DATE: March 25, 2014
West Tisbury Opens New (Library) Doors to the Future
On March 22nd, 2014, the recently renovated and expanded West Tisbury Free Public Library on Martha's Vineyard welcomed townspeople and library officials to celebrate the beautiful new building. Made possible by strong local support and fundraising, as well as a construction grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the renovated library was an instant hit with the town and will offer a unique, comfortable community space for many years to come.
In April 2012, voters in West Tisbury overwhelmingly approved $1.5 million in local funds in order to accept its $2,982,544 provisional Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) grant to expand and renovate the existing library. A successful capital campaign raised the remainder of the project's total budget of $6,055,308.
From the initial vote to the well-attended dedication -- which ended with excited townspeople jampacking the building, as soon as the ribbon was cut -- it was clear that a town-wide effort was made to reinvigorate and modernize the library.
"West Tisbury has a history of long discussion when it comes to changing anything in town," said Library Trustee Dan Waters. "This project was a true community effort."
"The way West Tisbury came together [for this project] is an example for towns everywhere," said Commissioner Mary Ann Cluggish of the MBLC. "Everyone but the shellfish constable got involved."
In 1993, the town of West Tisbury built a 5,620 square foot library. The new renovation more than doubled the space to 13,312 square feet, sized and designed to meet the library and information needs for a 2030 estimated population of 4,772, as well as serving the annual swell of summer visitors.
This project will qualify for a MPLCP Green Library Incentive if the building attains official LEED certification from the US Green Building Council in the months to come.
"Nothing makes the MBLC happier than successful construction projects," said Commissioner Cluggish. "So many good things are to come from this new library."
Each speaker at the dedication made a point to emphasize the hard work and positive leadership of Beth Kramer, the library's director. Backed by supportive library staff, volunteers, and trustees, Kramer submitted an application for the 2010-2011 MPLCP construction grant round and saw the project through, every step of the way.
Photos of the celebration can be seen here, via the MBLC's Flickr page.
The West Tisbury Free Public Library is one of several Massachusetts Public Library Construction (MPLCP) projects recently completed with grant assistance from the MBLC. Athol Public Library dedicated its new building in January. Projects in East Boston, Foxborough, Granby, and Holyoke celebrated openings in November 2013; both Westwood Public Library and Millis Public Library opened in September. The average grant award for MPLCP projects is 50% of the total eligible costs. There are library construction projects currently underway in Eastham, Edgartown, Everett, Framingham, Salisbury, South Hadley, Reading, West Springfield, Shrewsbury, and Scituate. Eight communities are on a waiting list for funding.
Funding for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program 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 hundreds of communities in building new libraries or in renovating and expanding existing libraries. For more information about the program, 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.