The Library

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Restored 2 rotunda as living room for the community, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY

The Evolving Library Today’s libraries wield powerful new means for sharing information. Yet, in rapidly changing times, people still need libraries’ timeless services urgently: gathering community, promoting collaboration and creativity, offering connectivity, celebrating shared values, and providing continuity while incubating change. This combination presents a landmark opportunity to re-envision libraries. To take advantage of it, they need architecture to enable new paradigms and express renewed commitment while restoring past treasures, equipping libraries to continue reinventing themselves going forward. Restored Gutenberg Bible exhibit Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

“Healing place for the soul” -Entrance inscription, Library of Thebes, 13th century BCE

Newman Architects’ library work illustrates the special opportunities and challenges of designing for these transitioning institutions and their communities, demonstrating promising strategies to prepare libraries for continuous evolution. Each library can select its own balance from among these possibilities in light of its unique mission, vision, values, history, resources, culture, and community, shaped by place-making. The results are welcoming, inspiring places that foster collaborative communities devoted to reimagining themselves and inventing the future.


“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” -Andrew Carnegie

Welcoming main entrance and arrival area. Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT


1. Community As public commons, libraries possess tremendous potential to gather seeker communities and tap their power to change the world. • Attracting people and inviting them to enter • Welcoming diverse participation from the surrounding community • Engaging and inspiring learning communities • Clarifying wayfinding with armatures of portal, path, and place • Meeting fundamental human needs for community, privacy, ceremony, surprise, delight, reflection, and inspiration • Providing places to see and be seen, to choose freely among observing, joining, and passing by • Meeting community needs for education and training, assembly and meeting, and care

A library’s sense of place nurtures community.

Creating a dynamic social heart that also presents library offerings. The Forum, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


Library as civic beacon and civic invitation. Slover Library, Norfolk, VA

“When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.” -Everett Dirksen


John Jermain Memorial Library Sag Harbor, NY



Proportioning space to welcome children. Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT

Dialogue between traditional and contemporary expressions of welcome and shared purpose. Slover Library, Norfolk, VA

The power of vibrant color in natural light Darien High School, Darien, CT



Openness and transparency with clear, shared pathways and a variety of technology-equipped places to meet and touchdown Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” -Lady Bird Johnson


Portals, pathways, and places to gather that guide and ennoble journeys of discovery. Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


Gathering community in the presence of collections framed to inspire awe and wonder. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

Welcoming main entrance and arrival area. John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY


Shaping collections to greet people and bring them together. John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY


2. Collaboration & Creativity Public collaboration space, configured to stimulate interaction and elicit creativity, taps the power of gathered communities to innovate, complementing and galvanizing other library activities. • Making space available for public collaboration, both new space and space that has been freed up as books move off site and into interlibrary arrangements, especially important as community gathering space disappears elsewhere in society • Configuring community space to promote collaboration by means of transparency in construction, flexibility in layout, furnishings, and equipment, and incubating change with technology • Bringing people face to face in varied ways to offset the growing isolation of individual screen relationships • Promoting interaction through both architectural and programmatic means

Libraries are poised to become the great think tanks and innovation zones of the future.


Intimately-scaled opportunities along the pathway for spontaneous interaction

Furnishing large commons to invite interaction at many scales Reading Room, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


Convenient, technology-equipped places to enable collaboration, both planned and spontaneous, and connect to others elsewhere in real time Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT


“There is something intangibly real and valuable about talking with someone face to face. That person becomes an important existing human connection, not just someone whose disembodied voice pops up on your cell phone, iPad, or computer screen.” -Melissa Nilles

Intimately-scaled collaboration alcoves John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag harbor, NY


Natural light and natural materials create warm, welcoming environments. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT


Reorganizing underutilized, antiquated space creates open, flexible environments, transforming our experience of historic buildings. Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT 19

“It’s easy to get good players. Getting them to play together, that’s the hard part.” -Casey Stengle

Ample places for gathering people to teach and learn beside public spaces Slover Library, Norfolk, VA 20

Transparency and flexibility to eliminate impediments to interaction, facilitate discovery, and invite participation. Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT



Flexible public places to invite exploration and support varied uses Slover Library, Norfolk, VA

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too), those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” -Charles Darwin

