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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Library Building Programs: Trends in Library Buildings

The crystal ball says...

Flexibility in configuration, equipment, and furnishings, allowing the physical spaces to change and adapt to future needs is paramount! We can't predict what new services will arise in the coming years. However, we do know that tomorrow’s public library will continue to have a physical, bricks and mortar presence and contain: 

  • Items in physical collections that can be seen 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 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 and for those requiring accessible furniture and/or equipment
  • 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. A variety of seating options/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. Meeting spaces are well equipped with technology for presentations, video conferences, and collaborative activities
  • Creative space for library programs and/or individual activities, with flexible equipment and furniture tailored to local needs, along with support spaces for staff members to provide services related to the “creative library"
  • Outdoor spaces that can be used for services and programming in a flexible way
  • Adequate storage
  • Systems and spaces that provide a healthy, safe environment