Library Expansion Funding Goes To Voters in May

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Hopkinton Library was the topic of discussion at a meeting at the State House on April 2nd with representatives from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), Representative Carolyn Dykema and Senator Karen Spilka. In March, Hopkinton moved up to #3 on the waiting list for its $4.5 million state Library Construction Grant. A bond bill including $150 million for Public Library Construction has passed the House of Representatives, and is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by the Governor by the end of June. With the state grant expected as soon as July 2014, the community will be asked to approve funding for the library at this year’s Annual Town Meeting on Monday, May 5, 2014 and Annual Town Election on Monday May 19. If Hopkinton residents approve funding for the renovation and expansion of our library at Town Meeting on May 5 and at the Town Election on May 19, then Hopkinton may proceed to signing a grant agreement with MBLC in July 2014. Once a grant agreement is signed, Hopkinton will get its first payment of the $4.5 million grant and the town may begin the design refinement and Town approvals process as soon as July 2014. Construction, beginning in 2015, will take about one year, and Hopkinton’s newly renovated and expanded library is targeted to open at the end of 2016!

Hopkinton residents already have shown an outpouring of support for the library renovation and expansion. Hopkinton Public Library Foundation (HPLF) has raised $340,000 in gifts and pledges since the beginning of 2013. In 2013, numerous fundraising events and activities collectively raised about $65,000. In addition, last fall, HPLF launched its “1000 Homes for Hopkinton Library” Challenge. Over 135 individuals, families, business and local groups have pledged or contributed $1000.00 (or more). To date, 1000 Homes for Hopkinton Library has raised $275,000 toward its goal of raising $1 million for the new library.

Hopkinton’s historic library was built in 1895. The library’s only renovation and expansion took place in 1967, and brought the library to its current size of 5,700 square feet. In 2010, the Town appointed the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) to conduct a feasibility study and begin planning for improvement to Hopkinton Library. During 2010-2011, the PBC sought input and feedback from the community on the library plans at 12 public meetings and 20 Information Sessions and presentations to the community and local boards, committees and organizations. In May 2011, Hopkinton Annual Town Meeting approved the preliminary plans for the library’s renovation and expansion. These plans, and a virtual tour, are available online at HPLFinc.org and hopktinonlibrary.org. In July 2011, Hopkinton was awarded the $4.5 million Library Construction Grant.

In 2012, the PBC determined that the library was one of 3 municipal buildings that does not meet the current needs of the community. Even without considering the future needs of the library as the town grows, the PBC found that the library needs $1.1 million in repairs just to maintain the existing historic structures.

How much will the renovation and expansion project cost? In 2011, the total cost of the renovation and expansion was projected to be $10.2 million, and included escalation and project contingency costs until 2014. With the addition of escalation and project contingency costs until 2016 (the projected opening date of the new library), the cost is now estimated to be $11.75 million. With the state Library Construction Grant of $4.5 million and private fundraising expected to raise $1 million, the cost to the Town will be reduced to $6.25 million. What does this mean for your household? For the average household, the cost for the first year is approximately $95 in taxes (less than $8 month), starting no earlier than FY 2017, for 20 years. The amount will go down each year over the 20 year period as the town pays back principal on the bond.

Some in the community have asked whether an expanded library is needed. “The mission of the 21st century library goes far beyond lending books and providing print resources,” says Library Director Rownak Hussain. “In this digital era, there is increased demand to provide access to library materials and information in multiple formats. Libraries also provide services for digital literacy which is now essential for accessing and understanding information and for achieving lifelong learning. Libraries serve as a gathering place where people of all ages meet, enjoy a wide variety of educational, historical, musical, cultural and entertaining programs, and have free computer access to the Internet and other electronic tools,” says Library Director Hussain. In fact, use of the library in Hopkinton has increased over the last 5 years. “From 2009-2013, circulation increased 28%, computer use increased 43%, and attendance at our fabulous programs has increased 80%,” says Hussain. The newly renovated and expanded Library may even serve as a much-needed catalyst of economic growth and development in Hopkinton Center. According to a study by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the overall use of library services increases by 30% when a library is renovated and expanded.

The improved 22,000 square foot library will be state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly, yet maintain the character of the original historic building. Once completed, the new library will provide meeting space for community groups and a technology classroom for adults and students alike, and boast spacious, age appropriate Children’s and Young Adult sections including activity and study rooms. The modernized and expanded building will provide up to 38 computers for Internet access and more space to utilize Wi-Fi. The fully accessible building will be able to serve all segments of our community, from infants to seniors, complete with an elevator to access the second floor. Most importantly for Hopkinton, the renovated and expanded library will create a social and intellectual hub for the community. It will provide a space for the community to gather and meet, attend cultural, historical, educational and entertaining programs, access to computers and new technologies, along with expanded access to free print and digital resources.

For more information on the renovation and expansion project, visit HPLFinc.org and hopkintonlibrary.org. Prior to the May 5 Town Meeting and May 19 Town Election, there will be an information session with Johnson Roberts Architects at the library on Wednesday, April 30, at 7:00pm. The expansion and renovation will also be included in Educate Hopkinton’s April 28th “Know Your Vote” Forum at 7 p.m. at HCAM.

Founded in 2011, Hopkinton Public Library Foundation, Inc. (HPLF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission to raise private funds to support the state-of-the-art renovation and expansion of Hopkinton Public Library. HPLF appreciates the Hopkinton community’s tremendous response to date, and asks for the community’s continued support. Gifts in any amount are welcome and appreciated, and are tax-deductible. Contributions can be mailed to P.O. Box 16, Woodville, MA 01784, or made online at www.HPLFinc.org. For more information about 1000 Homes for Hopkinton Library, and the expansion and renovation of Hopkinton Library, please visit our website at www.HPLFinc.org and our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HPLFpage.