Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and a delegation representing the City, the Library and the Library Foundation toured the new East Forest Park Branch Library and were impressed with the size and scale of the building as well as the progress on construction. Attendees included retired Mayor Charlie Ryan, State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., Health & Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer TJ Plante, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings & Recreation Management Patrick Sullivan, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warick, Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty and more City staff.
"This project is a true testament to the dedication and grit of the people of Springfield and the power of institutions and individuals coming together to move our City forward,” said Mayor Sarno. “To think that less than a year ago this was an empty ballfield and now we are close to completing construction and opening the building on time and on budget.”
Mayor Sarno was particularly impressed with the care that has been taken to make sure the Library meets the needs of children and families. “What an incredible and needed place this will be for Springfield’s kids. The children and teen rooms are going to be magnificent and inspiring and with this project complete, Surrey Road becomes a major education corridor.”
Library Director, Molly Fogarty discussed how the new facility will be a game changer for the City. “We want everyone to know that this Library is going to be so much more than your place to borrow books. It will be a community learning center and a hub for sharing knowledge, expertise and skills. We will have workspaces for professionals and entrepreneurs, study rooms for tutoring and group projects, tons of technology and so many places for children to explore and grow. It will be a place to foster and harness creativity.”
Patrick Markey, president of the Library Foundation, discussed fund raising for the project. “The Springfield Library Foundation through its Promise Realized Campaign is seeking to raise $2 million. More than 200 generous donors have already made their gifts or pledges, but we still have around $800,000 to raise to finish the job. It is wonderful to bring prospective donors to the building so they can see just how well their gifts will be used.”
“I’m proud to be a personal donor myself,” said Mayor Sarno, “and I hope many others will give to the campaign so that we may fulfill the promise to the community.”
Construction on the 17,000 square foot building on Surrey Road is approaching 70% completion. With an expected opening in November 2019, the new facility will offer a Family and Children’s Room, dedicated Teen area, a Maker Space Lab, a large community meeting room, quiet study rooms, dozens of computer stations, book and media collections, an outdoor patio and reading garden, and ample on-site parking. The new library will be completely accessible and also connected to the nearby Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial School via a special pedestrian path for children.
To date, the Promise Realized Campaign has raised close to $1.2 million toward its $2 million goal. The total project cost is $9.5 million with $4.9 coming through a highly competitive state grant, $2.6 million through a City bond and the final $2 million from the Campaign. Those interested in touring the building and contributing may contact the Promise Realized Campaign Director, Matt Blumenfeld, at firstname.lastname@example.org or MBlumenfeld@springfieldlibrary.org for further information.
The Promise Realized Campaign is accepting pledges for up to five years. This enables donors to give more and to potentially be eligible to name a room or area in the new library. Many donors have been excited to learn that their gifts have been doubled thanks to a $250,000 challenge grant issued by the Library Foundation. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org/library/about/promise-realized/
About the Springfield Library Foundation
The Springfield Library Foundation was formed in 2005 and is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, not-for-profit corporation organized and operated exclusively for the benefit of the Springfield City Library. The Foundation has two primary purposes:
- To responsibly steward and manage endowed and other funds entrusted to the Foundation’s care by donors going back more than a century.
- To encourage philanthropy and raise new funds, both restricted and unrestricted, in support of the Library’s programs, materials, services, and facilities.
Fulfilling these two purposes will enrich the lives of every library patron, and ensure that Springfield’s library system remains vibrant and responsive to community needs. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org/library/about/the-springfield-library-foundation/