Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Andrew Fiss

Committee Member 1

Laura Kasson Fiss

Committee Member 2

Karla Saari Kitalong


The exterior environments of libraries are sites rich for study, as they often hold histories of inequality that affect present-day access and use in complex, layered ways. The particularities of the environment through which community members pass before entering a library have an impact on the experience within the library. If libraries wish to remain public spaces dedicated to the strengthening of democracy, they should extend their focus beyond their walls to the surrounding neighborhood. This study puts into conversation the fields of spatial rhetorics, accessibility, and critical geography. Four topoi were developed to assess the accessibility of exterior library spaces. These topoi are wayfinding signage, building signage, wheelchair accessibility, and cultural landscape. These topoi are applied to the examination of library sites in a French city and a rural library district in Michigan. The recommendations resulting from this study include an examination of spatial rhetorics and a geo-spatial survey.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons