The Havre de Grace Library is situated on a prominent downtown corner in historic Havre de Grace. The building responds to the pedestrian traffic on the main walking venue of Union Ave with a public veranda and offers a prominent main entry along Pennington Ave. The exterior design is a blend of masonry and glass, with some subtle historic detailing that allows the building to both blend into the architectural context of the city and become a prominent landmark along Union Ave. Its diversity of program and proximity to a newly renovated opera house enhance the library’s presence as a social and cultural center.
The library is a 19,000 sf building with two main floors and a mezzanine. The building is divided with the public portion of the library on the second floor, and library administration plus community amenities on the first floor. The first floor features a 100 person meeting room that opens out onto the veranda, as well as a gallery space that connects to the library lobby. A large spiral stair centered on a “hub,” leads from the library lobby to the second floor, and emerges at the customer service desk, from which all visitors can then access the features of the library. The collection space is a large, vaulted volume supported by curved heavy timber trusses and punctuated by large windows along the northern façade to capture the prime natural reading light. The curve of the stair and desk are carried upward by an elevated mezzanine that transects the collection space and terminates in a feature children’s area that overlooks the entire collection space. A larger feature children’s area is situated under the mezzanine, and allows the younger children to have their own area for exploration and learning. The edges of the collection space hold reading nooks, study rooms, a reading room with a view, and even a large, covered balcony for outdoor reading. The experience of the library is one of discovery and serenity. The blend of large and intimate spaces allows the library to attune to the needs of its patrons, and establishes itself as a destination in Harford County.