The Critical Role of Outdoor Spaces for the 21st Century Library

by Traci Engel Lesneski

Outdoor Space and the Library

Libraries serve as critical community partners. They evaluate current and future needs and proactively through service provision fill gaps in the community fabric. They sometimes fail to capitalise on a key asset in their toolkit: the outdoors. Library buildings have historically made use of their surroundings to underscore the significance of the building, focus on the attributes of the location and enhance the “place”, beautifying the environment. Libraries of all types and size and in all climates and locations can use their outdoor spaces to enrich the way they fulfill their missions and to serve their communities more effectively. By focusing on the outdoors and virtually turning the library inside out, libraries can increase their available real estate and provide a wide range of benefits to users.

southwest-regional-library-louisville
Southwest Regional Library, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, features curving paths and an infiltration basin bridge, providing opportunities for visitors to understand the surrounding environment.

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