Lawrence Public Library Main Building 1973-2013

40th 6 v2Over a number of years librarians and the public became concerned with the deterioration of the foundations of the main library building at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets.  The decision was made to replace the building with a new structure on the Common across from the High School.   Henneberg & Henneberg Architects designed the building and the cost was $2,421,169.00.  The three-story cement and brick structure had floor to ceiling plate glass windows, a dramatic spiral staircase in the middle of the building, losts of open spaces, and a full complement of furniture, shelving, and storage.  The new building was dedicated June 10, 1973.

At the time of the dedication, June 10, 1973, the library was a state-of-the-art facility for the citizens of Lawrence.  The side the building fronting the Common had a reflecting pool and a steel sculpture.  There was an auditorium named for Irving Sargent, a long-time trustee of the Library.  The Children’s Room on the first floor had its own built in amphitheater (the pit).  The second floor held the adult materials with the additions of comfortable seating.  The third floor held the audiovisual department, administration, and the stacks.

In the forty years in the building at 51 Lawrence Street there have been seven directors, dedicated staff, and appreciative patrons.  Exhibits, teas, book groups, The Jowdy Geograpical Challenge, Celebrity Readathons, Library Camp, Thursdays on the 3rd floor, author events, concerts, and other entertainments.  The Friends of the Lawrence Public Library have helped in a number of ways to improve the experience for library patrons.   2013 the building has banks of internet access computers in both the Children’s Room and on the second floor for adults.  The Robert Frost Room  and the Local History Room on the third floor provide attractive spaces for community groups to meet.  Wireless internet is now available throughout the building.

The Library owns a collection of 8×10 black and white photographs of the new building.

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