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Tiverton Library

Tiverton, Rhode Island
Date 2015
Size 24,000 SF
Cost $7.5M
Client Tiverton Public Library Board of Directors
  • AIA New England Design Award Merit Award for Institutional, 2016
  • GrowSmartRI Smart Growth Award Outstanding Smart Growth Project, 2016
  • RI Monthly Design Award Gold Award for Commercial Interior Design , 2016
  • AIA Rhode Island Design Award Merit Award for Civic/Institutional, 2018

The design for the Tiverton Public Library represents the merging of two seemingly disparate requests. The first was a desire for the new library to have a traditional expression that speaks to the history of libraries in Tiverton and also reflects the simple agrarian vernacular of the surrounding countryside. The second request was for the library to be a truly 21st-century community gathering space that is open, extremely flexible, energy-efficient, and data-rich.

To meet these goals, the library includes a community meeting hall, café, children’s library, teen room, and exterior courtyard spaces. The library was designed to meet the sustainability criteria for LEED New Construction and is currently achieving its goal of reducing the per square foot energy use by two-thirds as compared to the Town’s previous library facility.

In addition to the design of the building, Union was responsible for the development of the library’s furniture, fixtures, and equipment package. Union worked with furniture manufacturers to custom-design select pieces, such as computer stations, service points, and new book displays.

The location of the library was intentionally selected to take advantage of community resources that already existed. To the south and west, the library abuts renovated town recreational fields, which were planned by Union in 2006, as well as a mixed-use artists’ cooperative, farm, and performance venue, also designed by Union. The library is in close proximity to the middle and high schools, and it has become the primary meeting place and neighborhood focal point for the town.

Our hope, along with that of the library Trustees, was that this building would inspire the community to re-discover and embrace what a contemporary library could be. Striking the right balance between a timeless and contextual building and the need for a flexible and modern program was perhaps the most difficult and rewarding challenge. The effort and research spent establishing the precedent for the building’s exterior allowed the building to find a home in the hearts of the Tiverton Community.

The children’s library was designed to be a bright and engaging experience and provides services, amenities and interactive stations for children and families. A dedicated activity space is included for stories, crafts, movies and active play. Computer stations provide dedicated access for children’s reference and games.