PTL Library Project

A Library for the Future
























Campaign Update

The Peterborough Town Library project broke ground on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. A virtual groundbreaking ceremony was held and can be viewed here! Thank you to all our donors and supporters who participated.

Thanks to the generous support of residents and our donors, we have met our campaign goal!

The Library is scheduled to re-open on Sunday September 12th at a Grand Opening Celebration from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

How Can You Help:
Please share the story of the Peterborough Town Library and this important project. Check out how well used our library was in 2019 and the value it brings to our patrons. from our Library Director about the impact the library continues to make every day in the lives of those it serves.
To make a donation or pledge, please send a check to 1833 Society, c/o Peterborough Town Library, 2 Concord Street or contact our Campaign Office at (603)924-4342 or Thank you for your support and kind consideration.


At its inception as the oldest tax-funded public library in the nation, the Peterborough Town Library was at the forefront of establishing the cornerstone value of all public libraries to follow: free and open access to resources and information for all. At Town Meeting on April 9, 1833, residents of Peterborough voted to fund the purchase of books for a public library. These books were made available in the general store. The Library collection was moved to its current historic location in 1893. Rising usage and evolving community needs led to an expansion in 1957 and again in 1978.



Today, the Peterborough Town Library’s powerful legacy is alive and thriving. A much-loved and heavily used pillar of the community, it attracts an average of 200 visitors a day. However, due to aging and the substandard conditions of much of the physical plant, the Library has become defined more by its limitations than its possibilities. Community needs continue to evolve. There is a crucial need for meeting spaces, a flexible layout, smart and integrated technology access throughout the building, and high quality, accessible space for all ages.

Residents of Peterborough have stepped forward to ensure the Town Library will serve as a flexible and trusted resource for generations to come. The 1833 Society, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2011, with the mission to oversee the design of a new library campus and assist with raising the funding for the project.

A great deal of preparation and community outreach have been conducted during the last thirteen years. The following information on the process is available to the public. Please send any further information requests to
All Library Trustee minutes posted on the town website under Boards/Library Trustees.

2004: Master Plan Study completed by Tennant/Wallace Architects.

2005: Asbestos and Lead Report, by Scott Lawson Group

2006: Energy study conducted by Margaret Dillon, Sustainable Energy Education and Demonstration Services (SEEDS)

2007: Geotechnical Investigation and Evaluation Report by GeoInsight, Inc

2011: 1833 Society achieves status as a 501(c)3 non-profit

2012: J.L. Purcell Architects Recommendation for library location and Press Release announcing decision to public

2013: Visioning Forum Report, moderated by UNH Cooperative Extension

Library Outreach Group Report to the 1833 Society (outreach visits to Peterborough schools and RiverMead)

2013: Fundraising feasibility study completed by Ghiorsi & Sorrenti (Confidential)

2015: Pre-design and program development report by Centerline Architects

2016: Preliminary plans and justification sheet report for Capital Improvements Committee

May 2017: Schematic Design Report completed by Ann Beha Architects 


New design plans from Ann Beha Architects of Boston call for the historic 1892 building, with its iconic portico and granite stairs, to be restored and respectfully integrated with a new wing that points to a progressive future. This sustainable and flexible design seeks to conserve and maximize material, energy, and cultural significance for generations to come. The new wing will replace the 1957 and 1978 additions and shift orientation to the Contoocook River frontage.

ABA is an award-winning architectural firm with extensive experience designing public libraries and historic preservation. The renovated Library will blend together features representative of its noteworthy past with the benefits of a contemporary 21st century facility.

The expanded 17,000 square foot facility (currently the Library has 10,000 square feet of usable space) will feature more flexible space, community meeting rooms of various sizes, cutting-edge technology, and dedicated space for teens, children and families.

“Having raised our family in Peterborough, Walter and I understood the importance of having access to a great public library like the Peterborough Town Library. It has served our family well and it’s time to create a new library to enrich and improve the lives of future generations of families.”
–Dorothy Peterson, Honorary Co-Chair



In addition to being a vital resource center for literacy and lifelong learning, the new Library  will expand its role by becoming the physical anchor in the community, creating a venue to connect people to people, people to ideas, and people to knowledge. The Town of Peterborough’s Master Plan outlines a vision to become a town that is a great place to start and grow a business; an alternative to a big city environment; and a wholesome place to raise a family. The Library will be a key to helping achieve these important outcomes. Our Library and programs will support business, entrepreneurs and families, and will meet the expectations of new residents looking for quality and attractive spaces to work, learn and play.

Meeting spaces will provide opportunities for collaboration for residents of all ages as well as businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs. The architectural plan incorporates a business mini-conference facility with three dedicated meeting spaces of different sizes. The large multi- purpose room will accommodate up to 120 people for conferences, presentations, arts and crafts shows, and other large-scale events. One of the Library’s goals is to attract outside groups to Peterborough, injecting an economic boost to downtown businesses and organizations.

Economic Impact

The Town of Peterborough’s Master Plan outlines a vision to become a town that is an ideal place to start and grow a business; an alternative to a big-city environment; and a wholesome place to raise a family. The new Library will be key to helping achieve these important outcomes.

The new Peterborough Town Library will profoundly impact the region's economy and business sector by helping to build technology skills; provide workforce development; offer access to career resources; and promote civic engagement, participation, and collaboration.

