Plan for Open Space Adjacent to Library

August 18, 2021

The Rye Public Library Board of Trustees has been working to develop a long-term plan for the open space adjacent to the library building. To that end, the trustees have met three times with members of the public—once in late June with all comers and twice with a smaller group who have accepted their role as members of an advisory committee that will continue to meet and work toward completion of a plan.

The advisory committee consists of about fifteen members, some who are members of other town boards such as the Rye Town Center Committee, the Historic District Commission, and the Historical Society, former library trustees, as well as members of the public with an interest to get involved.

The committee’s work has produced the following direction for the space thus far:

  • It should be developed as the “Library Common” to provide the town with a place to gather – a dynamic space that contributes to Rye Public Library’s role as community center and reflects the idea of a traditional New England common.
  • The design should be, in the words of the committee, “simple, sustainable, and iconic,” making use of materials and plants native to New Hampshire and Rye.
  • The common should connect with the Historical Society Museum and contribute to the library’s role as an information center for the town. The Library Common should be a place to go to learn about the town’s history, beaches, conservation areas, etc.
  • It should include different areas for different types of programming and activities—passive, play, and performance—and include furnishings and permanent features to accommodate each of them.
  • The plan for the common should consider the future expansion of the library building itself.

The committee’s ideas for the common also dovetail with several important goals established by the updated Rye Public Library Strategic Plan and for which the trustees are responsible.

The trustees are also happy to report that the landscaping work contracted for with Green Penguin Landscaping to grade, loam and hydroseeded the lot was completed in late July, and the tree work done earlier this summer is complete for the time being.

Additional work this summer may include removing some of the arborvitae to create a view of the Historical Society Museum and transplanting the lilacs on the corner of the walkway near the library entrance to better express the view of the building now enjoyed by passersby.

Next steps are for the trustees to meet with the architect in late August and then meet with the advisory committee on September 15 to consider ideas for a design of the common.

There are also plans to hold library programming on the common in the near future, and we hope to host an event early this Fall to welcome you to the common and celebrate our town’s new gathering place.

Rye Public Library Board of Trustees