Ipswich Public Library
Built in 1869 and expanded in 1940, the Ipswich Public Library is an integral part of the historic center of Ipswich. It sits on a narrow, steeply sloping site in the midst of a district of historic houses, churches and commercial buildings. The expansion project included renovations of 5,000 square feet of existing library and a 12,000 square foot addition. The addition design creates a symmetrical new wing to the east of the original building, balancing the 1940 Rogers wing. At the back of the building, it extends the structure to the rear on three levels, with a tripartite Palladian facade tucked in the center of the block. The finished project incorporates modern efficiencies and celebrates the character of the historic building and its context.
The sloping site allows the addition to provide daylight on all three levels. The main level, at the level of the original building, adds a new Reference Room, a Young Adults area, and bookstack areas to the rear. The lowest level contains Historic Collections, a meeting room, a Children’s Room with south sun, and a night entrance. The upper level, which connects to the balcony of the original main hall, contains bookstacks. The Rogers Room, with its grand fireplace, is restored as a reading room, and the Palladian facade to the rear features a large fanlight window overlooking the church behind.
Adams & Smith returned to Ipswich to restore the historic slate roof and decorative plaster interior finishes. The project was funded by the town and the Massachusetts Historical Commission.