Neighborhood Planning 

Re-envisioning Branch Libraries

new york | new york | usa

CLIENT: The Architectural League and the Center for an Urban Future, New York


Grain’s Director, Sapna Advani is part of the team UNION, one of five multi-disciplinary teams selected by the Architectural League and the Center for Urban Future

This is the story of how modest, creative actions taken today can catalyze dramatic transformations in the city tomorrow. It’s about the New York City Branch Library system and how a visionary idea in the right hands, right now, can change the course of the future.

Branch libraries are serving more New Yorkers in more ways than ever before, yet they remain undervalued as a linchpin of civic life and social infrastructure. That conviction is the launching point for interdisciplinary design team UNION’s proposal for enhancing branch libraries in New York City. The solution begins with building public will to advocate for the value of libraries and commit to their future success. Increased visibility and recognition can catalyze broader transformation by engaging everyday people, local institutions, and, eventually, policymakers through modest programs and actions. A portfolio of strategies was created as part of this study and meant to build a broad-based constituency of advocates for the libraries, creating momentum that leverages private capital and public investment.

UNION’s strategies reveal the important roles libraries have in civic life beyond information and education, including workforce development, health, disaster resiliency, and community identity. The design study culminated with a public symposium co-hosted by the League and the Center for an Urban Future on December 4, 2014.

See Link: branch-libraries-proposal