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Long-awaited new library officially opening in Durham next month

Union Leader Correspondent

August 11. 2013 7:31PM
Residents are invited to come see the new Durham Public Library on Madbury Road during its grand opening Sept. 8. (COURTESY)

DURHAM — After spending years at a cramped strip mall, library patrons will now have room to learn and grow at the new library on Madbury Road.

When the town got a glimpse of the new library during a "soft opening" Aug. 1, residents were wowed by the energy-efficient, state-of-the-art building within a 1920s brick Tudor-style house, according to Library Director Thomas Madden.

A grand-opening ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.

As part of the ceremony, participants can help dedicate a sculpture to honor Margery and Lorus Milne while listening to music by the band Bliss and selections from alumni of the Oyster River Middle School Jazz Band.

Following the ceremony and speeches, activities for children and teens will kick off around 2:15 p.m., including a performance by puppeteer Carol Sanborn & Crew. Participants of all ages are invited to help create a time capsule to commemorate the day.

"We'd especially love the perspectives of middle and high schoolers, so bring your camera phones and snap away," according to the release.

Throughout the celebration, residents can see the library through self-guided and "green" tours.

The library, which was designed by SMP Architecture of Concord and built by Bauen Corporation of Meredith, welcomes visitors with a south-facing courtyard that is surrounded by the original home and new addition. There is a "double height" café and periodicals room, a gallery, a meeting room for 150 and the library proper, according to a release.

A 20-foot replica gundalow — a coastal trade vessel featured on the Durham town seal — is tied up at a child-scaled town dock, which has "become an instant hit as a play structure and reading nook," according to the release.

The library also features reading areas with built-in computer carrels for adults and young adults, as well as a spot for toddlers that includes couches overlooking the garden and a craft and story hour room.

The interior features exposed black steel columns, decorative cables and reddish wood tones that accompany an intricately patterned carpet.

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