Thursday, February 11, 2010

northborough bookmark

The Northborough Free Library doesn't have the problems they list on this 2001 bookmark anymore. Although I helped with the study for this project years ago, I wasn't directly involved in its final design and construction other than to help out with some of the preservation and specifications stuff. This did involve climbing onto the roof with a co-worker with the help of the Northborough Fire Department, and Ladder-1. Which was, as you can imagine, AWESOME!

The existing building was much as its shown in the drawing at the top of the bookmark, but the bulk of the existing space was to the rear of this lovely, old granite building. The original building was like very many other small libraries of the era: center entrance, into a formal lobby, reading rooms to the right and left, circulation desk straight ahead, between you and the bookstack wing to the rear. One stepped to the desk and requested one's books, and then took a seat and waited for them to be delivered by the librarian.

This original building had been added onto at the rear, and the small bookstack wing was just an anti-room to the rest of the building. On the main floor, the addition wasn't so bad: the ceilings were high and the windows were big. But on the lower level, there was a concrete block wall every 18 feet, which ran left to right across the entire building with only a doorway or two to pass through. These walls, rather than columns and beams, supported the second floor and so couldn't be removed.

Because of the block bearing walls on the lower floor, the children's department was as series of small rooms, with no way to see from one to the next. And because the main entrance had been moved to the rear, closer to the parking, this lower floor was now where the main lobby and circulation desk was. Throw in the fact that the exterior walls were also concrete block, with no insulation, and you've got an unhelpful addition, that had served its purpose, and now was in the way, because there is no way to effectively renovate it. So the new addition/renovation scheme called for this addition to be removed.

After we completed the study, a few years went by, funds were raised, taxpayers supported the project, and accepted a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. So we designed an addition, and it was completed last year. I'm always amazed at how much work goes into a project before folks like us or builders, ever enter the picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say it, I want to hear it...