Flexible Touchdown Space Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT


Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT


“Play is the highest form of research.” -Albert Einstein

Integrated collections and playscapes create new worlds for children to explore Westport Public Library, Westport, CT


3. Connectivity Libraries provide public portals for access to information, community, and technology. • Embracing new media from emerging technologies, balancing them with preserving books and other traditional media • Embracing new technologies for universal information access, balanced by librarians as expert guides to information • Providing access to technology, including for those unable to afford their own • Promoting technical literacy • Enabling creative and technical collaboration • Incorporating technology so that sense of place is the user’s primary experience • Expanding community beyond those physically present, via emerging technologies, to include the entire global community • Creating robust and flexible infrastructure to accommodate inevitable technological change

Libraries connect the global community.

Interactive information stations accessing online resources Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT 26

Multi-media studios to enable exploration and creation and promote technological literacy Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT



Interspersing technology among varied seating opportunities along shared pathways Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT

“When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I could not go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for ten years.” -Ray Bradbury

Comfortable, inviting, technology-equipped touchdown commons Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT


Flexible Collaboration Spaces

30 Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” -Ray Bradbury


“The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.” -Jacob Bronowski

Bringing the Maker-Space movement into libraries, with advanced visualization and 3D printers, to stimulate inventive problem-solving and physical learning applications


Multi-media recording studio for capturing presentation practice by aspiring teachers and producing new teaching digital materials Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT


Interactive touch-walls with custom programming as public interface to special collections Historic Document and Artifact Collection, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


“I think it is fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.” -Bill Gates

Searching large collections, digitally and pictorially, to identify potential subjects for in-person examination



Digital displays with archival exhibit cases present special-collection materials with media content engaging portable devices and online presence. Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT

Interactive Technology Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” -Neil Gaiman

Career Center Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Convenient, gracious space for conferring with librarians John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY


Flexible multi-use rooms with video-conferencing capability for welcoming collaborators around the world Center for Global Studies / Center for Pedagogical Innovation, Fisk Hall, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 39

4. Celebration Libraries in every community symbolize the universality of the search for meaning and purpose, celebrating the ultimate common ground among all cultures, and the best in what they have to offer each other.

“In each nation, and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based on our shared humanity.” -Kofi Annan

• Representing shared human values and the pursuit of understanding through civic architecture • Ennobling curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge • Embracing diversity, globalism, and multi-culturalism • Hosting community gatherings • Nurturing children as a special resource, our living future

Libraries remind us of the transformational power of the human spirit.

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 40

Architectural art evoking past public trellises and gazebos The Forum, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


The Forum, Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


“The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.” -Libba Bray



John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY


Whatever the architectural expression, from contemporary to traditional. Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


Ordered architecture with natural materials in natural light creates warm, joyful places that uplift and enrich lives. Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT


East Rock Community School New Haven, CT


The Morgan School Clinton, CT 49

5. Continuity & Change Libraries bridge past and future, supporting communities of the present along paths of discovery. • Connecting communities to their cultural heritage • Combining preservation, renovation, rehabilitation, and innovation • Reinventing what it means to be a library, supporting continually evolving program needs • Equipping libraries to continue self-reinvention into the future • Maintaining continuity and reflecting the changing needs of society

Libraries channel change as the ultimate expression of curiosity and medium of creativity.


Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY

“The best prophet of the future is the past.” -Lord Byron

Boger Hall Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT


Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, New Haven, CT

Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag harbor, NY


Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT

Lynn University Library Boca Raton, FL


Creative Minds International Public Charter School, Washington, DC


Garrison Elementary School, Washington, DC 57

John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY

Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT


Slover Library, Norfolk, VA


“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” -George Orwell

Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT


Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL



College of Letters Library Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT


“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.” -Sidney Sheldon

WHAT’S NEXT? Since ancient times, libraries have gathered communities to share questions, concerns, insights, and aspirations. What can libraries anticipate now, peering into the future? Perpetual and accelerating libraries will need to be inclusive, transparent, and flexible incubators. Society will change. Information will change. Pedagogy will change. Media and technology will change. But the timeless human need to gather and share ideas will not change. The world will grow increasingly interdependent, so multi-cultural understanding will become more important for communicating, building consensus, cooperating, and resolving conflicts. Information will grow obsolete more quickly, so two essential survival skills will be: learning, for lifelong self-re-education, and cooperation, for success through combining skills and talents with others. Therefore, libraries will need to be places of community, collaboration, connectivity, creativity, continuity, and change, celebrating our shared humanity...different, and yet the same.


