Like many communities, budget cutbacks were forcing staff layoffs in the city, yet the library use was increasing in cramped, existing facilities. Abandoning the stone building and starting over on a new site was not an option--local sentiment would not have permitted it. The old 1905 stone library was a prized structure in the community, while its 1959 pink brick addition was widely regarded as inappropriate and intrusive, even 30 years later.

The design sought to resolve crowded conditions by expanding the building to the lot lines of the property and putting all staffed library functions on one level, thereby reducing staff requirements. since the 1959 addition already occupied the best location for a low profile expansion, we sought to use the new addition as a way to emphasize the old stone library and camouflage the unpopular 1959 addition. the new floor level was dropped and the addition was tied to the old library at the level of a horizontal stone band, which was repeated at the same level in the new addition. The central stairway to the upper level was reconstructed, and a roof deck for outdoor activities was built, which also increases contact with the stone masonry. The new addition seeks to create a pedestal for the Roman Revival design of the old library, but does not seek to imitate it. It is compatible with, but distinct from, the original architecture.

The First Photo shows a general view of the Main Street Facade, as seen from the steps of the courthouse across the street in the early evening hours.
The Second Photo shows the main circulation area on the lower level of the library. The desks were fully wired for a computerized check out system.
The Third Photo shows the restored interior of the original 1905 Carnegie Library.
The Final Photo shows conditions prior to this project.


Jeff Shelden, AIA
Lewistown, Montana
Prairie Wind Architecture, Project Listing, E-mail