December 10, 2017

Branching Out | Library Design

A compilation of recent building projects and plans for more as they were presented in the Library Hotline newsletter, from May 1 through August 7, 2017

Balancing Connections and Collections | Library Design

In many types of libraries nationwide, staff are trying to make more space for people. Increasingly, libraries support learning that is social and emotional as well as intellectual, carving out room for learning commons, flexible spaces, quiet contemplation, and active collaboration.

Get Moving | Library Design

Quality 21st-century library design focuses on human health and well-being. Creating healthy indoor environments that physically connect us to the outdoors, offer access to daylight and views, and motivate us to move our bodies more is critical, since, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, on average, Americans spend 93 percent of their lives indoors. The focus on prioritizing daylight and views and incorporating biophilic tenets (which acknowledge the role of nature in human comfort and productivity) has increased awareness about the critical role the building plays in wellness.

Design for Life

A soaring atrium can offer delight and inspiration. However, atria can also present a platform from which people can do themselves harm. Individuals looking for publicly accessible spaces to conduct self-inflicted violence have sought out libraries, including atria in the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch and the San José State University’s (SJSU) joint public-academic library. On the East Coast, libraries at New York University (NYU) and Brown University have experienced similar tragedies within the past decade.

Great Outdoor Spaces | Library Design

The best libraries don’t stop at the front door. Gardens and green roofs alike are beautiful and inspiring. The benefits of exposure to nature are much more than cosmetic: for individuals, research has related it to reduced stress, inflammation, and mortality; improved memory, job satisfaction, and eyesight; and greater social capital. For communities, successful public outdoor spaces not only improve the physical and mental health of residents, they have been shown to aid the environment, create a stronger sense of community, and even boost the economy.

Open to Learning | Design Institute Columbus Design Challenges

Ohio’s Columbus Metropolitan Library hosted a deep dive into design in a setting that spoke volumes.

Librarians’ Picks | Library Design 2017

Furnishings of note from recent library projects.

Blueprint for Resilience: Toward Libraries that Give Back | Editorial

Sometimes, just envisioning something can set change in motion. That’s what’s happening at the Belgrade Community Library in Montana. That little library was named LJ’s Best Small Library in America in 2015 and effectively leveraged the honor for local interest and investment. A few years later, the library, under the leadership of Director Gale Bacon, continues to make the most of its opportunities, now via design that is helping to set the community’s sights on a possible future.

Community Vision | Library Design 2017

Montana’s Belgrade Community Library is perhaps best known to LJ readers as the 2015 Best Small Library in America. After receiving the award, Director Gale Bacon tells LJ, many in the community started asking what the library’s next step was. The 9,700 square foot building presented the six-person staff with “huge physical space challenges,” Bacon says—not only limiting the size of the collection and staff work space but having routinely to turn would-be attendees away from programs. So achieving this milestone seemed like the right time for reexamination.

Rising Above | Library Design 2017

By the time it opens in 2018, the Calgary Public Library’s (CPL) new Central Library will have been 14 years in the making. In 2004, the City of Calgary, Alta., first allocated funding to study its residents’ future library needs. Since then it has committed a whopping $175 million (in Canadian dollars, or $128 million U.S.) to the project, out of a total estimated cost of $245 million (about $180 million U.S.).