The Practical Handbook of Library Architecture: Creating Building Spaces that Work, Second Edition

This title will be available Spring 2024. You may place an order and the item will be shipped when it becomes available.

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Read a blog post drawn from the book now!

Library directors, board members, and planning professionals will want this newly updated “essential source” (Booklist, starred review) close at hand before, during, and after any library construction project.

“Likely to be among the definitive works on library architecture, this book is exhaustive in covering what one needs to know when taking on a library construction project,” raved Choice about the first edition. Now, with experienced library architect Huberty onboard to contribute his own expertise, the second edition comprises an even more focused and accessible handbook. It covers everything from planning completely new library buildings to small remodeling projects. With a dash of humor the authors point out many common dysfunctional ideas that have managed to permeate library buildings, using them to guide readers towards adhering to functional essentials of library design at every step in the process. Packed with lists and headings to allow for easy scanning, this resource

  • offers expanded information on several topics, such as healthy building designs, accessibility for users with disabilities, construction management, and acoustics;
  • provides nuts-and-bolts guidance on the entire process of planning, design, and construction, including "snappy rules" summarizing each chapter;
  • explains how library buildings actually function as objects, and how that applies to library design;
  • shows how to collaborate productively with planners, architects, and contractors;
  • discusses the technical needs of basic library spaces, including collection storage, user seating, meeting and conference rooms, craft rooms, study areas, service desks, restrooms, and staff workspaces; and
  • includes updated consideration of technical requirements relating to HVAC, lighting, energy conservation, security and insurance, elevators, staircases, and other areas.

Fred Schlipf

Fred Schlipf has been hanging out in library buildings since the early 1940s (at about the age of four, he turned out all the lights in the Detroit Lakes (Minnesota) Public Library one evening—a happy moment that is still both bright and dark in his memory), and has been working for libraries and teaching about libraries and consulting on library buildings since he was 17. He’s been a library school faculty member for over 50 years, and he spent nearly 33 years as director of The Urbana Free Library, the public library of Urbana, Illinois (just down the street from the University of Illinois). He’s done formal building consulting for between 150 and 200 libraries and quick consulting for many more, and he visits library buildings everywhere he goes. He has a BA from Carleton College and an MA and PhD from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago. He has served on dozens of committees and task forces of the American Library Association, Illinois State Library, Illinois Library Association, local library groups in Illinois, and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. He was Illinois Librarian of the Year in 2000.

Joe Huberty

Joe Huberty grew up in a small branch of the Milwaukee Public Library and was doomed to be an architect after reading Harold and the Purple Crayon. Too many years later, he is a partner with Engberg Anderson Architects. He has spent the last 30+ years planning and designing award-winning and much-loved libraries across the nation, mostly so he can hang out with librarians. Joe sees architecture as a practical art that provides future-friendly, pragmatic, and functional space that is comfortable, aspirational, and inspirational. Libraries are the ultimate embodiment of the relationship between people, services, and space. His work for public and academic libraries has been the subject of multiple presentations at state and national conferences. Joe is a licensed architect in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

John A. Moorman

John A. Moorman has worked as director of five public libraries and a multi-type library system, most recently the Decatur (Illinois) Public Library and the Williamsburg (Virginia) Regional Library. He has a PhD from the University of Illinois library school. He has been active in state and national library associations. When not working with buildings, he developed a specialty in legislative matters, served as a registered lobbyist, and chaired legislative-related committees for the Illinois and Virginia Library Associations. He is a past president of the Virginia Library Association and a lifelong elected honorary member of that association. Within the American Library Association (ALA) he served on the Public Library Association’s Board of Directors, the ALA Council, and the ALA Executive Board, as well as serving on, and chairing, many committees and task forces.

Praise for the first edition

"This hefty volume is an essential reference book for every library director or librarian tasked with building a new library or renovating an existing library/space ... The title says it all!"

"The authors write in a clear, approachable style seasoned with wit and practical wisdom (see especially chapter 2, 'More Than Two Hundred Snappy Rules for Good and Evil in Library Architecture'). The book ends with a helpful glossary of architecture and building terms, including this gem: 'Cape—Never trust an architect who wears a cape.' An essential source for current and aspiring library directors, LIS students, and anyone working in a library who needs to improve its space.”
— Booklist (starred review)

"Likely to be among the definitive works on library architecture, this book is exhaustive in covering what one needs to know when taking on a library construction project ... This logical, encyclopedic approach will aid all who are planning or engaged in library building projects, large or small.”
— Choice