Design Institute Durham

Whether you're in the dreaming and planning stages or further along the design road, you'll find ideas, information, and inspiration, no matter what your budget allows!


Library Journal is thrilled to once again be hosting our long-running library building and design event in person! And we’re especially excited to be hosting it in partnership with Durham County Library.

This full-day think tank provides expert panel discussions with architects and librarians, as well as hands-on, architect-led breakout sessions tackling real-life design challenges submitted in advance by attendees. Dig deep with architects, librarians, and vendors to explore building/renovating/ retrofitting spaces both large and small that will redefine the relationship with your users and engage your community. There will be plenty of facetime and networking opportunities throughout the day with colleagues.



Join us and get ideas, information, and inspiration for any design challenges your library might be facing!

Check out our full coverage of Design Institute Missoula 2022 and the 5 Design Challenges we tackled there.


This event is open to librarians, library board or foundation members, and the library’s city planners/officials. If you are an architect or vendor and would like to sponsor one of our 2023 Design Institute events, please contact Advertising Director Roy Futterman:

By registering for this event, you are agreeing that Library Journal/School Library Journal may share your registration information with sponsors currently shown and future sponsors of this event. Click here to review our full Privacy Policy.

By registering for this event, you are agreeing to abide by the guidelines set in the Health & Safety Policy for in-person events. 




9:30 - 9:40 AM                WELCOME REMARKS

Lisa Peet | Executive Editor, Library Journal

Tammy Baggett | Director, Durham County Public Library                    

Location: Auditorium (1st Floor)


9:40 - 10:20 AM              The Role of Designers as Library Advocates

From dreams to reality, architects and designers can serve as partners throughout the process to advocate on behalf of the library for its building project. Many designers can serve as funding partners, providing renderings for grants or donors, can advocate to the community about the benefits of the project and the library, and can help gather demographics and ensure a comprehensive approach to inclusion during the visioning phases, sometimes leading to new donor or support opportunities. Panelists will describe ways in which designers have served as advocates throughout the life-cycle of a building project to support the evolution of libraries.  


Sean Cottengim | Associate and Project Architect, GBBN

Sharon Crawford | Partner & Studio Principal, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

Moderator: Tammy Baggett | Director, Durham County Public Library


10:20 - 10:30 AM            INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Tech Logic  

Tom Loy | Senior Solution Specialist, Tech Logic


10:30 - 10:50 AM            BREAK/VISIT SPONSORS


10:50  - 11:30 AM           Balancing Established and Contemporary Program Needs  

While libraries have long been viewed as inclusive spaces, renovations or new library buildings offer opportunity to balance traditional and non-traditional library services, with an emphasis on accessible, safe and flexible spaces. In this panel, designers and practitioners will share their experiences creating programming elements in library design projects that create inclusion and safety, places of refuge for staff, entry sequencing, and the application of universal design elements to shared spaces like restrooms.


Amanda Gascon | Architect, McMillan Pazdan Smith                

Liz Corr | AIA, LEED GA Associate, Liollio Architecture

Moderator: Larkin Coffey | Adult Services Librarian, Durham County Public Library


11:30 - 11:40 AM            INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Virco 

Brian Kirkwood | National Sales Manager, Virco


11:40 - 11:50 AM            INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Envisionware  

John C. Dexter | General Manager, EnvisionWare


11:50 - 1:00 PM               LUNCH  


1:00 - 1:40 PM                 Post-Occupancy, Gathering Demographics and Evaluating for Evolution  

What happens after a newly renovated or built library opens? While many engagement strategies for building projects focus on the visioning or programming phases, conducting assessments post-occupancy, continuing to   use data gathered by and with the community for the project, and continuing to use and understand demographics data can help libraries leverage flexible designs as they continue to respond to changing or unanticipated community needs and goals. Panelists will share examples of how assessment and evaluation can be used after the doors open. 


