WESTFORD - Waitlisted for Library Construction Grant
Westford Library on MBLC Construction Grant List: The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) voted to place the J. V. Fletcher Library on a waitlist for a Provisional Construction Grant. The grant is part of the state-funded Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) which helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. Thirty-three libraries completed the grant round process and through a rigorous review, 9 libraries were identified to receive grants and 24 were placed on a waitlist (Westford is now number 10). Waitlisted libraries will receive construction grants as the funding becomes available either through the existing bond bill or a future bond authorization; the MBLC is
currently seeking bond funding as part of its FY2020 legislative agenda. This means Westford could be in line for $7.8 million of matching funding and a community vote to approve funds and proceed with the library renovation/expansion in the 2021-2022 timeframe. Town residents will vote on funding both at a future Town Meeting and at the ballot.
The Library Feasibility Study
Ellen Rainville - Library Director on Library Feasibility Study:
At twenty-seven years out from the most recent library addition/renovation, the Town of Westford will conduct a Feasibility Study to assess the potential for a renovation/expansion of the current J. V. Fletcher Library facility on the present Town Common site, or elsewhere, for the projected population of 2034. The Library Building Program will address the inadequacies identified in the 2013 Needs Assessment, plus incorporate new and future trends in service, programs, collections, formats and outreach within the anticipated new space. The results and revelations of the Feasibility Study will inform and poise the Town of Westford for the next planning phase – an application under the next projected Massachusetts Public Library Construction Grant round, pending Town support.
It should be noted that the J. V. Fletcher Library’s needs are not the result of insufficient support, imagination, service vision or professional commitment; we have great support, great collections, a great Friends group, a great Community.
As for the Library facility, however…
- It needs a larger, responsive, energizing Youth Services area that works for families
- It needs an imaginative and collaborative Young Adult area
- 33% of population will continue to be youngsters under the age of 19 for the twenty-year span of any future design
- It needs tutorial rooms for study, research and interaction
- It needs a Conference area/Computer lab/maker space
- Patrons desire increased relaxing and inviting seating and browsing areas
- It lacks a preservation-caliber Local History space
- Its needs have grown beyond the design confines of the 1987 addition/renovation
- It is compliant with the safety and building codes of its design period (mid-’80s)
- We can plan flexibility for the Library to adapt spaces and uses over the next two decades to provide the full array of changing and customer-responsive public library services