Q1. Why do we need a larger Library?

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.)

Q2: Why has this location been selected for the new building?

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 Library Trustees 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 close-by. 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 connectivity and sense of community. There is room on the property for other future development. And there is no cost to purchase new land (already owned by the town), consequently, no additional land would be removed from the property tax rolls.

Q3. How long will this new library serve our community?


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. Importantly, a keen eye has been focused on choosing good quality, durable building materials.

Moreover, 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 and be esthetically pleasing for multiple generations.

Q4. How long will it take to build?

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.

Q5. How will the proposed bond affect my taxes?

A. The cost to construct the new Library has been estimated by the architects to be approximately $3,844,377 (reflects an estimated 7% increase in building material costs), a more than 4% decrease in costs from March 2019. Private donations ($241,000 in cash with over $200,000 in pledges to be collected yet in 2019 and then 2020 & 21. Additional money will continue to be sought from donations and grants to offset the cost of the project. 

The bond amount presented to voters in March of 2019 was $3,992,641. For the March 10, 2020 vote, the Library – Community Center bond will be nearly the same. 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 propertyor $3 a month. The interest payment and, therefore, your tax payment going toward this bond, will go down over the period of the bond.

To calculate your annual tax payment, enter the assessed property value of your home and your annual taxes going to the Library bond repayment will display.

Q6. How will the larger Library affect operating costs in the future?

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.Melissa Huette our Library Director has indicated to the Select Board that staff workload and workflow will be studied during the first year to determine what changes in staffing will be needed. Increased operating costs will at least partially be offset by durable materials and energy-efficient HVAC systems including the potential for solar panels.

Q7. Will there be more parking?

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.

Q8. Who will benefit from this new Library?

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.

Q9. Why do we need to build a larger building when libraries are going to be obsolete in the future  because information can now be obtained on the internet and books are available in other formats and on electronic devices?

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 and research data 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 communityand 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.

With increased space more programs sponsored by the Library can be accommodated. For example, space for tutoring, for English as a second language classes, for Barrington school students to meet to work on after-school projects – list is long. Currently, more than a dozen different programs are done each week.

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?”

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 or grandchildren, the children across or down the street, your friends and neighbors – all those Barrington residents who look to the Library as one avenue to improve the quality of their life. 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. We enjoy hearing community feedback.

Thank you,

Barrington Library Foundation