Cline Library Master Plan
Be of the land on which it sits: the Library sits on Indigenous land on the Colorado Plateau; it will honor the resources of its place in an environmentally sustainable way.
Be welcoming for all: the Library will be a welcoming space for all; it will provide services, resources and spaces for a variety of student types, with user-centered experiences.
Be the center for knowledge: the Library will be a center for access to knowledge and learning; it will be a hub for scholarly, research, and creative activities, fostering innovation in a technology-rich environment.
Engage its surroundings: the Library will engage its surroundings and be a beacon for NAU and the community of Flagstaff
About the Project
As an integral part of the university, Cline Library serves as a leading future-oriented organization focused on creating a culture of innovation and delivering exceptional learning spaces and experiences to Northern Arizona University and our regional communities. With more than 525,000 annual visitors, the library building provides students, faculty, staff, and the community vital space for study, research, collaboration, and experiential learning. The library is an essential part of the NAU Flagstaff campus experience.
NAU, Cline Library, and the architectural firm Sasaki, embarked on an eight-month master space plan for the library building. As an organization, we are not content with the status quo, and we look to the user experience to guide us as we move forward with both incremental and transformational change. With student and faculty success as our core commitments, we reach out to serve the community and beyond.
The master plan represents a comprehensive and forward-looking vision for the future of library services at NAU and the need for a re-imagined library. Sasaki’s study included a robust engagement process whereby they surveyed the entire campus community about current and future library uses and aspirations, held multiple listening, visioning, and focus group sessions. Later in the process Sasaki held interactive programming sessions, and design charrettes where we collectively tested ideas, explored options, and prioritized needs and aspirations into reasonable and implementable solutions. This engagement process was guided throughout by a University Steering Committee and a Library Planning Committee.
What is a master plan? Accordion Closed
A library master plan applies the mission, vision, and values set forth in the organization’s strategic plan. It includes a quantitative and qualitative analysis of space, including the flow of people through the building, technology, and other environmental conditions that meet library user’s needs. Through careful understanding of shifting library infrastructure needs, inquiry and analysis of student, faculty, staff and community recommendations, and application of evolving library programming, the master plan creates a step-by-step structure for the university to renovate the library building to create an engaging, flexible, and inspirational experience for all library users.
The master plan scope included an analysis of the existing facility, the development of a comprehensive program to support NAU and library needs into the future, and recommendations for how to re-imagine the facility in a sustainable and flexible way for future NAU generations. The study also knit together the goals and needs expressed through prior planning documents and studies undertaken at different times by Cline Library.
The master plan provides Northern Arizona University and Cline Library with a forward-looking and inspirational strategy to create more engaging, flexible, and varied space for all library users. At the same time, it provides for greater focus on and access to the unique collections held in Special Collections and Archives as well as generating renewed interest in technological advancements in learning environments. Cline Library aspires to strengthen our representation of place on the Colorado Plateau and to serve as a welcoming environment for all its communities.
Critical Needs Accordion Closed
Additional Study Space – There is a critical need for additional study seats in the library. Cline Library is significantly behind its peers with respect to the number of general study seats available in the library.
Special Collections and Archives – The study confirmed that the invaluable Special Collections and Archives currently housed in Cline Library are at risk. State of the art environmental planning is needed to properly care for the current Colorado Plateau collections and the University Archives. Furthermore, these collections are growing and additional space is needed to properly house the materials and make them accessible for use in teaching, learning and research.
Updated Next-Gen Learning Environments – There is a critical need to advance the library’s next generation learning environments with enhanced technology and programming to meet the evolving learning and collaboration needs of students, particularly with respect to data visualization and extended reality.
Building Infrastructure Replacement – The study also confirmed that there is a critical need for the library to replace its aging heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical, and plumbing systems serving the building. Much of this infrastructure is beyond its useful life, and much of this equipment is abandoned.
The Opportunity Accordion Closed
Create a Welcoming Environment – The building does not reflect the diversity of NAU student demographics. Today 46% of students at NAU are first generation, and 3% are Native American. The library is seen as cold, uninviting, and unwelcoming to these and other groups. Several stakeholders also pointed out that the building is not universally designed.
