Design Inspiration

Resources and ideas for projects of all sizes

September 1, 2021

Librarian's Library by Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

Embarking on a new design or renovation project at your library can be overwhelming. These works, ranging from books on user design to volumes on architectural planning, will help spark ideas.



Cover of 100+ Ideas to Inspire Smart Spaces and Creative Places100+ Ideas to Inspire Smart Spaces and Creative Places
By Elisabeth Doucett

Doucett invites librarians to find inspiration in the spaces around them to create a more engaging and inviting experience for patrons. Through short, standalone chapters, the author guides readers on the ways in which they can attract new patrons and welcome back regulars using design elements. Whether it’s a smaller idea (switching out bulbs for more natural lighting) or a more transformative change (making bathrooms a must-see attraction), the book’s recommendations are sure to help turn any library into the next community hot spot. ALA Editions, 2020. 112 p. $36. PBK. 978-0-8389-4718-0.

Cover of Creating Inclusive Libraries by Applying Universal DesignCreating Inclusive Libraries by Applying Universal Design
By Carli Spina
Through an introductory exploration of universal design and universal design for learning, Spina shows how to apply these principles to library infrastructures and services, regardless of library size, type, or budget. The first section of the book uses case studies and resources to explain how to integrate universal design into the physical library setting. The second section shows how these tenets can also be used for services and programming to create welcoming environments and increase engagement. Rowman and Littlefield, 2021. 204 p. $95. 978-1-5381-3977-6. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of Collaborative Library DesignCollaborative Library Design: From Planning to Impact
By Peter Gisolfi
Award-winning architect Gisolfi provides practical and instructive guidance on how to tackle real-world design projects with active participation and effective collaboration among stakeholders. With examples from public, academic, and school libraries, he presents a collection of library design projects alongside essays from those who worked on them, allowing readers to view each from conception to day-to-day operation. Readers will find new ideas and practical advice to help meet patron needs through library design. ALA Editions, 2018. 146 p. $75. PBK. 978-0-8389-1717-6.

Cover of Constructing Library Buildings That WorkConstructing Library Buildings That Work
By Fred Schlipf

Renowned library design expert Schlipf presents design as a team effort that involves cooperating owners and experts. The first few chapters cover the construction process, while the second half provides considerations for successful library buildings. With this in mind, the author structures the book in such a way that readers can easily find exactly what they need for their current projects or problems. Incredibly concise and packed with information. You may well read it in its entirety, even if you jump around in the process. ALA Editions, 2020. 200 p. $50. PBK. 978-0-8389-4758-6. (Also available as an ebook.)

Cover of The Practical Handbook of Library ArchitectureThe Practical Handbook of Library Architecture: Creating Building Spaces That Work
By Fred Schlipf and John A. Moorman

Schlipf and Moorman present a comprehensive library architecture handbook that helps support building projects of all sizes and scopes. Chapters provide resources relating to all stages of construction, including design and financing, and explore library-specific spaces, such as public service desks and staff workrooms. It also dives into technical issues such as lighting and HVAC systems. Filled with encyclopedic detail and delivered in an approachable style, this book is an essential how-to and how-not-to guide for readers building a new space. ALA Editions, 2018. 1,040 p. $150. PBK. 978-0-8389-1553-0.

What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World
By Sara Hendren

Hendren, an artist, design researcher, and professor at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, explores how everyday objects and environments are built with hidden assumptions about the abilities and needs of users. Through a series of stories from people with disabilities whose experiences helped give rise to daily living aids such as cyborg arms, customizable cardboard chairs, and other innovations, Hendren invites readers to rethink the ecosystems in which they live to better understand how design can meet a range of needs and desires. Riverhead Books, 2020. 240 p. $27. 978-0-7352-2000-3.


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