September 23, 2017

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.

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.).

Raising Arizona State | Library Design 2017

After the impact of the recession, Arizona State University (ASU) bounced back with an ambitious agenda of innovation, positioning itself as the “New American University.” ASU prides itself instead on being “measured not by whom it excludes but by whom it includes and how they succeed,” and now ASU’s flagship library is reinventing itself to serve the whole student.

Timely & Timeless | Library Design 2017

The 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards recognize eight outstanding new libraries and renovations.

Thinking Big in Big Sky Country | Design Institute Design Challenges | Library by Design, Fall 2016

Susan F. Gregory, director of the Bozeman Public Library, MT, welcomed attendees of LJ’s Design Institute (DI) to the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified building this May. Opened in 2006, the facility is at once both warmly rustic, clearly inspired by its spectacular mountain setting, and right on trend with the best of national library design. It offers open sight lines, a lofty roof with metal accents, lots of glass (balanced by plenty of wood), hands-on tech, and spaces for people inside and out, making it the perfect setting for attendees to plan the right library for their own communities.

Librarians’ Picks | Library by Design, Fall 2016

Librarians who have recently completed building projects are eager to share their choices for design that raises the bar above the expected.