Program and Services Expansion – The opportunity also exists to expand programming, services, and spaces available to the broader community. The facility itself however is outdated: its building envelopes from the 1960s and 1980s are far below today’s standards of environmental design, and some of the building’s structural grids are not suitable to accommodate learning environments for the 21st century, nor for more efficient modes of collection storage.
Address Environmental Concerns for Collections Storage – Implementation of the master plan would create new environmentally enhanced storage spaces for Special Collections and Archives
Create Diverse Study Spaces for Students – Cline Library is behind its peers in study space capacity. As the only library for NAU and Coconino Community College, study spaces can be expanded to address seat count, diversity of space and meet student’s needs for group and individual study.
Improve Adjacencies – For programs and services for students, faculty, and the community as well as library departments. While renovations would encourage alignment of staff spaces with existing university standards, it is also an opportunity to ensure that staff spaces acknowledge the changes to the unique work of the library, promote productivity and creativity and offer the flexibility for the continued evolution of the library program into the future.
The Planning Process Accordion Closed
Creating a Comprehensive, Shared Vision
In pursuit of creating a comprehensive, shared vision for the future of Cline Library, the project team crafted a multi-faceted and inclusive planning strategy, engaging the campus community in a participatory process spanning approximately 8 months.
The planning process was led by a Core Team of representatives from NAU and Sasaki, with input from both the Library Planning Team, consisting of team members from each library unit, and the University Steering Committee, including faculty and staff from across NAU. Broader participation in the planning effort was made possible through both focus groups and an interactive on-line survey distributed to all students, faculty and staff.
Work was divided into three phases: Visioning & Programming, Concept Development, and Final Documentation. The Visioning & Programming phase included several key elements, summarized on the following pages, including the MyLibrary Survey, focus group work sessions, and an analysis of the current building, including history, campus and site relationships, facilities conditions and observation, and a documentation of existing space use.
NAU Steering Committee
- Astrid Klocke, VP for Academic Affairs, Chair
- Suzanne Hanks, ITS
- Ben Ruddell, Research Faculty
- Andy Wong, Dean CEIAS
- Chris Boyer, Dean, CAL
- Amanda Reitz, ASNAU
- Savannah Berry, President GSG
- Val Barret, Space Planning
- Robert Sanford, SES, University Library Committee and Faculty Senate Representative
- Megan Proctor Neff, Campus Events & Dining
- T.C. Eberly, Campus Events & Dining
- Kelly Ann Hays-Gilpin, Faculty, SBS
- Donelle Ruwe, Chairs Council
- Chris Johnson, Faculty, Communication
- Steve Vedral, AVP Facility Services
- Wendy Bruun, Student Affairs
My Library Survey Accordion Closed
The MyLibrary survey was an interactive tool that allowed users to visually document and describe the spaces they use in Cline Library. Users could add icons, lines and shapes to illustrate their experiences and leave a comment or thumbs up/down. Aggregating these responses started to uncover patterns, challenges and opportunities within the existing building.
Where do you study?
Comparatively high utilization of the first floor “Information Commons” space, with other smaller activity nodes somewhat spread out and disconnected from one another show favorite places for study in the library.
Space program Summary Accordion Closed
As a culmination of the work during the Discovery & Analysis phase, a space program was created and further refined with input from stakeholder groups. Core program elements were identified, including student-focused study & community spaces, a right-sized collection housed in an efficient and safe environment, as well as right-sized staff spaces that reflect the contemporary needs of library staff.
One Bold Move Accordion Closed
Partial demolition and new construction.
This option boldly demolishes the 1960s and 1980s wings and thereby creates the opportunity to re-order the interior organization of the library into a more unified experience. By aligning the floor levels of old and new, and by right-sizing the collections and study spaces, Option 1 proposes a radical transformation of Cline Library, offering a new building face towards the community, state of the art new facilities for Special Collections and Archives, and a newly expanded central atrium space to serve as the building heart. Removing the constraining structural system and obsolete mechanical systems of the older library wings allows for greater programmatic flexibility, more efficient storage of collections and the ability to expand the impact of environmental solutions that match NAU’s goals as outlined in the draft Climate Action Plan.