Controlling moisture levels in a library building is essential for rare archives and books to prevent molding.
Library buildings are not what they used to be. Gone are the days of memorizing the Dewey decimal system and using a card catalog for hunting down a book. Modern-day libraries are still lined with books, but double as a technology center for the people it serves. RWB Consulting Engineers has decades of experience in library MEP design, so we understand the changing needs of this vital community hub.
With over fifty successful projects just in the last five years, RWB Consulting Engineers is an industry leader in library design.
- MEP Design – Founded in 1986, RWB specializes in MEP design engineering services for commercial buildings. We are specialists in library projects, with multiple owners across Texas trusting our reputable team with their MEP design.
- MEP Assessment – RWB can provide a study, report, or assessment on your library project to give our recommendations. We can also develop guidance documents for state, county, district, or city library projects.
- MEP Review – We can serve as a 3rd party reviewer for your library project. Our team is made up of over 60% licensed professional engineers with decades of municipal and civic design experience.
When it comes to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design of a library, there are unique challenges to tackle. Specific to book-lined community spaces, our team takes special care in reviewing the following items:
Comfort – many of us can recall spending too many hours in a frigid, way-too-cold library. At RWB, we have a deep understanding of the way that temperature, humidity, and ventilation impact a person’s productivity and enjoyment of a space. Our engineers take great care to ensure the mechanical system is right-sized and designed for optimal comfort.
Noise – Here’s a question: if libraries are now built for collaboration, will they stereotype of the shushing librarian persist? The truth is that libraries serve a dual purpose of a quiet space for reading and studying, while also promoting group learning and community events. As a result, it’s crucial to design spaces with sound levels in mind. At RWB, we take great care when working on library projects to understand the programming and use of all library spaces. This way, our team can make the best design decisions and product choices to meet our clients’ needs.
Technology Needs – Across every building we design, the expectation for technology has grown tenfold. In a library specifically, our clients want even more computers than ever before. Plus, additional plugs and outlets need to line every wall and table edge. And perhaps the most daunting part of these additions is ensuring the operation of these devices over time. Our electrical team has a high level of knowledge in designing technology-ready buildings that work not just the first day – but every day.
We live in an increasingly digital world. So while libraries will always honor the past in the form of physical materials – books, newspapers, and archives – a library now serves a greater purpose. It is a center for information, no matter the form.
That being said, the way we approach design for libraries has changed over time to meet these changing needs.
When you picture a library in your mind, you probably think of rows of book-lined shelves with a central open area. That is still reasonably common, although there are some newly added features to consider:
- Technology – A library that was built thirty years ago likely has limited provisions for computers and other electronic devices useful to a library. The digital side of a library is just as important as the physical side.
- Collaboration – Spaces for group learning and collaboration are in high demand. Libraries built in the 21st century have more separated rooms than ever before, ranging from small study spaces to auditoriums. Libraries are more than a place to find information – they are a place to share information.
- Community – Sometimes referred to as a third place, cities all around Texas are trying t develop a tertiary environment for civic engagement. As a result, modern-day libraries offer a different approach to architectural design and programming, including spaces that feel inviting, accessible, and playful. It’s akin to a community living room.
At RWB, we work with clients large and small to determine their needs for any library project. Every building is different, with varying design challenges and community needs. Our diverse portfolio of library projects demonstrates our commitment to our clients and meeting their needs.
RWB has provided MEP consulting services to many different cities and schools, having completed over fifty successful projects within the last five years.
Our experience includes new construction, additions, renovations, and MEP system upgrades. RWB has designed multiple projects, including primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and municipal facilities like libraries, fire stations, and recreational facilities. Many of our projects have received LEED green building certification ratings.
One of our core tenants at RWB is that our leadership is personally involved in every single project. If you would like to talk with one of our principals about your upcoming project, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- City of Desoto
- City of Dripping Springs
- City of Frisco
- City of Grand Prairie
- City of Mesquite
- City of Plano
- City of Round Rock
- Texas State Library and Archives Commissions
- American Airlines Legal Library
- Midlothian ISD
- Richardson ISD
- Texas A&M University