My very first library related job was as a library page shelving books at the Seminole Heights Public Library. The same branch that my dad went to growing up in this area. I was only at that branch for a couple of months, but I loved it. Now I live in the neighborhood, and when I found out that my favorite local branch was getting a $7.3 million renovation/reconstruction, I was excited. The new building just opened up a few months ago, and I’ve already visited several times. Check out this Pinterest page for some great before and after shots. Visiting this space gave me a lot of ideas for ways to improve my school’s library space.
This branch did a great job of capturing the character of the community. It’s drenched in sunlight, with lots of stained glass and mid-century inspired furniture. The architects worked closely with the library’s Friends group to make sure that they were included in the design process.
Being directly across the street for a middle and high school, this library sees a LOT of teenagers in the afternoons. When I worked there, it would annoy the other patrons because they tended to be loud and rowdy. Now the teens get their own space, with glass walls to keep the noise away from other patrons, and plenty of comfy spaces for socializing and studying. There’s a really nice variety of seating heights, so students can easily transition from sitting to standing.
A lot of the furniture in this branch is mobile, making it easy for patrons to move around and suit their needs. There’s also power outlets everywhere, including many on the low benches and sofas. This is definitely a 21st century user-friendly library.
I LOVE these whiteboard partitions, and I’ve been bugging the staff to find out where they got them from. They fit so well with the aesthetic of the library, that I think they may be custom. They’re easy to move around, and once you have them in place they stay put. Beautiful!
The stacks and computer lab are well laid out too, although I didn’t take pictures of them. The collection is relatively small, but Hillsborough County has a great holds system, so this really isn’t an issue. The children’s collection is glassed in and separated, making it quieter for story-times and families. There’s also small meeting rooms on the main floor, and a larger one downstairs for community events and classes. If you’re ever in the Tampa area, this library is definitely worth a visit!
What’s your favorite neighborhood branch like?