The award-winning San Mateo Public Library is a technologically-advanced library whose design evolved out of an extensive public workshop process. EHDD solicited input from the community about the building’s massing, the quality of interior and exterior spaces, and concerns about noise levels. The library’s LEED® Gold design satisfied the desires of the community while presenting a strong civic image and establishing a new landmark in downtown San Mateo.
Upon entering, patrons can see to all levels of the building with an information booth supplementing any direction needs. The building’s form undulates inward to preserve an existing redwood grove, which is visible from the mezzanine level through tall windows. On the second floor, a two-story central reading room further aids in ease of orientation and brings daylight into the building’s center from high clerestory windows, offering a comfortable space for visitors to read, study, and convene.
The service approach of the library is modeled after a retail bookstore rather than a traditional public library. Display areas featuring new books and topical collections are arranged throughout, and staff circulates through the building, offering assistance to patrons. The most current technologies are utilized, including raised-access floors, a mechanized book storage system, electronic checkout, and wireless technology to accommodate the patrons with the best service available.