HV Library of the Future

We have David B. coming tomorrow to lead us (Board, staff, Friends, and a few patrons) in a discussion of our strategic vision and what we would like in our dream building.  In preparation, I’ve done some very light research, but it’s still been inspiring.

The Demco Interiors blog is a gold mind.

Starting with Designing for Community: 10 Essential Library Spaces The Margaret Sullivan Studio designs based on placemaking principles:

  • The strategic goals of the institution
  • The library’s brand attributes
  • The community’s needs, goals and aspirations
  • The desired learning outcomes for patrons

So, what would our placemaking principles look like? Well our goals and brand are to be a great, traditional library with exceptional customer service, ample study spaces, an up-to-date collection, and serving as the community hub.  During the day, we are a ‘study hall’ with substantial oak tables and library bureau chairs that are almost always full of teen and adult students, students and tutors, or small groups collaborating on projects. In the mornings, we have programs that bring in families or seniors for storytime and yoga.  At night, it’s quieter unless there’s a program that brings in families.

As a bedroom community, Lower Moreland Township is fighting to cultivate a small-town vibe with plans like the Bethayers Streetscape that would redevelop our one cute shopping area along Huntingdon Pike. We are located at the apex of the Pike – could we position ourselves to be more walker-friendly?  This community also fully supports our school district and it is the main reason new residents move to the area, so we are building a stronger relationship with the District through the school librarians.  We are also a very diverse district with Russian, Chinese, Malayalam, Hebrew, Ukranian, Korean, and Arabic all spoken at home.  How do we serve those kids and their families?

Other of the article’s Top 10 ideas I’d like to incorporate into our plans:

  • Welcome space – rework our lower entrance (mud room) and make it easier for patrons to navigate up to the library from downstairs.  I think we are OK from the front entrance, just need to declutter and blow up our huge circ desk.
  • Vibrant Cafe – yep, we need something other than the vending machines downstairs….that’s not on carpet.  Abington Free Library downsized Reference to create space for book-themed vending machines and a new seating area.
  • Browsing Bookstore – expand and better merchandise our new books.
  • Living Room – we have that covered in spades!  2 couches, multiple comfy chairs, bistro tables…
  • Messy Space – a maker/art/creative space
  • Community Meeting Room – check! We have a great one. Could use a kitchen…
  • Quiet Room – YES PLEASE
  • Business Incubator – We would need to ask around and gather more information about this – I’m not sure it’s a need that we have.
  • Pop-Up – maybe on a small scale? little free library? outreach?
  • Community Garden – YES PLEASE – I think this would be so cool and we have the green space around the building to make it happen (if we stay in this location).

Top 5 Library Design Trends (demco interiors blog)


  1. Light and Airy – We have this and just need to upgrade the windows to eliminate the “cold and drafty” in winter or “leaky and moldy” after a heavy rain.
  2. Unfixed flexible space – OK, so they explain why this trend is so popular (just go to a newly remodeled Free Library branch to see it in action).  Modular furniture can be reconfigured quickly, designed for BYOD with powered tables and cafe areas, mobile service points can be used at peak times with wifi connected devices, and low mobile shelving that staff and patrons can see over (helps with way finding).
  3. Power Everywhere – there are interesting low-profile access floor systems you can install during a renovation or raised access floor systems in new construction to address power needs throughout the building.
  4. Collaboration and Study Spaces – Partitions allow you to sub-divide a room for maximum flexibility – Topeka and Abington both have this option.
  5. Furniture Trends – flip-top tables (Kim had these in Bonner), collaboration stations (Abington and Upper Moreland both have one), high-back lounge seating (for noise and privacy? No! So they can be pulled together to create a discussion space), and study pods (good, old fashioned study carrels never go out of style)

Library Design Showcase – 2017 and 2016 – pretty pictures…


2016 Library Building Award Winners


Hey look, there’s Lawrence Public, my old local library!  Brad and his staff have done amazing things with that space, including the recording studio, quiet reading spaces around the perimeter, and the water-bottle refilling station.

8 Technologies to Implement


  • Library Mobile App – Apps are trending over mobile Web sites.  Can we have a MCLINC App that pulls info in from library Web sites (like events)?
  • Augmented Reality
  • Self-service printing and scanning
  • Robots – Have this one!

The Future of Public Libraries: Emerging Trends


  • Makerspaces – there are examples links provided to 5 different libraries across the globe
  • Digital Creation Labs – Chicago Public’s is probably the most famous, but Fayetteville Free Library in NY has a green screen and Stokie Public Library has age-appropriate labs
  • Flexible Design and Seating – Comfy chairs and bright colors
  • Multi-use Spaces and Services – kitchens, gardens, performance spaces, cinema space, the Library of Things (sewing machine anyone?)
  • Emerging Technologies – 3D printers, makerspaces, and Brooklyn PL has an Espresso Book Machine to self-publish and bind books!