Pivoting around an urban historic site with deep roots in the African American community, known as Emancipation Park, the new Laurel Branch Library envisions a pedestrian friendly, one story building that acknowledges the rich past of the region with its textured stone. The library also celebrates the present with its dynamic diagonal lines accentuated by bold forms reflecting the innovation of the library system, and looks forward to the future with an attitude embedded in flexibility and discovery for the user of all ages. Designed for a community ever more immersed in technology, the library showcases its services offered by maximizing connections between interior space, landscape and surrounding community with the intent of adding sensory excitement through views to the exterior by letting the user enjoy sunlight, watch the change of seasons, experience color and texture and by letting the library be a beacon of the community from the exterior.
Grand Opening: November 28, 2016
Size: 31,000 Square Feet
Discovery Island: Planned as an interactive learning destination, the Children’s Room takes the beloved dinosaur theme to the next level with a special “Kid’s Only” cave entrance, glowing dinosaur footprints that lead visitors through the area, a volcano seating area, a life-size replica of a Nanotyrannus skeleton embedded under the glass floor, a story time room housing a baby Saber-toothed Tiger lair (with paw prints running up the wall and across the ceiling), and a study area encased in a Brontosaurus ribcage.
Technology: 53 PCs are available for public use as well as a low-vision screen reader/magnifier system. The training lab contains 15 laptops for public instruction. An interactive SMART table is available in the children’s area. A public fax, scanner/digitizer and color printer are located in the publishing center. Digital signs throughout the building provide information on the branch including upcoming programs and meetings. All seating areas have easy access to power for customers who bring their own devices.
Sustainable Features: Roof-mounted solar panels provide a portion of the building’s electrical needs. Permeable pavers in the parking lot filter storm water run-off to protect the environment and two charging stations are available in the parking lot for electric vehicles. A living plant wall in the Whisper (quiet study) Room brings the natural environment inside while helping to purify the air. In the event of major power failure or natural disaster, the lobby portion of the building can be operated on its own generator providing not only power and Wi-Fi, but heating or cooling as needed.
Books & Materials: The current collection numbers over 50,000 items (books, DVDs, audiobooks & magazines) with a future capacity of 80,000 items.
Meeting & Study Spaces: Two meeting rooms, two conference rooms, five study rooms and a Whisper (quiet study) Room are available.
Architect: Grimm + Parker Architects
Contractor: Nardi Construction, Inc.
Accolades: 2018 American Institute of Architects (AIA)/American Library Association (ALA) Library Building Award
2018 AIA Maryland Chapter Public Building of the Year Award