an image of a modern library

Future Library Design: Emerging and Enduring Principles

Discover library design best practices, tour a world-famous library, and apply your new learnings in group design exercises. 

This program is followed by Academic Libraries: Space Planning and Design Charrette.

Curious about what to expect when coming to campus? Please visit our Campus Learning page.

Explore emerging models and evolving changes in library environments, considering how recent changes in service models, information/communication technology, and community considerations influence future library facility design. 

This program is intended for architects and librarians, library staff, and trustees and examines the evolving role of and configuration of the physical library in the 21st century.

What to Expect

a group designing a library on a table
an image of the Boston public library

The course is envisioned as a forum for developing our understanding of future library facilities as:

  • essential elements of civic infrastructure,
  • platforms for meaningful community dialog,
  • productive “think space” & “do space,” and
  • the definitive resource for reliable information.

We will consider how future library buildings can do this while being permanent artifacts of contemporary culture and a moldable environment that stays constantly current and locally relevant. 

The course is structured to include a site visit, expert in-class presentations and discussions, and group exercises and reviews as we conceive lasting opportunities for library spaces for the coming decades.  

We will collectively discuss and determine emerging service initiatives developing along the trajectory of 21st-century library evolution. With this background, we will visit the recently renovated Boston Public Library via guided tour. Then, using our on-site observations, we will do in-class group exercises to explore frameworks for enhancing spaces to resonate with emerging initiatives.

Additionally, we will explore the influence of external forces shaping library environments, including DEIA, sustainability, and biophilic design.

  • Identify and understand emerging trends in library design and library interiors, while becoming a more critical observer of contemporary library spaces
  • Understand the process of working with library consultants, architects, and contractors.
  • Apply sustainable design strategies and biophilic principles for libraries.
  • Understanding frameworks for shaping library environments for the next generations of library users.

Architects, Interior Designers, Contractors, Urban Planners, Librarians, Library Staff, and Library Trustees/Commissioners


Headshot of Jeffrey M. Hoover

Jeffrey M. Hoover, AIA

Principal, Tappé Architects

Guest Speakers

David Leonard

President, Boston Public Library

Sarah Meilleur

CEO, Calgary Public Library

Shannon Wray

Principal for Interior Design, Quinn Evans Architects

Joe Agati Jr.

Director of Design, AGATI Furniture

Bill Browning

Biophilic Design Guru at Terrapin Bright Green

So great to have library professionals complement the architects.

A 2022 overview of this program by the instructor, Jeff Hoover.

[Jeff Hoover] is very detailed and loves to challenge his students in order to foster good feedback for future design use.

Participant Stories

Matthew Sheehy

University Librarian of Brandeis University

Future Library Design: Emerging and Enduring Principles

August 6, 7, 8, 2024 | 9:00am – 5:00pm EDT

Harvard University Campus 
Tuition:  $1,990 through May 31, $2,190
CEUs: 21 AIA LUs (HSW), 21 AICP/CM, 21 LA/CES (HSW)
AMDP Elective Units: 3

Program size is limited and early registration is recommended.

Discounts & Deadlines

Enjoy a 10% discount when you register for this program and its companion, Academic Libraries: Space Planning and Design Charrette.

Register for Both

Please email us at [email protected] with any questions and to ask about group signup.

Registration Deadline: 24 hours before the start of the program.

Full Discount and Cancellation Policies