DATE: September 17, 2012
Holyoke on the Rise
The addition and renovation of the Holyoke Public Library reached a milestone on Friday, September 7, 2012 when the highest structural beam was hoisted into place. Community members, library staff, and local and state officials marked the occasion with a “Topping Off” ceremony to celebrate this mid-point in completion of the project.
Holyoke City Councilor Aaron Vega spoke about what the project means to the community, “This library is a symbol of the City’s commitment to downtown Holyoke, to education in Holyoke and to good local construction jobs here in Holyoke.” His remarks were echoed by Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse who also highlighted the city’s commitment to increase literacy in a community where just 24% of youngsters enter the 3rd grade with appropriate reading proficiency. The Mayor also stressed the importance of providing internet access for all residents. The project is made possible in part with a $4,367,594 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).
MBLC Commissioners Mary Kronholm and Jan Resnick joined the celebration. In her address to the crowd, Commissioner Kronholm emphasized how heavily libraries are being used with statewide increases in library visits and circulation. The Commissioner called the MBLC’s Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) “a cornerstone for the commission” that has been helping to build libraries across the Commonwealth for 25 years. “Along with Holyoke, West Springfield and South Hadley (local area library projects that are underway), there are nineteen more projects waiting for funding,” she said.
The Holyoke Public Library project renovates and expands its historic 1902 building. The inaccessible rear wing has been demolished and in its place stands the steel frame of a new 30,700 square foot addition on two levels which will house a community meeting room, a teen room, spaces for quiet reading and collaboration, a learning lab, an expanded children’s room with dedicated programming space, and improved storage and access for historical materials. The resulting 41,773 gross square foot facility is planned to meet the needs of Holyoke citizens through the year 2025.
The library has been designed as a “green” project and will operate with energy efficiency and money saving systems. This will qualify the library for an MPLCP Green Library Incentive of $218,380 if it attains official LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the US Green Building Council following completion of construction. The MBLC established the Green Library Incentive in 2008 to encourage the incorporation of sustainable elements into library building projects.
In addition, the building will comply with health and safety codes and with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates. The project is currently running ahead of schdeule and is targeted for completion in June 2013 with an official opening tentatively planned for late summer or early fall of next year.
The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. Since then, hundreds of communities across the Commonwealth have used state-grant funding to build libraries that meet the growing demand for library services and technology. Funding for the Holyoke project and all projects since 2008 was authorized by Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature in the General Governmental Needs Bond Bill, signed by the Governor on August 11, 2008. MPLCP projects are currently underway in Athol, Everett, Granby, South Hadley, West Springfield, West Tisbury, Boxford, Foxborough, Millis and Westwood. Construction on the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library, which is currently on the waiting list, began in April 2011.
- More information about the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.
- Waiting list.
- Photos of the project
- Photos of the “Topping Off” ceremony.
For information on Massachusetts library usage please watch our video
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.