January 27, 2022

Temple University: Charles Library Shapes the Future at Temple and Beyond

From Temple University:

Charles Library will change the landscape of Temple University—more than just physically—for years to come. Its vast technological improvements, prioritization of space, and attention to the needs of modern life and learning place it firmly as a cutting-edge library of the 21st century. The elements that set Charles Library apart will undoubtedly change in accordance with the minds that navigate it, but here are some reasons why the building is primed for greatness. 

Charles Library is a product of the renowned international design firm, Snøhetta, noted for creating buildings that intelligently engage their communities, such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, the Central Library of Calgary Public Library in Alberta, Canada and the redesigned Pavilion at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.


The building’s materials mimic and complement the surrounding environment. The stone façade echoes those of Sullivan and Mitten halls, and acts as a stark contrast to the warm, handcrafted wood interior. The height of the building remains constant with those of its peers, so as not to overshadow, and the glass exterior subtly reflects the surrounding environment while allowing light to permeate every inch inside.

Natural light is a constant throughout the space, flowing in through the perimeter of windows and the center oculus that connects all four floors. Light serves as a metaphor for knowledge as it pours in through the oculus, on to the fourth-floor browsing stacks, downward toward each open level and finally, to the first-floor entryway that greets everyone who enters.


Charles Library sits atop a high-density robotic Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), lovingly nicknamed the BookBot, that houses 85 percent of the books previously held at Paley. The other 15 percent of the books will remain in the fourth-floor stacks as a rotating browsing section.


Thanks to the BookBot, Charles Library has 60 percent to 70 percent more user-facing space than its predecessor, Paley Library, which will transform into Paley Hall and house the College of Public Health in its new iteration.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 2000 words), View Additional Images


Temple University Libraries Will Move More Than One Million Books From the Paley Library to the New Charles Library (May 6, 2019)

A Journey Through Photos: Charles Library Rises (via Temple U.)

In Recognition of $10 Million Gift, Temple University’s New Library to be Named for Steve Charles (March 13, 2018)

Charles Library Floorplans and Renderings (via Internet Archive)

Temple University Announces Plans For New $190M Library (November 24, 2013)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.