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What's the worth of your public library?
"Libraries are really about being a community space in the neighbourhood. They are a home away from home, maybe an office away from the office. It's not just a transactional place [for borrowing books]," Ms. Martin said. "I think that's probably universally true across the city."
Obama just unveiled the design for his $500 million presidential library

By 2021, Chicago will be the home of the 44th presidential library, built in honor of former US President Barack Obama. Called the Obama Presidential Center, it will feature a library, museum, auditorium, restaurant, and public park.

A World of Inspiration

Inspiration for our Central Library can be found everywhere. We can look to public spaces and libraries in other cities, emerging technology, or other aspects of place-making. Just imagine...
Walking into the library and a nearby beacon recognizes you and lets you know that the hold you placed is available – and virtual navigation leads you to it. The beacon remembers that you aren’t able to walk up stairs and calls the elevator for you automatically. 
You wander into the financial literacy section, and are alerted that a free seminar on personal finance is happening later that evening. You grab your books, snap a photo of them to check them out, and order a cappuccino from the café downstairs that will be ready by the time you’re there. You sit in the café, put on your headphones, and stream music via the library’s free WiFi while you read. 
To your left – a woman has downloaded free plans for a working prosthetic arm and is using the 3D printer in the maker space to make one for her daughter. In the lab next door, students are streaming a graphic design video from the digital library and using tablets they checked out to sketch each other. Meanwhile, in the theatre, staff is setting up for the financial literacy session you signed up for and will attend from your home couch tonight via webcast. 
Technology and place-making can make a 130,000 square foot library’s capabilities near limitless. On this page are links to technology, place-making, and architecture that inspire OPL as to what is possible in Ottawa’s Central Library.

Case Study: Bankstown Library & Knowledge Center
Located in the heart of the city, the development of Bankstown Library & Knowledge Centre serves to revitalise a dislocated site and create a rich spatial experience for community members and visitors.
Case: Arendal Library
Arendal Library in Norway is an example of how an existing library can undergo modernization and updating. The library opened in 1998, and in 2015, it underwent renovation. The renovation focused on meeting two challenges: – After 17 years and four million visitors, buildings, furniture and equipment were worn and needed modernizing. – The building was not originally constructed with a view to automating the loan process, and it therefore needed optimization.
Five recipients of 2016 OLA New Library Building Award announced
Community development, new technologies and a commitment to environmentally sensitive design are just a few aspects recipients of the 2016 Library Building Award were judged upon. The Ontario Library Association (OLA) has announced five recipients of the distinguished award, which focused on New Library Buildings.
As 2016 crashed in flames, libraries were the last good place

The world seemed to have gone off its spinner this year, making the library one of the few places you could retreat where the pace of life was slower and blessed silence reigned. It is also the place where serendipity thrives.

Open Books
Imagine a slab: a low box clad in limestone and glass. Then place it on the crest of a hill and split it down the middle, one piece pressed down into the earth and the other slanting up to the sky. This is the three-dimensional drama that animates the new Waterdown Library and Civic Centre in Hamilton.
A Balancing Act – Shared spaces in libraries
Imagine walking into a building and seeing a florist, a hair salon, and an art gallery. Would you guess you’re in a library? Probably not, but at the Salt Lake City Public Library, that’s exactly what you’ll encounter.
Case Study : Aalborg Main Library
Aalborg Main Library in Denmark is an early and highly successful example of how a library building can be used in urban development. The library is also a good case that demonstrates how you can work with the library's spaces in a continual process.
How libraries can save us and become more than just vestiges of the past
The Internet, of course, is a marvelous place to find specific facts but it can’t do what a library does. It can’t stimulate the imagination by showing us what an unconquerable ocean of knowledge is available to all of us. Walking through a library, seeing and touching an astonishing number of books on obscure subjects can be a revelation. For many of us it’s our first glimpse of the sea of information available, our first hint of our own bottomless ignorance. Many good libraries also have actual human beings who, if consulted, will be able to gauge a visitor’s level of interests and explain how they can be extended.
11 Curious Facts about the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries
No matter what library you visit — whether it’s a small town library that hasn’t seen a renovation since the 1970s, or a national library that houses the documents of an entire country’s history, they all share a mission to be a space of community learning. The world’s most beautiful libraries can capture this mission in architecture and design. Here are 11 stunning libraries that inspire visitors as soon as they step in.
122 Things you will be able to do in the library of the future that you can’t do today
Over the past two decades, information has morphed and shifted into a myriad different forms, going digital for the most part, with physical books and paper-based sources, as a percentage of the whole, all on the decline. With digital comes an exponential increase in the number of ways we can access, manipulate, search, parse, combine, manage, and store each of the growing number of elements in the knowledge universe. As a result, our expectations surrounding libraries and the activities and capabilities we expect from a local neighborhood information center, are also beginning to change.
These three beautiful and futuristic Nordic libraries are set to become big tourist attractions

New public libraries are being built in Helsinki and Oslo; and they are following in the footsteps of Aarhus Public Library in Denmark, which opened last year.

