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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Developing a Library Building Program: Trends in Library Buildings

The crystal ball says...

Tomorrow’s public library will continue to have a physical, bricks and mortar presents and contain: 

  • Items in physical collections that can be seen, touched and sampled before selecting them
  • Stacks and other collection storage systems that accommodate holdings tailored to the community in size, media and age level
  • Archives of local records and appropriate artifacts important to a community
  • Self-service stations, along with minimally staffed full service stations where needed. These places handle functions related to borrowing services and provide information on how to use the library 
  • Computers and workstations for people without their own device
  • Seating for individuals accessing the library’s netword on their own devices
  • Public service stations for staff who provide assistance to those less adept at finding information or those who prefer others locate information for them
  • Dedicated space that is highly valued for being safe, neutral and flexible for children and teens and a place where children and teens can attend programs such as storytimes, teen-centric activities, and other youth oriented events
  • Room for adults to attend programs that respond to local needs and interests
  • Welcoming spaces and environments for individuals to read, think, write and daydream. Seating arrangements, furniture and equipment that are sufficient and designed for individuals to find and use resources in privacy and comfort and with minimal distraction
  • Community spaces like meeting, conference, group study rooms and café-like spaces for formal and informal gatherings. These spaces are characterized as being neutral meeting spaces and flexible in design and use. Larger gathering spaces are well equipped
  • Creative space with equipment for and use of media created by the library or individuals, along with room for staff members to provide services related to the “creative library"
  • Flexibility in configuration, equipment and furnishings, allowing the physical spaces to change and adapt to future needs