Burlington County Branch Library

Browns Mills, NJ

In the late ‘Nineties, the Pemberton Township Mayor and Council (rightfully) saw the construction of a new library as an anchor for their downtown revitalization efforts, and an engine for economic development. It was envisioned from the beginning to be a center for community activities and services: educational, cultural, social, and economic.

Their goal was to have a building that would set the architectural agenda, specifying an End-of-the-Last-Century period as historically appropriate. RYEBREAD Architects responded by designing a Craftsman-style exterior and interior. Low-slope metal roofs and battered columns grace the exterior, and auburn wood and autumn colors define the lofty interior. Its feel is smart, yet comfortable and practical.

Mayor T. C. Kay realized that a library could be much more than just a place to keep (and read) books. “We also saw it as an opportunity to educate people to be able to work,” says Kay. She made sure their new branch library had a computer room with internet access for job searches, and a meeting room with programming to serve economically and socially disadvantaged residents.

Upon completion, the branch library in Pemberton Township became not only an information and social hub; it became a vehicle to strengthen the community. It is a center for learning, passive recreation, personal improvement, technology, and the arts, both individually and in groups. It is a beautiful vessel, filled with the life of the town.

Completion: 2001
Client: Township of Pemberton; Pemberton, NJ
RYEBREAD Project Manager: Scott Charles England
Interior Design Consultant: Karen Milano; Merchantville, NJ
MPE Engineer: Kelter & Gilligo; Princeton Junction, NJ
Structural Engineer: Harrison-Hamnett; Pennington, NJ
Civil Engineer: Lord Worrell Richter; Burlington, NJ
General Contractor: Avila Construction Co.; Bordentown, NJ
Photographer: JMS Visual Communications; Tabernacle, NJ