Built in 1964, the library houses George Headley's 1,500 volume fine art library as well as a several of his ecclectic collection
The Headley library building is a synthesis of architectural styles and elements that appealed to Headley. The building was designed by Lexington architect, Robert Pinkerton, in consultation with Mr. Headley. The building reflects a number of Headley's favorite architectural motifs. For example, Pinkerton juxtaposed a sloped Thai roof, Greek columns, English windows, a French floor design, and Georgian moldings.
The brick and limestone pavilion is symmetrical with two separate rooms joined by a central converged breezeway. The two domed bay windows at the pavilion's front are thought to be based on the facade of the Luton Hoo in Bedforshire, England, a building designed by the 18th century British architect Robert Adams.
The library interior, finished in pickled oak veneer, is flooded with natural light and views of the museum grounds. Details inspired by Robert Adams continue to appear in the moldings and in the niches at the four corners of the room.
The library holdings consist of books , catalogs, and periodicals on topics such as decorative arts, fine art, architecture, design, cultural history, and natural history. The museum encourages use of the Library collection by researchers and is available by appointment.
The library collection as well as the Shell Grotto reflect Headley's love of natural objects.