A. Because the current building, at only 3,739 square feet, is far too small to be able to continue to support the high standard of service the Library has consistently provided and to meet the diverse and ever- changing needs and interests of our residents.
The Barrington Public Library has been located for the past 46 years, since 1973, at 105 Ramsdell Lane in a manufactured, metal building initially shared with the former Town Hall offices and Police Department. Since then, our population has quadrupled from approximately 2,000 residents to about 9,000 today. The rate of Barrington's population growth is more than twice that of the state as a whole and the NH Department of Energy and Planning expects it to reach over 10,600 by 2025.
What's more, many of the materials in new formats and equipment (videos, DVDs, computers, copiers and the like) that are now squeezed into the building weren't even conceived of when the Library moved to the current location. Overall and most important, there isn't enough people space to offer a safe, welcoming, and comfortable experience for patrons. (Although The current building is grandfathered, it does not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
A: The Library Trustees and volunteer Building Committee invested more than 10 years investigating 13 possible local sites for a new building, but each was either too expensive, didn't provide enough land, or had terrain or environmental issues. Ultimately, the Ramsdell Lane property was determined to be the most suitable and practical location, and the Select Board voted in 2017 to allow us to develop plans to build there. Children from the Early Childhood Learning Center use the library as it does not have a library of its own. The Recreation Department gym and playing fields and the community playground are also there. Many young parents and grandparents as well bring their children / grandchildren to the Library's Children Story Time, then use the gym for its Rumpus Room or go to the playground - all of which bring Barrington citizens of all ages and walks of life together, fostering a greater sense of community. There is room on the property for other future development. And there is no cost to purchase land. The Town already owns it.
The new Library has been planned to meet the community’s needs for decades. A great deal of flexibility has been incorporated into the design to permit re-arrangement of the space as citizens’ needs, materials, technological and programming requirements may change over time.
Moreover, the quality, durable materials, and energy-saving systems integrated into the building design will provide long-term durability, longevity, energy efficiency (with solar option), and maximum cost containment. Our goal is to build a facility to last multiple generations.
A. Work will begin after the bond is approved, including finalizing the design, specifying materials, etc. Construction will take about 10 months after the ground-breaking which is expected to occur in the fall of 2020. Scheduling has been planned so construction will not interfere with the Recreation Department's Summer Camp. Completion of the building is projected for late summer or early fall of 2020.
A. The cost to construct the new Library has been estimated by the architects to be approximately $4.5 (including site development, landscaping, furnishings, equipment and fees) although final estimates are not yet available and prices have risen about 7% from 2019 projections. Private donations by July 2019 are at nearly $500,000 and which continue to be sought will offset the cost of the project. The bond amount to be presented to voters in March of 2019 was $3,992,641. While certain factors are not yet known, such as the interest rate and length of the bond, it has been estimated that the tax impact would be roughly $36 per year on a $100K property or $3 a month. The interest payment will go down over the period of the bond.
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A. We don’t know at this time whether or by how much certain expenses beyond our control (utilities, health insurance, etc.) may rise in the years ahead. Although the new building will be 3.5 times larger, operating expenses will not rise proportionately. There will be no new staff increases for the near future except added hours for a custodian. Operating costs also will be offset by the durable materials and energy-efficient systems including potential for solar.
A. Yes. There will be 50 parking spaces in two lots (there are currently 12). There is also overflow parking at the ECLC and gym for large evening events in the Program Room.
A. Virtually everyone in Barrington, directly and indirectly. The new Library and Community Center will be a central place (it is very nearly the geographical center of Barrington) where all Barrington residents are welcome and can come or gather for activities that foster friendships, cultural awareness, personal intellectual discovery, and social interaction - all of what sociologists call social capital that builds social infrastructure or community resiliency (or gently blends a group of individuals into a functioning and caring community). It will continue to be a place where young children are introduced to the joy of reading and learning; where older kids develop lifelong skills needed to succeed in school, their future careers and in life; where business people can access software programs and data, use a study room to make calls, host a meeting; where adults can borrow the book they've been wanting to read (in-hand or downloaded); where anyone can participate in a cultural activity or hands-on, how-to class; to get up and out of the house to read the paper or a magazine or to meet friends over a cup of coffee in a friendly, all-are-welcome place. The Barrington Library staff will be able to continue to go the extra mile to offer an extraordinary range of helpful services, from technical instruction for the digitally challenged, tax forms and boating licenses, to help with job applications or tracking down special book requests.
The new Library also will benefit the town as a whole by providing a valuable asset that will make Barrington more appealing as a great place to live and work, by increasing the value of our homes − and as a hub of citizen interaction to encourage a stronger sense of community.
In addition to the personal enrichment the town Library offers to residents, it is also cost effective and provides substantial financial value to the community. A tally of the items and assistance provided in 2018 - including items available to borrow (books, DVDs, music, games, etc.), programs for all ages, hours of computer and Wi-Fi use, and thousands of questions answered − showed a total monetary value of $1,019,976.15. The cost to taxpayers to support the Library in 2018 was $309,156.82. That's a savings of $3.30 for every $1.00 of taxpayer investment! It's also worth noting that the Library also serves the needs of the Early Childhood Learning Center next door saving the cost of additional materials and staffing.
A. Here in Barrington and across the country, public libraries are, in fact, busier than ever. The role of our town Library is rapidly evolving, continually offering more helpful services and programs, access to the latest technology as well as to leisure reading and informational materials in an array of formats. As patrons come to the library for Children's Storytime, to take part in a wide variety of programs, to pick up a movie, or to use a computer, they are also borrowing more printed books! There are many articles and studies (see Eric Klinenberg, "Palaces for the People" or Susan Orlean, "The Library" or Marilyn Johnson, "This Book is Overdue") that provide compelling arguments challenging the notion that computers and various electronic devices are making libraries obsolete.
The Library where they exist around the world has become a center for the community and can serve as a community center IF it has the required space and facilities. In our town's current library our older residents, teens and many interest-focused groups, for instance, have no place to meet. A larger building is necessary to ensure that our Library will be able to keep pace with the community’s changing needs and interests for decades to come.
Occasionally we also hear “I don't use the Library because I can afford to purchase my own books, or "I can get information on my own computer. So why should I support it?” But consider families with children, seniors on fixed incomes, self-employed or our many local small business owners and others who want to stretch their budgets. These are neighbors and friends who may prefer to borrow rather than buy a book or movie, read newspapers or magazines for free instead of signing up for costly subscriptions, or to save a bundle by using the computers at the Library. By supporting the proposed Barrington Public Library and Community Center you can in a simple altruistic fashion support others in our community including your children and future generations. Others may simply want to reduce their carbon footprint; to save a few trees and limit the stuff that ends up in the land fill. The public library is the original recycling center and as it transforms, it is transforming communities!
Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about our fundraising drive or project plan. We enjoy hearing community feedback.
Barrington Library Council