The Library Now
The public library has been a cornerstone of our community for many years. It has grown and evolved with the times, bringing new services and resources to the community. From its beginnings, the library has seen an advance through of years with new and updated services, materials, and technology being offered.
The Library Now
In 1965, a proposal for a new library facility got underway. The idea was that the new facility be a complete center of learning and information to the patrons and residents of Lawrence. Facilities such as Exhibit Rooms, a Business Section, Audio-Visual Services, and special accommodations for advanced students and adults were all included in the planning of the new building. The projected space needs for the new facility were based on the assumption that 250,000 volumes would have to be accommodated by 1985. Spaciousness, plenty of reading and browsing room, as well as easy access to all library materials were major concerns in the design and architecture of the proposed facility.
The new library was built on the northeast corner of Haverhill and Lawrence streets across from the Campagnone Common. The three-story, two and one half million dollar building, was dedicated June 10, 1973. The new building was 55,238 square feet in area, and the entire project cost $2,421,169. There was a total seating capacity (for readers and staff) of 760, plus the Irving W Sargent Auditorium, which has seats for 270 more persons.
Both the main and branch libraries still exist and are in use as libraries. The former library building became the Old Library Professional Building and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The White Fund, created by Judge Daniel Appleton White, still provides a course of lectures annually and aids other educational enterprises. The fund also provided the land for the first library building.
The library has progressed with the times since the opening of the current facility. Our third floor, which houses the administrative offices of the library, had been used as rental space. The space had been occupied by Northern Essex Community College and by the Americorps / Youthbuild program. Renovation projects in 1999, 2000 and 2005/6 resulted in a modified plaza-style entry area with a semicircular driveway, a new parking area on the corner of Haverhill and Lawrence Streets, complete re-carpeting of the entire facility, a new meeting room dedicated to the poet Robert Frost and the addition of a local history room. The Library has continued in its core mission of collecting a variety of materials considered most enjoyable and beneficial to our community. We have also greatly expanded the formats available in our collection. The collection now includes computer software, videos, as well as an extensive collection of microform materials for historical and genealogical research. The Library houses a computer lab in its main facility adult services, as well as in the children’s department the teen services department and in the South Branch Library.
Making a donation to your local public library is a great way to give back to your community.