Calendar of Events

Sat 10.29.2016

The Reports of My Death have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Libraries for the Future


When: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM SATURDAY, ARCHTOBER 29

Where: At The Center   

In the early 1990s, the rapid rise of digital technologies led many to predict the demise of the library as we knew it. Not only were books going to disappear as the support for knowledge and literature, but digitization, combined with the internet, would negate the need for the public gathering to read and consult research indices in libraries. Yet libraries have flourished at all scales, even as we recognize that there are great challenges to their function and to their public place. Today’s libraries continue to thrive and evolve. 

The symposium consists of two panels.  
The first panel looks at The Library in Civic Life, now that it is clear that the death knell was bypassed. This panel will bring together librarians and professionals involved with the creation and conceptualization of libraries. What have libraries become in the digital world? What is a library if it is no longer primarily a place for storing printed and other media? Although libraries have had, for at least two centuries, public realms that extend beyond research and reading, what is it that makes a library a library and not simply a community center? What are the common values that define the library and its building? How does the library remain relevant and fulfill its mission when it has taken on so many auxiliary functions?
The second panel looks specifically at issues of The Architecture and Spatial Design of Libraries. How is that mission translated into form, into place making, into building? What makes a building look and feel like a library? How do designers balance the quest for liveliness, which often brings along noise, with the atmosphere of contemplation, reading, study, and the capacity to pursue private needs in a public setting? How is privacy and publicness negotiated in the library, where the relationship between the individual and the public is different than in many other building types?
Through a closing keynote, conclusions and questions from the two panels will be brought together to find common threads and open challenges that shape the ever-evolving role of the library in our age and in our cities.
The Library in Civic Life
Inga Saffron, Architecture Critic, Philadelphia Inquirer
Luis Herrera, City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library
Deborah Jacobs
, Director Global Libraries Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Jeffrey Schnapp, Faculty Director, metaLAB, Harvard University 
The Architecture and Spatial Design of Libraries
Barry Bergdoll, Hon. AIA, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Clifford Gayley, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, William Rawn Associates, Architects
Francine Houben, Founder/Creative Director, Mecanoo
Chris McVoy
, Senior Partner, Steven Holl Architects 
Abigail Van Slyck, Dean of the Faculty, Dayton Professor of Art History, Connecticut College
Anthony Vidler, Professor, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union
Organized by: Center for Architecture
Price: $20 for AIA members and students with a valid student ID, $30 for non-members
This symposium was made by possible by the generous support of the AIANY 2016 Presidents Circle:

Andrew Berman Architect
Cammeby Realty
Loring Consulting Engineers
New York University 
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects
Sciame Construction
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP
STUDIOS Architecture
Taconic Charitable Foundation
Taconic Building 
Tillotson Design Associates


AKF Group
Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP
Capalino + Company
Chip Loewenson & Susan Brune
Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Ennead Architects
Byrne & O’Neill, LLP
JFK & M Consulting Group
Prosurance Redeker Group
Robert and Joyce Menschel Family Foundation
Spacesmith, LLP
Thornton Tomasetti


Barry Bergdoll, Hon. AIANY
Jan Berman
Charina Foundation, Inc.
DeLaCour & Ferrara Architects
Tracey Hummer
Eve Klein, Assoc. AIA
Jill Lerner, FAIA
Levien & Company
RKTB Architects, PC
Richard Ruben
Jeffrey Weingarten
Henry Zachary


The Center for Architecture
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NY, NY 10012
(212) 683-0023

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