The transformation is evident even before visitors enter. Moving down Boylston Street from Copley Square, past the side of the historic McKim Building, the façade of the Boston Public Library (BPL) no longer resembles a bunker. The massive granite slabs that once obscured the entrance are now embedded in the pavement. Through the glass, passersby can see people lining a laptop bar. It’s 10:30 on a Thursday morning, and the place is jamming.
With so many Americans sitting for hours at work, and so many studies showing that inactivity is problematic to health outcomes, incorporating furniture and fixtures that encourage fitness and physical activity into the library is a way to help patrons in the here and now and let them try out options for future home use.
When the recession hit pause on the plans Kansas’s Wichita Public Library (WPL) had to replace its aging central building, library leaders used the opportunity to tap into community feedback. As a result, the replacement will offer features and services tailored to patrons’ needs and will support the city as it moves into the future by fostering civic growth and engagement.
Few libraries are better positioned to host a daylong conference than the Nashville Public Library (NPL). NPL’s elegant Main Library opened in 2001 and still feels new, in part because its style, which designer Robert A.M. Stern described as “modern classical” and which features Ionic columns, Georgia marble floors, and Alabama limestone facing, doesn’t date as quickly as something intended to look state-of-the-art. Its 300,000 square feet include a large, self-contained event space that was perfect for attendees from around the United States to do a deep dive into library design informed by, but not disturbing, the surrounding library business as usual.
The world of academic libraries is constantly changing. Many libraries, for example, have undergone radical spatial changes in recent years, positioning themselves as campus centers for study and socializing. These shifts focus on the student’s or library patron’s experience but show little concern for how librarians’ work spaces are changing to meet the profession’s new demands. Finding minimal literature on this topic, we decided to issue a survey directly to academic librarians to delve into their roles and how their spaces affect the quality of their work.
Challenge: How to turn an ornately designed, inconveniently shaped basement into a sleek, technology-driven community space? This was the question that Bostwick Design Partnership faced when taking on the task of creating TechCentral, Cleveland Public Library’s new technology center on the lower level of the library’s downtown Louis Stokes Wing.