Miller Hull

Deschutes County Libraries

Deschutes, Oregon
A library system evolves to reflect its dynamic and growing community
Client Deschutes County


As society changes, our libraries do too. Gone are the days when libraries existed solely to supply books and house study groups. Today, libraries represent the support fabric of our communities, providing a vital piece of social infrastructure that empowers and strengthens all who use it.

In this once-in-a-generation move, the communities within Deschutes are supporting a bond measure that will enable the Deschutes Public Library to expand its services, re-envisioning the Library’s potential as a resource to this quickly growing County.

In an effort to be as efficient as possible, the County selected a single team to revamp its whole system at once, ensuring that all of the libraries reopen at the same time in three-to-four years, like a light switch being turned on. Together with local partner Steele Associates Architects, Miller Hull is modernizing the County’s seven libraries, renovating several, constructing one, and reconstructing another.

In an era when connection is more important than ever – both digital and physical – the importance of a community hub that dynamically engages its residents cannot be overstated. In these new and improved libraries, community members will congregate in large meeting rooms that can expand and contract depending on the size. County-wide events will take place. Youth programs will flourish.

Stevens Ranch
The new Stevens Ranch Library will be over 100,000 square feet — a significant scale for a community library — and will use its three stories to highlight the diverse experiences that can be found within. This new library will showcase new strategies, approaches, and tools that foster learning and engagement, like the replacement of the Dewey Decimal classifications with a more accessible organizational system; and the “part museum, part ‘retail'” space that will become a “Library of Things” for visitors to borrow beyond the book.

Aspiring to maximize the use of mass timber, the new building’s embodied carbon will be greatly reduced, helping it achieve its minimum target of LEED Silver.

Thirty minutes north of Central is Redmond, the library site is located downtown amongst a number of historic brick-cladded buildings, Redmond’s context is denser and more urban. The new design will double the size of the currently building and be situated towards the front of the lot along Deschutes Avenue and will provide a large covered front porch that allows library programs to spill out and interact with pedestrians walking by in Centennial Park and beyond. On the East side, a new drive-up service window will enable patrons to pick up and drop off their library materials quickly.

La Pine, Sisters, East Bend, Sunriver, and Downtown Bend
The county’s smaller libraries will undergo renovations, with refreshed interiors, and reconfigured meeting rooms that will integrate more seamlessly into the floor plan, functioning as an extension of the library when not being used. Smaller meeting rooms will be added for group work, study space, and zoom calls. Staff areas will also be standardized, as librarians and staff move towards coworking spaces that are flexible and mobile.

Project Team

Design Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Local Architect: Steele Associates Architects
Contractor: Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company
Contractor (smaller branch projects): Sun West Builders
Civil Engineer: HWA
Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Interface Engineering
Landscape Architect:  Walker Macy
Lighting: Blanca Lighting Design
Signage: Mayer Reed
Early Learning Environments: Plus and Greater Than
Acoustics: Tenor Engineering Group
Envelope: Morrison Hershfield
ADA: Studio Pacifica