DATE: November 02, 2010
Mashpee Celebrates New Library
Mashpee Public Library meets LEED certification at the Silver level and will be the first library in the Commonwealth to receive an MPLCP Green Library Incentive award of 5%, or $146,727 from the MBLC. The MBLC created the Green Incentive in 2008 to encourage the construction of sustainable library buildings.
“On time and under budget” were the first words spoken by Trustee Carlo D’Este at the dedication ceremony of the Mashpee Public Library October 29, 2010. The crowd of community members and local and state officials erupted into applause. The project took only 16 months to complete, but as Library Director Helene Defoe pointed out, it took 14 years of persistence to make the new library a reality. “What we got was well worth the wait,” she said.
The community’s new two story 22,000 square foot public library facility is designed to be a community center, a focal point for a variety of cultural and educational programs. “If you build it they will come, said Trustee Chair David Burton. “And boy, have they been coming.” Since it opened five months ago library usage is up 55% and 1700 residents have gotten new library cards.
In the new facility, services to children and teens are provided in dedicated spaces that meet their developmental needs. “With the high school within walking distance, it was important to us to have a Young Adult space where teens felt comfortable,” said Janet Burke Head of Children’s and Young Adult Services. “It’s full every afternoon,” she added.
The community meeting rooms which have a separate entrance so that they can be used even after the library closes have been used by over 100 community groups in the five months since the library opened. Local Girl Scout troops are frequent users of the meeting rooms and to show their appreciation, over 100 Girl Scouts and Brownies recently planted 500 daffodil bulbs around their new library.
Town Selectman Michael Richardson, pictured here with a member of the library’s Friends Group Mary Jane Richardson, presented the library with a Certificate of Recognition from the House of Representatives, signed by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. It was given in recognition of the more than 5,000 Mashpee residents who read 161,961 books as part of the “Community Reads” program.
The library also celebrates Mashpee’s Native American heritage with a special collection in the main area of the library. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was represented at the library dedication by Linda Coombs who read a Library Blessing written by Jessie Little Doe Baird. Ms. Baird is s the co-founder and director of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project in Mashpee and the recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Genius Grant Award.
“You’ve given each other the gift of freedom,” said MBLC Commissioner and Construction Program Liaison George T. Comeau in his address. “This library is a testimony to the strength of the Mashpee community.” A major grant of $2,934,541 from the MBLC’s Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program helped make this $8,434,500 project possible.
The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program was established by Chapter 478 of the Acts of 1987. The program was first funded in 1990 and since then 290 grants have been awarded totaling $304 million for 209 construction projects and 81 projects for planning and design. Continued funding for library construction was authorized by Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature in the General Governmental Bonds Bill in 2008.
Touch screen computers bring the latest technology to the new Children’s Room. The area also features a program room with tables for crafts and an adjacent Story Garden where this summer children held a butterfly release party for the caterpillars they watched change into Painted Lady Butterflies.
Patience Jackson and Sheldon Gilbert were both recognized for their outstanding contributions to the project. Ms. Jackson is the MBLC Construction Consultant who worked closely with the community. Mr. Gilbert is a member of the Planning and Construction Committee who assisted in writing the application for the MBLC construction program and attended every town meeting to further the library cause.
Library Director Helene DeFoe was instrumental in the success of the project.
Susan Cannavo (right), Library Circulation Services, appreciates the new space that allows the library to do programming that meets the community’s needs. Fran Johnson (left) is employed at the library through a government funded program designed to help individuals 55 and over gain work experience and training.
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.