Thursday, July 13, 2017
The Springfield City Library has been awarded a $4.9 million construction grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), allowing the Library to replace the current East Forest Park Branch with a completely new building. The new library will be located near the Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial School in East Forest Park, and construction will likely be completed within the next three years.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno lauded the Library for its initiative, stating “This new library branch is a key part of revitalizing the City, as well as the East Forest Park neighborhood.” The new facility will consist of 17,000 square feet of community space, including special areas for children and teens, a community room, study rooms, public computers, and a maker space. This will mark quite an improvement over the existing branch, which is located in a strip mall and struggles to serve high numbers of visitors in only 4,100 square feet of space. The current branch lacks program and meeting rooms, high-speed internet access, and accessible entrances and restrooms.
“This branch will be a model for the future,” says Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty. “It will help bring our city into the 21st century by providing access to modern technology and learning spaces. This kind of access is especially crucial for students who do not have internet or technology access at home – they will be able to keep up with their academic peers.” Board of Library Commissioners President Stephen Cary is also optimistic. “The Springfield City Library provides so many essential services, and a well-planned, modern building will help provide those services to the thousands of deserving people who visit every month.”
A Capital Campaign is planned to raise an additional $2 million needed to complete the building project. The Springfield Library Foundation has contracted Financial Development Agency to coordinate the Campaign. Charlie Ryan, former Springfield Mayor and Vice President of the Foundation board, showed marked enthusiasm. “The Foundation is excited to support this project and provide ongoing support for the Library as we move into the future. This coordinated effort shows that when state, municipal, and private support comes together, great things can happen.”
MBLC construction grants are awarded roughly every 5 years, depending on state bond authorizations and the availability of funds. Construction grants typically cover 45%-50% of construction costs, including design and engineering services, construction, fixed capital equipment, and more.
Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides over 800,000 free print, physical, and digital resources for public enrichment. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org.
For further information please contact Jessica Blasko, Springfield City Library Community Relations Coordinator, at (413) 263-6828 ext. 422, or firstname.lastname@example.org.