The Library seems like it’s in good shape – why do we need to renovate and expand?

First and foremost, the library is too small to meet Hatfield’s needs.

  • The shelves are crowded and limit the collection, including popular items like fiction, DVDs and magazines.

  • There is minimal space for storytimes and children’s programming.

  • There is no meeting room for community groups and no place to hold library programs like book clubs or workshops.

  • There is no area dedicated to teens and older children.

  • Staff share space with library patrons. There is no private office for the director, and staff have no place to eat lunch or take a break

  • Since the library is not accessible to everyone, it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, exposing the library and town to expensive legal action.

  • The steep, narrow staircase to the basement is not safe, particularly for the elderly and for children.

I don’t get it – what’s going to happen to the current library building?

The old building, with all of its unique historical characteristics, will be preserved as much as possible. The “new library” will actually be what’s known as an “addition-renovation.” It will just be a new version of our current beloved library! An addition on the back of the building will give us the additional space we need.

Wouldn’t it be less expensive to move the library into the vacant Center School Building?

Just the opposite. Moving the library into the Center School would be prohibitively expensive.

  • The Center School building is in poor shape and needs a new roof.

  • There is water damage and the basement is damp.

  • There is no wheelchair accessibility and there is minimal parking.

  • The space is too large for what we need and would have to be shared with another organization, complicating funding from the Massachusetts  Board of Library Commissioners.

  • The building is poorly configured for a library and would have to be gutted.

  • An elevator plus other means of access would be required, making the project extremely costly.

If we go ahead with the addition-renovation, what will the new library be like?

The new library will be a beautiful two-story building with room to expand to meet the community’s growing needs. A large meeting room will allow for the library to expand its programming while also being open to community groups. The brand new Children’s area will have a small Story Hour Room and a separate bathroom with a changing table. The library will have a dedicated space for students and teens with comfortable seating, study tables and computer access. It will also have a self-service café and seating where patrons can enjoy our popular books, magazines and wireless internet.

This all sounds great, but where are we going to get the money?

  • The total cost of the building has been estimated at $6 million, but more than half of that can be paid for by a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

  • Community Preservation Act money, already set aside by the town, will be requested to pay for costs associated with preserving the unique historical characteristics of the old library.

  • The Trustees and Foundation will run an extensive Capital Campaign, aiming to minimize the amount of money requested from the Town.

  • Less than $2 million dollars will be requested from the Town.  Two out of every three dollars spent will come from other sources!

The economy is in a recession and the town is already cutting back in other areas. Is this really a good time to build a new library?

Yes! Economic hard-times make adequate library services more important than ever. Libraries provide vital services and information for the unemployed as well as those seeking additional or new lines of work. Libraries also provide access to computers and the internet as well as printers, faxes and copy machines. Anyone with a library card can save money by borrowing free DVDs, books, magazines and more!

You’ve answered a lot of my questions, but I still have some concerns. Who can I talk to?

  • You’re welcome to attend meetings of Library Building Committee and voice any concerns.  Meeting notices are posted at Town Hall.

  • Stop by the library and talk to Eliza Langhans, the Library Director. Or contact any of the Library Trustees.

I like this plan for a renovated and expanded library – what can I do to help?

The Library Trustees and the Building Committee welcome any contribution you would like to make – whether it’s your vote at Town Meetings, your time or expertise, or your financial contribution. Talk to Susan McGlew (247-9264) about joining the Library Foundation.

Adapted from the North Brookfield Public Library Building Project FAQ.

Timeline / Schematic Designs / Building Project Home

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