Concord Free Public Library Expansion

The Concord Free Public Library Expansion is Johnson Roberts Associates’ third project for the Concord Public Libraries. In 2005 and 2011, we renovated and expanded the Concord Free Public Library (c. 1873) and the Fowler Branch Library (c. 1930), respectively. Johnson Roberts Associates designed an expansion of the main library that utilizes an adjacent historic house (c. 1797). Construction was completed in 2021.

The expansion included the restoration of the historic house’s exterior and the addition of a link to the current library. The new library space houses a children’s library, a Wi-Fi café, and a makerspace. Adjacent to the expansion is a new outdoor garden. Additionally, renovations to the existing library space created a multipurpose meeting room, a teen room, and study spaces. This project achieved an 80% reduction in energy usage.

“Joining a major construction project at the very tail end can be complex. I stepped into the Library Director role at the very final stages of a $12 million renovation project of our Main Library. The project connected our existing mixture of historic and modern library facilities with an adjacent historic residential home. The work was completed during the global pandemic and supply and labor shortages, and while the library remained open for public use — a very challenging set of circumstances.

In this particularly challenging environment, Johnson Roberts Architects was the pinnacle of supportive and responsive partners. The architects provided excellent communications about the project as it proceeded. They were responsive to the library’s needs and understanding of the design challenges a public building presents. For this particular project there were substantial challenges presented by the existing conditions of the facilities and the vision different stakeholders had for the final results. The architects were able to listen to a variety of stakeholders’ voices and suggest compromises that achieved the Library’s and the Library Corporation’s goals, while remaining under budget and on time during an unprecedented global pandemic and supply chain challenges. 

It was a pleasure to work with the team at Johnson Roberts Associates. The project has been very well received by the staff, the community and the stakeholders, all of whom are proud of what we accomplished together with Johnson Roberts Associates and our build team.”
– Emily Smith, Library Director