DATE: November 08, 2012
Athol Breaks Ground on Library Project
The community of Athol recently broke ground on an addition and renovation project for its 1918 Carnegie Library. “Thank you to all the people who voted for this project even in these tough times," said Tony Brighenti, Athol Construction Committee member and Town Selectman. “This project will revitalize this entire area,” he added. State Senator and long-time library supporter Stephen Brewer said that carrying on the Carnegie tradition is this community’s way of “paying it forward for generations to come.”
The project, which is part of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, was awarded a state-funded grant totaling $4,572,147 in July, 2011 for this $8,601,300 library. In her address to the crowd, MBLC Commissioner Alice Welch spoke about the importance of building sustainable environmentally-friendly libraries that will serve generations to come. The library is also eligible for additional funding through the MBLC’s Green Library Incentive upon receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Event photos are on the MBLC Facebook page.
The library design includes removing the 1965 addition and expanding the original building to 20,858 gross square feet. Tappe Associates Architect Jeffery Hoover whose team has already begun the renovation process said, “This library will be the pinnacle of energy performance and will meet residents needs now and well into the future.” Once completed, the library will meet community-specified priorities including increased parking capacity, after-hours meeting rooms, a young adult room, quiet study rooms, a computer lab and a children’s program room.
Athol is one of eleven communities that currently have projects underway. Granby, South Hadley, West Springfield, Everett, Millis, Foxborough, Holyoke, Boxford, Millis, East Boston, and Westwood are also moving forward with library projects. On October 4, 2012, with support of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s FY2013-FY2017 capital plan, the MBLC awarded provisional grants to eight more communities. The average grant award for MPLCP projects is 50% of the total eligible costs. There are also fifteen MPLCP approved projects on a waiting list for funding. Construction on the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library, which is currently on the waiting list, began in April 2011.The MBLC is currently working with local and state officials to secure a new state bond bill to fund library construction in these wait-listed communities and support a new MPLCP grant round.
Funding for the MPLCP was authorized by Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature in the General Governmental Needs Bond Bill in 2008. The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program was first funded in 1987. Since then the program has assisted nearly two hundred communities in building new libraries or in renovating and expanding existing libraries. For more information please visit the MBLC's website.
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.