Woburn’s Award-Winning Library


May 18, 2023
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

Woburn Public Library was recently awarded the Prestigious AIA/ALA Award honoring the best in library architecture and design. This is the fourth award for the library which was part of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP).

Andrea Bono-Bunker was director of the library from schematic design through construction, and she along with former director Kathleen O ‘Doherty and trustee Richard Mahoney worked closely with the architects, local leaders, and the community to ensure the design met community needs while highlighting the original Richardson library building.

Ms. Bono-Bunker, who is now a library building specialist at the MBLC, commented on what makes Woburn Public Library so special, “This architectural gem proudly displayed on the City seal now has 21st century infrastructure, accessibility, and flexibility, allowing staff limitless possibilities in providing services to all members of the community. The library from my childhood, which was unable to accommodate the needs of a population of 40,000, is now the place to visit and be, offering spaces that imbue a sense of wonder, spark creativity, and embody the excitement of learning while also providing that reverential feeling of education in all its forms as a noble pursuit.”

The Woburn Public Library has also won the following awards:

The renovated and expanded Woburn Public Library opened on March 16, 2019 to a crowd of nearly 3,000 residents. Built in 1879 to serve a community of 13,000, the original library was the designed by noted 19th century architect H.H. Richardson and is a National Historic Landmark.

The project, designed by CBT Architects, managed by Design Technique, Inc., and constructed by Consigli Construction Company, seamlessly connects the historic structure with the addition through a series of six openings, five of which are in the historic study hall. The original building’s ornate masonry can be seen through the new glass curtain wall. Every effort was made to restore the historic building to its grandeur including uncovering original paint colors and cleaning and restoring the notable collection of artwork cultivated by the Richardson building’s benefactor, Charles B. Winn, and first exhibited in the library in 1879.

Prior to the project, children’s services were limited to a cramped basement room with low ceilings and no natural light. The children’s room is now in the new addition and has programming and craft areas as well as spaces for families to sit quietly and enjoy a book together and room for kids to play and explore. Located on the same floor as the children’s room is a large multipurpose community room that can be used after hours. The library also has a dynamic teen room, three study rooms, and climate-controlled archival spaces with compact storage.

One of the most progressive features of the library is the makerspace. Open to all ages and interests, a makerspace is a collaborative workspace for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. For kids and teens, the space facilitates the learning of critical STEM skills. Makerspaces are also used as incubators for business startups and give all users access to materials, technology, resources and expertise that in many cases would otherwise be unavailable.

The project was part of the 2010-2011 grant round and was awarded a $9.9 million grant through the MPLCP. The total project cost was $31,460,609.

The MPLCP was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. Since then, it has helped more than 250 communities plan, build, renovate and/or expand their public libraries. The MPLCP is currently seeking a new $150 million bond authorization to support upcoming grant rounds. MPLCP projects are underway in the following communities:  Amherst, Deerfield, Gloucester, Marlborough, Melrose, Sharon, Shutesbury and Westford. Learn more about the program on the MBLC website and the Building Literacy podcast.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.