed with buggies’ as parents wanted to keep them close to their sides for fear of them being stolen. If there’s no safe place to store the buggies outside, then parents are obviously going to bring them inside.
There are plenty options available for creating secure buggy areas but it’s important to discuss this with your designer so that space can be allocated at the space planning and design stage. The team at the brand new Lichfield Library Hub were forward thinking and have allocated space on the ground floor for a buggy PARKING area where buggies can be stored with locking devices.
So looking at demographics, long term strategies and building them into forward thinking space planning, we should be designing spaces that meet the needs of modern parenting including secure buggy storage.