Jose Marti Middle School, Media Center/Public Library

Union City, New Jersey

The José Martí Middle School Media Center/Public Library encourages community use. The first design of its kind in New Jersey, this media center incorporates the Union City Public Library into the facility. The two-story space has a mezzanine overlooking the lower floor.

The media center on the upper floor is replete with the latest in computer technology ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$181.38FEATURED IN2005 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers resources. During the day, it operates separately from the public library and has its own circulation desk. The space provides reading tables, a young-adult reading section and a listening area. It serves its community by providing most written resources in both English and Spanish.

The lower floor houses the Union City Public Library. This facility provides a business alcove with Internet service, quiet study areas, a listening area, computer stations, a children’s library with a tiered storytelling area, and its own young-adult section.

The design of the media center/public library promotes learning both inside and out with its own outdoor courtyard with lecture area.

To address safety issues, the architect provided areas that were separate, yet flexible. During school hours, the middle school students have access only to the upper-floor media center, and the public has access only to the lower floor. The interior connecting stair and elevator are directly across from the circulation desk, which acts as an additional control point for security. After school hours, the public has access to the media center/public library, as well as adjacent classrooms for after-school programs.