Since its inception, Plainsboro Public Library has been dedicated to being a center of learning for people of all ages and backgrounds; nearly 85 percent of the diverse and growing community possesses a library card. To accommodate their growth, the library moved into a new building that allowed it to double its size and to function as a venue for an established roster of community-based programs. Situated at the head of an expansive village green, this three story, 45,000-square-foot building houses a sizable collection of books and periodicals, an Internet café, a children’s science museum, classrooms, an arts resource center, community auditorium, and outdoor spaces consisting of a library reading garden and terraces.

New York’s Poulin Morris designed the comprehensive environmental graphics, donor recognition and wayfinding sign program for the new library. Due to a majority of non-English speaking library users, the program needed to be immediate, intuitive and visually universal, while remaining timeless and in keeping with the community-based mission of this 21st century institution. The program relies on large-scale typography and bright colors to identify essential information while facilitating accessibility from any location in the library. A color identification system gives each floor its own distinct identity and incorporates stack ends and information desks into the wayfinding strategy. Comprehensive floor directories containing orientation maps of key public destinations are available on each floor.

The design celebrates the written word by activating the glass railings of the main circulation staircase and second floor balcony with over three hundred references to seminal literature from around the world. Library users were asked to submit first sentences from their favorite books in their native languages; each sentence is identified with its accompanying book title and author and displayed in varying scales and languages. The sentences are applied in frosted vinyl to achieve a sandblasted appearance on glass and silk-screened onto an interlayer of glass to create a continuous typographic pattern on the exterior main building.

Communication Arts

// From our friends at Communication Arts

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