MBLC Awards $27 Million in Library Construction


July 14, 2023
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director

At its July 13, 2023 board meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded provisional construction grants totaling $27,519,585 to libraries participating in the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). The Fitchburg Public Library received $12,449,949, the Lynnfield Public Library received $8,193,792, and the Swansea Public Library was awarded $6,875,844.

“New libraries are game changers because they benefit every member of a community and often spark economic revitalization in nearby areas,” said James Lonergan, MBLC Director. “Our construction program which partners the state with local communities has become a national model due to its success in working with over 200 communities. We’ll continue to assist the Fitchburg, Lynnfield, and Swansea projects so that each has a library that meets the needs of their community now and into the future.”

The Board also approved Green Library Incentive (GLI) awards for each project that receives LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. They will receive 2-3.5% of the grant award in additional state funds administered by the MBLC. The MBLC developed the GLI in 2008 to support the construction of sustainable library buildings.

The Fitchburg project has already received the local approval needed to accept the MPLCP grant and move ahead. The project will renovate part of the existing 1967 building and add 25,000 square feet of new construction, including a courtyard. The new addition will also include a teen space, a maker space, and a computer teaching lab.

Swansea has also received local approval for its project which will renovate the existing library, built in 1900, and add a new addition with much-needed expanded space for collections and programs. This addition will also house a teen space, a maker space, and study rooms.

Lynnfield has until January 13, 2024 to secure local approval for the project and accept the grant. Originally built in 1856 with several additions over the years, the community decided that a new facility would be a better option than renovating and expanding the current building. The new library will be located on the road frontage portion of a town-owned golf course, one-third of a mile from the current location. With over 25,000 square feet, the new library will include meeting and program spaces, expanded youth services, and parking.

These projects represent the last from the 2017 waitlist. The grants for the current 2023-2024 grant round, which are scheduled to be awarded in the fall of 2024, are under the new regulations.  Twenty-seven communities have submitted letters of intent for the new grant round.

The MPLCP was first funded by a state bond authorization in 1987. Since then, it has helped more than 250 communities plan, build, renovate and/or expand their public libraries. MPLCP projects are underway in the following communities:  Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield, Gloucester, Marlborough, Melrose, Sharon, Shutesbury and Westford. Learn more about the program on the MBLC website and the Building Literacy podcast.

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.