Newton Free Library
In June 2014, following a request for proposal process to pool on call architects for the city of Newton, Turowski 2 Architecture, Inc. was selected by the Library Improvement Committee and the Library Board of Trustees to study the feasibility of redesigning the Newton Library to meet the 21st Century New Service Vision. Through June, July and August the design team toured precedent libraries, evaluated existing conditions, interviewed staff and met regularly with the Interior Design Committee. The work evolved into the development of four distinct options with a range of interventions and costs. At the August 27, 2014 meeting, the Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize the committee to present Scheme D, a two story addition/renovation project with a project cost of $33.5 million to the City’s Capital Planning Committee for eventual funding.
The Newton Free Library is the most active single library building in Massachusetts measured by borrowing. The Library currently offers a vast array of fiction and non-fiction collections as well as a large collection of permanent art work, an art gallery, many public meeting spaces, individual study spaces, and resident services. However, the current state of the library includes worn out finishes that are in considerable need of refreshing, high unmet facility demands & expectations, and misaligned programmatic spaces. As a library built in the 1990s, the space is currently “print-centric,” and lacks the technological resources and programmatic spaces that are needed of a library operating in the 21st century. This study will explore the feasibility of a renovation that will re-imagine library operations and space allocations to meet 21st century demands. The new model for the library will follow an “activity-centric,” model in which areas will be designated for specific needs and uses to better serve the residents of the City of Newton.