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CASE STUDY: Harborfields Public Library
In searching for a way to provide more quiet spaces for community members, Harborfields Public Library turned to phone booths.

Harborfields Public Library (“HPL”), in Long Island, New York, stands as a vibrant testament to the important role of public libraries in modern communities. Established in 1970, HPL began as a traveling “bookmobile”. HPL moved to its own dedicated building in 1976, and it has continued to evolve in that same space through expansion and renovation. Catering to approximately 800 visitors daily, HPL has transcended the traditional role of a library and has morphed into a dynamic community center. This transformation is not just physical but also conceptual, as libraries nationwide redefine themselves as communal hubs for shared experiences and connection. Yet, in this age of remote work, online education, and homework that requires a computer, the need for quiet, focused spaces remains paramount. The lightbulb went off for HPL’s Director, Ryan Athanas, when he saw a phone booth in a university library during a college visit. Ryan realized that phone booths could provide HPL with individual quiet spaces while preserving the building’s “quiet rooms” for multi-person meetings and projects.

“Our community members started using the Pillar Booths the moment they were installed."

Pillar Booth checked all of HPL’s boxes.

Ryan prioritized six criteria in his initial search for the best phone booths for HPL: (1) ventilation; (2) customizability (specifically the ability to put custom design on the door honoring the Friends of the Harborfields Public Library, a group that agreed to sponsor HPL’s phone booth purchases ); (3) value, defined as a good balance between build quality and affordability; (4) aesthetics; (5) accessibility for all age groups; and (6) easy installation. Ryan reached out to a few different phone booth companies that seemed like they would be able to meet those criteria, and he was impressed by Pillar’s responsiveness and willingness to work with HPL on the customizations. In speaking with the Pillar team, Ryan realized that Pillar Booths fit all of his criteria perfectly.

* Ventilation: Most other phone booths have two fans in the ceiling that pull air through passive vents in the floor. Pillar’s phone booths have four fans – two in the ceiling and two in the floor – that replace all of the air within the booth more than once every minute.

* Customizability: Pillar was happy to help HPL honor the sponsors with custom decals on the phone booth doors.

* Value: Pillar Booths hold a unique spot in the phone booth market, striking a fine balance between cost and quality.

* Aesthetics: With multiple external and internal color combinations, the Pillar Booth is designed to look great in any environment and works very well with HPL’s traditional aesthetic.

* Inclusivity: HPL serves a broad community across children, teens, adults, and seniors. Pillar’s height adjustable desk makes the booth functional for all relevant age groups.

* Installation: The ease of installation and the ability to move Pillar Booths to adapt to evolving space needs was a big selling point.

“The booths are used everyday, and it's all ages. We look over and see that the lights are always on in the booth, that's how we know it's been successful.”

“Our community members started using the Pillar Booths the moment they were installed.”

The results

"The booths are used everyday, and it's all ages. We look over and see that the lights are always on in the booth, that's how we know it's been successful."

Since their installation at HPL, the Pillar Booths have been in constant use, catering to diverse needs such as phone calls, laptop use, homework, studying, and even coloring. They have particularly appealed to demographics like remote-working young adults, offering a viable alternative to other public workspaces.

The Harborfields Public Library's story is one of continuous adaptation and deepened community engagement. The introduction of Pillar Booths is just one example of its commitment to meeting the evolving needs of its patrons. As the library looks forward, it remains dedicated to being a crucial part of residents' lives.

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