Dracut Public Library

Most libraries that I visit are old, stately, even imposing. The buildings have a character, atmosphere, and materials that just aren't matched by modern methods. In the case of the Moses Greeley Parker Memorial Library, I was awed by the marriage of old and new.
 

While a social library existed in Dracut, Massachusetts in the early 19th century, a true public library was not established until 1900. Funds and land were given to the town by Moses Greeley Parker and his sister Mrs. Mary Morrison in order to construct a permanent home for the library in 1922.
 

 

Composed of brick with granite steps and a slate roof, the Georgian style building provided much needed space for the library.
 

 

From the ornate windows to the window seats and bi-level ceiling, the building shows an attention not only to the detail of the woodwork but to the necessity of light and scale. Certain spaces are innately appealing to us when we can experience a sense of ease and contemplation within them.
 

 

A much needed addition was created in 1979. Ironically, the old building was converted to storage a little over ten years later because of structural problems due to deferred maintenance. By the turn of the twenty-first century, plans were in hand to make major changes.
 

First, the 1979 building was demolished (which I think is the proper fate of most architecture of the 1970's). Second, the old building was restored and a new addition was built. From the outside, the curve of the new building gives a clue of the modern interior.
 

 

The image below is from the second floor. The old building connects to the new, opening into a soaring space. Likewise, the new entrance has a ceiling of normal height that leads into this circulating space.
 

 

The view up to the second floor really showcases the curve of the building.
 

 

Again on the second floor, spaces vary from wide open with lots of natural light to more compact like this area with the stacks.
 

 

The attention to detail provides surprises at every turn. One example is the carving in the wood that caps the steel bookshelves.
 

 

The only criticism I have is the library is too darn busy! I spoke with the reference librarian who said picture taking was fine as long as I didn't take photos of people without their permission. Since there were a lot of people using the resources of the library, my photo-journalism was limited. I hope these few pictures give a flavor of this wonderful building.
 

Sources:
Dracut's Library Heritage By John C. Catin
The Dracut Historical Society, Inc., Dracut MA, 2002

Dracut Public Library website

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Comments

Aw...capturing glimpses of

Aw...capturing glimpses of strangers would have been great for the muse. As always, I love your library visits. There isn't much around here that doesn't smack of 1960s forward.

The children's room was very

The children's room was very quirky and fun, but given the warning I didn't dare take pictures.

Wow, that is one lovely

Wow, that is one lovely space. I wonder if books in one library get jealous of books in other libraries?

I expect they do. What with

I expect they do. What with inter-library loan, surely there is gossip: Ooh, you got shipped to Dracut did you? How very nice!

Todd Great Blog Post! Enjoyed

Todd

Great Blog Post!

Enjoyed your thoughts on the Moses Greeley Parker Memorial Library. Its one of my favorates too but I might be partial to it. Though you might be interested in an old image we have of the Library. feel free to lift it off our web site should you like to post the images.

Johnson Roberts Associates
Architects of the
Dracut Public Library

http://web.me.com/jstewartroberts/Massachusetts/Dracut_MA.html

Were also on Facebook as a new group "Library Postcard Library"

Hi Christian! I can

Hi Christian!

I can understand your partiality since I see it earned Johnson Roberts Associates the Golden Trowel Award.

Thanks for the link as well. I may regret following it as it leads to many, many other links regarding libraries. I will have to check out other projects that your firm has worked on.

Todd, Enjoyed the library

Todd,
Enjoyed the library visit. Nothing so classy here in Bakersfield.

The east coast does have a

The east coast does have a certain advantage of years of development, money that was old when it got here, and a slew of local quarries. On the other hand, the west coast isn't constrained by it's own history.

Gorgeous building & great

Gorgeous building & great pictures!

What a fun game this is! I realized I forgot to show you some of the old circulation records we have from long ago when they were kept in ledger books. I forget how old they are, but they're neat. Next time!

-K

Ah! That would have been

Ah! That would have been cool. I'll try to get the pics of your library up tomorrow.