The California Library Association’s first all-virtual annual conference was held in May 2021. Attended by 500+ librarians and other library professionals across the state, our firm was selected to give two presentations highlighting important and innovative strategies for the design process of these integral community spaces.
First presentation — The Rebirth of a Library
Chronicling a project case study, Amy, Jason, and Katherine were joined by Kristan Lundquist, the City of Salinas’ library and community services director, to walk participants through the design process for the city’s award-winning El Gabilan Library. The presenters described how ABA led over 700 residents through an extensive outreach process to reimagine their vital local library.
The community’s input made it possible for the design team and library staff to translate key concerns — including community diversity, technology and safety — into each facet of the building’s design. The result: a welcoming, new 20,800-sq. ft. library/community center and garden that allows residents to see the consideration and value of its input. The presentation demonstrated how architects, designers and library staff can work with stakeholders to create exceptional buildings.
Second presentation — Library Design for the New Renaissance Age
Amy, Jason, and Mark offered tips for articulating projects, explored architectural jargon, and set forth key considerations for libraries that are planning improvements. They did this in the context of two scenarios while illustrating 10 steps involved in designing or redesigning a library.
The scenarios looked at projects led by an architectural firm and/or consultants to either design a new library from the ground up or to plan a major renovation. The team also provided tools for library staff directing minor facility modifications, including furniture, materials and fabric selections.
In their presentation, Amy, Jason, and Mark made clear that their intent was to enable librarians to ask the right questions during the design phase of any project, large or small, to foster a successful outcome.
CLA Takeaway – Our Wish for All Library Projects
In addition to providing practical guidance from a designer’s perspective at the CLA Conference, ABA’s goal is to always cultivate opportunities for positive interactions between library staff and its design team to build rapport and illuminate the two parties’ common goal in creating spaces that meet community needs. The two presentations were a powerful demonstration not only of ABA’s expertise in library design, but also of the human touch and creativity it brings to its work.