As One Chapter Ends, a New Chapter Begins at New Canaan Library

data blogDecember 15, 2022
New New Canaan Library Interior

A new chapter is about to begin in the centuries-old history of the New Canaan Library.

When the library closes its doors this Friday (December 16), it will be the final time the current building will be used. In February, when the library reopens, residents will walk into a new 42,000-square-foot facility that will pay tribute to the town’s unique architectural history and feature large, light-filled rooms with the latest in technology.

After more than 10 years of planning, community feedback, fundraising, and construction, the NEW New Canaan Library will be a future-focused facility with a 325-seat auditorium, an art gallery, a teaching kitchen, a library space just for teens, and a rooftop terrace that faces Main Street and will provide spectacular views of the town.

There’s a whole lot more too. Here are some of the highlights.

Ground Floor

A large portion of the ground floor will include the Children’s Room, a huge space for reading, programs, and events for youngsters. The space has floor-to-ceiling windows and large funnel-shaped skylights that allow natural light to flood the area. Children and parents will also be able to exit into an outdoor Children’s Garden that will wrap around the Maple Street and South Avenue corner of the building.

There are other ground-floor spaces for a Tween Cafe, a visitors cafe, public meeting rooms, staff offices, and an outdoor event terrace that will serve as a gathering space and a threshold to the Library Green that will be landscaped once the old library building is demolished.

The ground floor is also home to the auditorium, art gallery, and teaching kitchen.

Mezzanine Level

The Living Room is the centerpiece. A large fireplace at the end of the area is a replica of the fireplace at the historic Noyes House. Natural light, high ceilings, and comfortable seating provided by MillerKnoll will welcome readers who have just picked up a book from the adjacent fiction section.

Another feature of this level is the MakerLab, a learning lab that will give visitors of all ages access to technology, resources, and tools for hands-on learning, creative problem-solving, and collaborative discussion.

Top Floor

Remote workers and business people will be right at home in the Coworking Space and Business Center. Huge windows surround workstations with high-speed internet. People will be able to use public computers and have access to an array of services including printing, laminating, and copying.

If you need a location for a business meeting, this floor has nine glass-enclosed rooms for individual meetings or groups of as many as 35 people. The main conference room can be used as an indoor/outdoor venue because it opens onto the Rooftop Terrace.

The previously mentioned Teen Library will be a place where young students can study, read, or just hang out in a safe space.

Getting the new library ready for a February opening will be a huge task which is why the old library is closing for the next couple of months. Library staff will be methodically moving more than 100,000 books, shelves, and other items into the new library as quickly as possible. A new RFID-enabled network will allow for automatic book returns, sorting, and checkouts

Everything in the old building will be cleared out and the library will be trying to sustainably repurpose as many of the old desks, chairs, and shelves as possible. The library asks that if there are nonprofit organizations, clubs, or schools in the area that are willing to use second-hand furniture, they should contact the library as soon as possible.

The digital library will remain open so people can continue to download ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines and a New Canaan Library card can be used to check out books and other items at neighboring libraries in Darien, Norwalk, Stamford, and Wilton.

The New Canaan outdoor book drop will remain open so items can be returned during the closure. All overdue fees will be suspended so no fines will accrue. A farewell ceremony will be scheduled prior to the demolition of the old library building. No date for the ceremony has been scheduled.