Cambridge Public Library Main Branch – Collaborative Staff Workspace – Cambridge, MA

Cambridge Public Library Main Branch – Collaborative Staff Workspace – Cambridge, MA

Sorensen Partners was Architect, Interior Designer, and Furniture Consultant for a new collaborative work space for staff in the Main Branch of the Cambridge Public Library. Replacing a cubicle layout work area, the new collaborative space provides flexibility of workspace choice and personal storage.

The seating area options are designed to increase the quality of work environments based on staff input regarding the importance of daylight, ergonomic seating, areas for focused work as well as collaboration, and views of nature and nature-inspired patterns.

Construction by One Source Construction, LLC, with furniture by Office Resources Inc. and RedThread. Construction was completed in Spring 2019.

Collaborative workspace desking provides different seating options for staff
Collaborative lounge seating in reconfigured cubicle work area with individual work tables by Steelcase, Knoll chairs, and FilzFelt acoustic dividers
Hightop seating in staff break room
Collaborative workspace with FilzFelt acoustic wall; pattern & colors by Sorensen Partners
Conference room for staff use
Printer and laptop storage tables located along hallway with personal rolling seat-files stored below

Personal rolling seat files
Construction progress photos January 2019, cubicles being knocked down:

Stakeholder Engagement

Guided Meditation Design Engagement for Cambridge Public Library Staff Space, Cambridge, MA. In 2019, Cambridge Public Library planned to convert an area of staff office space cubicles into a “maker space” fabrication lab as a resource for the public users of the library. Staff in the office space spent on average 1-2 hours per day at their desk in the office space, with the balance of their hours staffing public-facing locations. Staff would subsequently be provided a collaborative workspace to share. In order to create a productive outcome from the change, Cambridge Public Library hired Sorensen Partners to lead both a positive psychological transition through stakeholder engagement, and to design the resulting collaborative workspace. Rather than use a traditional method of community engagement, we wanted to turn this experience into a different and special experience for the staff. We designed a guided meditation asking staff to reflect back on their most productive work experience ever. In this group activity, which we led for about 20 staff in the calming sanctuary of the library auditorium stage, participants imagined the sounds, lighting conditions, colors, and social setting of their best work experience. When the guided meditation was over, participants were given a engaging user-friendly 4-page worksheet to use to document what they imagined during their personal journey. Some participants shared significant observations with the group. Sorensen Partners then tabulated and analyzed the worksheets and presented the overarching trends – which would be turned into design themes – back to the group at a follow-up session. Leadership from the Cambridge Public Library staff purposefully did not engage with participants during this stakeholder engagement exercise in order that an objective third-party could work with the staff group.