Q&A

Q. 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 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.

Since the Library moved into its current building on Ramsdell Lane 45 years ago, Barrington’s  population has quadrupled from approximately 2,000 residents to about 9,000 today. The rate of the Town’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.

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.  Most important, there isn’t enough people space to offer a welcoming, comfortable experience and to provide the community with access to knowledge and experiences to enrich their lives.

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

A. 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 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.  We’re building a facility to last multiple generations.

Q. 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 2019.  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.

Q. How will the proposed bond affect my taxes?

A.  Private donations will offset the cost of the project. The bond to be presented to voters in March 2019 will not exceed $4.5 million which includes site development, landscaping, furnishings, equipment, moving costs, fees, and the usual contingency funds for unanticipated expenses that may arise.  The Town Treasurer has calculated that a 15-year bond at a 3.2% interest rate would be about $120 per year for a $300K property, the cost of a pizza once a month.  The amount will diminish over the period of the bond.

Q. 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 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.

Q. 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.

Q. Who will benefit from this new Library?

A.  Virtually everyone. The new Library will be a central place that fosters cultural awareness, personal intellectual discovery and social interaction. Where young children are introduced to the joy of reading. Where older kids develop lifelong skills to succeed in school, their future careers, and in life. Where business people can access a host of software programs and data. Where adults can borrow the book they’ve been wanting to read (in-hand or downloaded), 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, and to meet friends over a cup of coffee in a friendly, everyone’s-welcome  place.

Last year, for example, the Library sponsored 562 programs. Residents of all ages visited the Library 46,301 times, and borrowed over 85,000 books and varied items. The Library staff will continue to go the extra mile to offer an extraordinary range of additional, 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 2017 – 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 $1,173,121.

The cost to taxpayers to support the Library in 2017 was $300,918.  That’s a savings of nearly $3.00 for every $1.00 of taxpayer investment!

Q. 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 to take part in a program, to pick up a movie, or to use a computer, they are also borrowing more printed books! There are many articles on the internet that provide compelling arguments challenging the notion that computers and various electronic devices are making libraries obsolete.

The Barrington Library has become the community’s center of personal enrichment and social interaction. Older residents, teens and many interest groups, for instance, have no place to meet. The larger building is necessary to ensure that our Library will be able to keep pace with the community’s changing needs and interests in the decades to come.

Occasionally we also hear “I don’t use the Library because I can afford to purchase my own books so why should I support it?” or “I can get the information I need on my own computer.” 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. 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! Like no other institution, our public library serves the entire community with free and equal access to all:  the youngest and oldest, richest and poorest, brilliant or modest in intellect, and everyone in between.


Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about our fundraising drive or project plan. We enjoy hearing community feedback.

Thank you,

Barrington Library Council