Library spaces offer the community a compelling invitation to explore, gather, learn and engage, and ensure equitable access to resources through infrastructure and up-to-date technology.
Libraries serve as a platform for learning, inspiration, and innovation in their communities. Library facilities are designed to address these community needs. Carefully planned design allows for a wide range of purposes, including reading, studying, meeting, and playing that strengthen community identity and social bonds. The library is also a virtual space where e-content is readily available anytime and anywhere. Facility management is driven by policies that address usage, maintenance, and improvement. Meeting room policies are perhaps the most litigious and should be carefully composed for clarity.
Library facilities are an anchor for economic development and neighborhood vitalization, strengthening community identity. Library staff assesses community priorities via an analysis or survey.
Library facilities should be safe, secure, comfortable, engaging, efficient, and inviting to allow for flexibility of service, growth, and changes in community priorities. Facilities should be designed to support the library’s long-range plan. Building size and spaces will vary by community size, community demand, and budget. Facilities should include space for quiet reading and reflection, and for small and large group meetings, with areas to create and innovate. Partnerships with other entities to accommodate these needs should be considered. It is important to think of sustainability when managing libraries or planning for additions or new buildings.
Libraries should provide safe and easy access to library services. A convenient method to return materials throughout the service area is important. Sufficient lighting, signage, and space to serve the public are essential. All safety and fire codes should be followed, along with proper ADA access.
Library staff, leadership, and governing authorities need to be aware of and accommodate changing technologies and community needs. Technology-refresh programs should be part of a facilities plan, along with proper connectivity and telecommunications infrastructure. A dedicated Internet connection with adequate bandwidth to meet the community’s size should be provided.