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New Bethlehem Public Library

Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Project Type: Education and Green Building

“The building’s air-leakage control work is performing excellently, approximately 56% better than specified. The final blower door test demonstrates a Building Thermal Envelope Pressure Plane Integrity air-leakage rate of 0.0651 CFM50/ft2 surface area. The air-leakage control work achieved a pressure plane integrity that resulted in a performance that is 56.6% lower/better/less than the maximum leakage allowed in the plan specifications.”
– John Unger-Murphy, Murphy’s Cell-Tech, LLC

The Town of Bethlehem initially housed its library in a cramped 1,200 square feet inside the Town Hall. This limited space posed challenges in providing essential services, such as children’s programs, DVD collections, historical references, and current volumes. However, with the generous endowment from a community member closely associated with the existing library, the Trustees embarked on the process of selecting an architect to design a new facility.

The outcome of our collaboration with the library led us to the site of the historic Maplehurst Hotel (later the Chase Tennis Camp) along route 302 in Bethlehem. EHDanson, the chosen architect, skillfully utilized the topography and natural lighting available to design a 4,800 square foot building. This new structure not only accommodates all programs and functions but also offers expanded stack space, a private reading room, a designated children’s area, a kitchenette, and a community space. Since the opening of this facility, the library’s membership has experienced a remarkable increase.

The building’s exterior design draws inspiration from the architectural features prevalent in the local community. Furthermore, the construction incorporates an exceptionally tight thermal envelope, resulting in reduced operating costs for the town, despite the four-fold increase in facility size.

The new library spans an area of 4,950 square feet and boasts various sections to cater to different needs. These include meeting and quiet spaces, a dedicated children’s area, designated sections for teenagers and multi-purpose activities, equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia technology for long-distance learning. Additionally, the library encompasses areas for a circulation desk, stacks, and support space.

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