Public Library Buildings
The Librarian's Go-To Guide for Construction, Expansion, and Renovation Projects
by Lisa Charbonnet
October 2015, 220pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3858-3
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3859-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

If your public library is one of the many that are considering a new building or renovation project, this book is for you.

This go-to guide covers the entire process of building or renovating a public library—from initial planning, to maintaining the completed space, to measuring success.

In light of current social and technological shifts, libraries are reinventing themselves. Meeting place, makerspace, community center, cultural hub, multimedia lender—today’s public library is all of these and more. Whether your library is undertaking a simple renovation or redesign or looking at a full-blown building project, the voice of the librarian is important to the project, and you need to understand both the processes involved and the questions to ask.

Beginning with the development of a pre-construction vision, the book guides you through the entire process. It covers everything from making a case for the project to the authorities and the community through fundraising, budgeting, and site and team selection. You’ll read about space programming, the design phase, pre-construction preparation, staff management, and moving the library, as well as about post-construction management and maintenance. Measures of success are included, as are helpful forms and an invaluable glossary of relevant construction terms. With this guide in hand, you and your team can plan efficiently, avoid common pitfalls, and create a library you and your community will love for many years to come.


  • Provides you with an informal, easy-to-read, practical guide that addresses the specific needs of public librarians looking to reimagine their library space
  • Takes a holistic approach that covers every step from initial vision to evaluating success
  • Offers practical, nuts-and-bolts advice from an experienced veteran of the process
  • Helps you to claim a seat at the table—and shows you why the input of librarians is so important
Lisa Charbonnet, MIS, is director of the Pflugerville Public Library in Texas. She holds both a master's degree in urban geography and a Master of Information Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has played a leading role in two recent library building projects—a renovation/expansion in Pflugerville and a de novo branch for the Westbank Community Library in Austin, TX. In 2010, she and the Westbank won the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award from the American Library Association. Charbonnet is the 2014–2015 chair of the Public Libraries Division of the Texas Library Association.
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