Library Learning Center at Texas Southern University in Houston. Photo: Kayla Hartzog

2020 Library Design Showcase

September 1, 2020 Welcome to the 2020 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These shining examples of architectural innovation—completed before the COVID-19 pandemic—address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. As with past showcases, renovations and expansions dominate submissions, as communities find novel ways to conserve and honor existing spaces while … Continue reading 2020 Library Design Showcase

A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. Illustration: MSR Design

Virus-Responsive Design

September 1, 2020

Traci Engel Lesneski, CEO and principal at Minneapolis-based national architecture firm MSR Design, which has worked with hundreds of libraries across the country, says libraries are ideal spaces for innovative design solutions. “It’s not a stretch to think about the ways that libraries have modeled what’s next in the world,” she says. “Libraries can talk … Continue reading Virus-Responsive Design


Composite image of different people standing, sitting, and walking through a library space

Encoding Space

September 1, 2020

Various studies support the notion that space affects our mood and behaviors. From architects and interior designers to psychologists and neuroscientists to community developers and retail managers, numerous experts have discussed the impact of physical environments on the way we think, feel, learn, and act. Swayed by our surroundings We each respond consciously (and often … Continue reading Encoding Space


Dewey Decibel: Library Architecture and Design

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Library Architecture and Design

August 17, 2020

First, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Wardell Ross Jr., director of Houston operations for architectural firm Moody Nolan, who was project manager for Texas Southern University’s new Library Learning Center. Morehart and Ross discuss the library’s features and how its design reflects and showcases the heritage of the … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Library Architecture and Design


Sustainability in Libraries: Lisa G. Kropp

Enduring, Disrupting, and Thriving

April 28, 2020

To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and recognize the American Library Association adding sustainability as a core value—American Libraries returns with its ongoing sustainability series. In these posts, information professionals share their experiences with sustainability in libraries. Although I wrote that sentence in March 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, that is … Continue reading Enduring, Disrupting, and Thriving


From left: Jeffery Davis, Margaret Sullivan, Salvador Avila, Melanie Huggins, and Danielle Milam.

Human-Centered Spaces

February 29, 2020

“Architecture isn’t about buildings, it’s about people,” said Jeffery Davis, library planner and designer at Architectural Nexus in Salt Lake City. Davis, Milam, and fellow panelists at “Inclusionary Tactics that Flip the Script for Library Facility Planning,” a February 28 program of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville, emphasized that library design’s new … Continue reading Human-Centered Spaces


Richland Library Main in Columbia, South Carolina, was featured in the 2019 Library Design Showcase. Photo: Garrett Rowland

Show Us Your Beautiful New Library

January 2, 2020

We are looking for shining examples of innovative library architecture 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 is on the … Continue reading Show Us Your Beautiful New Library


Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries of All Shapes and Sizes

September 30, 2019

First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Gretchen Caserotti, director of Meridian (Idaho) Library District, about its 320-square-foot Tiny Library. Next, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski discusses the construction of Austin (Texas) Public Library’s $125 million Central Library with its project manager, Cynthia Jordan. Finally, Morehart speaks with Rachel … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries of All Shapes and Sizes


2019 Library Design Showcase

September 3, 2019 Welcome to the 2019 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These shining examples of innovative architectural feats address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Renovations and expansions continue to dominate submissions, as communities find novel ways to conserve and honor existing spaces while moving them well into … Continue reading 2019 Library Design Showcase

ALA/AIA Library Building Awards

2019 ALA/AIA Library Building Awards

September 3, 2019 Tutt Library, Colorado College, Colorado SpringsArchitect: PfeifferPhoto: Steve Lerum Calgary (Alberta) Public Library, Central LibraryArchitect: Snøhetta and DialogPhoto: Michael Grimm The Milstein Center at Barnard College, New York CityArchitect: Skidmore, Owings, and MerrillPhoto: Magda Biernat San Mateo County (Calif.) Libraries, Half Moon Bay branchArchitect: Noll and Tam ArchitectsPhoto: Anthony Lindsey Photography Toronto Public Library, Albion … Continue reading 2019 ALA/AIA Library Building Awards

Tiny but Mighty

September 3, 2019

Meridian Library District’s (MLD) Tiny Library—a brick-red, 320-square-foot repurposed shipping container—stands out. As families cross the parking lot to the YMCA and spot the new building, we’ve heard kids ask “Can we go today?” and adults remark “This is so neat!” The Tiny Library was born out of the desire partner with other community organizations … Continue reading Tiny but Mighty


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Process Matters in Design

September 3, 2019

Participatory design is more than a needs assessment, a focus group, or even an ethnographic study—stakeholders actively contribute to defining problems and designing solutions. They are considered equal members of a research and design team rather than treated as research subjects. Given the diversity of library design projects and our user-centered focus, it seems a … Continue reading Process Matters in Design