The Public Library: A post-public library design in a digital era

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Wallis, Heather
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In our contemporary society, where the privatization of space has become the norm, the public library offers an unrestricted environment that is inclusive to all. As digital technologies continues to advance at an ever-increasing rate the definition of the public library is in a constant state of flux. This practicum looks to redefine the public library from its once-rigid definition, focused on the storage of the physical book, to a more fluid definition conscious of the importance of digital infrastructure and proactive behavior, while focusing on knowledge and community within an open forum. A focus on the theory of technoculture, the idea that today’s participatory culture has greatly influenced new library models, and the concept of adaptive reuse has helped to drive the research of this practicum. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s West End neighbourhood, the relocation of the Winnipeg Public Library’s West End branch allows for the adaptive reuse of an existing Manitoba Hydro sub-station. The density, diversity, and socioeconomics of this neighbourhood is a fundamental driver of the need for community space. The accumulation of this research is a design proposal that focuses on an inclusive interior environment that acknowledges that knowledge extends beyond the bounds of the physical book and that a focus on community gathering is of equal importance to the vitality of the public library.
Interior Design, Design, Adaptive Reuse, Participatory Culture, Technoculture, Digital, Technology, Library, Public Library, West End, Post-public library, Four space model