  • Build technology skills
  • Provide workforce development
  • Encourage entrepreneurial activity
  • Offer access to career resources and opportunities
  • Promote civic engagement for reading, discussions, and collaboration
  • Host small business conferences and social gatherings

“One of the priorities of the EDA and the Town of Peterborough is to implement strategies that will help to retain, attract and grow business. Today there are no adequate meeting spaces in downtown Peterborough for small businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs and at-home professionals. This project will add huge value to our community.”
–George Sterling, Chair,
Peterborough Economic Development Authority



A leading priority of the new Library is to broaden services and programming for children and teens. As designed, the new Family Resource Center will be a separate bright and cheerful area that embraces children’s physical and development needs and provides much needed space for families to engage with their children’s learning. The Family Resource Center will include:

  • Space for manipulatives
  • Educational technology
  • Makerspace activities
  • Games and intergenerational connections
  • Early literacy materials
  • Cozy reading spaces

A dedicated area for young adults will serve as a safe, productive place during the “critical hours” after school, on weekends, and during the summer months. The Library is committed to fueling a love of reading and providing activities and programs for our teenage population.

To that end, the new Library will offer:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) programming
  • Programs that focus on literacy, workforce development, and educational success
  • Circulating equipment (i.e. video cameras, tablets, green screens)


In the current Library, limited accessibility for the handicapped is a pressing concern. None of the three public entrances is fully ADA-compliant. The need for accessibility has taken on an additional urgency as New Hampshire’s population is the oldest in the nation, and Peterborough continues to see a rise in the median age of the town. The new Library will be fully handicapped-accessible on all levels.

ABA has designed a smart, highly flexible floorplan. As the needs of the town shift, the interior spaces of the building can be pivoted to be used in different ways. Infrastructure improvements will provide comfortable and highly efficient climate control for Library visitors and the collections.



The new Library will feature flexible space and Internet terminals with up-to-date technology access for everyone. Digital literacy programs will be a priority and residents will be offered consistent access to technology classes. All meeting spaces will be outfitted with a high-tech infrastructure platform to meet ever-increasing demands by patrons to be connected, to stream live, and to participate in webinars and web conferencing. The new Library will offer:

  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • Modern desktop workstations running popular productivity applications
  • Quiet and flexible workspaces
  • Meeting spaces outfitted with a high-tech infrastructure
  • Readily available electric outlets throughout
  • Digital hardware for patron borrowing

The new platform will also provide support to those working remotely and completing distance learning.

“The Peterborough Town Library has a very unique place in history and is an important attribute to the community. Situated at the junction of Main Street and Route 202, this structure speaks volumes to a passerby of the quality of the town. The current architecture of the library is not representative and deserves a structure that makes us proud. Having reviewed the plans for the new library, we are enthusiastic about the architectural design, as well as the potential new programming and direction made possible by the design.”
–Stan Fry & Cy Gregg, Honorary Co-Chairs


Under the leadership of the Library’s 1833 Society, a volunteer-driven capital campaign has undertaken raising the resources required for this landmark project. With the assistance of Porter Caesar, LLC, campaign counsel, the “quiet phase" of the Capital Campaign began in mid-2015 and lead to the launch of the public phase in early 2018. Fundraising will continue until the Capital Campaign goal is met. Pledges may be fulfilled over a two-year payment period.

In 2018, project leaders were successful in asking town voters to approve a $3 million bond as the Town's investment in this quality-of-life improvement for the community.

Invest in a Legacy

How you can help

In 1833, the citizens of Peterborough understood that free and open access to a library would better their quality of life. Now, in a new century and a new age, the potential of the public library is greater than its founders ever imagined, but that potential cannot be achieved in the present building. We invite you to learn more and to join us in providing a facility capable of meeting our modern-day goals for community, collaboration, innovation, life-long learning and discovery. To find out more about the project and giving options, please contact a campaign volunteer, Campaign Chair Audrey White, or call the campaign office at (603) 924-4342 or email



Project Costs

Base Level Construction Costs .............$6,422,134

Land Purchase/Permits .............$75,451

Architectural, Landscape, and engineering
fees (12%), ...................................$1,021,989

Furniture, Fittings
and  Equipment..........................................................$264,990

Contingency ..............................$490,507

Campaign expenses .............$260,000

Financial/Legal .............$65,000

Total Project Costs.................................$8,600,071

Project Supporters

Campaign Chair,  Audrey White

Honorary Chairs
Stan Fry
Cy Gregg
Dorothy Peterson
Polly Guth (1927-2016)

Campaign Treasurer
Carl Mabbs-Zeno



Library Trustees
Ron Bowman
Laura Hanson
Marcia Patten
Karen Struthers
Ron Drogy
Deb Caplan, alternate
Greg Kriebel,alternate
Libby Reinhardt, alternate

1833 Society Board
Ronnie McIntire
Carl Mabbs-Zeno
Sandy Bibace
Tina Kriebel
Sue Martin
Ruth Bednarz
Karen Clement
Elaine Keating
Audrey White
Bob Haring-Smith

1833 Corporators
Polly Bannister
Patty and David Blake
Karen Brown
Diane Burnett
Sue Callihan
Nancy Clarke
Ruth Cleverdon
Lew Feldstein
Anne and Joel Huberman
Bob Haring-Smith
Tori Haring-Smith
Mimi Bull
Kathy Lanigan
Steve Lanigan

Sara Miller
Virginia Lee Miller
Karen Peterson
Tina Rapp
Peter Robinson
Janet Shea
Peggy Van Valkenburgh
Jeanie and Gib West
Colette Lucas
Mike Morison
David Simpson
Libby Reinhardt
Bill Reinhardt