East Forest Park Breaks Ground on New Library


October 23, 2018
Matthew Perry
Outreach Coordinator
1-800-952-7403 x240

The rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of those gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the East Forest Park Branch of the Springfield City Library on October 15, 2018. The project is funded in part by a $4.9m grant from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Project (MPLCP) through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).

Helen Coulton-Harris, Director of Springfield’s Health & Human Services and resident of East Forest Park started the ceremony by saying “This is an amazing day as we begin a new chapter in the history of libraries in Springfield. This library will be a stabilizer in this neighborhood for years to come.”

This project builds a brand new one story, standalone library for the neighborhood whose library is currently housed in a strip mall. The new building is located in a residential area which will allow for easy access for many residents of the neighborhood. The location is also directly next to the recently renovated Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial elementary school, which will give students the opportunity to walk over for programming and other resources.

MBLC Chair Roland Ochsenbein brought congratulations on behalf of the Board and the Governor. “I look forward to coming back and seeing the joy, and maybe relief on your faces, at the grand opening when the library finally opens.”

State Senator Eric Lesser and State Representatives Angelo Puppolo and Bud Williams were all on hand to mark the momentous occasion. Representative Williams noted that community will have a space for meeting that is free and open to all. He added “This is a great day for East Forest Park. The residents of the neighborhood really drove this project and made this happen.”

East Forest Park was one of the neighborhoods that was most affected by the devastating tornado that occurred in 2011. City Councilor Tim Allen noted that this library is “the last piece of revitalization for the neighborhood.”

This project may qualify for an MPLCP Green Library Incentive following completion of construction, if official LEED certification from the US Green Building Council is attained.

Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program projects are currently under construction in Leicester, Sherborn, Stoughton, Woburn, Dartmouth, and Monterey; and in the final planning stages in Erving, Hadley, Medford, Norwell, and Weymouth. MPLCP grants provide crucial funding that enables the libraries to meet the growing demand for services. Statewide, attendance at public library programs has increased 49% since 2006 and every 5.5 seconds a Massachusetts resident accesses the Internet through a public library.

Funding for the MPLCP is authorized by the governor and the legislature. The MPLCP 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. Please visit the MBLC website for more information about the MPLCP.

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.