When finished, all of these buildings will be much more than libraries: these are very much public spaces and cultural centres. Moreover, they will have plenty of spaces for children, families, and creative people.

Settle Into 10 of the Most Beautiful Libraries on Earth
People love their libraries. And when their governments put money toward them, they even love to visit them. A 2012 report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services found that when investment in libraries drops, as it has in the US since 2009, usage typically falls with it. But the inverse was also true; the more public funds libraries receive, the more people tend to use them.
Libraries of the future are going to change in some unexpected ways
In 50 years' time, Pescovitz tells Business Insider, libraries are poised to become all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing — to the extent that enormous banks of data will allow people to "check out" brand-new realities, whether that's scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog. To understand how libraries will change by the mid-21st century, Pescovitz says people need to understand what function they currently serve. At their core, libraries in the information age provide a public means of accessing knowledge, he says. That's what people crave.
Investing in Your Library’s Experience Economy
Do community members rush into your library, grab a few items, and leave, or do they view spending time there as time well spent? The answer to that question may determine whether you are participating in the experience economy.
These fancy, futuristic public libraries rank among the world’s best

This year’s best new public libraries are more like works of art than stacks of books. The Dokk1 library in Aarhus, Denmark, was named the 2016 winner of the Public Library of the Year Award at The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) meeting this week in Columbus, Ohio.

The prize is awarded by the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces as a part of the Model Programme for Public Libraries. Libraries are judged by criteria including architectural quality, sustainability and interaction with the surroundings and local culture.

Approaches to Creative Placemaking
Creative Placemaking can be used by communities to engage residents locally, enhance public space and contribute to healthy sustainable communities. It is a strategy to improve community well-being and prosperity while also fostering conditions for cities to define, draw attention to and distinguish themselves on a global scale. From cultural districts and clustering to public art, numerous principles can be considered when creating great places.
Exclusive sneak peek inside Calgary’s new Central Library

Take a tour through the building process for Calgary’s new 240,000 square foot Central Library, set to open in 2018. The library’s website contains renderings and plans for the breathtaking new facility.

Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar
Nationally, public libraries are redefining their mission at a time when access to technology, and the ability to use it, is said to deepen class stratification, leaving many poor and disadvantaged communities behind. Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, said library workers had shown people how to file online for welfare benefits and taught classes in science, technology, engineering and math to children who could not afford to go to summer camps.
Toronto Public Library partners with Google to offer free take-home WiFi
Toronto’s Public Library have, in partnership with Google, expanded from providing wireless internet in libraries to providing take-home WiFi to patrons for up to six months at a time. This expansion of the library’s role in bridging the digital divide will provide 210 pilot participants with up to 10 GB of data per month and continue’s the library’s historic role of providing both on-site as well as take-home resources.
How a New Dutch Library Smashed Attendance Records
Facing declining visitors and uncertainty about what to do about it, library administrators in the new town of Almere in the Netherlands did something extraordinary. They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users and, in 2010, opened the Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library), a thriving community hub that looks more like a bookstore than a library.
France’s libraries discovering a new lease of life beyond just books
Seminars, events and cafes are helping some formerly staid institutions reinvent themselves as social ‘third spaces’ beyond work and the home. The library organizes a range of workshops, including reading, computing, basket-making and lino-cutting, readings, slide shows and concerts. But there are employment and literacy support groups too, in partnership with local associations.
Remember the people: The foundation for success in 21st-century infrastructure

Infrastructure providers are used to focusing on issues of project selection, funding, and regulation. The most successful firms are learning to provide great consumer experiences too.

Received from @ JSSBennett via Twitter.

Libraries of the future: Super connectivity and a national stature
Imagine libraries with 10-gigabit connectivity – havens for streamers, data-heavy users and fully supporting maker movements.
Get thee to a library: It’s more important than ever

“If you’ve been to a public library recently, chances are you’ve seen how vibrant and dynamic these public spaces are. You may have stopped in for free Wi-Fi and stayed for an art exhibition. You may have browsed the new releases while waiting for a public lecture to start. You may have signed up for a book club and discovered the espresso at the library café is unparalleled. If you are a regular user of a public library, you know that the programming offers almost endless learning opportunities for every age and stage, from toddlers to seniors.”

Sent from @SaraCaverley via Twitter.

The 21st Century Library
Gone are the days of getting « shhhhh-ed » in a library – libraries are dynamic places where people play, share, and learn together. This article in Le Devoir details some of the ways that libraries continue to develop as “third places” in their communities.
15 Awe-Inspiring Libraries That Will Make You Want to Read All Day

This article features more examples of libraries and bookstores from around the world that feature innovative place-making and architectural design – both inside and outside of the building. From children’s reading nooks, to beach views, to converted churches – these libraries will make you want to read.

Received from @JSSBennett on Twitter.

