October 20, 2016

(Re) Open Concept | Library by Design 2016

TRANSPARENTLY TRANSFORMED The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s ambitious renovation of its main facility opened up the spaces to one another and to the outside. (Clockwise from lower l.): The teen/YA media area sees heavy use; a formerly blank wall becomes an expanse of glass; the original Carnegie serves as a grand centerpiece; circular shelving defines story time space in the center of the children’s room

The story of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), OH, main library renovation is a familiar one these days: indeed, it has become practically archetypal. A gorgeous old Carnegie, opened in 1907, had long since been outgrown. Over the century and with four additions, it had been married to expansions—the most recent bringing the library to more than 250,000 square feet. Done in 1991, at the height of the trend of stack-centric libraries designed to maximize collections, this latest reformation included virtually no windows, lest the books be damaged by sunlight. Now, a people-first renovation has gently polished the Carnegie and dramatically opened up the addition, thinning the (still ample) collection to focus on space for community in the form of events, meetings, coworking, and simply relaxing and reading—perhaps with a cup of coffee from the new Carnegie Café.

Carol Diedrichs and Patrick Losinski on IFLA in Columbus


The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) annual convening is by nature a globe-trotting affair. In the past several years it has been held in Cape Town, South Africa; Lyons, France; Helsinki, Finland; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This year the IFLA World Library and Information Congress will return to the United States for the first time since 2001, taking place August 13–19 in Columbus, OH. LJ caught up with Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO, and Carol Diedrichs, dean emeritus of Ohio State University Libraries, to talk about best aspects of holding a global event locally.

Columbus Library Funding Notes Sell Out

Columbus Main Library

Columbus Metropolitan Library, 2010’s LJ Library of the Year, launched its Library Fund Library Facilities Notes Sale on Nov. 15, 2012, to help fund its 2020 Vision Plan. Notes are a shorter-term, more flexible debt instrument than bonds, and can be sold in smaller amounts. The notes sold out in three hours, the library said in a statement, with three times as much interest than the amount of notes available.