Libraries around the world are embracing modern technology through digital media, computer programs, and up-to-date literature, but the Bing Thom-designed City Centre will be taking it to the next level, by offering humans. It may sound morbid, or even a little kinky, but the library, which seeks to engage the community with one another, has found a slew of “experts” that will be available for rent.
Unlike other libraries, City Centre will also feature a café – a new concept for a place which normally doesn’t allow food or drink. It is here that patrons may “check out” a human expert, who have volunteered their time to chat over coffee with patrons, about their expert-sanctioned fields. The library sees these experts as offering a wealth of living information, and this program truly brings the library to life. No word on who pays for the coffee.
The expert rental program, coupled with the massive 77,000 square foot space’s green features, will make City Centre a true library of the future. A curvaceous ramp wraps around the entire central atrium, connecting floors with open stairways. The aerodynamic exterior is lined with giant floor-to-ceiling windows, which flood the library with natural lighting. The building received its LEED silver certification for sustainability and is also committing to green practices.
The library will sell reusable bags and will recycle paper, cardboard, cans and plastic, as well as batteries and CD/DVD cases. It will also provide electronic newsletters, saving massive amounts of paper each day. The library wants to educate its visitors – not just with books and media – but also by providing energy meters that visitors can check out, take to their homes, and measure their home’s energy use to gain a better understanding of the footprint of plugged in, unused appliances and the like. City Centre’s modern features will give visitors a unique opportunity to educate themselves on energy efficiency while forming relationships with the community.
+ Surrey Libraries
+ Bing Thom Architects