Denver Public Library

The Denver Public Library Main Branch is located directly kitty-corner from the Denver Art Museum with the Capitol Building situated on the opposite corner.  The Main Branch is a solid, massive six story structure, with a brownstone clad main building and a white stone addition to the North.  The entrance is easily identifiable in the main building via a tower-like build-out jutting into the walkway and bringing the ceiling and entryway to a two floor expanse above the visitors head.


Once inside the building, the visitor walks past the security guard and metal detectors, and enters into a four story tall atrium with the various collections of the library branching out to either side.  On the first level, the help desk and book return are located at the rear of the building, causing the visitor to walk through the entirety of the atrium for assistance.  Thankfully the library has appropriate signage to help patrons find their way around.  Subsequent floors are organized in the same manner as the main floor, but with different collections, of course.


Circulation runs down the main aisle and branches out to either side to the book collections and media centers, with escalators as the main way to access the upper levels.  The escalators are located just on the outside of the atrium near the middle of the length of the building.

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Notable details include a interesting book return that looks much like a conveyor belt for borrowed material, sort of like the return belt for meal trays at the dining centers.  There were also a generous amount of seating nooks sprinkled throughout the different floors.

Signage within the building consisted of raised, gilded lettering on the green marble archways above each collection or as the visitor traveled down the main atrium.

Materials consisted of marble flooring, wood veneered arcades, columns, and beams within the main atrium, and painted gypsum board walls throughout, with carpeted floors within the collection spaces.

Note: images are included within the sketches as well due to busy spaces and time constraints.


2 thoughts on “Denver Public Library

  1. Did you choice to analyze the library come after working on the feasibility study? Did you notice if the library was starting to introduce more digital opportunities throughout the space? Also, did the furniture used encourage people to lounge and read for a while or was it more about providing a place to quickly sit?


    1. Funny thing is I actually did not decide to analyze this library after working on the feasibility study. I actually really just enjoy libraries and exploring them. Surprisingly they had not integrated a lot of digital opportunities into the space, which sadly I would guess is from lack of money and the abundant population of homeless people who make the library their “home” during the hours it is open. Which is also funny that you ask that as most of the stacks were devoid of people, but the 4th floor, which housed all of their computers and printers and televisions, etc, was stuffed to overflowing. I was lucky to find a seat to print what I needed to print.
      I also found that people were not encouraged to sit and lounge in most spaces. There were a few designated reading spaces with comfortable chairs that people spent a lot of time in, but other than that it was quick touchdown spaces.


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