The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 19, 2001


Library landscape plan invites visitors

The gracious 1890s brick Victorian building that is the face and the heart of the Gleason Public Library in the town center will be framed next year by newly landscaped grounds that invite the public to sit and linger. Over the past few months, the trustees of the library have sought and received approval from the Carlisle Historical District Commission, the conservation commission and the Army Corps of Engineers for the design developed by landscape architect Julie Khuen of Winchester.
The facade of the Gleason Public Library today as seen from Bedford Road. The existing walk from the driveway on the left stops at the stairs to the front entrance. The flagpole "bisects" the building.
A sketch of the landscaping plan shows paths, plantings, and sitting areas. The small posts at the lower right will hold a bicycle rack. The flagpole has been moved to a location where it does not obstruct the view of the building.
Photos by Rik Pierce Sketches by landscape architect Julie Khuen

The main entrance to the Gleason Library, off the east side of the building, as it exists today.

Sketch of the main entrance according to the proposed landscaping plan shows a brick-paved seating area shaded by trees.

The design process began a year ago with a set of objectives outlined by the library trustees. Pointing out that the library is in an important central location for the greater Carlisle community, the trustees recognized the need for:

· multiple seating areas, which are lacking in the town center;

· access to the building and the front lawn from multiple directions;

· a low-maintenance design, without irrigation;

· a design that complements the historical character of the building and is appropriate for the Carlisle landscape.

The initial design concept was to create a series of islands that were sitting areas connected by walkways so that library patrons and community residents and visitors could enjoy the spaces concurrently. In the final plan, symmetrical curving walks, constructed of concrete with bands of brick, connect to the town center and the entrances on the east and west sides of the library. A sweep of low yews, starting at the centerline of the building repeats this form. Both entrances have brick-paved seating areas, shaded by locust trees to provide some cover from the summer sun.

A low granite wall with granite piers provides an edge along Bedford Road, as well as a place to sit and watch parades though the center. Detail work on the piers is similar to the granite detail found on the building.

The flagpole, currently in the center of the front lawn will be moved to the side where it will not obstruct the view of the fine architecture of the building. A holiday evergreen tree will be planted behind the flagpole near the main entrance.

According to library trustee Brooke Cragan, the cost of the landscaping will "hopefully" be covered entirely by private contributions to the library's Next Century Fund, which has already funded furniture, computers and other technology for the new library. The project will go to bid in mid-November, at which time the trustees will learn whether the monies left in the fund will be sufficient to complete the entire plan next spring. The trustees are not planning any fund-raiser this fall, but will keep the fund open and encourage contributions through the end of the year.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito