November 21, 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

Closure Plans for Cincinnati Library’s North Building Spark Concerns

As the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCHC) considers the future of its Main Library’s North Building, community members continue to object to the library’s lack of transparency regarding its plans, the elimination of public space, and possible conflicts of interest.

Branching Out, August 2017

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, MD, welcomes renovated Bowie Branch; ten Kentucky libraries awarded $20 million in construction funds; Chicago’s Newberry Library to get an $11 million renovation; and more new construction and renovation news from the August 1, 2017 issue of Library Journal.

Certified Sustainable | Sustainability

The New York Library Association (NYLA) is poised to make library history with the launch of its Sustainable Libraries Certification program this November.

Meet Me in Manhattan: A $55 Million Gift That Will Keep Giving | Editorial

The New York Public Library is having a moment—a very good one. September saw the debut of Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, a long-anticipated documentary by renowned director Frederick Wiseman that is sure to expand the appreciation of the impact of this great institution and libraries as a whole. As if that weren’t enough, there was also the announcement of a gift of $55 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to help bring the radically reenvisioned Mid-Manhattan Library into being.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Gives $55 Million Toward Mid-Manhattan Library Renovation

The New York Public Library (NYPL) announced September 13 the receipt of $55 million from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to support the complete renovation of the Mid-Manhattan Library, NYPL’s largest circulating branch. Combined with the recent boost in funding for FY18 capital projects from the city of New York, the Niarchos Foundation’s gift will enable the $200 million gut renovation of the 105-year-old building into a modern circulating branch that will offer programs for children, teens, and adults; meeting spaces; a business library; and a rooftop terrace, designed by the Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo in coordination with architects of record Beyer Blinder Belle.

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.