The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Library Association (ALA) have honored firm Gensler in collaboration with Luckett & Farley as the Best of Competition winner of the 2024 ALA/IIDA Library Design Awards for the Western Kentucky University Commons at Helm Library interior renovation. 

This biennial competition honors excellence in library interior design and promotes examples of extraordinary design reflected through innovative concepts. The project was selected from multiple winners across seven categories. The firms were announced and honored as the Best of Competition during a special winners’ celebration on June 29 at the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.

“Libraries are a sublime place of reinvention and renewal as they support communities of ever-developing learners. So we are excited to recognize and celebrate this well deserving winner from the Outstanding Historic Renovation category as the Best of Competition,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “These teams challenged the traditional to reimagine a facility and create a multi-faceted space of social and academic collaboration with a bright future.”

Entries were reviewed by a committee of interior design and library professionals: Mahlum Architects Associate Principal, Stacey Crumbaker, IIDA, Assoc. AIA; Boone County (KY) Public Library Executive Director, Carrie Herrmann; and Luminaut Market Leader, Erin Jennings, IIDA, AIA.

“The Best of Competition showcased how thoughtful and intentional design can elevate a space for learners and educators,” said Jennings on behalf of the jury. “The design team took the time to curate a space that can evolve while representing both the history of the building and the community that surrounds it.”

Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the renovation of the Western Kentucky University Commons at Helms Library took the originally three-story atrium and shifted it to the middle floor to create two connected yet separate spaces. Designed as a resource for all students, The Commons gives a versatile, inviting new face to the library and is the catalyst for a connected and inclusive learning support network.

Images of the project can be viewed on and will be published in American Libraries Magazine, shared with top industry media outlets, as well as promoted to more than 400,000 followers across IIDA’s social media channels. For more information or questions regarding this or other IIDA design competitions, contact