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Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library

Odessa, DE
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Project Details

Founded in 1847, Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library relocated to its present building in 1968, which sits adjacent to Odessa’s National Register Historic District. It is a contractual member of the New Castle County Library System. The small but mighty library accommodates a robust program of activities into its single-story, 6,500-sf building – including attracting children from three counties.

BKP Architects guided the library board and staff through an extensive needs assessment process and feasibility study to determine the ideal collection size and configuration for the library and then designed a renovation and addition that complements the existing building and its historic milieu. The design retains the existing façade and adds a two-story rear addition. A glass wall provides a contemporary counterpoint to the historic context while filling the rear children’s room with natural light. The addition’s height and massing are camouflaged by placing the stairs beneath the eaves. This solution avoids the need for a stair tower while maximizing floor area dedicated to programming. On the interior, fiction and nonfiction are divided on either side of the building, with a large new meeting room that can be accessed by community groups without going through the library spaces. The second floor accommodates reference materials and the gifted collection of Delawariana historical records and books about the DelMarVa Peninsula. A new basement beneath the addition can host fitness classes and other community activities. A glass-enclosed stair connecting all three levels of the renovated library will be etched with a map of Delaware.

All historic approvals were granted and fundraising for the project began in October 2023.

Click below to watch the fundraising animation of BKP’s proposed library design:

  • Client

    Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library

  • Cost

    $8.5 million

  • Size

    15,000 square feet

Renderings © BKP Architects