While some may question the relevancy of libraries in today’s digital age, in designing more than 40 public libraries over the past 20 years, OPN Architects has seen first-hand that the role of these most public of all institutions is just as critical to a community’s well-being as it was 100 years ago.
It was at the turn of the 20th century that philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, recognizing how access to information could impact a person’s life potential, made free public libraries one of his greatest endeavors. Somewhere in the 100 years between Carnegie’s era and now, though, libraries started to define their worth by their collections, not their community. Today, we have come full circle.
Bradd is a principal at OPN Architects and 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Award juror. He is widely regarded for the planning and design of more than 40 libraries, including international-award-winning Cedar Rapids Public Library. He regularly presents his expertise at architecture and library conferences such as the American Library Association annual conference.