The 21st Century Missoula Public Library
A+E Architects is partnering with Minneapolis-based library specialists MSR to design a building that brings MPL up to public space standards, accommodates future growth, and will be flexible to community needs and change.
“By achieving the highest level of sustainable design, Missoula’s new library-museum complex is designed to endure for generations. The building will invite and respond to changes in technology, user interests, collection diversity, and the environment. This nexus of library, museum, science center and community center blends Missoula’s rich heritage with world-class innovations. It will become the heart of the city, attracting users from throughout the county and beyond the pursuit of creativity, civic engagement, and sense of belonging.”
The entry of the new Missoula Public Library will feature a spacious mixing area and busy crossroads. On this level, guests will find: grab-and-go library items; MCAT’s media arts studios; MPL’s Young Adult collection; the library café; a new MakerSpace; and the Friends of the Library used bookstore—which raises money to support library programs.
The second floor will host an innovative partnership devoted to children’s learning and family activities. In addition to MPL’s early childhood literacy resources, young patrons can participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs of UM spectrUM Science Area, and enjoy Children’s Museum Missoula’s exhibits and activities.
MPL’s general collection, research assistance, and adult services will take up the third floor. A new WorkSpace will bring together the tools and technology needed to succeed in today’s changing business environment. The third level will also be the home of MPL’s climate-controlled, community-based history archive.
The top story of the new library will feature a number of meeting and gathering spaces, of different sizes and for various purposes—from classrooms to boardrooms. Public meeting space for Missoula’s thriving community groups is in high demand. Throughout the building, computer access, tech flexibility, and internet speed will improve and increase.