Planning a new or refurbished public library means considering not only facilities for collections, services, staff and users, but examining also the local context, reviewing the library image, and developing relationships with other community facilities and agencies. This book examines the entire gamut of challenges confronting the planning and development of contemporary public libraries; their mission, their roles, and key issues such as lifelong learning, social inclusion, community and cultural needs, regeneration and funding. The helpful presentation and readable style guides the librarian through the preliminary information-gathering and decision-making process that ensures a successful library building for all concerned. Using practical case studies, plans and photographs, the author tackles the critical issues of siting, size, plans and design concepts, and provides a helpful guide to weighing up the alternatives of refurbished, converted and new buildings. Separate chapters focus on the planning, briefing and construction process; security, safety and sustainability; key characteristics of successful buildings; identity, decor and signage; and interior layout and facilities. The text draws together a vast resource of real library examples from all over the world which provide best practice models and lessons to learn. For funding authorities, librarians and architects of public libraries this is a highly informative book that will help to ensure wise decision-making and prevent costly mistakes.