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Renovations Q & A


Wilbraham Public Library Renovation Project

What is the library doing?
The Wilbraham Public Library is in the midst of a four phase renovation project to upgrade the library building for health, safety, access, comfort, convenience, and to meet the changing needs for library patrons in the Wilbraham community. About 2/3 of all Wilbraham


residents have active library cards, and an average of 2,500 people of all ages and community sectors use the library each week. This high use demonstrates that the library is one of the best used resources in town and drives the need improve our forty-three-year-old building to meet the changing needs of our community. Our renovations emphasize the most efficient and effective use of our existing, limited space to respond to our patrons’ demands for services and materials.

What has the library done so far?
Last fall the library completed Phase 1—renovations to the mezzanine level. This included reallocating half of the mezzanine to create a teen space to better serve the needs of Wilbraham’s 1,800 middle school and high school age children, upgrading the adult non-fiction area, and building new stairs to the mezzanine. Since the mezzanine reopened last fall, library patrons of all ages are using the teen space because they find it an attractive, comfortable and useful space to read, work on computers, gather with friends and study. Seniors read newspapers in the morning. Adults set-up their laptops and conduct their work throughout the day. Teens browse and borrow books or meet with their friends after school. Tutors work with students at the large group table. It is gratifying to see such active daily use of this space and how much people appreciate the positive changes in our library.

Over the past few years the library has also replaced many of the windows, upgraded much the heating and cooling system, installed improved emergency lighting, and made most of the building handicap accessible.

What’s next?
This spring the library will install a new, combined service desk—offering one service point for checking out and returning materials and for adult and children's services. The desk will be located in the center of the first floor where the stairs used to be. The desk is the first part of Phase 2 that also includes renovating the children's area. Later phases will address the adult area on the first floor and administrative facilities. A master plan is available to view at the library.

Why do we need to do anything to the building? What will the renovations provide that we don't have now?
While the building is attractive and maintained, the current configuration is ineffective for today's library use, and the building needs updating for infrastructure, lighting, décor, furnishings and fixtures. Much of the building is original to its construction in 1968, including all of the steel shelving, the wall coverings, much of the lighting, and most of the furniture. As shown by the mezzanine improvements, the renovated and enhanced building will allow the library to utilize space more efficiently and effectively to meet today's service demands and improve everyone's library experience. In short, the project will enrich the lives of thousands each year.

What is the completion date for these projects?
The Service Desk will be done by this summer. Future phases will move forward as soon as funding is available. We hope to complete at least one project per year. Private support is particularly important.

What is the cost of these projects?
The current estimate for all renovations is approximately $800,000. The goal is to gather these resources over a three to five year period.

How is the library raising money?
The Library Board of Trustees established a private non-profit organization, Library Improvements Fund for Tomorrow, Inc. (LIFT), in 2006 to raise funds for building renovations. LIFT is volunteer-driven and operates in a public/private partnership with the local, state, and federal funding sources. To date LIFT has raised over $200,000 from donations and pledges from local banks, community organizations and individuals, bringing LIFT halfway to their goal of raising $400,000. There have been over 200 donors so far. Donations have ranged from $5.00 to $50,000. Town Capital Improvement funds are providing most of the balance through their five-year plan for town building remodeling.

Where will my money go to if I contribute?
All funds (100%) donated to the campaign will be used to pay for design, construction, furnishings and fixtures in accordance with the wishes of the donor.

Why should I give to this project?
You should contribute to the campaign because, without community support, the library will not be able to meet community needs. This project will benefit all area residents, and presents an opportunity for you to make an important contribution to improve Wilbraham’s quality of life.

How can I contribute?
You can help in several ways. Individuals, families, businesses, corporations and foundations can make donations to the LIFT Campaign through gifts of cash, securities, life insurance, real property, life-income gifts or other deferred gift options. Gifts may also be made as memorials or tributes to loved ones. You may make a one time donation or pledge an annual gift for over up to five years.

Donations can be made to LIFT, Inc. c/o Wilbraham Public Library, 25 Crane Park Drive, Wilbraham, MA 01095.

For more information contact Library Director Christine Bergquist at 596-6141 ext. 105.

Click Here To View All Photos Of The Renovation Process

photo slideshow.





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