DATE: November 22, 2009
Townsend's New Library and Senior Center
On October 31, 2009 hundreds of Townsend residents celebrated the opening of their new public library and senior center made possible by a gift from the Sterilite Corporation owned by the Stone Family of Groton. The estimated cost of this gift to the community is over $20 million.
The 17,000 square foot library features a graceful barrel-vaulted ceiling, generous views and sunlight, lots of comfortable seating and room for browsing, a large children's room, and dedicated space for teen. It boasts 56 public access Internet computers, two study rooms, and café space. It is joined to a new senior center which shares meeting room space with the library. The meeting room is equipped with a full sized commercial kitchen and holds about one hundred people.
Albert Stone, who ran the family business for many years, insisted that neither the library nor the senior center be named after him or Sterilite. Instead the library is named for a former selectman and his wife, Richard and Irene Collette. The senior center is named after a local couple active in community affairs, Roy and Nancy Shepherd. Stone has asked for nothing in return and has remained private as to his reasons for his generous gift.
Stone's generous donation during the current economic recession is reminiscent of other benefactors of the original 1858 library. Charles Hart and Amanda Dwight donated generously to improve the library not once but twice. Their first donation was made in 1929 at the beginning of the Great Depression and resulted in the Hart Memorial Library Building.
In 2005 as part of the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, the MBLC awarded Townsend a Planning and Design grant totaling $20,000.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.