H3 was hired in 2012 by the Harrison Public Library Trustees to engage in a programming and planning study to determine the need for a library expansion, renovation or both. The Trustees realized that the library’s traditional layout and physical condition was outdated and no longer supported the activities and programming goals. Having recently hired a new Director with roots in the NYPL system, the Trustees were eager to design an active community center appropriate for a contemporary library.
Located within the town’s park, the location of the library was ideal, but the existing entrance lacked the presence of a major civic institution. Through analysis and surveys, H3 determined that a re-invigorated Harrison Public Library could best be achieved through minor exterior additions, including a new monumental entry, and major interior re-structuring that would incorporate new programs that had long been desired.
Completed in 2015, the design creates a monumental light filled entry patching together the previous additions into a unified vestibule with donor signage and a waiting area. Once inside patrons are welcomed into the lobby with a centrally located circulation area and information wall. An East-West corridor connects each of the designated programming zones with clearly defined entrances and signage for the Children's and Teen's areas. For children, active learning environments include both analog and digital technology to encourage play with an expanded puppet theater and gathering area for group activities. The Children area theme "Garden in the Park" is further emphasized with branch like light fixtures in the clerestory with birds and tree decor on the surrounding walls. The teen area includes both a study area and lounge with bleacher seating with integrated technology for films and gaming. The Adult area occupies the light filled South and East portions of the building that was previously used as offices with new seating areas located at the exterior windows. Community spaces include a community room equipped with new technology for lectures, films, performances and broadcasting, a new learning center and flexible group study spaces. Staff is primarily roaming, with ergonomic seating strategically located in each of the zones to create accessible reference stations.