Dissolving barriers between indoor and outdoor experience Competition Design, Guadalajara Public Library, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico


Our Library Experience PUBLIC

Nathan Hale School Library, New Haven, CT

Amherst College Russian Library Renovation,

Slover Library, Norfolk, VA

Harry Conte West Hills School Library,

Amherst, MA

John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY

New Haven, CT

Williams College Student Jewish Center Library, Williamstown, MA

Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT


Lynn University Library, Boca Raton, FL

Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT

Yale Center for Teaching and Learning,

Colgate University Dana Addition & Case Library

New Haven, CT

Renovation, Hamilton, NY

Yale Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library,

Northeastern University Law School Library &

New Haven CT

Kariotis Hall, Boston, MA

Westport Public Library, Westport, CT New Jersey State Library, Trenton, NJ

K-12 SCHOOLS The Morgan School Learning Commons, Clinton, CT Garrison Elementary School Library, Washington, DC Walter P. Carter/Lois T. Murray Elementary/ Middle Schools Library, Baltimore, MD East Rock Community School Media Center, New Haven, CT Troup Middle School Library, New Haven, CT North Branford Intermediate School Library, North Branford, CT Windsor High School Library Renovation, Windsor, CT Litchfield High School Library Renovation, Litchfield, CT Darien High School Library, Darien, CT

Wesleyan University Fisk Hall, Middletown, CT Wesleyan University Art History Library, College


of Letters Library, Boger Hall, Middletown, CT

Rockefeller Archives Renovation, Tarrytown, NY

Wesleyan University Olin Memorial Library Archives, Middletown, CT


Yale University Grace Hopper College Library

Yale University Manuscripts and Archives

Renovation, New Haven CT

Library Programming & Feasibility Study, Sterling

Yale University Jonathan Edwards College

Memorial Library, New Haven, CT

Libraries Renovation, New Haven, CT

Yale University Sterling Memorial Library

Middlesex Community College Library and

Exterior-envelope Forensic Study,

Classrooms, Middlesex, CT

New Haven, CT

Yale University Law School Library Renovation,

Yale University Cross Campus Library,

New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT

Yale University Davenport College Library

Guangzhou Library (competition entry)

Renovation, New Haven, CT

Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Yale University Silliman College Library

Guadalajara Public Library (competition entry)

Renovation, New Haven, CT

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico Meriden Library Conceptual Design, Meriden, CT

Our Firm Newman Architects provides comprehensive architectural services, including programming and master planning, architectural design of all phases from conceptual design through post-construction, and interior design. Since its founding in 1964, the firm has completed a wide variety of private and public projects throughout the United States and abroad, establishing a national reputation for design excellence. Our portfolio includes the design of new buildings and the renovation and restoration of existing buildings, including buildings with historic significance. These projects include design work for public and private academic institutions, libraries, civic and community centers, performing arts centers, multi-tenant housing, private residences, corporations, religious institutions and urban design. Over the past 50 years, the accomplishments of the firm have been recognized with over 150 awards for design excellence for new, adaptive reuse and restoration projects. We are dedicated to a human-centered design philosophy that seeks ways to contribute to the built environment and make a lasting, beneficial impact on the way people live. We believe that architecture should dignify and enrich the lives of those who experience it, encouraging interaction and communication. We want to realize the idea of a better, richer place, made palpable through the shaping of space, place, form and climate. The concept that architecture should always be responsive to core human needs, which do not change, led to the adoption of fundamental principles of design that still guide all our work. These can be summarized as: make simple, clear patterns of organization; use straightforward geometries; have access to natural light; provide domesticity; create shared paths and places for community; allow for flexibility and room for growth. These simple ideas reflect the aspiration that all our work foster connection and communication between people and place, and we incorporate into our process the principles of sustainability and wellness that increasingly inform all design of the built environment.

300 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511 | 203.772.1990 1054 31st Street NW, Suite 140, Washington, DC 20007 | 202.525.2726

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