« Back to Facilities

Five-Star Interior Design

Miami-Dade Public Library System

Problem Statement

Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) recognized that in order to improve public service it needed to develop and implement a people centered facility design approach.


The Library’s vision of a people centered facility design approach focuses on open floor plans with a minimum use of wall partitions. These floor plans allow for space to flow onto each other and provide high visibility of all public areas. In order to accomplish this, the Library works with County in-house interior design professionals to carry out innovated and fresh designs that use a combination of elements that allow for patrons to have a top quality experience. Spaces are designed with furnishings that are in line with private industry design standards, exciting color palettes, fabric and finishes which are in keeping with the overall architectural presence of the building and its surrounding community.

Flexibility in the use of space is a vital element of the Library’s design approach. It allows for the space to be easily reconfigured meeting the varied needs of a busy urban Library. Branches that are not equipped with a multi-purpose room can easily accommodate programming by rearranging the space. All shelving units that are not affixed to a wall are modular, on wheels, and no taller than 48 inches. An unexpected benefit of this approach has been that patrons, who would not have normally attended a program, have been engaged and participated in the Library event. Designs also include easily accessible and smaller public service desks, enhanced lighting systems, and Wi-Fi throughout all facilities. The provision of sufficient electrical outlet maximize public use of personal electronic devices is key.

MDPLS is committed to including green elements such as environmentally friendly building materials and finishes, the use of natural daylight, and sustainable landscapes. In order to extend the useable space beyond the building surrounding landscapes include public plazas, walking paths, and story canopies. In addition, MDPLS is in the process of introducing arboretums as part of the landscape designs. These will be used as a public educational component and will allow patrons to replicate sustainable and native landscape schemes at their homes. A key to this design approach is to have all plans reviewed by staff at various intervals during the design process. Additionally, branch staff debriefings, once a project is completed, allows for lessons learned to be applied to future projects. For example, one of the lessons learned was to replace the use of carpet with natural flooring materials. This allowed for the reduction of maintenance costs while increasing the lifetime of floors and adding to esthetically pleasing environment.


MDPLS facilities are ranked highly in both the internal 5 Star Customer Service Rating and the County’s Resident Satisfaction Survey.