Before Boston saw its first snowstorm of what would prove to be a very long winter, an enthusiastic group of architects, designers, vendors, and librarians convened at Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Central Library in Copley Square for LJ’s December 2014 Design Institute (DI). The first question of the event, posed by Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners library building consultant Lauren Stara, set the stage: “The shift to digital and changing user expectations means that even buildings only ten or 20 years old may already be out-of-date…. How do we build for an ever-changing environment?”
In a time when the mission of libraries is rapidly evolving, how can we craft buildings that not only endure but thrive when meeting new challenges? This question underlined the learning at LJ’s Design Institute (DI) held May 16 in Salt Lake City. Presenters and peers asked attendees to redefine how they thought about sustainability, exploring the idea in terms of conserving energy and being environmentally responsible and looking at the sustainability of a building holistically—from how comfortable patrons and employees are to how the space can change to support new ventures, some of which designers and librarians might not have imagined yet.
There are few more exciting places to contemplate the evolution of library design than Seattle’s Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas. Opened in 2004 and still surprising, it proved to be a vibrant setting for LJ’s 13th daylong Design Institute (DI), held there May 10 and developed in partnership with Seattle Public Library (SPL) and neighboring King County Library System (KCLS). Some 100 participants gathered with architects and vendors for a confab about the changing shape of library spaces as collections alter in response to digital content and budget-driven, ever-morphing staff levels.
LJ’s Design Institute (DI) in Cuyahoga County, OH, was itself an example of one of the major trends it planned to cover—flexibility. When Hurricane Sandy rendered New York–based LJ staff and many presenters incommunicado or unable to travel to the event on its originally scheduled date, architects and the event’s host, the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), worked with LJ to pull off a rescheduled get-together only a month later on December 14, 2012. Attendees rearranged their schedules to provide a full house despite the short notice and approaching holiday season.
How do you plan for a future you can’t predict? By building flexibility into the design. That was one of the main takeaways from LJ’s latest Design Institute (DI), held at the Denver Central Library on May 4.
The DI, LJ’s 12th in a series on trends in library design, was a one-day symposium composed of panels, presentations, and breakout sessions, featuring a mix of architects, vendors, and librarians. On the day before the event, the Denver Public Library (DPL) and Anythink Library (Rangeview Library District), in cooperation with several local architects, organized a tour of recently designed or redesigned local Colorado libraries, culminating at Denver Central itself. […]
As many of us here at LJ gear up to attend the American Library Association conference in Anaheim, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the future of libraries.