New Castle County Route 9 Library and Innovation Center

New Castle, Delaware
A 21st Century Library

The Library and Innovation Center anchors a new Innovation Campus designed to revitalize one of the most underserved communities in the State of Delaware.

Through a robust programming and public engagement process, the design team worked with neighborhood stakeholders to identify a variety of new services that will build professional skills, increase literacy, and put 21st-century technology in the hands of community members.

The library’s design provides an array of innovative program spaces under a single, protective canopy, including a black box performance space, STEM lab, media production studio, maker space, scriptorium, LEGO room, outdoor farmer’s market, teaching kitchen, and a sensory room developed in partnership with Autism Delaware.

For generations, the public library was a “have to” destination, often the only source for books, maps, films, and information. The Route 9 Library + Innovation Center is a “want to” destination—an exciting, vibrant, experiential, learning-focused place tailored to the needs of the community.

The visually porous skin welcomes pedestrians by revealing the center’s activities and flooding the interior with diffused natural light.
Child-sized reading nooks and wall-mounted puzzles stimulate learning.
Visitors are struck by the thoughtful array of age-appropriate amenities. The abundance of reading, studying, and learning spaces elevate the library from a staid depository to an engrossing resource.
Larger gathering spaces like the Black Box Theater, multi-purpose room, and outdoor farmer’s market are in proximity to the future Innovation Campus where they can bridge between campus programs through shared use.
A space themed immersive story-time room twinkles with fiber-optic celestial lighting.
Children interact with the space in ways that support their physical and mental development.
A dedicated LEGO Room engages children and adults as imaginative makers.
Sensory Room

The Sensory Room was developed with Autism Delaware to host a space with tunable visual, auditory, tactile, and proprioceptive stimulation modules that are controlled by the user. Children on the autism spectrum can tailor the space to his or her preference to gain focus while developing personal literacy skills.

The STEM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), a Media Production Studio, and the Maker Space will inspire creativity and challenge the imagination of all patrons.
The Teaching Kitchen is co-operated and programmed by a local culinary arts high school. The facility gives students a real world application of classroom learned skills.
In the Scriptorium, children and young adults will learn to hone their writing skills using both analog and digital communication tools.

Project Team

Derek Jones