April 27, 2017

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Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

nllwalkingtourslugVirginia Commonwealth University’s James Branch Cabell Library is a striking standout on the downtown Richmond campus. Flanking a central square, the library is a focal point that takes in and complements the surrounding buildings. Its footprint allows for the library’s design to be appreciated from every angle. Inside, welcoming signage and an open first floor give students easy access to every level. Individual staffed help desks offer assistance at any time, and users have plentiful options for studying, from well-designated quiet rooms to conversational areas. A Starbucks café on the first floor provides a refreshing break (and a caffeine rush) when necessary. The overall interior design is uncluttered, with dramatic use of color, original artwork, mod furniture, and stylish lighting. Natural light is abundant, from the basement level to the top floors. Photos by Kevin Henegan

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The library's exterior
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Surrounding campus buildings complement the Cabell facility
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Both the old and new areas of the library are on view from the campus grounds
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Bright displays and signage greet visitors at the main entrance
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Individual helpdesk stations are in constant use
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Light panels at the main staircase change colors constantly and can be customized
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Even the elevators get a strong splash of color
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Study areas of all shapes and heights suit any student
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Laptop borrowing stations are a popular service
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Studying with a view: spacious tables for quiet study or interaction
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The upstairs Reading Porch is an inviting place for quiet study
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The Silent Reading Room lives up to its name
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Stylish furniture abounds throughout the library
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The lower level gets tons of natural light
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Group and solo studying goes on all over the building

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From Shelf Space to Social Space
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