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Welcome to the 2012 New Landmark Libraries (NLL). This year, Library Journal's quest is to identify the best new academic library buildings that anyone building a library today should experience and tap for inspiration and guidance about what the library of today and tomorrow demands. When our work is done,LJ will announce the winning libraries completed between 2007 and 2011 that demonstrate excellence in (1) design and construction, (2) response to campus context and constraints, (3) sustainability, (4) functionality, (5) innovation, and (6) beauty and delight. Projects to be considered may be new construction, major expansions, and substantial renovations. 
Academic library facilities and services reflect institutional desires, changing needs, and most difficult challenges. The decision to undertake construction, renovation, or expansion requires considerable deliberation among staff, administration, faculty, and students. For planning purposes—to see and become exposed to the latest design ideas, greener construction methods, and evolving service concepts—library staff and stakeholders frequently tour recently completed projects in their region or beyond.  These next-generation libraries, with their plethora of views emanating from the intersection of campus context and social, technological, economic, and global changes, serve as de facto benchmarks for the next "next-generation" library.  

But which libraries are they? Which ones should you visit? Which have the most relevance to your situation? There are a few that get touted in the national news for their iconic design, and they are worthwhile to spend time at, but there are some inspirational libraries that remain under that radar and may better model what your library needs and wants. Indeed, excellence can be found in many recently completed projects. Whether they are located on a small campus or a large one, this project’s quest is to specify those buildings that transcend the boundaries among design, function, and campus values to create something wonderful that resonates with the life of the campus.

Library Journal, through its New Landmark Libraries quest, seeks to discover those special new academic library buildings, celebrate them, and publicize their achievement. The project is also intended to establish a set of standards for library leaders to think about as they plan and, as a side benefit, strengthen the capacity of institutions to design and build excellence into their library facilities.
Please help us accomplish these goals by submitting the academic libraries you think are the best, the ones anyone building a library must see, the ones that inspire you and help you envision libraries anew. 

Here's what you need to know.  This website opened for submissions on February 2, 2012 and closed on March 22, 2012.  A completed submission consists of basic information, responses six short essay questions, 18 photos, site and floor plans and a letter of support from the chief library administrator.  Only universities, colleges, and community colleges are eligible for NLL-Academic.  Submissions are accepted from any party including the Owner or  Architect.  Judging will take place in April with the final selections announced in Library Journal on July 1, 2012.

The six essay questions are:
  1. Overall design and construction excellence: Describe why this new building, renovation, restoration, or addition is an exemplar for other libraries planning new or remodeled facilities. Tell us how this building demonstrates overall design and construction excellence.  Consider the following: (1) appropriateness and quality of materials; (2) connection between interior and exterior spaces; (3) durability of building finishes and furnishings; (4) appropriateness of materials used given local circumstances; and (5) response by the academic community or beyond including recognition, additional funding and/or symbolic significance.
  2. Response to campus context and constraints: Describe how this project responds to its campus context and constraints.  Consider (1) how stakeholder and staff input shaped the design; (2) any improvements to the campus or neighborhood including pedestrian access; (3) any incorporation of multi-functional uses; (4) any creative solutions to local constraints; and (5) appropriate physical setting.  
  3. Sustainability: To be considered a new landmark, a library project must be sustainable. Please explain how your project demonstrates sustainability particularly in regards to (1) site selection and development; (2) water efficiency; (3) energy use; (4) materials and resources used; (5) indoor environmental quality; and (6) ongoing education, outreach and operations.
  4. Functionality: How does this building maximize functionality in the delivery of library services? What specific design elements improve the service delivery, experience, and accessibility for students, faculty, community and staff?
  5. Innovation: New landmark libraries respond to current and anticipated demographic, cultural and technological changes in innovative ways. How does this building test and prove the viability of new knowledge and assumptions?
  6. Beauty and Delight: New landmark libraries give the visitor an impression of beauty and delight. What are the initial impressions and what is the “wow” factor that delights visitors?   Has this building received local, state or national recognition and how does this relate to the design?  Is the initial impression and “wow” factor long lasting and why? 

To see the winners from the 2011 New Landmark Libraries quest, go to 

Please contact Louise Schaper, NLL Organizer, or 479.236.5943