Library Directors’ Favorite Features

Ever wonder what Library Directors say when you are not listening, or what special features your colleagues are designing into their library projects? Well, Demco asked Library Directors to tell us what their favorite feature was in their new building or recently renovated space, and this is what they had to say:

Green Valley Ranch Branch, Denver, CO

“The favorite design feature is at our new Green Valley Ranch Branch opened in Spring of 2011. We love the natural day lighting in the building and in particular the windows in the corner reading area we refer to as the “jewel box.” The windows are a beautiful feature on both the exterior and interior of the building,” according to Susan Kotarba of Denver Public Library.

Susan Kotarba, Director of Public Services
Denver Public Library

Humphries Poli Architects, P.C. in Denver, CO

Anythink Wright Farms Branch, Thornton, CO

According to Pam Smith, Director of the Anythink Libraries, “Our board of directors wanted our libraries to have the comfortable, welcoming atmosphere of bookstores and they asked to have fireplaces in all of our libraries. These spaces have turned out to be some of our signature spaces that exude that sense of curling up with a good book on a rainy or snowy day.”

Smith added, “Another signature feature of our libraries is the concept of library as tree house. The metaphor of the library as a tree house, or space that compels you to daydream, and imagine possibilities. The idea of the tree house connects with libraries as a catalyst to challenge yourself. The library is a place to dream of impossible visions, and then stretch yourself to accomplish these dreams.”

Pam Smith, Director
Anythink Libraries Rangeview Library District

Humphries Poli Architects, P.C. in Denver, CO

Sachlem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

For Linda Overton, it wasn’t a single feature but the combination of details at the entry into Children’s Services. “Since the renovation of our children’s space, I enter the foyer each morning amazed by what our design team accomplished. I feel energized and re-motivated to serve our Sachem families as I am drawn into the intriguing landscape of the space,” commented Overton. “There is a cut-out in one foyer wall that allows a peek into our new tween space, and a gorgeous Breathe™ Living Wall filled with thriving green plants. On the side opposite the cut-out is a beautiful cabinet that has six museum-quality glass cases to hold children’s collectibles and a custom-designed wooden grid to exhibit their artwork. And right in the line of vision from this same foyer are two high-tech looking reference desks, the very design suggesting we are right here to help our community. From the same spot you can see new A-frame shelving highlighting our popular collections. I see all of this as I step into Children’s Services, and it is welcoming, enticing — all of it says come, explore, be curious.”

Linda Overton, Head of Children’s Services
Sachem Public Library

Kimberly Bolan & Associates and Lehner Design, IN

Madison Public Library, Madison, WI

According to Gregory Mickells, Library Director of the Madison Public Library, since their newly renovated Central Library opened, one of his favorite features “is the public interaction with the outside of the building. The large 3D MPL sign at the front of the building is drawing considerable photo opportunities. The lighted wall in the evening always seems to have someone creating videos or photos in front of the changing backgrounds. And the signature artwork Question Mark has become somewhat of a place-maker for the library as an easy way for anyone to direct someone to the building. You can’t miss it. It has a huge “?” in the window.”

Another favorite feature for Mickells is the ability to have after-hours events with the new design. “Those events are drawing a 20s and 30s age crowd in greater numbers than ever. Comments about our recent Stacked event, which had a line around the corner just to get into, showed an excitement and an almost “can’t believe” attitude that this was taking place at a library.  Since that time we are seeing more of the 20s and 30s age groups using the library to study or as a meeting place with friends. It has become a viable option that they are using,” said Mickells.

Gregory P. Mickells, Library Director
Madison Public Library

MSR Architects


Janet Nelson

Janet Nelson

Janet is the former Director of Library Engagement and Solutions at Demco. She managed and developed relationships with key industry leaders to understand changing library trends and services.