Newark, New Jersey

Newark Public Library
Master Plan

The Main Branch of the Newark Public Library was constructed in 1898 and is situated on Washington Park in the James Street Commons Historic District. Our Master Plan for the Main Branch building provides a conceptual strategy that adapts and expands the building to meet 21st century library needs as well as a broad range of new community services.  

A preservation strategy for the building and comprehensive space program, developed with library leadership and staff led to three conceptual design options and estimates offering a range of renovation and expansion opportunities. All concepts create a clear internal wayfinding strategy with a main street corridor connecting all spaces, and with entrances linking Newark neighborhoods on both sides of the building. New community spaces include multipurpose rooms, makerspace, black box, teaching kitchen, recording studios, café, and centers for Special Services, LGBTQ, Hispanic, and Afro-American programs, as well as expanded children, teen, and adult collections and reading areas. 

Three focus feasibility studies resulted from the Master Plan – a new archival facility, the New Jersey Information Center, a new climate-controlled collections storage facility, and a new special collections center, the Philip Roth Personal Library. 

Newark Public Library
Completed 2020
Project Size
Proposed Renovation | 96,000 GSF
Proposed New Construction | 30,000 GSF
Library, Community Services
Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Thomas Hotaling AIA, Josh Aisenberg AIA, Carl Damas (ABA/Annum); Silman (Structural); Legacy Engineers (MEP / IT); Jensen Hughes (Code); Shawmut Design & Construction (Preconstruction Services)