Westhampton Free Library has been located on Library Avenue in the Village of Westhampton Beach for more than 100 years. The original historic building, built in 1906, was a one-story wood framed structure with a locust post foundation sitting over a 100-year floodplain.
Over the years, the Library has expanded five times in order to accommodate its expanding book collection and popular children’s programs. In 2006, it was determined that the design and construction of an entirely new building would best serve the growing community. The new library was designed to incorporate the same stylistic elements as the original, while also blending in with its quaint coastal location. To do so, certain architectural elements were included, such as: U-shaped floor plan, symmetrical facades, multi-pane windows with shutters, and clapboard siding that characterized the original Colonial Revival Structure. The second story is cleverly hidden behind the false mansard roof to mimic a traditional one-story building in keeping its scale with the surrounding structure. The 14,250 square foot, two-story building provides increased programming flexibility and expansion capabilities with minimal load-bearing walls and freestanding columns. Materials were selected based on durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. Sound-attenuating wall boards were used throughout the building for acoustical performance. Raised access floors with adjustable floor vents and electrical outlets throughout the building allow ease of maintenance access and future reconfiguration. A 1,800-square-foot reading garden on the south side allows patrons to read outdoors while providing multi-functional space for the Library’s popular programs.
In 2016, the Library received a $1.3 million donation from a patron which allowed the Library to convert the 2,500 square foot second floor attic into usable spaces designated for the teen area, larger craft room, young adult department, and children’s program. In an effort to lead by example and to provide a healthy environment for the community, the Library was designed to be an environmentally-friendly building. It is the first Library on Long Island to receive a LEED Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council. Sustainable elements include super-insulating materials, ground-source heat pumps, solar panels, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets which minimize water consumption by 40%. Exterior materials such as fiber-cement siding, recycled plastic molding, and salvaged brick pavers conserve national resources while reducing life cycle costs. Displacement ventilation, carbon-dioxide detectors, large operable windows, and low VOC interior features were implemented to improve indoor air quality for occupants.
Upon completion, the final result is a beautiful, sustainable, and classically-proportioned library that reflects the community’s cultural heritage and serves as the Village’s landmark.
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