Hunt Library wins “New Landmark Libraries” award

James B. Hunt Jr. Library Rain Garden Reading Lounge

Citing its role as an “innovation incubator,” Library Journal has chosen the James B. Hunt Jr. Library as one of its five “New Landmark Libraries” for 2016.

The magazine recognizes a handful of outstanding academic libraries according to a different theme each year, this year’s theme being the “Learning Life Cycle.” Submissions were solicited from academic libraries across North America with construction, expansion, or major renovations completed between 2012 and 2015. A six-judge panel of professionals from the library, design, and architecture fields chose the winners.

In addition to Hunt Library and its architects, Snøhetta, Library Journal honored the James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University (architect: Shepley Bulfinch), the Odegaard Undergraduate Library at the University of Washington (Miller Hull Partnership), the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI (Stantec Architecture), and the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College (Schwartz/Silver Architects).

“These five winners inspire by illustrating the creativity, innovation, and imagination that can spring from even the most modest budget,” the magazine wrote in their announcement. “The trends, ideas, and methods provide inspiration for other projects and efforts, large or small. Public and school librarians as well as academics will gain from these efforts—several honorees feature public-private partnerships or provide regional services.”

“The 2016 landmarks are leaders, shaping the future of the educational experience on their campuses and in their communities.”

A listing of the winners, as well as a description of the award criteria, is available at:

With their announcement, Library Journal also identified trends that emerged from the submissions. Academic libraries are using data-driven design to prioritize people-centered services and focus upon the entire life cycle of learning and research. They are rethinking the library’s exterior to enhance their campuses and to serve as hubs, while reinventing collections management inside the building. Visualization labs are foremost among the library spaces prompting innovative teaching practices.

Hunt Library was singled out under the trend of smart collection management for its “one-stop access to reference, materials, and circulation services.” The bookBot’s speed and efficiency impressed the panel for “providing students, faculty, and staff with on-demand ­availability.” The Hunt Library’s visualization spaces also received a nod as a trendsetter.