Serving Underpopulated Areas with Pop-Up Libraries

As cities expand and the population moves, many public libraries find they do not have the financial resources to build a new library in remote or growing parts of their service area. However, the outreach method may be easier than most think. There are some fun, economical and innovative solutions to this issue. A growing number of pop-up libraries, outdoor reading rooms and semi-permanent structures are currently filling the needs of underserved areas until a future facility can be built.

A pop-up library can be created in anything: a storage container, an Airstream camper, or even an old phone booth. These options can be moved at any time to new locations or can be used at local festivals or events. They provide a great way to promote the library system.

Another option is a semi-permanent structure. These miniature locations are typically open limited hours and may have a library employee overseeing the check-out process. These buildings can serve as a public art piece as well and are designed in a variety of innovative shapes and sizes.

A scaled down outreach method could be an outdoor reading room. bcDESIGNGROUP’s designer, Brooke Cinalli, and her family spotted this outdoor reading room in the urban green space of Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. Mobile carts filled with books and games were set out near a grouping of tables and benches. The layout invited guests to grab a book and take a break from the noise.

Photos included here have been pulled from outside sources to depict a range of pop-up library solutions.

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