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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 facilitiesanywhere. 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.
- Meet current local safety and fire codes.
- Ensure accessibility to all members of the community, conforming to ADA standards.
- Seek the professional expertise of a library planner and/or library architect for any new construction or major remodeling.
- Dedicate expenditures for capital improvements and facility maintenance.
- Develop policies relating to effective public use of facilities, including a meeting room policy.
- Install signs in the community that direct people to the library.
- Provide a well-lit exterior with signage that clearly identifies the building from the street.
- Prominently post hours of operation outside the library.
- Maintain sufficient, well-lit parking located near or adjacent to the facility.
- Provide a convenient, safe book return location(s) during the hours the library is closed.
- Provide a well-designed interior that encourages self-directed use of the library.
- Offer adequate programming and space to fulfill the library’s stated mission and goals. Examples of space include:
- Public meeting
- Accessing and utilizing materials
- Public computing
- Space to create individual content and projects
- Maintain separate areas for staff workspace(s) and breaks.
- Provide storage space.
- Allow easy access to electrical and cabling outlets to support current technology.
- Maintain usage statistics and compare them to space allocation standards to ensure library facilities meet community demands.
- Prepare long-range facility plans that address projected growth. Review the facility plan annually and revise at least every five years. Maintain written policies and guidelines necessary for maintaining and improving facilities.