DATE: April 09, 2013
Eastham and East Boston Awarded Construction Grants
The Eastham Public Library and the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library received Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) provisional grants at the April 4, 2013 meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). Provisional grant awards are roughly 50% of eligible project costs with the remaining cost incurred by the municipality. Eastham’s award totals $4,331,923 and East Boston will receive $7,255,988. Both projects had been on the MPLCP Waiting List since July, 2011.
Once the MBLC awards a provisional grant award, a community typically has six months to secure local funding, but in the case of Eastham and East Boston both projects have already secured local match funding and in East Boston, the library is currently under construction.
The new East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library is more than double the size of the current public space of both East Boston branches combined. It includes increased and more flexible space for children, teens and adults, a refreshed collection, more computers, multiple meeting spaces, more user conveniences, and environmentally friendly design. It is scheduled to open in fall, 2013.
In Eastham where library usage has doubled in recent years, the new library will provide access to library services for all residents, a separate teen space, space for children’s programs, room for an expanded collection, a quiet study space and an “Eastham” room to safely house the library’s unique collection of local history and genealogy materials.
Both projects are eligible for the MBLC’s Green Library Incentive, a program that helps libraries in the MPLCP build environmentally responsible LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings. If they meet LEED requirements and are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, each will receive additional funding totaling $245,120 to $405,577, depending on LEED level attained.
Grants to libraries on the Waiting List occur in rank order as funds become available. However, in order to meet spending targets established in the state’s five-year capital plan, emergency regulations passed in March allow the Board to offer a provisional award to a project further down the waiting list if that project already has local funding in place or if that project is already under construction. Awards to East Boston, ranked sixth on the Waiting List, and Eastham, ranked fourth, fall under the new regulations.
Funding to the remaining libraries on the Waiting List recently took a step forward with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s filing of a series of bond bills on March 15, 2013 that included $150 million to support projects in the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program. When the Senate and House approve the bond bill the MBLC will consider provisional grant awards to these libraries as funds become available in the state’s five-year capital plan.
Library construction projects are currently underway in Athol, Edgartown, Everett, Foxborough, Granby, Holyoke, Millis, South Hadley, West Tisbury and Westwood. 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.