The new Austin Central Library, the downtown designed Lake | facility Flato and Shepley Bullfinch, which opened with great success last year, recently received more recognition: it was ranked as one of five finalists for the Public Library of the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) from the annual award.
According to Austin press material, the international organization awards the award to a different new library each year. The award is based on “the extent to which the library takes into account new digital developments, local culture, sustainability and the wishes and needs of users,” the statement said.
The 200,000-square-foot Austin Library, which opened in October, has already become a central landmark in downtown Austin and on Lady Bird Lake, which it overlooks. It features a six-story, sunlight-filled atrium surrounded by collections, event spaces, and reading porches with views of the lake and Shoal Creek. It also has 14 shared study rooms, more than 100 computers, 150 self-checkout machines, an art gallery, gift shop, and a cookbook-themed cafe that displays the collection of the late, influential local food writer Virginia B. Wood.
The IFLA nomination is based on their focus on sustainability and the high flexibility of their interior design and furniture. The library has received multiple awards from the American Institute of Architects and the American Public Works Association.
According to the city, Austin cut the finalist from an original list of 35 libraries from 19 countries that applied for the award. It is the only American library to be included in the top 5 list. The finalists are:
• Austin Central Library
• Villa-Lobos Park Library, Sao Paulo, Brazil
• KopGroep Libraries, Den Helder, The Netherlands
• Deichman Biblo Toyen, Olso, Norway
• Tampines Public Library, Singapore
The winner will be announced at IFLA’s annual meeting on August 28 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.