DATE: November 23, 2011
A 21st Century Celebration in Holyoke
Left to right: Representative Michael Kane, Senator Michael Knapik, MHIC Director of Capital Investment Peter Sargent, MBLC Commissioner Mary Kronholm, Holyoke Mayor Elaine Pluta, MBLC Vice-Chair Frank Murphy, Library Director Maria Pagan, City Councilor Aaron Vega are all smiles as they break ground on the new Holyoke Public Library.
Left to right: Holyoke Mayor Elaine Pluta is joined by MBLC Commissioner Mary Kronholm and MBLC Vice-Chair Frank Murphy. The MBLC awarded Holyoke a grant for $4,367,594 as part of its Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.
Maria Pagan has been the Director of the Holyoke Public Library for over 15 years. Her years of living in and serving Holyoke has given her a unqiue understanding of this ethnically and racially diverse community and its needs and aspirations. She has been a guiding but understated force in bring the project forward.
The Holyoke community was joined by state and local officials in the celebration of the groundbreaking of their public library project on November 17, 2011. Holyoke City Councilor Aaron Vega praised the project, “This 21st century library will revitalize our downtown and demonstrates Holyoke’s investment in education for all its residents.”
In a community in which 85% of the children are from low-income families, 51% come from homes where English is not the first language, and 26% are special education students the need for services the library provides is evident. “This library will give these students access to technology and resources that might otherwise be unavailable to them and provide them with a quiet space to do homework,” said Susan Carey member of the Library Board of Directors.
The new Holyoke Public Library will have over 40 computers for Internet access and personal computing and free wireless access throughout the building. The design includes a teen room, spaces for quiet reading and collaboration, a learning lab and an expanded children’s room with dedicated a programming space. It also features a meeting room that accommodates more than 100 people and may be used after hours, compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act mandates and improved access to historic materials. The historic Sante’ Graziani murals will be removed, conserved, and reinstalled to remain an important feature of the library.
The project involves the renovation and expansion of the historic 1902 building, demolition of the inaccessible rear wing and construction of a 30,700 square foot new addition on two levels. The resulting 41,773 gross square foot facility is planned to meet the needs of Holyoke citizens through the year 2025. The intergrated design addresses energy and water efficiency and the library plans to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the US Green Building Council.
The estimated project cost is $14,584,040. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded Holyoke a grant award of $4,367,594 in 2008 as part of its Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program. Once LEED certification is attained, the library will also be eligible for an additional $218,380 in funding through the MBLC’s Green Library Incentive. The community has raised over $1.6 million in donations to support this project.
For additional photos of the Holyoke Public Library please click here.
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.