District Public Library
Suburban Civic Campus
The St. Charles Public Library first opened in 1908 following a construction substantially funded by Andrew Carnegie. The original “Carnegie Library” is revered by St. Charles community, however subsequent additions to the Library to gain collection and program space reduced the historic cornerstone to inefficiently used square footage that is un-integrated from the daily life of the Library. In 2018, the Library sought a comprehensive study of all Library owned property with the goal of defining a plan to remodel and/or expand the current facility.
Updates to the design approach involved extensive redesign of mechanical systems to enhance ventilation and indoor air quality.
The Youth Services Department takes its design cues from the adjacent terrace garden, utilizing rock and topographic patterning in the floor finishes and the forms and colors of blades of grass in the play area and book stack end panels.
St. Charles Public Library contracted Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects to address the Library’s functional challenges and aesthetic opportunities. SNHA’s proposed concept relocated the Library’s entry to a new addition, presenting an opportunity to positively affect the Library’s civic identity with a more welcoming entry. The concept takes advantage of the Library’s two story space, reworking the space into grand reading rooms with a concentration of seating and library tables. Functionality and flow is drastically improved by aligning the new entry on axis with the Carnegie building to re-integrate the space into the Library’s daily use.