Are Libraries Relevant in the Digital Age?

Even with the world’s information on your iPad, our emphatic answer is yes, libraries will continue to be essential community spaces.

As designers of more than 30 libraries, our library team at OPN is deeply immersed in best practices for library design. When developing the design for the new downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library, architects worked closely with director Bob Pasicznyuk and library staff to envision the library that would be flexible to accommodate the changes in technology while staying true to the library’s intended purpose. According to Pasicznyuk, “Libraries originally were very much civic centers, centers of learning and to a certain extent centers of enjoyment and entertainment.”

The design for the new downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library builds upon this tradition while reinventing the space for the digital age. Pasicznyuk says. “I like books myself. I’m a reader. And my guess is that will remain part of our tactic structure for some time to come. But if that changes, and it becomes a computer, if it becomes a person sitting with a child who is learning to read, it’s very much in line with the original mission of the public library.”

Pasicznyuk and Dubuque’s Carnegie Stout Public Library director Susan Henricks were interviewed in the article High hopes for new Cedar Rapids Library which ran in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Sunday, February 10, 2013. The article highlights features of the new Cedar Rapids library and delves into the debate about how libraries in Iowa are defining their utility in the digital age.

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