Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most common questions people have been asking about the project to construct a new library for Barrington. Please feel free to share your comments or further questions through our Contact Us form.

What is the difference between the “Barrington Public Library” and the “Barrington Public Library and Community Center”?

The most simple and honest answer is, there is absolutely no difference. Whether the Barrington Public Library includes the words “Community Center” in its name or not, the function of the library remains the same. While many people associate libraries with checking out books, the resources, services, and activities don’t stop there, and never have. A public library is an information hub and gathering place—the town’s “living room.” It is a place, free of cost and welcoming to all, where community members can come together, have equal access to information, participate in a wide range of programs, and build friendships.

At one time (1954–1982) the Barrington Public Library and the Barrington School Library were one. Why can’t that happen again?

Public libraries serve the needs of the general public. School libraries serve the needs of their students and teachers. Each type of library collects resources and provides services especially designed for their specific clientele and has library staff with specialized training for their type of library. Although some of the services provided by school and public libraries seem to overlap, the missions, goals, collections and activities of these two types of library programs are quite different. School libraries are only open during school hours and are not open during the summer or other school breaks. In addition, access to school libraries by the general public may be limited by schools’ security needs.

How much have building costs risen since the March 2020 warrant article for a new Barrington Public Library was voted on?

Building cost changes that accurately reflect the change in the cost of building a new library from our warrant article in 2020 to the present are challenging to come by. The reported change in Strafford County construction costs from 2020–2022 was 35.6% ( – New Hampshire Housing Market Report June 2022). By that figure, a ballpark estimate for a building cost of approximately $4M in 2020 would now be about $5.4M.

How did the cost estimate for the proposed new BPL in 2020 compare to other libraries being built in NH at approximately the same time?

This answer is framed with information gathered before the pandemic and the financial chaos of the last several years occurred.

There were 6 town libraries—for which cost data could be found online (in library trustee and / or building committee minutes}—built since 2013. They were as follows along with accompanying construction cost figures from the year in which they were built:

TownYearSquare FeetCost/SF
North Conway20196,600$379
Barrington2020 proposal13,120$293
Craftsman Nat’l
Bldg Cost Man.

*2018 manual accessible online; cost estimate based on 2018 figures plus 5%/year + 1% area up-fees. Also, note that the Manual costs do not include HVAC and fire mitigation.

What are the choices for the location of the new library?

The Ramsdell Lane location was chosen by the Trustees of the Barrington Public Library about 15 years ago after investigating 11 possible sites in Barrington. The Trustees and Foundation are actively seeking public input regarding location. A community listening session is planned for March 25, 2023, at which the Barrington Library Foundation will be gathering community input on location, among other library construction topics. While the Ramsdell Lane location is still available, in 2023 the decision on location has some added complexity. Voters of the Town of Barrington will be voting on March 28 on whether to establish a Town Center TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District. A TIF District is a powerful economic development tool for funding improvements which support commercial development in the downtown area. Building the library in the area close to the Routes 9 and 125 intersection could support a goal of growing the Town Center.

The Barrington Library and Community Center proposals on the 2019 and 2020 municipal ballots projected the size of the building at 13,120 square feet. Where did this figure come from?

In 2017–18 the Foundation and Trustees studied the annually updated 200+ item database maintained by the New Hampshire State Library Association.

With this powerful database one can examine how the other 219 town libraries in NH compare to our library using various metrics. For example, the Barrington Public Library floor space is 3740 SF. Per capita that is 0.4 SF, or per user it is 0.93 SF. By comparison, the average floor space of the other 219 NH town libraries offer an average of 1.5 SF per resident, or 2.35 SF per library patron—both measures twice that of our library.

An ideal size for our current population would be 1.5 square feet for each town resident, or, to make it easy, 1.5 x 9500 = 14,250 square feet.

For more information, please take a look at Designing a New Library: 2000 through 2020.