New Canaan, Connecticut

New Canaan Library Capital Campaign

The new library, designed by Centerbrook Architects, includes the creation of a new library town green.

The library’s leadership team wanted to create an interactive exhibit space in the current library building that raises awareness, excitement, and support for the new library as they seek to reach their $40 million capital campaign goal.

The exhibit had to go beyond showcasing the plans for the new library — it was vital to share the nuances of the 10-year community-inclusive planning process and the global influences and local values that informed every design decision.

We started our work by building a model of the proposed exhibit. This helped the client team and writers envision how the content could be organized.
The completed exhibit (titled New Canaan, New Library, New Chapter) immerses visitors of all ages through high-impact visuals, engaging messages, multimedia components, a 3D model, and tactile design elements that convey how the new library will enhance everyone’s library experience.
A centerpiece of the exhibit is an illuminated model of the new library, fabricated by Centerbrook Architects.

The exhibit space was designed to be flexible to enable ongoing library programming to be held in the central area. The freestanding structures are on moveable platforms so they can be repositioned as needed.
Prior to starting the exhibit design and development process, we engaged with our colleagues at Latshaw Marketing to apply their Empathetic Positioning Process to shape the positioning and develop messaging for the library, the capital campaign, and the exhibit itself.

An interactive voting section lets visitors choose their favorite part of the new library.
We developed a unique pre-printed hanging panel system for easy installation. The system allows for periodic updates over the course of the yearlong duration of the exhibit, making the introduction of additional content easy and economical.
A custom "flip wall" provides an opportunity for library staff and community members to tell their stories. It also incorporates Q&A panels, highlighting features of the new facility.

A dimensional floor plan wall highlights the contents of the new library.

In just a few short months since its opening, the exhibit has proven to be a true project headquarters for the NEW New Canaan Library capital campaign effort — a physical space for meeting and gathering that interactively demonstrates how the new library will strengthen the fabric of the community.

Our work with the campaign includes a series of outreach and communication pieces, including a novel pop-up floor plan brochure.
A personalized donor kit includes a booklet and inserts providing library facts, figures, and a list of donor opportunities — along with a few surprises.

As part of the community outreach program, we created a graphic installation for The Mirror House, a freestanding information pavilion.

A temporary prefabricated structure, the Mirror House (a nod to New Canaan’s role in the story mid-century Modernist architecture and, of course, to Philip Johnson’s Glass House) houses informational and educational resources for the New Library initiative.

The exterior of the Mirror House features a rendering of the new library building, on which is reflected the “New Canaan, New Library” campaign theme.

Fortune smiled: Conceived before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, the structure offers an ideal venue for small family groups to experience an isolated virtual reality tour of the new library.

Town zoning requirements limited the size of sign we could install.
Our workaround: we leveraged the mirrored facade to have the structure do double duty.
Invitations to the Mirror House unveiling were sent to every family in the town. Recipients' names were custom imprinted onto mirror-finished card stock.
Smiles, everyone!

Alexander Isley
Erika Back
Angela Chen
David Cushman
Shannon Stolting

Content Development
Latshaw Marketing