2014: A Retrospective on Libraries

If you work with libraries — K–12, higher education or public — you can’t say you haven’t noticed a shift in how libraries are spending their budgets when it comes to building plans. In 2014, additions, renovations and remodels (ARRs) were on the rise. What does this mean for architects in 2015? How can you properly navigate a renovation project?

What’s Causing the Shift from Building to Remodeling?

The Library Journal’s “Year in Architecture 2014: Six-Year Cost Summary” shows a steady increase in ARRs over new building beginning in 2011. Between 2011 and 2013, not only was there a steady decline in the number of overall projects but also significant funding cuts for these projects.

Several factors are leading to this shift:

  • A greater focus on sustainability
  • Changes in collection philosophy
  • Aging buildings in need of repair
  • Tightening budgets and more

2015: Brighter Skies Ahead

According to the data in this report, things may be looking up. While 2014 showed more ARRs than new building projects, the funding for all of these projects is also on the rise.

Funding Sources

Fiscal 2009 Fiscal 2010 Fiscal 2011 Fiscal 2012 Fiscal 2013 Fiscal 2014
Federal, new buildings $17,049,910 $8,038,118 $5,854,589 $38,465,599 $1,000,000 $25,617,538
Federal, ARRs 7,873,278 10,657,831 9,270,750 18,882,075 1,684,211 6,239,463
FEDERAL, TOTAL $24,923,188 $18,695,949 $15,125,339 $57,347,674 $2,684,211 $31,857,001
State, new buildings $63,038,118 $67,097,479 $43,548,440 $19,558,708 $9,570,111 64,563,247
State, ARRs 40,827,176 27,486,827 33,147,756 9,286,208 2,017,590 19,563,872
STATE, TOTAL $103,865,294 $94,584,306 $76,696,196 $28,844,916 $11,587,701 $84,127,119
Local, new buildings $518,738,443 $558,427,058 $567,608,480 $284,164,989 $192,466,192 215,147,978
Local, ARRs 392,376,170 251,796,891 348,642,090 184,662,609 133,692,708 188,446,449
LOCAL, TOTAL $911,114,613 $810,223,949 $916,250,570 $468,827,598 326,158,900 $403,594,427
Gift, new buildings $58,532,660 $45,898,678 $37,374,332 $19,573,952 $12,366,431 13,312,404
Gift, ARRs 42,456,942 15,599,975 58,733,738 29,367,511 8,996,727 50,361,901
GIFT, TOTAL $100,989,602 $61,498,653 $96,108,070 $48,941,463 $21,363,158 $63,674,305
Total—Funds Used $1,140,892,697 $985,002,857 $1,104,180,175 $603,961,651 $361,793,970 $583,252,852

Source: Library Journal’s Year in Architecture 2014: Six-Year Cost Summary

The full Library Journal Year in Architecture 2014 report is a worthwhile read.

Mastering Library Remodeling Projects

Libraries are still facing great pressure to remain relevant to the communities they serve and growing demands to accomplish more with less (limited space, staff and funds). As design professionals, libraries need you more than ever to help them navigate their projects, large and small to plan for a future filled with unknowns.

Dan Meehan of HBM Architects in Cleveland, OH recently shared his insights with Demco customers on how to plan and properly navigate renovation projects on Demco’s Ideas + Inspiration site. Get his take on how to refresh your library designs to help libraries reinvent and redefine their spaces.

Looking Ahead

While no one knows exactly what the future holds for libraries, space changes seem to be inevitable for just about every library — K–12, higher education or public. As libraries adapt to the latest technology, re-think their service model, adjust their collection philosophy and shift from a place for content consumption to one of content creation, the physical space will have to evolve significantly opening up endless opportunities to think outside the box of the traditional library. While many libraries have begun their transformation, there are many more at the threshold of these changes leaving many doors for your business in 2015.

Looking Back: Demco’s 2014 top 5 List


The Waltzer by ABF

Whether you need a quiet and contemplative space to work or a semi-private space to collaborate with others, this soft seating line has a solution. See all on-trend products.


Real Stories

We loved the patrons behind Fountaindale Public Library’s Studio 300. Stories of how libraries are enhancing the lives of their users are empowering!


Vision & Innovation Team

Demco held it’s 2nd Annual What’s Next Forum and assembled 15 library professionals from around the country to share their ideas and vision for the future of libraries. Look for these librarians’ perspectives in future Demco blog posts.


2014 EDSpaces Conference

Our speciality space at the show demonstrated the direction school libraries and media centers are heading — the evolution from traditional material-focused spaces to multi-functional learning commons.


One-stop Resource for all Things Library

Ideas + Inspiration is your source for library trends and topics. Everything is on one site, so you can fit it into your busy day.


Marisa Amara

Marisa Amara

Library Consultant
Marisa works as a consultant on dozens of library space planning and furniture design projects as an associate of Kimberly Bolan and Associates. Her experience includes extensive background in product development, furniture project sales and architect and design market relationship development. This has given Marisa in-depth understanding of libraries, their spaces and the furniture needs.