Austin Public Library
With great anticipation and excitement, the Austin Public Library’s (APL) new Central Library opened in October 2017. Designed and built for the digital generation, the new Central Library is an unprecedented endeavor to bring cutting-edge technology side-by-side with traditional information services.
“We know what a library is today, but we were building a library for the future,” said Joe Faulk, Director of Information Technology for the Austin Public Library. “From the basic infrastructure to the architectural design, we were creating a library that would change and adapt for the next 100 years.”
That vision determined the location of the library and drove all decisions about its infrastructure, furnishings, equipment and services, resulting in a dynamic community space that would sustain a multitude of uses over time.
Integrating technology has been essential to the Central Library’s success, with leading-edge digital integration rivaling that of any tech industry headquarters. For example, the Central Library boasts 157 wireless access points, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones throughout the facility, and a 350-seat Events Center with a nine-panel video wall. Another unique feature is the laptop and tablet kiosks that allow library patrons to check out the latest MacBook or Lenovo.
“We’ve built a foundation for the next 100 years,” said Faulk, “and now we need to provide the programs and services that will make a difference now—and over time—in people’s lives.” While it is hard to say what the Central Library will look like in 100 years, it is clear that the integration of leading-edge technology will go a long way in delivering services to its patrons.