Nisswa Community Children's Library

Nisswa, MN

The Nisswa Community Children’s Library offered a unique opportunity to bring the school and the community together. Funding for this project came from a combination of school district, community, and private sources.

This two-part project included a 6,075 sq.ft. library addition to the Nisswa Elementary School and extensive remodeling of 4,800 sq.ft. of existing space into classrooms and a computer lab. The library and adjacent computer lab accommodate school-age children and the general public through extended, weekend, and summer hours.

The whimsical up-north concept of the library addition creates a fun learning environment. The combination of different materials, colors, and shapes complement Minnesota’s environment while adding some fun: brightly colored walls, cozy fireplace reading spaces, high spacious ceilings, warm natural wood, and large windows. Colored glass blocks add interest during the day as well as lead the visitor into the building like a reader into a book; the interesting “cover” leads the reader/visitor into the adventure that awaits within.

Nisswa Community Children’s Library was cited as an Outstanding Building in the 2002 Architectural Portfolio competition sponsored by American School and University magazine. Projects were judged by several criteria including:

  • Partnership with the community
  • Efficient use of budget
  • Functionality of flow, security, and adjacencies
  • Ownership—a sense of place in the design
  • Appropriate environment for the age group served
  • Student-centered design