This 35,000-square-foot library is the lynchpin of a 250,000 square foot expansion of Manchester Community College. The library was envisioned as a learning resource center where students could retrieve information from books, periodicals, and other written documents as well as from electronic sources such as CD ROMs, the Internet, DVDs, and videos.

The library is a largely open, one-floor space arrayed around a central circulation desk. The ceiling pops up into raised areas with clerestory windows in several important places, including the circulation desk, a large reading lounge with a fireplace, and a study area. Breakout rooms and lounge spaces invite students to gather and work in groups.

Lighting for study areas and stacks are custom-designed uplights, which produce comfortable, non-glare illumination and afford flexibility in adjusting stack locations in the future.

Sculpture and art is brought into the building and integrated into lounge areas for the enjoyment of patrons. The goal is to create a bright, friendly, and sociable environment where the college's students feel welcome and at home.

Photography © Jeff Goldberg/Esto