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McCormick Riverfront Branch Library and Central Offices, Dauphin County Library System - Historic P

Harrisburg, PA

McCormick Riverfront Branch Library and Central Offices, Dauphin County Library System

Gracing the historic riverfront streetscape in Pennsylvania’s capital city, this beautiful 1914 building features a stone Georgian façade. Inside, major changes were required to accommodate the varied uses of the building, including technology workstations, meeting spaces and improved work areas for staff. During the comprehensive interior renovation, we created better use of all the floor space, including new space for a children’s section, community meeting rooms and quiet reading areas.

central lobby

In the renovated central lobby the circulation and reference desks are now grouped to provide more efficiency for the staff. The manager’s office and processing room anchor the desks, making all staff interactions much easier. Low interior walls add to the new sense of spaciousness, keeping the main area open to the top of the restored arched/vaulted ceiling. The new technology workstations are in full view of the staff, where they can be easily monitored.

Library interior before renovation

Prior to the renovation, the interior layout of the library proved inefficient and contained a lot of wasted space, despite its cluttered appearance. In addition, library staff members working in the circulation desk had their backs to the main entrance, and industrial light fixtures created an uninviting atmosphere. We addressed all these issues to create a more efficient and warm environment for staff and visitors. By removing the drop ceiling we were able to restore the vaulted ceiling, open trusses and roof dormers to add a greater sense of space and historic interest to the library.

Main Reading Room

Charm and atmosphere were restored to the main reading room by exposing the original fireplace that had been covered prior to renovation. This area provides a comfortable place for patrons to sit and browse books from the stacks, conveniently located just steps away. The new stacks are built in warm wood tones that reflect the historic period of the building, highlighted by energy-efficient lighting in the ceiling. Windows and French doors were repaired and restored so the entire interior design allows clear sightlines for views of the majestic Susquehanna River and riverfront park.

Community Room

The community room is a heavily used part of the library, located off the main room. The area outside the entrance is the ideal location for displays and information about upcoming events. We designed a tile-clad feature wall with recessed panels and accent lighting to make it easy for staff to change and update each display.