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Columbus Metropolitan Library

Main Branch Renovation

A sun-washed space connects the library to the community.

The 1990’s expansion of Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) created an introverted library, directly in conflict with the extroverted nature of CML programming and outreach. Deep windowless floor plates and a forest of columns housed collections to the exclusion of the public experience. Opaque walls and heavily tinted windows separated the library from its surrounding community. Topiary Park, the city’s hidden jewel, had no connection to the library, blocked by a stone-clad wall, parking spaces and mature trees. Today the new Main Library has visual transparency that beckons patrons to enter the library and provides views to the surrounding park and city, resulting in a fresh new experience of Carnegie’s architectural treasure. Both the print and digital collections are “put on display” in the library, making them more accessible to customers and staff alike and putting the architecture in the service of the library’s mission.

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A focus on children.

To impact literacy an imaginative children’s area reflects a child-centered world. Numerous activity areas for events like “Ready for Kindergarten” encourage pre-literacy skills. For older children, there are “Reading Buddies” and “The Scribble Press.” The library’s flexible design lends itself to a variety of programming and sightlines allow non-obtrusive supervision by parents and staff.

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A place for teens to find mentors.

Teens connect with the library in a variety of ways. They have their own dedicated area on the second floor, separate from the Children’s Area and a maker space outfitted with the latest technologies, including a 3D printer. Through the SURGE network, teens connect with local institutions in the space to learn new technologies and get support with their creative endeavors.

CML Front Before
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CML Rear Before
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Space for everyone in the community.

The renovation tripled the number of meeting rooms and added four additional study spaces, giving customers access to technology and learning opportunities. People in the library can see their neighbors and friends involving themselves in the work of the community. The Reading Room offers 360 degree views and doubles as event space for 800, including author talks, festivals, book fairs and naturalization ceremonies.

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274 Graham Gund Partners 2018 04 10 Gene 82 U8