Planning for a 21st Century Library:
The J. V. Fletcher Library is now thirty-three years out from its most recent renovation /expansion. That expansion and the multi-year Library Beautification Project have served the Town of Westford well. The Board of Library Trustees and Library Administration have the responsibility to continue planning, and to open a discussion on a new Library chapter — a 21st Century Library. This planning initiative began in 2012.
For the first time in 2014, municipalities with populations over 10,000 were eligible to apply for a Planning and Design grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Working from 2012 through December 2013, the Library Trustees and Director produced the following grant application for a Feasibility Study, with a $50,000 grant awarded in June 2014, funds which were matched by the Town.
PLANNING AND DESIGN GRANT 2014 APPLICATION:
[WESTFORD planning & design application 1.3.pdf]
PLANNING AND DESIGN GRANT CALENDAR:
The Library Building Program was approved by the Board of Library Trustees and submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for review and approval in a FINAL format, for inclusion in the competitive MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION GRANT round, due January 26, 2017.
LIBRARY BUILDING PROGRAM SQ. FT. BREAKDOWN:
MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM GRANT SUBMITTAL
2021 LIBRARY BUILDING PROJECT POWERPOINT:
Westford Waitlisted for Library Construction Grant:
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) voted to place the J. V. Fletcher Library on a waitlist for a Provisional Construction Grant. The grant is part of the state-funded MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM (MPLCP) which helps libraries across the state meet the growing demand for library services with expanded and improved library facilities. Thirty-three libraries completed the grant round process in 2017 and through a rigorous review, 9 libraries were identified to receive grants and 24 were placed on a waitlist (Westford is now number 5 on the waitlist). Waitlisted libraries will receive construction grants as the funding becomes available either through the MBLC’s existing bond bill or a future bond authorization. This means Westford could be in line for $7.8 million of matching funding – the notification anticipated in July 2023 -followed by two community votes to approve funds, and the library renovation/expansion in the 2024-2026 time frame. Formal Town review will occur and Town residents will vote on funding both at a future Town Meeting and at the ballot. The Westford Library has a strong history of gifts, donations, benefactors and grants:
- 1797 – Social Library founded by 25 citizens
- 1859 – Social Library donated to the Town
- 1873 – Agricultural Library donated to the Town
- 1895 – Jonathan Varnum Fletcher donated 75% of the funds to build a new library on the Common
- 1963 – Basement Children’s Room funded by J. V. Fletcher’s great grand-daughter Marian F. Winnek
- 1969 – Renovation/addition funded by federal LSCA Title II grant
- 1979 – Bookmobile funded by federal LSCA Title I grant
- 1988 – Renovation/addition awarded Massachusetts Public Library Construction Project (MPLCP) grant award
- 2007-2012 – Library Beautification funded by the Friends of the J. V. Fletcher Library, Inc.
- 2017 – Westford wait listed for MPLCP grant award of almost $8 million