MPL wins 2nd prestigious design award

Library architecture award coincides with National Library Week

Missoula, April 26, 2023 — The American Institute of Architects announced Tuesday that Missoula Public Library is one of five winners of the 2023 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards, presented in partnership with the American Library Association. According to the AIA, libraries like MPL’s downtown flagship are “enduring examples of architectural excellence.” The award jury includes architecture experts from firms and universities in Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the US Virgin Islands.


MPL Executive Director Slaven Lee states: “We are thrilled to have our central library recognized by the library design world. The project, a decade in the making, is a bold testament to Missoula’s commitment to making information, learning, and collaboration accessible—in a beautiful public space. Our architects took the very best aspects of our community and reflected them back to us in the design of this new library.”


Missoula Public Library’s 455 E. Main Street facility was designed by Minneapolis-based MSR Design in association with the Missoula office of A&E Design. The $38M project was funded with a $30M construction bond, passed by voters in 2016; and $8M in private and corporate donations and partner contributions. Dick Anderson Construction broke ground in 2018, and the library opened in May of 2021. Opening was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


MPL is known internationally for its innovative approach to promoting collaboration, engagement, and accessibility with a building that highlights our unique landscape and Missoula’s cultural heritage. The facility also houses Families First Learning Lab, MCAT, spectrUM Discovery Area, and the UM Living Lab, a partnership based on the Scandinavian kulturhuset concept of integrated community services and lifelong learning. In 2022, Missoula Public Library was named “best new library of the year” by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)/Systematic.


More information about the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards

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