As a central hub for students at both high schools looking for space to study, relax, and learn, the libraries at Niles North and Niles West serve students in more capacities than their existing designs permitted. The libraries were last renovated during a time when access to computers was vastly different than today, with each housing long banks of 40-plus computer stations. As all students are now provided a laptop device through the District’s 1:1 initiatives, reallocating this square footage for better usage was a primary goal. Additionally, the schools wanted to create libraries that were inviting, restorative, and calming and offered respite to students who were looking for an alternative to the high-energy cafeteria and study hall spaces. Balancing the design prompt of coziness and refuge was the need for student safety and clear lines of visibility throughout all spaces by staff.
The renovated libraries each feature open stack/reading areas; study rooms; a DIY space for crafts and hobby exploration; a classroom instructional area; and office and support spaces.