I’ve already written about Rangeview Library District’s (Colorado) inspiring presentation at PLA last year. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to see the “Revolution” in person as their flagship library, Anythink Wright Farms, is just 45 minutes away from me. I finally got a chance to see this Library Journal Landmark Library last Saturday, and it was truly impressive. Anythink’s formidable branding starts right away.
Outside, signs with their distinctive logo and banners grab your attention and introduce you to the “Any…” theme.
Their commitment to the environment is immediately obvious with six close in slots for fuel efficient vehicles (encouragingly, four were taken) in the huge parking lot.
Water efficient plantings and alluring boulders surround the building. A xeriscape garden shows users the gorgeous flowers that thrive in Colorado’s dry conditions.
With its use of natural light, recycled materials and radiant heating, Wright Farms is pursuing LEED silver certification (Anythink’s Brighton branch, leads the vanguard as the first carbon-neutral library in the nation). Charmingly, devotion to being green extends to the low flow toilets which have little signs proclaiming they use just 1.28 gallons per flush.
The campus has a convenient drive up book return area and a number of unconventional outdoor spaces and play areas, but this al fresco fireplace is unique.
Two or three rentable meeting rooms – one has a moveable wall – and a kitchen for them are accessible from the tiled lobby. There’s also a materials return slot feeding into the 12 bin sorter, a community information display, a big screen promoting resources, a map (every library should have one at their front door) and two of these pretty planters.
Once inside, tantalizing fare at the Anythink Cafe thwarts those hoping to quickly grab their own holds from the adjacent shelves, use the self checkout and scoot…
…as does the enticing new materials area across the way.
The space does seem more like a bookstore than a traditional library. Books arranged on attractive black lacquered tables with flower vases catch the eye. The lovely birch wood shelving dispenses with Dewey. Instead signs for Cooking, Crafts, Holidays, Sports and Games… let users swiftly satisfy their needs. Help desks are scattered throughout the building and there are PACs in the stacks. Or avail yourself of the services of one of the friendly, roaming staffers.
Concierges Sheri and Sheila were both very hospitable and knowledgeable, and Sheila even took me on a backroom tour.
Though the 45,000 square foot facility includes the District’s administrative offices, the public area is still enormous, with windows that reach up to incredibly high ceilings providing a sky lit effect.
A beguiling, translucent fiberglass wall with a pattern of embedded branches (echoed in the carpet tiles) separates the large teen materials area. With study rooms, cushy furnishings, five computers, manga and a big screen TV, this is a great place to work with friends or just hang out. The nearby copy center has one of the many recycling bins dotting the library (an absence of these is a pet peeve of mine).
Further back, when the computer lab isn’t being used, 24 internet stations are available for those who want to work in the “Quiet Zone.” There are also 19 public computers in the main area and wi-fi, of course. Additional study rooms beyond showcase even more cool chairs (I was fascinated by the variety and creativity of the seating options).
Though the Brighton branch, located near the farms and ranches with the most migrant workers, has the largest collection of Spanish language materials in the District, there is a good collection here.
At every turn, welcoming spaces encourage the patron to sit down, unwind and let their minds soar.
Near the fireplace, a large area with yet another big screen is soundproofed via a garage door creating a great space for concerts, movies or children’s and teens’ programs.
Encompassing a large part of the northern side of the structure, the Children’s Area has 12 internet computers and its own kitchen with a cafe style area.
Irresistible furnishings mix with shelves strategically placed to create hidden reading nooks.
But I think the trees, high enough to be visible as you enter the library, are my favorite feature.
Anythink isn’t just about physical places though. They offer an array of programs and services. Reference is available 24/7 via AskColorado. They have a wide assortment of databases, ebooks and downloadable audio books, including iPod compatible ones. There are book clubs and classes, Wii programs and game nights, technology demos and storytimes (inc. adult ones!), Bocce tournaments and craft classes.
This magical place truly lives up to its accolades!