DATE: September 19, 2013
Westwood's Wait is Over
Residents gather to celebrate new library
It was twelve years in the making and a little over two years under construction, but at the Grand Opening of the Westwood Public Library on Sunday September 15, all agreed that it was worth the wait. "Our focus has always been giving our residents the best possible library and we have done that," said Library Director Tom Viti. Westwood residents have responded by visiting the library nearly 70,000 times just since July 1. "That's incredible for a town with a population of 15,000," Viti added. "And I never get tired of hearing how happy our residents are with their new library."
The new Westwood Public Library is a 21st century library with community meeting space, new separate rooms for children and teens, and handicap accessibility, and it also provides residents access to the latest technology. The facility is a "green" library, built to meet U.S. Green Building Council's standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. "The Westwood Public Library has ushered the American public library into the digital age," said George Comeau from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). As part of its Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program, the MBLC awarded the community of Westwood a grant for $3.7 million in support of this $13 million project. Upon receiving LEED certification, the library is eligible for additional funding through the MBLC's Green Library Incentive. "For the other libraries involved in our building program, this is a 'go-to' library as an example of how it should be done," said Comeau.
Many at Sunday's celebration recognized Library Director Tom Viti as the driving force behind the project. State Representative Paul McMurtry said, "Tom did the community-needs study, he applied for the grant from the MBLC, he attended every meeting and answered every question and no matter how tough it got, Tom never lost sight of how fabulous this library would be. He inspired all of us."
For photos from Sunday's celebration, please click here.
The MBLC's Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. Since then it has helped hundreds of communities build new libraries or renovate and expand existing libraries. Through the MPLCP, there are library construction projects currently underway in Athol, East Boston, Eastham, Edgartown, Everett, Foxborough, Framingham, Granby, Holyoke, Millis, Salisbury, South Hadley, Reading, West Springfield, and West Tisbury. There are also nine communities on a waiting list for funding. For more information about the program, please visit the Board'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.