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Westborough Library Gets $46K in Planning and Design Grant Money

Westborough Public Library. Credit: Patch
Westborough Public Library. Credit: Patch
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) voted on June 5, 2014 to award the Westborough Public Library a provisional Construction Planning and Design Grant totaling $45,895. The grant is part of the MBLC’s state-funded Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). “We’re grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for their recognition that libraries are a vital part of our communities,” said MBLC Chair Frank Murphy.

The MPLCP helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. “Libraries are busy,” said Murphy. “But it’s no longer just about books. Libraries are where people turn for help with technology, for support starting a business or for help looking for a job. The role of the library as a true community center continues to evolve and these grants help communities take the first step toward projects that benefit every resident.” Since 2000, visits to Massachusetts public libraries have increased by nearly 60%, with more than 35 million visits to libraries and 56.9 million items borrowed in 2013 alone.

“We have been working hard to modernize our library, and this grant will help us become a true 21st century library,” said Library Director Maureen Ambrosino. “We are so thankful for the support from the MBLC and our community.”

Twenty-eight library applications went through a rigorous independent grant review process. Libraries were selected based on many factors including community need, an understanding of future trends in library services, integration with the library’s long-range plan, support from local officials and a plan for community input.

Planning and Design Grants may be used for preparation of a library building program, architectural feasibility studies, engineering analysis of an existing building or alternative sites, schematic design, cost analysis of options, site investigation, and project management services. Planning and Design grants are capped at $50,000 or two-thirds of the eligible project costs and require local match funding of up to $25,000. Libraries must secure this local match by January 31, 2015 to accept their grant funding. These grants and the support provided by MBLC Library Building Specialists benefit libraries that anticipate applying for Construction Grants from the MPLCP in the future.

In 2011, the Westborough Public Library hired a library space consultant to conduct a needs assessment and facility review in order to begin planning for the future. The findings, after two months of study and interaction with the library staff and board, revealed that the current building as it is configured can no longer effectively accommodate the services, wishes, and needs of the community. The Library Board of Trustees will use the Planning and Design grant funds to determine the best course of action for improving the library, given the current economic and political climate in Westborough.

In addition to Westborough, the following communities received provisional Planning and Design Grants: Amherst, Chester, Dartmouth, Dighton, East Bridgewater, Erving, Falmouth, Greenfield, Hadley, Kingston, Littleton, Lynnfield, Nahant, North Attleborough, Seekonk, Springfield, Sutton, Upton, and Westford.

Funding for this grant round is made possible through a 2008 state bond authorization by the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Legislature. Library construction projects in Athol, Buckland, Dudley, Boston (the East Boston and Mattapan Branches of the Boston Public Library), Falmouth, Foxborough, Granby, Holyoke, Mashpee, Millis, Walpole, Westhampton, West Tisbury and Westwood were completed with MPLCP grants from the 2008 authorization in conjunction with local match funding. MPLCP projects are currently underway in Eastham, Edgartown, Everett (the Shute Memorial Branch of the Everett Public Library), Framingham(the McAuliffe Branch of the Framingham Public Library), Reading, Salisbury, Scituate, Shrewsbury, South Hadley and West Springfield. For more information please visit mblc.state.ma.us/.

Submitted by the Westborough Public Library.

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