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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Developing a Library Building Program: Contacts & Resources

Contact Us

Lauren Stara's picture
Lauren Stara
Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program
98 N. Washington St., Suite 401
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
800-952-7403 (in MA)
617-725-0140 (fax)

Web Resources

The Whole Building Design Guide: Public Libraries Building Type
A good primer on the design issues facing public libraries, written from the perspective of a building professional

LibrisDesign planning documents
LibrisDesign was a California-based library facility-planning database that assisted local library officials with the planning of public library buildings. Their website is no longer active, but we want to make these fact sheets available to you. They contain excellent basic information, but be aware that they have not been updated in several years. Please verify any critical information.

Two sample library building programs from "real life" projects can be found online:
Edgartown Free Public Library
Hatfield Public Library

Several collections of images, ranging from teen spaces to acoustic treatments, are available via Pinterest:
Go to to browse ideas and share with your designers.

Print Resources

Author Title Pub date Description
Barclay & Scott Library Renovation, Maintenance, and Construction Handbook 2011 Practical, hands-on advice from a knowledgeable architect, from building systems to interiors and signage
Carr The Green Library Planner 2013 How to incorporated sustainability into a construction or renovation project
Cohen Designing and Space Planning for Libraries: a Behavioral Guide 1979 An oldie but a goodie in terms of the behavioral issues involved in planning a good library
Feinberg & Keller Designing Space for Children and Teens in Libraries and Public Places 2010 Designing for these special audiences
Holt Planning Library Buildings and Facilities: From Concept to Completion 1989 A little outdated, but the basic concepts stay the same and there's good stuff here
LLAMA (ALA) Building Blocks for Planning Functional Library Space 2011 [3rd ed] A compilation of information about how much space to allocate for various pieces of equipment and furnishings in a library
Gunnels, Green & Butler Joint Libraries: Models That Work 2012 Case studies of joint library projects, with ideas for management and operation
McCarthy Managing Your Library Construction Project: a Step-by-Step Guide 2007 Working with building professionals and how to deal with all the paperwork required for a construction project
Piotrowicz & Osgood Building Science 101: a Primer for Librarians 2010 The basics of building systems and methods, written for those with no building background
Sannwald Checklist of Library Building Design Considerations 2009 [5th ed] Every checklist you could possibly think of, from space planning to dedication ceremonies
Schmidt & Etches Useful, Usable, Desirable 2014 User experience comes to libraries -- at last!
Woodward Countdown to a New Library: Managing the Building Project 2000 Written from a librarian's point of view


All these books (and more) are available to borrow from the MBLC's Professional Collection. Place a request through NobleNet or contact Lauren.