Prototyping Programs for Main Library

If you’ve noticed unusual activities popping up in and around 310 North Tryon Street, that’s by design. Public Commons @ Main Library is a series of events meant to test new opportunities for people to participate in Main Library programs. 

The Library is working with MACHINE, a New York-based design and ideation firm, to finalize a vision for the future of Main Library. Part of this work is prototyping different ways we can involve the Charlotte Mecklenburg community and create a dynamic destination that brings the community together. The prototypes will range from events and spaces to special access to Main and collaborations with local artists and innovators.

The first prototype, Jazz at the Market, featured a lunchtime concert by Charlotte's own Jazz Revolution and took place outside at the Seventh Street Public Market. The backdrop to the music was a set of fun facts about music in Charlotte, with content and images sourced directly from the Library’s Carolina Room. The event also featured express Library card signups, and “blind date with a book” – an opportunity to check out a book without seeing the cover, based on Library staff descriptions. Our goal was to learn whether people would want Main Library to host musical events (yes), could we catch the attention of a new crowd (yes, especially parents headed back from ImaginOn) and what it feels like to partner with our neighbors (it was great!).

The second prototype was a lunchtime panel discussion called “Charlotte Time Capsule.” Two local historians – Brenda Tindal from the Levine Museum and Shelia Bumgarner of the Carolina Room - and longtime resident and former journalist Susan Patterson shared stories of our city’s past, present and future, moderated by another longtime resident, Sam Shapiro of the Library. We learned that people will bring their lunch to Main Library for a compelling subject, if the program is timed to coincide with a traditional lunch hour. 

Watch the Library Foundation’s Facebook page for upcoming Public Commons @ Main Library events through July, and please participate – Main Library belongs to everyone, help us make it yours.  Contact us at if you have questions or ideas.