DATE: April 09, 2013
MBLC Welcomes Library Building Specialist
After an extensive search, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is pleased to announce Lauren Stara as the new Library Building Specialist. At its April Board Meeting, MBLC Chair Frank Murphy formally welcomed Ms Stara, “With many projects underway, more waiting to build and a new bond bill filed, you join us at a crucial time in the construction program and we’re glad to welcome you to the MBLC.”
As both a librarian and an architect, Ms Stara is in a unique position to understand the challenges library directors face during the construction process as well as the design elements that make a project a success. During her tenure as Director of the Whistler (British Columbia) and of the San Juan Island (Washington) public libraries, both library systems underwent extensive public library construction projects in which Lauren took an active role. The $12 million new construction Whistler Public Library project earned gold LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Washington renovation project in Friday Harbor, involved the re-use of an existing non-library building.
“Given my previous background in architecture, I was eager to be involved in the renovation project on San Juan Island. The building was originally a seafood restaurant, so there were quite a few surprises. Then I got the opportunity to manage a new LEED Gold building project in Canada, and I was thrilled to move north for that experience.”
Ms Stara also has a background in library space planning and incorporates this experience in her approach to public library design, “With the rise of eBooks and digital content it is important that library space be flexible; but also still function as a public library- the only true democratic public space we have left. Traditional library functions like educational and technology support, lifelong learning and story times will be around for a long time,” she said.
Before moving to Massachusetts from Canada, Ms Stara travelled extensively and has worked in eight states from New York to Hawaii, as well as Sofia, Bulgaria. She holds a Masters in Library Science degree from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Art degree in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and has been a Registered Architect since 1988. “The Massachusetts program is like no other I’ve seen in my career, and I now have the chance to combine both of my careers in a truly meaningful way.”
As an MBLC Library Building Specialist Ms Stara will work 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. There are currently MPLCP projects underway in the following municipalities: Athol, Edgartown, Everett, Foxborough, Granby, Holyoke, Millis, South Hadley, West Tisbury and Westwood. Construction on the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library, which is currently on the waiting list, began in April 2011.
Governor Deval Patrick recently filed a general government bond bill that includes $150 million to fund library construction projects as part of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) Public Library Construction Program, including those projects that are currently on the Waiting List.
The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program was authorized 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.