What will happen to the Library during construction?
The Library will operate across the street at Putnam Place, 166 Boulder Drive, during the construction phase of this project. Construction is expected to begin in fall of 2023. While housed at Putnam Place, the Library will be open and available to all.
When will the Library move?
The Library will close for a few weeks in the coming months. Library staff will supervise the move and set up the temporary location for a swift reopening.
What will happen to network loans and current materials requests?
When we close, hold requests set for pickup at the Fitchburg Public Library will be suspended until we reopen in our temporary quarters. Patrons will not lose their place on the waiting list. Visit our neighboring libraries to browse the collection, order, and pick up items from the network during this transition.
I need to fax important documents. Where is the best place to go?
The Fitchburg Senior Center at 14 Wallace Avenue is graciously assisting the Library with fax work while we’re moving. Walk-in faxing services will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Will the whole collection be moving? What services will still be available?
We will have a portion of our collection available to borrow. Patrons will also be able to rely on CWMARS, our library consortium, to reserve and fulfill requests for materials that we may not have readily available. We will continue to offer information and reference services, public computers, WiFi, hotspots, printing, copying, faxing, meeting spaces for the public, story times, programming, museum passes, and more.
How is this project being funded?
The City has been awarded $12,449,949 from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). Additional funding will come from a combination of American Rescue Plan Act funding ($6.5 already allocated with an additional $5.5 recommended to the City Council), City monies ($12 million), and fundraising ($3.5 million). More than 225 other communities have taken advantage of these tax dollars granted by the MBLC since the MPLCP’s inception over 25 years ago. It is Fitchburg’s turn to utilize these state tax dollars.
Why is this project important?
The Library is essential to our community’s future. A modern building will facilitate the Library’s ability to serve ALL the residents of Fitchburg. It will draw people to downtown steadily, and provide cultural, economic, and educational benefits that will enrich and enhance the quality of life for everyone.
Libraries are evolving into people-centered destinations as opposed to solely collection-centered institutions. Along with providing traditional and core services, libraries have transformed into community centers with additional space needs. The renovation and expansion project will create an environment where programming for children, teens, families, adults, and seniors can take place simultaneously in bright, comfortable, and open spaces. Libraries have changed from research centered spaces with lots of quiet, individual study areas into places for collaboration.
How will this project benefit Fitchburg?
This exciting, expanded Library will be a community center where the people of Fitchburg will come to find information, attend events of interest to people with diverse backgrounds, and gather to share and learn. As the deluge of information proliferates, the Library staff will continue to be available to assist people in making sense of it. Fitchburg is reinvesting in the community and this project will be a shining beacon. The library is an evolving institution that has shifted to be more people-centered rather than a warehouse of books. The current building is well-used but with a larger facility, there will be even more resources available. We anticipate high traffic and positive outcomes with an expanded children’s room, a teen room, an enlarged local history room, additional seating areas, more tables and chairs, meeting rooms in various sizes from a capacity of 4 to 150, a Makerspace, and a Learning Lab.
How will this project benefit children and families?
The new, larger children’s room will foster the learning experience with more educational activities and program space for the exclusive use of children. Dedicated space for teens will allow them to collaborate in small study rooms, learn, and socialize with the teen librarian present. It will inspire generations of childrens to a lifelong love of learning and reading.
What do you anticipate the economic impact of the Library will have?
Numerous studies have shown that libraries function very much like good schools in raising property values, improving tenancy rates, and attracting businesses. A 2007 Urban Institute study identified that libraries are key components in community revitalization, particularly in downtown areas where libraries serve as anchor locations to create a healthy and vibrant business district. Increased foot traffic results in safer streets and areas around new public library facilities (which typically see an enormous increase in use once they are completed). The literacy and job training programs provided at the Library will contribute to our area’s workforce development – which will also have a tremendous positive economic impact.
Will there be a place for me to drink coffee in the new Library?
Yes. We will have a lounge for people to talk, drink, and eat. The space is meant to be a place for general conversation that will not disturb other areas of the building.