In a Joint Venture with local architect WHLC, the River Center Library creates a new model for library services for the City. In addition to traditional collections, it provides meeting rooms for community programming, outreach and creative collaboration; themed media walls, art walls, interactive kiosks, and conference rooms equipped with remote distance learning technology; a café; media/tech lab; business pods; a foundation and grants center; maker room; dedicated teen program/gaming space, and a recording studio.
The library’s form is a result of stacked, dedicated floors for Children, Adults and Teens, and events. The project responds to the local climate with a shaded public plaza, trellised roof terrace, and sculptural sunshade ribbons on the south, east and west windows. The landscaped roof deck allows sweeping views of the Mississippi River and cityscape.
Flexibly-planned interiors allowed the building to open successfully during the pandemic, requiring only moderate adjustments to meet requirements for physical distancing. Even with public health restrictions, the new library is providing the community with access to diverse forms of information and other essential services, serving as a vibrant community hub.