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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Construction 2016: Planning Guidelines

Space Planning Guidelines

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There are no real standards for library buildings. Library services and space needs are changing very rapidly, and it's essential to build flexibility into your design.

The Wisconsin Standards are still the best guidelines we have for collections and seating -- but they are guidelines, not requirements. If you vary significantly from the BASIC level of these guidelines, include your rationale in your application.

Other program and/or square footage use and cost standards may be developed by the MBLC and the Division of Capital Planning and Operations.

Print Volumes per Capita

A general rule of thumb is that every library, regardless of the population served, should have a minimum of 8,000 volumes (in all physical formats).

Population

Volumes per Capita

Less than 2,500

10

2,500 to 4,999

7

5,000 to 9,999

6

10,000 to 24,999

4.8

25,000 to 49,999

3.4

50,000 to 99,999

3.6

100,000 and over

2.5

 

Source: Wisconsin Public Library Standards, 5th ed., 2010

Seating per 1000 Population

Seating should meet or exceed the number calculated using the table below. For a library whose population falls between the figures given, the recommended number of seats should be calculated proportionally.

Seats at fixed electronic workstations, microform readers and other dedicated seating should not be counted in the general seating count. Also omitted from the general seating count are seats in rooms not always open to library patrons, such as auditoriums, meeting rooms and study rooms.

POPULATION

SEATS PER 1000

1,000

22.5

2,500

14.25

5,000

10.0

10,000

7.0

25,000

4.5

50,000

3.0

100,000

2.25

 

Source: Dahlgren, Anders: Public Library Space Needs: a Planning Outline, 2009

Parking Guidelines

Projects must provide at least one parking space for every 400 gross square feet of building, not including staff parking requirements. If the number of parking spaces deviates from this guideline, the Applicant must show that the appropriate local boards have approved an alternative parking plan.