DATE: December 27, 2011
Building Community in Millis
Millis is one of nine library construction projects currently being built in the Commonwealth with assistance from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner's (MBLC) Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). In 2008 Millis received a $2,789,569 grant from the MBLC and may be eligible for an additional $139,478 in funding from the MBLC's Green Library Incentive which encourages the construction of sustainable library buildings that attain the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Design) certification.
Four of the nine MBLC Commissioners were on hand to celebrate with the community: MBLC Chair Katherine Dibble, Vice Chair Frank Murphy, Greg Shesko and George Comeau who both serve as the Board's liaisons to the construction program. In his address to the crowd, Comeau emphasized the impact the project will have on the community. "This is not a warehouse for books, he said, but rather a place where lives are transformed. In this age where every thing is online, this will be a place where people come together and new ideas are born."
The MPLCP is made possible with state funding and several state legislators who have supported the program and the Millis project attended the event. Senator Richard Ross presented library trustees with a Senate Citation signed by Senate President Therese Murray that recognizes the importance of the library project. Representative Daniel Winslow stressed the economic impact the project will have by creating local jobs and stimulating local businesses. Representative David Linsky said, "This is why I love Millis. It's a community that has worked together to accomplish this great project that will benefit all residents."
The Millis Public Library project will build a new facility on the town's main thoroughfare within walking distance of area schools. The building will offer an after-hours meeting room, a teen room, spaces for quiet reading and collaboration, an expanded children's room with programming space and overall better access to technology. It will operate with energy efficient and environmentally-friendly systems and will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act mandates. Construction on the library is set to begin on December 26, 2011 and it is estimated to be ready to open in January 2013.
Visits to the Commonwealth's public libraries have seen a steady increase in the past decade with 34 million residents visiting their public library last year alone. This represents a 50% increase over the number of visits in FY2000. Many public libraries, some built over 100 years ago, struggle to meet the growing demand for library services in buildings that were built to serve much smaller local populations. Since 1987 the MPLCP has worked with local communities to assist them in building, renovating,or expanding their local library so that it can meet residents' needs well into the future. From July 1989 through June, 2011, 204 construction grants totaling $320.3 million have been awarded to cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
Current funding for the MPLCP projects was authorized by Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature in the General Governmental Needs Bond Bill, signed by the Governor on August 11, 2008.
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.