The Children’s Reading Room is housed in a new 6,800 sf wing of the East Hampton Library, which was founded in 1897 and is one of Long Island’s oldest public libraries. The interior design and environmental graphics of the Reading Room reference the heritage of the island’s East End. The Library is a repository of local historical documents, maps and objects and these collections also informed the design of the Children’s Reading Room.
Icons of the East End such as lighthouses, windmills and boats are expressed in the interior design. The Early Childhood Room is decorated with colorful custom-designed alphabet murals reflecting beach and ocean themes, sand pail-shaped ceiling pendants, and seating and bookshelves in the shape of oversized letterforms. The main reading room is defined by a windmill book display and seating area at one end and a librarian’s desk shaped like a wooden fishing dory at the other. Nautical references continue in the wood flooring design, and built-in window seats. A custom rug playfully illustrating landmarks of the East End anchors a central lounge seating area. Overhead, rows of custom “book-bird” pendant lights flock like seagulls through heavy wood trusses that replicate those found elsewhere in the existing building. A Teen Room features an aquarium and deep blue carpeting made from recycled fishing nets. The overall effect of the Children’s Reading Room is one of warmth, community and pride of place.