Ashland Public Library

A library restoration that expanded library space while maintaining the historic character of the building

Location
Ashland, MA
Size
22,800 sf
Scope
A major addition and complete renovation to the historic library, restoration of many of the original library spaces and materials
Design Team (as part of Burt Hill)
Ed Bourget, Project Manager
Library Planner
Richard Smith, Adams & Smith

The Ashland Public Library is a Carnegie library, built in 1904 on land donated to the town by Abner Greenwood. It is located in the center of downtown Ashland, with pedestrian access to downtown neighborhoods and municipal parking across the street. A modest addition was built in 1963, but the building had become very inadequate for a growing suburban town of 15,000.

The expansion project creates a 22,800 square foot addition/renovation. The building is expanded to the back, with frontage on a side street. The addition is very large in relation to the original building, but it is concealed by a three-story commercial adjacent. A new entrance on the west side of the original building provides barrier free access, with an elevator connecting to the first and ground floors. The replanned building includes new areas for young adults, reference room, browsing and restored reading rooms on the first floor, and a greatly expanded Children’s Room and new meeting space on the ground floor.

The exterior of the addition takes its cues from the original building, using the palette of materials from the original design. The library is quadrupled in size, but the deferential massing of the addition preserves the character of the original library as a key element in the townscape.