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October 22, 2020


Contact: Donna Scott-Martin

New Carrollton Branch Library Receives 2020 Merit Awards for Excellence in Architectural Design

Largo, Maryland – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is the proud recipient of two 2020 Merit Awards for Excellence in Architectural Design for the New Carrollton Branch Library, which reopened in 2019. The New Carrollton Branch Library was designed by GWWO Architects, a Baltimore-based firm that “strives to enrich the human experience through responsible design that is inspirational, evocative, and progressive.” The awards were issued by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Maryland Chapter and the AIA, Potomac Valley Chapter, which represent the local and statewide architecture and design community.

These awards are a testament to Prince George’s County’s regional and national leadership in library architecture. PGCMLS’ capital improvement projects are all community informed and they focus on accessibility, modernization, and captivating design. For example, the Library’s Laurel Branch received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland. 

The design for the full interior renovation and addition of the New Carrollton Branch Library breathes new life into the two-story structure, creating a welcoming, technology-rich facility that establishes its place as a community anchor and meets the needs of today’s library customers.

The New Carrollton Branch Library received an architectural award from The Society of American Registered Architects for its Brutalist design when it was built in 1971. The Brutalist-style structure embraced the architectural Field Theory movement of Walter Netsch and featured an interior layout comprised of a series of rotated equilateral triangles.

Taking its cues from the two-dimensional triangular floor plan, a new three-dimensional glass prism breaks through the former understated entry, framing the new entrance and housing additional community gathering space. The Library’s new interior layout responds to the existing triangular configuration and places major destinations at each of the three apexes: children’s collection, public meeting rooms, and the entrance with adjacent café.

“We are so proud of receiving these awards in recognition of the work that was done to bring this facility into the 21st century,” said Michael Gannon, Chief Operating Officer for Support Services. “It is remarkable that the architectural design team was able to take a prize-winning building from the past that was well past its prime and reinvent it into a prize-winning facility that is now capable of embracing the future,” he expounded. Gannon oversees all PGCMLS building projects.

The November 3 general election ballot in Prince George’s County includes a proposal for a bond issue to support ongoing and future PGCMLS capital improvement projects. The ballot question (Question B) seeks community support for the allocation of $28,829,000 in funds “to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation, or repair of Library Facilities.”

Projects supported by the proposed funding include:

  • Baden Branch Library rehabilitation
  • Bladensburg Branch Library replacement
  • Brandywine Branch Library new construction
  • Hillcrest Heights Branch Library renovation
  • Langley Park Branch Library new construction
  • Surratts-Clinton Branch Library rehabilitation
  • Library Branch Renovations – systematic improvements of existing branches

To learn about current library capital projects, visit PGCMLS Builds. A ballot proof is available here and more information about the bond issue is here.

Photos of the New Carrollton Branch Library

About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 915,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book-lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. The Books from Birth and Ready 2 Read programs make the Library the primary source of early literacy education and Kindergarten readiness programs in the County. 

PGCMLS’ robust online offerings include curated content collections for kids, teens, educators, Spanish speakers, and more. Virtual events and outreach provide access to the Library from the comfort of home or on the go. Special programs include the D.R.E.A.M. Lab, STEM Pals, and 3D printing, which offer teens and lifelong learners with opportunities to learn cutting-edge technology and STEM skills for job readiness or personal enrichment. The Library also provides drive-up WiFi access at all branches and mobile hotspot devices. The Library’s Laurel Branch Library received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland.