More than five years after it first opened in November 2009, the renovated and expanded Cambridge Public Library (CPL) in Massachusetts is still receiving accolades. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) sent two judges to CPL this past November to evaluate the library for its prestigious Institute Honor Award for Architecture. The new library was designed by William Rawn Associates in conjunction with Ann Beha Architects, who handled the restoration of the original 1889 library. CPL has won 22 awards, including the Boston Society of Architects’ Harleston Parker Medal for “the single most beautiful building” built in the Boston area in the last ten years. It was also featured in the American Libraries Library Design Showcase (2010).
The award-winning Library of Birmingham (LB), which garnered applause and approval across the U.K. when it was built in 2013, is about to fall on hard times. After opening to great fanfare a little over a year ago, the library has been finding it hard to keep up with costs, citing a lack of private sponsorship and the Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) failure to raise promised money from land sales. Then at the end of 2014 the BCC announced a round of austerity measures that will cut some £72 million in funding for the arts, parks and recreation, care services, cemeteries, and children’s care services for 2015–16. Approximately £1.5 million will be cut from LB’s annual £10 million operating costs, meaning that 100 of the library’s 188 staff could be eliminated, and its hours reduced from 73 to 40 per week.
Library design is forward-thinking by nature, yet the idea of the library—as a gateway to learning, a public space open to all, a place to find what you’re looking for—is iconic. Today’s public libraries are re-imagining services, space, collections, and programming in ways that engage communities and celebrate creativity. Their design reflects a changing reality, yet also needs to stand the test of time. LJ’s New Landmark Libraries initiative identifies the top new libraries to look at for ideas and inspiration. The 2015 New Landmark Libraries will focus on public libraries that have completed new construction, expansion, or significant renovation within the last four years (2010–2014). We are accepting submissions now through March 31.
The library construction projects completed between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, seem to have found common purpose around a common theme: community. As such, many of the 16 academic projects and 84 public library capital efforts find themselves at the center of their respective neighborhoods. Whether large or small, on an expansive budget or a shoestring, these facilities strengthen ties among their constituencies and between learning and entertainment.
Discover the Hicks Undergraduate Library, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; the Pierce College Library Learning Crossroads Building, Los Angeles Community College District, Woodland Hills, CA; the John T. Richardson Library and Information Commons at DePaul University, Chicago; and MacOdrum Library, Carleton University, Ontario.
See the Jerry Falwell Library at Liberty University, Lynchburg. VA; the John Hay Library, Brown University, Providence; The Dr. Peter W. Addiego Health Sciences Library, Nassau University, East Meadow, NY; the Tidewater Community College/City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library; the Truax Campus Library, Madison College, WI; and the new Oxnard College Library Learning Resource Center, CA.
View the Carbondale Branch Library, CO, part of Garfield County Libraries; the Lodi Branch of the Medina County Public Library, OH; the new Westwood Public Library, MA; the Boyden Library, Foxborough, MA; the Prairie West Branch Library, the newest member of the Siouxland Libraries, Sioux Falls, SD; the Back of the Yards Branch of the Chicago Public Library; and the North Beach Branch, San Francisco Public Library.
Meet the expanded Madison Central Library, WI; the Ames Free Library, North Easton, MA; the new two-story Glenwood Springs Branch Library, Garfield County Libraries, CO; the Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA; the new 15,000 square foot Driving Park Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), OH; and the 1902 neoclassical Holyoke Public Library, MA.
Learn about the remodeled West Tisbury Free Public Library, MA; the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library; the remodeled and expanded Covington Branch, Kenton County Public Library, KY; the 8,690 square foot, single-story, two-structure Pico Branch Library, Santa Monica Public Library, CA; the new Hanahan Branch of Berkeley County Library, SC; and the Vashon Library, Vashon Island, part of the King County Library System, WA.