Reframing the Branch Library: Enhancing Communication for the Public Good
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The public library is challenged by changing technologies and the spread of commercial strategies which undermine the purpose of the institution. The library must remain a key part of mass communication in a democracy, and a thriving network of branch libraries ensures that every small community has a place which enhances communication for the public good. The architecture of the library shapes how visitors interact with the collection and with each other, and the building can be designed to enhance the communication taking place inside it. The building can also convey institutional values through its built form, such as the celebration of plurality. Spatial metaphor is a primary means by which architecture can communicate complex ideas. This thesis explores generalizable strategies for the design of branch libraries, and tests them through the design of a particular branch in Edmonton, Alberta.