A Home for More Than Books
After two decades of serving the community in Euless, Texas, the Mary Lib Saleh Euless Public Library was in need of an upgrade. Staff spearheaded a remodel to transform the library into a hub for learning and connection.
“I’m a big proponent of libraries as part of the education ecosystem,” shared Sherry Knight, library director. “We focus a lot on preschool literacy and school readiness. I think that’s where libraries can really demonstrate their worth to the community.”
The remodel helped Euless Library become a certified Family Place Library, part of a national network of libraries that encourages families to be their child’s first and best teacher from ages 0 through 5. The library can now host activities emphasizing early literacy and educational play and host workshops for parents on everything from nutrition to child development.
“Libraries are different now,” Knight added. “We’ve moved from being a book warehouse to a provider of resources. We needed the building to catch up with what we were doing as a staff.”
Complete with a new service model, technology and programming as well as a wide array of spaces, Euless Library made a transformative change with its renovation. It now offers a host of modern-day resources for patrons and is poised to support the next generation with library services.
- Sherry Knight, library director
We've moved from being a book warehouse to a provider of resources.
A Library for the Next Generation
Upon reopening, the Euless Library transitioned to a roaming service model. There is still a service desk, but most librarians walk around the space with tablets to assist visitors wherever they are.
“We’ve had a great response to the new model,” Knight reflected. “The patrons love it.”
To support the library’s changing services now and for decades to come, staff completely reimagined the physical layout. Euless Library worked closely with KI and Jim Tharp of OWT Architects of Fort Worth to develop their specific vision.
Library visitors make their way into a main space with soaring ceilings. A lowered canopy ceiling hangs over bookshelves that populate the center of the open floorplan. Patrons can meet with a friend or two or study solo at mobile Doni chairs and sprocket-shaped Pillar tables sprinkled around the bookshelves. Or they can curl up with a book in cozy Sela or Sway lounge chairs in reading nooks.
If patrons need more space, they can spread out their books or homework on Pirouette tables and hunker down in comfortable Hub modular seating booths, taking restorative breaks viewing the nearby aquarium wall.
- Sherry Knight, library director
The library is much more comfortable and more than a home for books. It’s a space where the community can come and be.
Friends can gather at a café-style area, equipped with Hub booths and Pillar tables along a wall of windows at one end of the building where natural light filters in.
Around the perimeter of the central space, visitors can find a variety of useful rooms, including a computer room that is in high demand. Community members camp out to conduct research or work on writing projects. There are also five study rooms that provide patrons with a sunny, quiet space to work remotely or host a meeting or class. The “heritage room” serves those interested in perusing local historical or genealogical records. And for families, there is a “create room” where Ruckus worktables and chairs and Pillar tables are arranged into hands-on stations equipped for arts and crafts activities.
“The library is much more comfortable and more than a home for books,” Knight reflected. “It’s a space where the community can come and be.”
Knight knew exactly what she needed from the furniture: flexibility, ease of maintenance and pops of color. “I wanted as much furniture as possible on wheels,” she added. Pirouette and Pillar tables in a variety of shapes are paired with Ruckus, Doni and Strive task and stack chairs. Nearly all tables and chairs are on casters to encourage simple reconfiguration for impromptu interactions throughout the library.
In addition, a programming room features Strive nesting chairs and Pirouette nesting tables, making it easy for library staff to rearrange spaces or store furniture out of the way to support a variety of activities from STEM to visual arts.
“It’s a total game changer,” Knight said. “We’re able to set up a space for a given event with 30 minutes of notice.”
Even the use of color can evolve with the library over time. Structural elements of the building employ neutral colors or wooden finishes, while pops of yellow, orange, green, blue and purple were intentionally selected for furniture, light fixtures, painted wall accents and a glass sculpture called “The Blooms” crafted by a local artist.
“We wanted to put the color where it can be easily updated when it needs to be,” Knight added.
Bringing People of All Ages Together
Euless Library welcomes a lot of students during after-school hours, so the staff created a dedicated space for middle and high schoolers. In the teen room, students can play video games in cozy, orbital Sway chairs along a wall of televisions. They can study at semi-enclosed booths with Hub seating and Pirouette tables or hang out with friends around Pillar tables in active-sit Ruckus chairs. In addition to vivid yellow, orange and red accents on the seating, a fun, youthful atmosphere is enhanced via an LED color-changing ceiling light and colorful accent walls.
Likewise, the children’s room is recognizable by multicolored hexagons that peek out from the carpet beneath the entryway, serving as wayfinding elements. Geometric wall art, neon lights and Intellect Wave task chairs and a colorful palette of Ruckus seating welcome the youngest library-goers and their parents. Children can poke around the bookshelves, hop on the computers or explore the educational play area. Glass doors minimize the sound from carrying into quieter areas.
The space was also designed with parents in mind.
“We were very deliberate with how we positioned furniture to encourage connection,” Knight shared. “We wanted parents to strike up a conversation when their children were playing together. The circular MyPlace lounge seating has become the hub in the children’s area where parents can connect.”
When planning the remodel, staff members also considered their own needs to interact with colleagues. Previously, staff was located in three different areas of the building, hindering collaboration among the team. The new library offers one comprehensive staff office. Ruckus worktables provide large communal workstations with shared storage, giving librarians a place to catalog and process books, while providing a convenient place to keep supplies. The result has streamlined tasks so librarians can get back to what they do best – assisting community members.
A True Design Partnership
At the start of the remodel, Knight initially sought out KI because she had seen a Sway lounge chair at a conference years before and fell in love with the playful egg-shaped design. But she ultimately chose to work with KI because of its reputation for durability and willingness to partner with customers.
“KI was fantastic to work with,” Knight said. “They did not presume to know better than me and really listened to my needs. They understood the realities of a public space and suggested practical solutions.”
KI helped arrange tours for Knight at nearby high schools to see how furniture was used in different spaces. The tours helped her select the best products for longevity and durability.
“My experience with KI has been wonderful,” Knight said. “I would not hesitate to use them again as a furniture partner.”
20 Years of Serving the Community & Now Remodeled for 20 More
Following the remodel, Euless Library looks completely different.
“A lot of people said, ‘I can’t believe this is the same building,’” Knight shared with a smile.
While the library is still a home for the community, it is now better able to serve everyone from the preschoolers playing in the children’s room to the professional working remotely in a study room to the high schoolers working on a group project in the evening.
“It’s a community resource for all,” Knight reflected. “We have such diversity in our little town. We’re the place where anyone can come in and get assistance for whatever learning resources they need.”
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