A part of the aesthetic of Norman’s two newest libraries is the presence of native Oklahoma grasses and creative landscapes surrounding the buildings.

That was intentional in the design plans for both Norman East, which opened in summer of 2018, and Norman Central, which celebrates the one-year anniversary of its opening in November.

“A library project is done not just through bricks and mortar, but in how people in the community interact with it and how they see it,” said Matthew Kruntorad, Principal at MSR Design, the architectural firm utilized on each library project. “It’s part of the community, it’s connected to the community, it’s somewhere that you want to go.” 

Located in an area of rolling hills on the east side of Norman, the plot of land for Norman East lends itself to a prairie style. These include a variety of Buffalo grass and bluestem with patches of colorful flowers including goldenrod and the bright purple Eryngo that make up the area that begin the view from the windows on the north side of the building.

To the south, between the library and Alameda Street, as well as around the “Prairie Wind” sculpture near the building’s main entrance, are more types of traditional grassland types and small trees. Planters near the main entrance of the building feature Yucca and other smaller plant types.

The area leading up to Norman Central from Andrews Park to the south also seeks to utilize grasses native to Oklahoma. Multiple gardens in the courtyard provide a natural look surrounding the backdrop of the sculpture “Unbound,” a depiction of book pages lifting into the sky.

Norman Central also sports a unique garden area located on the roof of part of the building’s first floor, above the Children’s Services section and beneath windows looking out from the second and third floor, over the roof garden and on to the rest of downtown Norman to the south.

Inside these libraries, learn more about almost any topic through the Pioneer Library System’s extensive collection of books, DVDs, and downloadable items. Libraries are now open for browsing and Wi-Fi access in a “grab-and-go” environment, with masks required for all in the Norman branches per city ordinance.