Sawyer Free Library

Gloucester, MA

This new three story library on a sloping site in the civic heart of Gloucester replaces the existing library, currently housed in a 1970’s building and the historic former home of successful local merchant Thomas Saunders, neither of which are able to accommodate the varied needs of a contemporary library program. The new building is focused on transforming the existing service model from a primarily transactional library into a vibrant hub of community life providing a wide range of flexible program, meeting, co-working, multi-media, creation, and study spaces. The proposed building connects public entrances on two different levels (lower level parking lot entrance and main entrance at the second level) by way of a library “common” which spatially and visually links the two entrances and solves the way-finding issues that plague the existing building. The lower level accommodates community program space, group study spaces, and creation spaces with off-hours accessibility. The adult collections are located on the second floor, accessible from the main entrance, with a civic-scaled reading room overlooking City Hall and the existing beech tree in the garden space shared with the adjacent Saunders House (now serving other community programming). Children and teens are located on the upper level, with access to a dedicated open air activity terrace. 

Construction Completion 2020 (estimated)