Library of the Future @ MIT

Callan Bignoli, intrepid MBLC web coordinator, attended an event at MIT & blogged about it HERE. I wish I’d been there.

One of the libraries they talked about was the Fleet Library at RISD in Providence, which I visited earlier this month. It’s a very interesting juxtaposition of historical preservation (a monumental bank building) and modern.


The Four Space Model for library design

Another great post from IFLA: Building new libraries and redesigning existing libraries

(a teaser): “…there is an important shift going on from solely space planning for collections, equipment and associated physical infrastructure to a stronger focus on design for people, community outcomes, experience and innovation. We are seeing a shift from designing buildings with fixed spaces for books – to designing much more flexible spaces that may be used for many different purposes by many different kinds of people at different times or even at the same time.”

–Jakob Guillois Laerkes

And the answer is … Blog AND List

A few weeks ago, I asked our readers if this format was working for them, or if we should go back to the tried and true listserv. It became clear that while the blog is great for posts and links to articles about library planning/design/construction, people wanted grant-related announcements to come directly to their email box.

So we will continue the MPLCP blog for news and information about library buildings, and more business-y stuff will go out on the list. If you’d like to be subscribed to the list, send an email to

The Value of Improving Your Building

Library Journal has published an article about a San Francisco Public Library report documenting the ROI of their 14-year-old Branch Library Improvement Program.

The article is here:

…and the full SFPL report can be downloaded here: Reinvesting and Renewing for the 21st Century: A Community and Economic Benefits Study of San Francisco’s Branch Library Improvement Program

Blog or Something Else?

Hello, Massachusetts library construction fans. We have been publishing this blog for nearly two years — can you believe it? We’ve posted 52 times, which averages out to about one every two weeks.

We’d like to get some feedback on this format. Is it working for you? As we move into the 2016 construction grant round, posts will probably get more frequent. Is a blog the best way to do this? Would you rather go back to an email list? Or what about a newsletter, which combines elements of both?

Please comment on this post, or email me directly at


Got Architects?

If you are planning to apply for the upcoming construction grant round, you should ideally be well into your schematic design. Especially with the holiday season barreling down on us, time is getting tight; if you haven’t yet gone through the bidding process for selecting your architect, please get in touch with Rosemary or me. We may have some tips for getting you on track.

Don’t forget the Resource Guides. Whether you’re a librarian, an OPM or an architect, there’s information that can help.

Construction 2016 Resource Guide for librarians

Construction 2016 Resource Guide for architects and OPMs

Re-Think It

Re-Think It: Libraries for a New Age was a three day conference that I attended recently at the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids MI. Completed two years ago, this 150,000 sf LEED Platinum building was a real showpiece.

Much (though not all) of the program was aimed at academic libraries and academic librarians. I think we in public libraries have a lot to learn from the academy. Yes, they approach things differently: they are more cerebral, focused on research, pedagogy and process. But in many ways they are on a faster track than public libraries as far as digital technology and responsiveness to the future of information go. After all, one of their primary audiences is that 18-25 crowd that demands the latest and fastest.

The conference was much more theoretical and analytical that I am used to; public library events tend to be quite practical most of the time. I found myself really getting into the mindset though, and I learned a lot about ideas like Design Thinking and User Centered Design. I learned new words like “phygital” and GAFA [Google Amazon Facebook Apple]. Plus they have a Dematic materials retrieval system with two giant yellow cranes named Wall-E and Eve. Not everything is pedantic.

I must say it heartened me to see a short range of popular fiction – yes, in print format – in the café area of the library. Even with all of the maker technology and collaborative social spaces, there is still the demand for that Harlan Coben thriller in hardcover.

Look for more about some of these ideas in future posts, and if you’d like to see some photos of the library, go to my Pinterest board.