Take a look inside the Durham County Main Library Renovation and Addition in Durham, North Carolina

Last year, our Durham team completed construction of the Durham County Main Library Renovation and Addition (Durham Main Library) in Durham, North Carolina. The $40.8 million, 100,000 square-foot renovation and addition have transformed the interior and exterior of the existing library that was constructed in 1978. The Durham Main Library was set to open to the public in April 2020, but COVID-19 delayed those plans. Currently, the library is offering its Take-Out! service. Let’s look at this incredible space while we wait for the library to fully open to the public.

Durham, North Carolina, this new, LEED® Gold certified library is a sleek and modern building designed for the future. The project scope included the complete removal and replacement of the exterior skin, roofing, interior partitions, finishes and building systems.


The Monumental Staircase is one of the first things that visitors see when they walk into the library. The wide, oak-stained steps take people to the third floor. This staircase—and elevator shafts—are reinforced with steel to support the substantial shelves of books while allowing for glass partitions, curved walls and more modern open floorplans.


The building was enlarged from approximately 65,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet by adding a fourth floor to the existing three-story structure.


Our team supported the community in multiple ways throughout the duration of this project, from volunteering at a local homeless shelter to creating a community corner at the project site that housed a lending library. The Durham Library’s community corner displayed project information, subcontractor contact information for those interested in job opportunities, a lending library and a TV that showed project photos. The community corner’s lending library had books for both children and adults to borrow. Our team also participated in the library’s summer reading program by setting up a booth at a local mall to encourage children to read over the summer.


Inside the library is a science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) literacy center with areas for special programs and career skills training. The building also houses a North Carolina history room, galleries, study spaces, meeting areas and an exterior amphitheater.


One of the highlights of the Durham Library is the new two-story auditorium/multipurpose space.


Located on the exterior of the building is a book return that looks like an ATM. Books are transported from the return on a conveyor to the floor below, where the RFID tag in the book is read, allowing the book to be sorted into a specific bin. The bin is then taken by the librarian to the specific location where it needs to be shelved.