AIAVT:EP / Engaging the Public Library (New England)

Less than 12 hours are left for the contest deadline.
Please visit the contest website for additional info.

ENGAGING THE PUBLIC LIBRARY is the 2nd annual competition organized by AIA Vermont Emerging Professionals.  This competition is open to all emerging design professionals within 10 years of graduation or 5 years of licensure, living or working in New England.  Entrants may either work individually or as part of a team.


Contrary to popular belief, public libraries are not a declining institution. Over the past 12 years (a period that saw both a dramatic expansion of the Internet and shrinking of government funding) annual visits, program attendance, and total revenue for Vermont public libraries have increased by over 50%. The question is not how to make libraries relevant again; rather, it is how to reinforce the relevance of libraries for the future.

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way information is consumed, but it is not the sole conduit by which we learn. While time-sensitive and data-driven information is arguably better consumed digitally, in-depth and community-based learning is still best found in libraries. Should public libraries continue to adopt the latest technology and formats that are constantly changing?  Libraries fulfill distinct and vital needs. Libraries need not compete with or replicate the Internet; rather, libraries must clarify their own function and identity.

The challenge is to design an architectural intervention that reinforces and expands the relevance of the public library in any New England community. Designs may take the form of additions, renovations, or satellite structures. Interventions can be a maximum of 2,000 SF, but changes to finishes and furniture, or temporary elements, may extend beyond this limit. A clear distinction should be made between the existing context and the proposed intervention.


  • How can architectural interventions catalyze the  exchange of ideas in a library and its community?
  • What programs and amenities can attract new  user groups while maintaining existing patrons?
  • How is a public library a distinct form of access for information, knowledge, and discussion?
  • What is the contemporary function, role, and identity of the New England public library?


1st Place:  $1000
2nd Place:   $500
3rd Place:    $250


January 12, 2014:  Competition Launch
May 4, 2014:  Submission Deadline
June 5, 2014:  Awards @ AIAVT / CSI Event


Winners will be selected by a jury of architects, librarians, and community members. The jury will be asked to consider graphic clarity, originality, and cohesiveness of concept.

Include a description, approximately 200 words, of the concept on the board itself. Be concise and clear to convey the essence of the proposal.


All submissions must be digital, horizontally oriented, 24 inch x 36 inch, and in JPG or PDF format. Please title the file yourname.JPG or .PDF. Indicate entrant name(s), firm affiliation, town/city, and state in the email. Do not include entrant name(s) anywhere on the board itself. Names will be displayed during exhibitions, but will be anonymous during the jury process.

A $20 submission fee must be submitted by the due date.  Please go for options of how to pay online or by check.  A one-page PDF of the competition brief is also available on the website.



Competition website: Visit website
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