Spaces: Halifax’s new central library is engaging readers of all ages
Halifax’s central library has been an inspiration to OPL since it opened in 2014. Dozens of details make the design people-oriented, fun, and friendly, and have inspired the community (and many tourists) to use the library to its fullest. This article highlights the obvious – and subtle – ways Halifax’s library is designed to engage.
Check out 25 breathtaking libraries from all around the world.
Playing off the theme of National Library Week 2016 – “Libraries Transform” – this Upworthy article shows how innovation in library design can take many forms – from an armored tank used as a bookmobile, to mobile beach libraries, to Ottawa’s own bookmobile!
7 Gorgeous New Libraries Show us the Future of Book-Lending
The seven winners of the 2016 American Institute for Architects Library Building Awards offer a glimpse into the future of libraries and the opportunities to use iconic architecture, natural light, outdoor space and sustainable practices to attract people to its programs and services.
Opening up the library

Libraries are fundamentally changing from silent institutions to social hubs – and this Globe and Mail article presents a handful of the novel ways that libraries are encouraging social activity as much as they are the consumption of the printed word.

Received from @aboucherfuse via Twitter.

Vancouver’s Expanding, Garden-Roofed Central Library

Already a remarkable, modern example of what a Central Library can be, Vancouver’s Central Library is converting 40,000 square feet of office space into a 77-seat fixed-seat auditorium, rooftop garden, community and meeting spaces, and the library’s first quiet reading area. This complements existing attractions such as the recently-opened Inspiration Lab, a dynamic space providing shared resources for audio, video, photographic, and other artistic endeavours.  

Wireless audio systems

Wireless audio systems allow not only for contextual and curated audio to be streamed right to a person’s phone – but also allow for augmentation for persons with hearing impairments. It could also allow for person with visual impairments to be safely guided to their intended destination.

The Met’s free audio app reduces the cost and coordination of rental equipment and could mean auditory and visual accessibility for groups of 2, 20, or 200 persons alike at the library for presentations, lectures, streaming movies, etc.

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec is a library-science and archival cultural institution of national stature charged with the preservation of Québec's documentary heritage, and with the showcasing and dissemination of the heritage collection, of its archival fonds and collections, and of a universal lending and reference collection. It is also a public library of resources for all Quebecers. In addition, it acts as a catalyst for Québec documentary institutions.

Interactive way-finding

A library has the capacity to make sites, buildings, and content more accessible to persons with visual, audio, or other impairments through the use of technology.

Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark

The new Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark has put the needs of library customers front and center in their design process. The library sponsored a design toolkit for libraries to help us gather input from customers and design services with that input at the core.

Beaverbrook branch

The Beaverbrook branch’s design won a 2015 Ontario Library Association (OLA) Library Building Award and has become a favorite among Ottawa’s 33 branches. Light, airy, with plenty of open space, color, and playful art as one enters, it incorporates many of the elements asked for by customers at this branch.

Architect Joshua Prince-Ramus

Architect Joshua Prince-Ramus takes the audience on dazzling, dizzying virtual tours of three recent projects: the Central Library in Seattle, the Museum Plaza in Louisville and the Charles Wyly Theater in Dallas.

Architect Ole Scheeren

For architect Ole Scheeren, the people inside a building are as much a part of that building as concrete, steel, and glass. He asks: Can architecture be about collaboration and storytelling instead of isolation and hierarchy? Visit five of Scheeren's buildings — from a twisted tower in China to a floating cinema in the ocean in Thailand — and learn the stories behind them.

Human-focused facelifts

A library deserves to be beautiful, welcoming, and a place to stimulate creativity. This article describes the human-focused facelifts given to two buildings designed by famous architects. The results are renewed, light-filled spaces designed to inspire.

librARi - Augmented reality

Augmented reality offers the opportunity for a whole range of new – and easier – experiences in libraries. librARi offers a glimpse of what is possible.

New York Public Library

New York Public Library’s digital collections of more than 600,000 items are a sight to behold. The library has even used crowdsourcing to have library customers input the text of thousands of handwritten menus, capturing an ephemeral aspect of New York’s culinary history for future generations.

Think book warehouse? Think again.

Think book warehouse? Think again. We still love books, but libraries are increasingly about experiencing a vast array of knowledge in physical and virtual forms. We think both forms should live together and inform each other: see a novel on a shelf you’d like to read? We’d like to let you know the author will be visiting next week, and if you opt in, we can send that info to your phone.


You don’t need a factory or a publishing house to make a book anymore, and some libraries are letting customers print and bind their own novels and family histories in about the time it takes to drink a coffee.

Teen Learning Lab

Memphis Public Library’s Teen Learning Lab may be the envy of people of all ages, since they’ve reserved their state-of-the-art maker space for just 13- to 18-year-olds. Oh to be a young adult again.

Vancouver Public Library's Inspiration Lab

Sure the library has been a storehouse for knowledge for centuries, but why not a place where documentaries are made? Vancouver Public Library’s Inspiration Lab includes studio space for film and audio production, letting filmmakers and songwriters hone their craft.

Do Space in Omaha, Nebraska

The Do Space in Omaha, Nebraska is a Maker Space on steroids, both enormous and with an enviable volunteer network that puts the emphasis on people helping people through mentorships.