DATE: November 05, 2010
Westhampton's New Library Unites the Community
The Westhampton Memorial Library project anticipates receiving LEED certification and upon certification will receive a Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program Green Library Incentive award of $100,000. The MBLC created the Green Incentive in 2008 to encourage the construction of sustainable library buildings.
On October 17, 2010, the residents of Westhampton and local and state officials came together to celebrate the dedication of their new 5,300 square foot public library facility. While the new library represents the community’s dedication to providing equal access to learning and information for all ages, it is also the symbol of successful grassroot efforts where groups worked together and individuals contributed in their own way to make the library a reality. As Chair of the Building Committee Phil Dowling said, “We’ve learned a great deal about each other and what we can accomplish as a community. Through this library we are speaking to future generations about who we are and what we value.”
The Friends of the Westhampton Public Library played an intergral role in the success of the project. Led by Friends’ President Euthecia Hancewicz, who also headed up the capital campaign, the Friends Group purchased the site where the library now stands and tranferred ownership to the town of Westhampton. “Everywhere I look today I see smiles,” said Ms. Hancewicz. In her address to the community, she recognized the important contributions of many volunteers. There were thousands of volunteer hours put into the project and more than 400 people, businesses, and foundations made financial donations, including two anonymous donations of $100,000 each.
Capital Campaign Committee Co-Chair Laurie Sanders describes the fundraising experience, “Looking back, our goal seems almost preposterous. We needed to raise $660,000 and our feasibilty study showed we could only raise $100,000. We overcame remarkable odds and, thanks to some extraordinarily generous gifts, we made it.”
The new facilty is three times larger than the former library and includes programming space for young adults and children. With Hampshire Regional High School located only 600 feet from the new library, Internet computers, comfortable seating and study areas will benefit not only students from Westhampton but those from Goshen, Williamsburg, Southamton and Chesterfield. The library also has a 60-person community room.
Library Director Lyn Keating was recognized by project general contractor Bill Trohon for her outstanding efforts to make the project a success.
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ (MBLC) Secretary Mary Rose Quinn congratulated the community on their accomplishment. “I was here for the groundbreaking and I’m glad to be here to celebrate with you today. I’m proud to be in a community that recognizes the value of their public library for all ages, interests, and educational backgrounds. This is an outstanding example of what libraries do—they bring people together.”
A major grant from the MBLC’s Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program of $1,065,074 helped to make this $2,121,300 library building 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.
The library grand opening coincided with the town’s 5th Annual Fall Festival. As part of the celebration, the field behind the library was used for many family-friendly activities.
Westhampton gained statewide recognition for a creative library fundraising campaign that included decorated flamingos, pumpkin rolling, and a lounging-for-literacy reading event.
MBLC Commissioner Mary Rose Quinn congratulated the community. A major grant from the MBLC’s Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program of $1,065,074 helped to make this $2,121,300 library building project possible.
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.