Peterborough, New Hampshire


Overlooking the Contoocook River, the Peterborough Library is the nation’s oldest tax-supported public library. Its central location confirms its importance as a town resource and gathering place for the entire community.

ABA’s project renews and renovates the 1893 building and adds 13,000 square feet for collections, programs, and the arts. In its balanced design, the new addition responds to the original structure, with a broad connector accommodating children’s and young adult libraries, general collections, and technical services. The new community meeting wing is balanced with the original structure in a simple, traditional brick and stone massing, articulated with a contemporary masonry and glass façade. Historic finishes in the 1893 building are renewed, and a large, flexible multipurpose room provides a new civic forum with views of the town, river, and Monadnock landscape. New outdoor spaces — gardens, a river terrace, and a long, open reading porch — connect the library with its surroundings, offering new settings for community gatherings. This expansion and revitalization dramatically extends Peterborough’s reach, programs, and services while preserving its history and intimacy.

Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Project Size: 13,000 sf (addition); 4,000 sf (renovation)

Sustainability: Building reuse reduces the energy- and resource-intensive manufacturing of new materials; energy-efficient hydronic distribution system with high-efficiency HVAC units; zoned areas with daylight and occupancy sensors; low-flush and low-flow fixtures; solar panels on roof that reduce local energy demand; bike racks and five electric car charging docks promote energy-efficient transportation; improved exterior envelope; historic walls have been insulated.

Project Team: Ann Beha FAIA, Steven Gerrard AIA, Ashley Merchant AIA (ABA); Becker Structural Engineers (Structural); AHA Consulting Engineers (MEP / FP); Hayner/Swanson (Civil); Richard Burck Associates (Landscape); Wil-Spec, LLC (Specifications); C3 (Code); Harvey Construction (Construction Manager)