Schlipf and Moorman author “how-to” book on library buildings

Posted: May 31, 2017

schlipf-book.jpg?itok=AY8p7dArAdjunct Professor Fred Schlipf and iSchool alumnus John Moorman (PhD '03) drew upon their wealth of experience working in libraries when writing The Practical Handbook of Library Architecture, which will be available this fall from ALA Editions. The authors, both retired directors of public libraries, have consulted and taught about library building design, presented on the subject at conferences, and served on a variety of library committees.

The handbook details the overarching rules of functional library design, which include keeping space flexible, designing for security, providing bright but low-glare lighting, making library users comfortable, keeping things simple, planning for growth, and never losing control over the building. The vocabulary list in the handbook began as a handout from the how-to-do-it course on library buildings that Schlipf taught at the iSchool for many years.
"John and I have been presenting conference programs on library buildings for about twenty years," said Schlipf. "Our focus has always been on how library buildings function (or don't function), and in the book, we intentionally skipped over the history of library buildings, famous library buildings, famous architects, and aesthetics."

According to the authors, “The problem with library buildings is that bad decisions can last a century.” They offer the handbook as a friendly and usable guide to avoid problems in future library building design.

Schlipf has been a member of the iSchool faculty since 1970 and currently serves as an adjunct professor. From 1974 until 2007, he was director of the Urbana Free Library, where he oversaw a major renovation of the library building and served as a consultant on approximately 150 library construction projects. Schlipf is the recipient of the 2015 LSAA Distinguished Service Award, which is given each year to an individual who has served the iSchool or its alumni association in an exceptional way.

Moorman has worked as director of five public libraries and a multi-type library system, most recently the Decatur (IL) Public Library and the Williamsburg (VA) Regional Library. He is a past president of the Virginia Library Association and a lifelong elected honorary member of the Association. Within the American Library Association (ALA), he has served on the Public Library Association Board of Directors, the ALA Council, and the ALA Executive Board.

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