Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Learning Outside the Box

May 1, 2018

Building or renovating a library is often only cursorily covered. The Practical Handbook of Library Architecture: Creating Building Spaces That Work, by Fred Schlipf and John A. Moorman, is long overdue. Its functional predecessor, Planning Academic and Research Library Buildings, third edition, by Philip D. Leighton and David C. Weber (ALA Editions, 1999), answers many … Continue reading Learning Outside the Box


Prince George's County (Md.) Memorial Library System, Laurel Branch Library. Photo: Sam Kittner

Show Us Your Beautiful New Library

January 2, 2018

We are looking for libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Previous submissions have ranged from stunning restorations of historic Carnegie buildings to vacant structures that have been repurposed into libraries to high-tech facilities with audio and video production studios. If your library … Continue reading Show Us Your Beautiful New Library


Michigan State University librarian Eric Tans with the book debinding machine

Leading the Green Revolution

November 1, 2017

“When you start talking about compost and food waste, people immediately think of fruit flies and mice and stinky garbage,” Tans says. As the school’s environmental sciences librarian, Tans participates in MSU Libraries’ robust programming around recycling, composting, and deaccessioning books. Founded in 1855, MSU is a historically agricultural school. The institution’s long tradition of … Continue reading Leading the Green Revolution


A team returns a restored mural to the wall in Boston Public Library’s Bates Hall.

Saving Our Murals

November 1, 2017

It’s one of three murals in the library’s entryway, painted by artist John Theodore Jacobsen when the art deco building opened in 1934. Jacobsen was also a preeminent architect, helping lay the groundwork for Pacific Northwest modernism. But the mural was almost lost forever to water damage following a storm that hit the library during … Continue reading Saving Our Murals


Welcome to Wrocław

September 22, 2017

“It is time for you, at this conference, to engage and explore,” said Donna Scheeder, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), to the crowd gathered for the Opening Session of the 2017 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) on August 20. “I’m sure among this group is a future IFLA president somewhere.” Speakers seemed … Continue reading Welcome to Wrocław


The 11 cascading levels of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Visiting Egypt’s Libraries

September 19, 2017

The new Biblioteca Alexandrina The Bibliotheca Alexandrina complex comprises not just a library building but also a planetarium and conference center. A large fence with guard stations about every 25 meters runs along the corniche. This was once where you could enter the grounds, but due to security precautions prompted by political turmoil, the entrance … Continue reading Visiting Egypt’s Libraries



2017 Library Design Showcase

2017 Library Design Showcase

September 1, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These are shining examples of innovative architectural feats that address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Renovations and expansions dominated this year, showing that libraries are holding on to and breathing new life into spaces already cherished … Continue reading 2017 Library Design Showcase


National Library of Latvia, Riga Architect: Gunnar Birkerts Architects, Gelzis-Smits/Arhetips Photo: David Oldham

AIA/ALA Library Building Awards

September 1, 2017

The following libraries are winners of the 2017 Library Building Awards, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association’s Library Leadership and Management Association. The biennial award recognizes the best in library architecture and design and is open to any architect licensed in the United States. Projects may be located anywhere … Continue reading AIA/ALA Library Building Awards


Tactical Urbanism for Librarians

Tactical Urbanism

September 1, 2017

Concepts such as “cheap,” “grassroots,” and “local” are relative and open to interpretation. It costs almost nothing to scatter wildflower seeds into abandoned lots while walking or biking around your neighborhood. But it might cost upward of $5,000 to install a “parkmobile” consisting of a custom dumpster filled with tree ferns and yucca plants. You … Continue reading Tactical Urbanism


Catherine Murray-Rust

Radical Restructuring

September 1, 2017

At Georgia Tech, we knew that using words to explain and defend would not accurately demonstrate the impact we have on inspiring and accelerating the intellectual achievements of faculty and students. So we set out on a library renewal project. When we started four years ago, the project largely centered on building renovations. Over time … Continue reading Radical Restructuring


Chris Hartgerink, PhD candidate at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, at the “Being Open About Open: Academic and Research Libraries, FAIFE, Copyright, and Other Legal Matters” session.

Opening Up: Day Five at IFLA WLIC

August 25, 2017

“The legacy of the paper era is two opposing forces: what’s good for science and what’s good for the people who communicate science,” he told attendees at the “Being Open about Open: Academic and Research Libraries, FAIFE, Copyright, and Other Legal Matters” session of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library … Continue reading Opening Up: Day Five at IFLA WLIC