Cape Girardeau Public Library

Cape Girardeau Public Library

The Cape Girardeau Public Library was in need of a significant expansion to help it meet the needs of a service area with more than 35,000 people. To meet these needs, we stripped the original building down to its shell and completely reconfigured the 18,000 square feet of space, and created a 21,000-square-foot addition.

The new renovated areas include more ideally located administration space, larger staff work areas, an expanded public meeting room suite, and new youth and teen sections, including gaming areas. The library also received the first RFID system in Missouri.

The addition houses the adult collection, centralized computer areas, a computer training room, a genealogy area, reference desk, food service/coffee cafe space, and reading lounges. Furnishings throughout the library feature power hookups and lighting suitable for laptop use.

The design reflects the community’s heritage as a Mississippi River town. The main corridor is a metaphor for the river, with carpet that evokes sunlight glistening on flowing water, and walls that recall a riverbank, with a blue tile “wake,” rough-cut limestone “riverbank” and bamboo paneling “trees.” The exterior continues the Missouri River theme. Flared cornices on the canopies resemble the stacks of steamships that once plied the Mississippi, limestone bands symbolize high watermarks from floods, and layers of colored brick mimic the striated riverbank.