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June 11, 2014 -Springfield, MA- The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) recently voted to award the Springfield City Library a provisional Planning and Design Grant totaling $50,000. The grant is part of the MBLC’s state-funded Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). “We’re grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for their recognition that libraries are a vital part of our communities,” said MBLC Chair Frank Murphy. Funding for this grant round is made possible through a 2008 state bond authorization by the Patrick Administration and the Massachusetts State Legislature.

The MPLCP helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. “Libraries are busy,” said Murphy. “But it’s no longer just about books. Libraries are where people turn for help with technology, for support starting a business or for help looking for a job. The role of the library as a true community center continues to evolve and these grants help communities take the first step toward projects that benefit every resident.” Since 2000, visits to Massachusetts public libraries have increased by nearly 60%, with more than 35 million visits to libraries and 56.9 million items borrowed in 2013 alone.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “I would like to thank the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and Chairman Murphy for this award. After the devastating tornado I made the commitment to the East Forest Park Neighborhood that we would take a hard look at a stand-alone library in East Forest Park. This grant matched with the City’s $29,000 contribution will allow us to determine how to proceed.”

Molly Fogarty, Library Director, states, “We are very pleased and excited to have been awarded a Planning and Design grant from the Mass Board of Library Commissioners.  We look forward to working with the East Forest Park Community to plan for a library that will not only be a beautiful new library building offering innovative services but will from the ground up be developed with the participation of community residents to serve the community in the ways that the community wants to be served.” 

Twenty-eight library applications went through a rigorous independent grant review process. Libraries were selected based on many factors including community need, an understanding of future trends in library services, integration with the library’s long-range plan, support from local officials and a plan for community input.

Planning and Design Grants may be used for preparation of a library building program, architectural feasibility studies, engineering analysis of an existing building or alternative sites, schematic design, cost analysis of options, site investigation, and project management services. Planning and Design grants are capped at $50,000 or two-thirds of the eligible project costs and require local match funding of up to $25,000. Libraries must secure this local match by January 31, 2015 to accept their grant funding. These grants and the support provided by MBLC Library Building Specialists benefit libraries that anticipate applying for Construction Grants from the MPLCP in the future.

The residents of the East Forest Park neighborhood have been advocating for a Branch in their neighborhood since the 1950’s.  Continued advocacy paid off and in 2000, the City funded a renovation of two empty storefronts, creating the East Forest Park Branch Library.  While the residents were pleased to finally have their own Branch Library, they viewed it as a temporary space.  Since 2000, the East Forest Park Branch has been located in a leased, inadequate space.  This Planning and Design project will pave the way for an entirely new facility for this part of the City.   The design will provide adequate space for collections, programs, community meetings and other activities.  The people of this area will make full use of their new branch library.

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Page last updated:  Wednesday, June 11, 2014 04:38 pm