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

Harrisburg, PA

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

​The library is in a beautiful 1914 building with a stone Georgian facade, that is part of the historic riverfront streetscape in Pennsylvania’s capital city. Inside, however, prior renovation, done in the 1950s, had to be undone to restore the interior to its original grandeur. One of the major changes was to eliminate the 1950s lowered ceiling in the main entry. As part of our interior design we used photographic references from old books to find the original details. We opened a portion of the ceiling to expose original trusses and raise the ceiling. This was the beginning of an overall interior change that includes better flow, function, and the accommodation of technology in the library.

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 that make it easy for staff to change and update each display.

Charm and atmosphere were added to the main reading room by exposing and restoring the original fireplace that had been covered in the prior 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 sigh lines for views of the majestic Susquehanna River and riverfront park.

For the children's area we included lower book stacks for easy reach and visual control, freestanding book and periodical displays, and an open display area by the window to highlight featured books of the month for themed promotions that encourage children to read. The office for the librarian of the children's section now opens onto the children's area of the library.