Amanda Markovic | Principal and Market Design Leader, GBBN

Joe Alcock | Principal, McMillan Pazdan Smith

Moderator: Emily Petty Puckett | Interim Associate University Librarian for Operations, University of Michigan Library 


1:40 - 1:50 PM                INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Cultural Surroundings  

        Montgomery McKenzie | President, Cultural Surroundings


1:50 - 2:00 PM                INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Opening the Book


2:00 - 3:45 PM                ARCHITECT-LED BREAKOUT SESSIONS  




Location: Meeting Room 4347 (4th floor) 

BREAKOUT 2: LEXINGTON CO. PUBLIC LIBRARY (Lexington, SC ) LED BY: Liollio Architecture

Location: Meeting Room 3200  (3rd  floor)

BREAKOUT 3:MOORESVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY (Mooresville, NC) LED BY: Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

Location: Meeting Room 3205  (3rd floor) 


Location: Meeting Room 3214  (3rd floor)


3:45 - 4:00 PM                 BREAK/VISIT SPONSORS


4:00 - 4:40 PM                Renovations and Reuse: Managing Costs Now and in the Future    

What can libraries do with renovations of existing buildings? Shopping areas, warehouses, converted buildings of all kinds can and have served as contemporary sites for libraries. How can we reuse buildings or portions of them and also build sustainability and cost efficiency into the design? How can we design to manage operating costs in the future? Panelists will cover these topics and more in this session.


Jennifer Charzewski | AIA, LEED AP Principal, Liollio Architecture

Thomas Carlson-Redding | Community Practice Leader & Partner, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting

Moderator: Tammy Baggett | Director, Durham County Public Library


4:40 - 4:50 PM                 INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Rethinking Libraries  

Janet Nelson | Principal/Senior Consultant, Rethinking Libraries


4:50 - 5:00 PM                Closing Remarks                                



Ann Arbor District Library

Ann Arbor, MI

Architect Partner:GBBN

Nestled in a vibrant, affluent, and highly educated community of around 160,000 residents, the Ann Arbor District Library has been a local and national leader in library services and programming for years. The library seeks to mitigate the increasing pressures on housing affordability with a new building project. A unique and expanded downtown library would offer senior living and market-rate housing in its footprint. Seeking to expand from 109,000 square feet to 450,000 square feet, Ann Arbor District Library hopes to defray the costs of the new building with bond elections, modest fundraising efforts, HUD grants, and other federal funding opportunities through the development partnership. This project, estimated to cost around $250,000,000, will require a complex partnership consolidated in a building that still looks and feels like a library to the invested community.



Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville, NC

Architect Partner:Little 

While a beautiful barrel ceiling offers light through the center of the Mooresville Public Library, structural columns through the spine create physical and navigational barriers to services on the floor. The circulation and reference desks, designed in 2005, are not ergonomic, are separated from each other, and do not have clear sight lines to other services. Mooresville seeks to serve its population of 70,000 by redesigning the 20,000 square foot main floor into zones to better support the activities and users of each section. The library hopes to combine the service desks and relocate the adult nonfiction and fiction sections and the computer workstations to create a more functional, intuitive, and supportive library experience. The library, anticipating applying for an LSTA grant, hopes this renovation will cost around $500,000.


Lexington County Public Library

Lexington, SC

Architect Partner:Liollio Architecture

With print circulation increasing, especially through mobile library offerings, and a need to better support children’s and teen services, the Lexington County Public Library needs to expand. With a population of more than 290,000 and award-winning school districts, the library seeks to create a designated Teen Space with a tech/STEM lab included. Based on changing service models, it also sees an opportunity to redesign and connect the circulation and children’s workrooms and extend its existing garage bay for the mobile library vehicles. Looking to build an auxiliary building of at least 25,000 square feet on adjacent acreage to the Main Library, the library sees an opportunity to invest in its outreach programming by offering an amphitheater, more workspace for employees, and more drive-through circulation options. While the library has some fund balances to cover the anticipated $300,000 or more project, it would seek to secure BEAD and county funds to see this vision come to fruition. 


Huntsville–Madison County Public Library

Huntsville, AL

Architect Partner:McMillan Pazdan Smith 

Built in the 1980s using experimental heating and cooling technologies and interior light well design, the Huntsville–Madison County Library is increasingly inefficient, challenging, and cumbersome to operate. Replacements for worn and broken tile and carpeting are no longer manufactured. The building is situated in downtown Huntsville, an area experiencing revitalization and increasing density, making access to the library challenging. With a vision to entirely overhaul the building's function, aesthetics, and circulation flows, the library seeks to reimagine the 123,000 square foot building with $18 million in city capital improvement funds for its 2027 plan, in addition to fundraising. As a building serving retirees, college students, adults, and those seeking employment and experiencing homelessness, the library must flexibly and proactively respond to its community's diverse needs. The library aims to build spaces to support specialized functions like workforce development training areas, host a historical archive, create gender-inclusive restrooms and wellness spaces, support an automated retrieval handling system, and overhaul its service points and workspaces.









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