Kilton Public Library

The Kilton Public Library is a one-story building positioned at the edge of the commercial district of West Lebanon, New Hampshire, on a formerly abandoned asphalt car lot. Sited close to the street, the building emphasizes its presence to the community and serves as an edge between the more urban activity of Main Street and the residential area directly behind. A bus transfer station, located directly in front of the Library, enhances patronage from citizens of several communities served by free transportation services. The addition of bicycle racks and new pedestrian walkways also encourages non-vehicular means of transportation to this fully accessible public facility. While having a “front door” to accept those arriving off Main Street, the building also has a “back, garden door” to serve patrons. Future community functions in the landscaped area include farmer’s markets, book fairs, and musical performances.

The building itself is arranged in three simple masses - an adult wing, a children’s wing, and a meeting room/staff wing. Together they form the edges of a reading garden where views from one portion of the building into another are achieved. Shed roofs serve to identify each programmatic piece and recall the regional aesthetic of clustered New Hampshire farm buildings. It is through this straightforward approach to massing and subtle variations to the detailing of the building’s wood skin that a New England vernacular is celebrated.

The Library was crafted in careful response to the program which articulated the functional requirements and goals. The planning and design process was directed through the Library Board of Trustees while the Town was the contractual client. The Library Director and design team recognized the transitory nature of the Program and acknowledged that new and unanticipated collections and services will be part of the not too distant future. To accommodate these emerging functional requirements, the spaces in the library are kept open, flowing, and relatively unencumbered by walls.

The 1st LEED Gold new library in New Hampshire, this Public Library is a demonstration of sustainable strategies - both sustainable energy solutions and sustainable library planning principles. A unique combination of building technologies in the local area, include:

  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Biomass boiler with featured wood pellet silo
  • Radiant floor slabs throughout
  • Automated daylighting controls
  • Low flow plumbing
  • Occupancy sensor lighting in bookstacks

Large areas of glazing were employed at both the floor level for connections to the outside and up high through windows that bring daylight deep into the building. The interplay of these lofty, light-filled spaces, intimate patron areas with a garden focus, and quiet alcoves for focused concentration were purposefully designed to maximize patron appeal for a new generation of library users.