Planning Academic and Research Library Buildings, 3rd Edition

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The completely updated and expanded edition of this classic text reviews all aspects of planning and construction of academic and research library buildings.

Planning a new building that fulfills the needs and expectations of users and staff is a true challenge. New technology has put an increasing burden on library planners to develop a flexible building to accommodate the future library. However, even in the present academic and research library, buildings need to serve dual purposes—house the collection, support technology, and provide study and research space for users. While these uses are not mutually exclusive, they do require careful planning. The planning process is complicated by the need to budget and control expenses while ensuring that space is available for every library need now and in the foreseeable future.

The job of planning and designing a library building often falls on the shoulders of those who have little experience in such a huge undertaking. They are also usually charged with multiple tasks, including budgeting, fundraising, hiring architects and consultants, and then implementing and coordinating the entire process.

Because it is so comprehensive, Planning Academic and Research Library Buildings can be used by librarians, planners, architects, designers, consultants, and academic administrators as a complete planning tool. It addresses every planning aspect from the moment the idea of a new building is first conceived until the grand opening. Arranged in the same chronological order as the building planning process, the book explains each step thoroughly and clearly. The book details:

  • the planning process;
  • alternatives to a new building;
  • the building program;
  • budgeting and expense control;
  • building additions and renovation;
  • planning and citing;
  • design development;
  • contract documents; and
  • bidding, legal, and business concerns and construction.

The authors explain which questions need to be answered first in the planning process. In addition, the key factors that must be considered when planning a new building are thoroughly explained, such as:

  • aesthetic and functional concerns;
  • security;
  • interior design;
  • environmental control;
  • adaptability and support of technology;
  • housing the collection; and
  • accommodations for reading.

Specific and select library building examples are used to illustrate points and clarify solutions to problems.

Appendixes include program examples, formulas and tables, the ALA Building Blocks guideline, and environmental conditions for book preservation. A comprehensive bibliography provides both in print and online resources on building planning. A glossary is included to clarify terms to the variety of users of this book.

Every college, university, and research library will sooner or later need to plan a new library building, addition, or major renovation. Every librarian, architect, and decision-maker should have Planning Academic and Research Library Buildings on their library shelf.


1 Library Requirements
2 The Alternatives to a New Library Building
3 Planning Preliminaries
4 The Planning Team, with Architect and Consultants
5 General Programming
6 Programming: Housing the Collections
7 Programming: Accommodations for Readers and Collections
8 Programming: Space for Staff and General Puposes
9 Budgeting and Expense Control
10 Building Additions and Renovations
11 Master Planning and Siting
12 Schematic Considerations
13 Design Development
14 Construction Documents
15 Bidding, Business Concerns, and Construction
16 Activation

A Program and Other Document Examples
B Formulas, Guidelines, and Standards
C Building Blocks for Library Space: Functional Guidelines 1995
D Environmental Guidelines for Collection Preservation
E Equipment That Might Be Overlooked
F Bibliography of Selected Useful Publications
G Glossary

Philip D. Leighton

Philip D. Leighton has been architectural planner emeritus, Stanford University Libraries, since late 1993; prior to that he was the library building project manager for most of twenty-four years. During his career at Stanford and as a consultant since Stanford, he has worked on approximately seventy-five libraries and archives ranging from huge libraries such as the National Taiwan Library and the Bibliothèque de France to very tiny libraries such as the library of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Between these are numerous college and university libraries, a state archive, and the United Nations Archives. His articles on library facilities have appeared in College & Research Libraries and other journals.

David C. Weber

David C. Weber is director emeritus of the Stanford University Libraries and past president of two ALA Divisions: the Association of College and Research Libraries and Resources and the Technical Services Division (now the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services). He is the coauthor of two other books and has published articles in numerous journals.

"The level of detail encompassed in [this book] is impressive."
—Art Libraries Journal

"No other work in the field provides the depth of analysis available in this volume."
—Journal of Academic Librarianship

"It is truly comprehensive and it is unlikely that any seeker after information will turn to it without finding what is needed... No librarian seeking to start down the road towards a new library can afford to be without this book."
—Journal of Documentation