A Tale of Two Hayden Libraries (ASU and MIT), New Property for Deschutes, and a Multiyear Project Launch in Cincinnati | Branching Out

Arizona State University's Hayden Library reopens, MIT's Hayden Library plans a renovation, Deschutes PL acquires new land, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County launches a multiyear system-wide improvement project.

Arizona State University's renovated Hayden Library exterior
Hayden Library
Courtesy of Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s (ASU) Hayden Library has reopened in time for the first day of the spring semester. The $90 million renovation, designed by Ayers Saint Gross Architects, has been in the works since spring 2018, and has recreated the building—originally built in 1966—as a state-of-the-art facility. The five-story tower, located at the center of ASU’s Tempe campus, now has twice the student space, including enhanced study areas and two reading rooms, and features interdisciplinary learning labs and research services, with an entire floor devoted to innovation. A new plaza and above-ground entryways were created on the main level, replacing the former underground entrance. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light. A mural honoring indigenous cultures and a new gold staircase round off the inviting space. ASU’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation–funded Future of Print initiative has ensured that the library’s collections, including prominently showcased community-driven collections focusing on the peoples and places of the Southwest, will meet the needs and interests of students and faculty for many years to come.

Another Hayden Library—this one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—is about to undergo a major interior renovation. Boston-based firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture’s design concept, titled “Research Crossroads,” will recreate the library as a significant research space in the center of campus, with spaces for collaboration, community-building, and quiet study. The renovated library, which will reopen in fall 2020, will transform the first and parts of the second floor, including new research and event program spaces, infrastructure upgrades, and improved accessibility, as well as a new elevator, staircase, and café. Pending donor funding, the adjacent Lipschitz Courtyard will also be renovated at the same time, providing an outdoor green space with new landscaping and seating areas. “This design puts research physically and figuratively at the center of the library,” said MIT Libraries Director Chris Bourg in a press statement. “The research rooms will be visible as you enter, signaling that the library is an active and vibrant space where people are interacting with knowledge and each other.”

On January 8, the Deschutes Public Library (DPL) Board approved spending $1.35 million on a 12.75 acre parcel of land in North Bend, OR. The land will eventually be home to a new central library building to serve all of Deschutes County, with expanded collections, a hands-on learning and play center for children, flexible gathering spaces, a technology hub, and a performance and arts space. “The location meets all of our top criteria. It is easily accessible from all areas of the county, highly visible and centrally located near neighborhoods, schools, shopping and other important services,” Board President Ann Malkin said in a statement. In addition, DPL’s Facilities Capital Plan, adopted in fall 2018, incorporates renovations to the Sisters, Sunriver, La Pine, and Downtown Bend libraries and an enlarged Redmond Library. Community members have been invited to participate in the design process.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCHC) has announced the first five projects in its multiyear $190 million “Building the Next Generation Library” facilities improvement plan. Upgrades to the Price Hill, Walnut Hills, Elmwood, and Reading branches will begin this year, ranging from new finishes to technology upgrades to structural additions. The Downtown Main Library will see extensive structural work as well, including a reimagined entrance. Eventually all 41 of the system’s locations will be revamped, thanks to a county tax levy approved in 2018, which will generate $19 million a year for the next decade—approximately $142–$157 million of which will go to facilities upgrades. However, PLCHC leadership estimates that the price tag for deferred maintenance and upgrades is closer to $300 million, and the project may end up lasting 20 years.

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Lisa Peet


Lisa Peet is Senior News Editor for Library Journal.

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