The Richard B. Harrison Community Library – 1967

The East Branch Library, later the Richard B. Harrison Community Library, was designed by Milton Small and built in 1967. Although distinctly less Miesian in design with more brick and less glass, there are several identifying traits: fine polished wood slabs on the tops of the inside overhang, exposed steel supports, and black glasweld fascia.

In 1967, Richard B. Harrison merged with the Olivia Raney Public Library to create the foundation upon which the Wake County Public Library system was formed. The library opened in a new building designed by local architect Milton Small, just five minutes from downtown, at 1313 New Bern Ave. This building opened as a “state of the art” facility in 1967. The 9,000-square-foot building houses more than 30,000 books for both adults and children. Although the circulation of books is somewhat lower than desired, almost 370,000 customers visit annually.

– Wake Library History


Built just a year before his own office building, the black steel i-beams and wood trim on the underside of the overhang were elements he would later use. This is one of the few examples of the International Style in East Raleigh.

It is scheduled to undergo a major renovation FY 2011-2012.


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