Smart Strategies for Creating High-Performing Event Spaces

Whether libraries are kicking off their summer reading programs or hosting adult cooking classes, their high-performing spaces are used for a diverse array of gatherings and activities. While flexibility and storage are key, it’s important to:

  • Think about where tables, chairs and other furniture pieces can be stored. They should be near event rooms to make accessing these items more convenient.

  • Add moveable walls, so the space can be transformed to better accommodate the size of the event.

  • Incorporate acoustic solutions, like felt panels or lighting.

  • Include some kind of kitchen space nearby.

  • Select lighting that can be adjusted.

With these guidelines in mind, we use our guest experience approach to create a unique plan. Before designing any elements, we begin by researching how the building is used. We shadow library staff to see how events are run, as well as how the rooms are utilized. Then, we create a “program” or plan for the space that accommodates all of the necessary uses. Throughout this process, we look at the needs of the staff and patrons, as well as the wide-range of ages that visit.

As a game-plan is being developed, we often incorporate ideas from the community. For example, we might show two design options that are within budget at a public meeting. Then, we ask patrons to cast their votes using green and red stickers to vote yes or no, respectively.

Not only does this give us valuable feedback, it also presents an opportunity to learn more about the community’s goals.

Although functionality is incredibly important, we wouldn’t be architects and interior designers if we didn’t care about how it looks. To connect the library to the community, we recommend adding unique elements. One way to do this is to embrace regional and local heritage. At the Livingston County Library in Chillicothe, Missouri, they plan to use agricultural educational components in their new children’s sensory area, while the Derby Public Library in Derby, Kansas rotates work from local artists in their main lobby and event space. These kinds of elements make libraries a destination for the community, offering citizens even more reasons to visit.

Need a little more information? We can help. Email us at

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