Reading Breaks Ground on New Library


February 12, 2015
Celeste Bruno
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Reading community recently gathered with local and state officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Reading Public Library addition/renovation project.

"A library defines a community," said Maria Silvaggi, President of the Reading Public Library Foundation. "And this community overwhelmingly recognizes that the library is an equalizer, giving everyone the same opportunity to grow. You can't beat that."

The project will transform the existing library into a welcoming space for all residents. Access to the children's library, currently on the upper level at the Reading Library, will become more direct, making it easier for parents with strollers.

Technology will be updated and fully integrated into the library. The library will feature an expanded network of computer connection ports, coordinated with specialized furnishings, to facilitate flexibility and encourage usage by all patrons. This redesign will also improve residents' access to collections and enable staff to be more connected to the community they serve.

The project, which will take an estimated 18 months to complete, will also create nearly 8,000 square feet in a new addition. This space will house a large community room and conference area, and provide more space for collections and comfortable seating.

"This project is made possible because of collaboration on all levels," said David Hutchinson, Chairman of the Library Building Committee. "Residents, library supporters, and library staff working together with local and state officials got us here today."

State Representative Jim Dwyer agreed. "We're proud to partner with local communities to build libraries," he said.

Reading Public Library received a Massachusetts Public Library Construction state grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), totaling more than $5.5 million to support the project.

Rosemary Waltos, Building Specialist at the MBLC, congratulated the community and recognized Reading Library Director Ruth Urell and her staff for their dedication and determination.

"Ruth initiated this journey and has been its backbone from day one," Waltos said. "The Reading Public Library staff is legendary in library circles for its energy and creativity."

The library is also being built to comply with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements. If the project becomes LEED certified upon completion, it will be eligible for additional funding through the MBLC's Green Library Incentive. The MBLC recently awarded Green Library Incentives to several new libraries in the Commonwealth.

The MBLC's Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. Over the past decade, visits to libraries have increased by close to 40 percent as libraries evolve into the only remaining free community space that welcomes all residents. Technology in libraries has also become increasingly important. Every six minutes, a Massachusetts resident sits down at a library computer.

Funding for the MPLCP is authorized by the governor and legislature. Five communities currently have construction grants through the MBLC and 22 others have active planning and design grants.

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.

More information about the Reading Public Library building program is available through the library's website.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( 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.