Reading Public Library

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Reading Public Library has undergone many changes over the years. Designed as a school in 1896, the building was renovated into a library in 1983. A fire in the mid-1950s resulted in the original spires being replaced with a flat roof as well as the removal of the roof dormers. When the building was renovated into a library, the layout was opened up to accommodate book stacks and a children’s library. 

Faced with the need to meet current library program standards and accommodate future growth, community meeting space, as well as addressing maintenance, the Reading Public Library applied to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for grant and partial funding for renovation and expansion. CBT was commissioned to preserve the historic building while upgrading and expanding the library to accommodate modern services and demand for space. The overall project, including the 9,000-square-foot addition, is 38,500 square feet.

With funding secured, the design charge included verification of the program and studies for the concept and layouts to refine the functional relationships and address limitations to supervision and control. Along with the design of the addition, the project re-assessed improvements to existing conditions while keeping in focus the budget and grant award criteria.

The expansion of the Reading Public Library benefits the Town with several new community meeting spaces, as well as a new light-filled reading and stack rooms. The renovation of the existing building also significantly enhances the value of this historic facility through improved accessibility, better functional organization, improved safety, abatement of hazardous materials, integrity of the building envelope, and renewed mechanical systems of higher efficiency.

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