Design Features of the Original Central Library Building

The Central Library building is 40 years old. It was a state-of-the-art building when constructed. Its Brutalism style architecture was the latest trend in architectural style, with the Boston City Hall as the most famous and award-winning design of that mode.

Among the innovative design features for its time were:

  • A 300 seat auditorium
  • A drive-up window (never implemented)
  • A drive-up book return (still in use today)
  • A magazine retrieval system, utilizing a dumb-waiter and slot system that reduced staff running between floors
  • An atrium and large windows to provide an early version of ‘daylighting’
  • A kitchen for use by groups in public meetings
  • An open floor arrangement that has allowed for great flexibility in how the library collection is arrayed
  • Entrance/exit to the auditorium and meeting rooms that could be used before and after library hours without access to the library collection
  • Load-bearing floor sized to install compact shelving (never purchased)
  • Garage for Bookmobile, library truck and van
  • Loading dock for ease of deliveries
  • A concrete construction and foundation built to add multiple stories onto the building
  • Underground water sprinkler system for the garden area next to the library (no longer operational)
  • A staff shower located for maintenance employees to use (seldom utilized)
  • A sound-proof booth for recording books for the visually impaired
  • Video cameras for security purpose (cameras broken and discarded in the 1980s)