Mayor Domenic J. Sarno hosted preview tour of the new East Forest Park Branch Library today at 136 Surrey Road in Springfield. Mayor Sarno led project donors and East Forest Park community members through the building to get the first glimpse of their almost-completed library. The tour featured the new library’s first-ever storytime, held by Mayor Sarno for students of the Mary. A Dryden Veterans Memorial School. The Mayor read "The Book With No Pictures," by BJ Novak to the students. Florence Savings Bank also presented a $25,000 check to the Promise Realized Campaign.
Mayor Sarno stated, “This continues my administration’s efforts to enhance all our neighborhoods – today it’s our East Forest Park neighborhood. A stand-alone branch has been talked about for well over 40 years – I’m proud to say that this is another major accomplishment of the Sarno administration. This library is so well deserved, especially coming off the devastating EF3 tornado of June 1, 2011. It was the resiliency of our residents that not only kept me and my administration going 24/7, but just as important planning for the future rebuild of our affected areas. I am very grateful to all our benefactors, whether large or small, especially to retired Mayor Charlie Ryan and our Library Foundation’s generosity.”
Library Director Molly Fogarty expressed her enthusiasm. “We’re at the final stages of completion now and it’s truly amazing to see the years of hard work coming together. The positive impact this building will have on city residents will be immeasurable so it’s great they will be among the first to see it. We’re so grateful to everyone who has made this project possible.” According to Fogarty, the new library is expected to be a “model for the future”.
At 17,468 square feet, the new building will provide a permanent home for the East Forest Park Branch Library, which is the second busiest branch in the city but currently housed in an inadequate strip mall storefront. The new facility will offer a Family and Children’s area, dedicated Young Adult 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 45 parking spaces with easy access to the building. The new library will also be connected to the nearby Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial School via a special path for children.
The building project was made possible due to strong and vocal support from East Forest Park neighborhood residents, which led to a $4.9 million state grant, strong municipal funding, and additional funds raised through the Springfield Library Foundation’s Promise Realized Campaign. The new facility was designed by Johnson Roberts Associates, Inc. and built by W.J. Mountford Co.
About the Springfield City Library
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.
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 ago.
- 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.