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How will the new library be paid for?

The total cost for a new Sharon library is approximately $18 million.  Sharon is receiving a grant of approximately $7.5 million from the State payable over a number of years.  The remaining approximately $10.5 million is Sharon’s responsibility.  Please refer to our website to find out how you can donate to the new library.

Why should I donate money?

Today’s community library is not simply a repository for books, magazines, and videos;  but a resource for information, literacy, lifelong enrichment, and social interaction.  Your donation will help fund items not budgeted by the town;  some examples might include a piano for the Community Room or a 3-D printer in the technology space.  In a world of growing inequality, help bring our community together.  Be a good neighbor!  Donate!

Why is it important to build green (LEED) buildings?

As societies grow and develop, there is a great impact on our natural resources, including energy.  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the world’s most widely adopted green building rating system.  By designing and erecting LEED-certified buildings, we lessen buildings’ day-to-day operational costs and save resources. 

The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program incentivizes LEED Certification by offsetting the cost of green construction at the certification level specified by the town.  Sharon’s project is expecting to obtain LEED Silver Certification.  If this is accomplished, the Town will be awarded an additional $187,149 after certification is complete, approximately one year after the library opens.  Financially, this translates to a potential total grant award of $7,673,092  ($7,485,943 base grant award plus $187,149 for LEED Silver Certification).

Why does Sharon need a new library?

  • Current Building is Not Large Enough: Based on the current circulation, population, and services offered, our library is 50% too small by national and state standards. The current library is sized for a town of 8,000.  Sharon’s population is now over 18,000 and the current building is not large enough to house programming, collections, technology, and meeting room spaces required in a 21st century library. Program attendance increased significantly by 230% from 2015 to 2017. 
  • Parking: The new library will have 31 on-site library parking spaces.  That is 31 spaces more than the current library.
  • Emergency Port-In-The-Storm: The library is a warming, cooling, and technology center for Sharon.  Power is out – where do you go? The library! The new library will serve people in crisis by providing electricity and access to the internet.
  • Fully Available to All: Unlike other municipal buildings, the public library building, contents, staff, and technology are available to all.
  • ADA compliant:  The current library does not have hearing and sight challenged or full wheelchair accommodations.
  • Sharon – a highly literate community: Investing in the library makes a statement about Sharon’s commitment to literacy, culture, and access to information and education.

What are the facility issues at the current library? 

  • The original 1914 Carnegie building has structural damage to its main load-bearing beam. This has caused the floor to sink in both directions from the front entryway and reduced the load-bearing capacity to 60 pounds per square foot. With the addition of lally columns in June 2018, the structural engineer authorized the beam’s load-bearing capacity at 100 pounds per square foot, 50 pounds less than the required 150 pounds per square foot for a library.
  • Despite years of regular repairs, the 1960 and 1979 additions have serious issues with roof and skylight water leaks. The lower level floods due to inadequately-sized drains that were installed at the base of the handicapped ramp in 1960 and 1979.
  • According to the hazardous materials report by Smith and Wessel, Inc., asbestos is prevalent throughout the floors, roof, and walls.
  • The building is not fully ADA compliant.
    • The non-ADA-compliant elevator uses parts that are obsolete and not obtainable.
    • The library is not easily accessible for people with mobility issue
  • Infrastructure issues include: electrical capacity at its limit; problems with technology arising from an outdated server system with no ability to either sustain or expand its technology; the lack of a fire suppression system; and despite regular repairs, septic (which will not pass Title 5 inspection,) HVAC, and structural issues.
  • Sharon’s current population is approximately 18,000 people. The building was built for a population of 8,000 and cannot accommodate spaces that are commonly used in a 21st century library, or a larger collection.
  • The library cannot be expanded on its present site of 14,375 square feet. The Carnegie Library must conform to federal, state, and local historic regulations, which will not permit a three-story building on the current site.
  • According to original Trustee comments from December 1979, the addition was a compromise and “people should not have great expectations which we are unable to meet.” Statements about the addition are as follows: “HVAC design should be reviewed as a preventative measure, the meeting room is too small, the building should have been planned for computer/terminal facilities out 5 to 10 years, the circulation desk is not functional as designed, the Director’s office is in a poor location and should be more accessible by the public.”

What are the next steps for the Foundation?

Fundraising efforts to achieve our goal of $1 million are underway.  To donate to the campaign, please click here. If you would like to volunteer to help with the campaign, please message us via this form.

Where will the new library be located?

The new library will be located at 1 School Street. The current location cannot be used due to historical and space constraints. The new location (visible from the current site) was approved by the Select Board and by Town Meeting vote.

Why can’t we use the Community Center for library programming?

A mission of public libraries is to provide meeting spaces, including a community room.  Community space located at the library is required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The library’s community room is always free for non-profit groups;  the Sharon Community Center charges a fee for the ballroom.

How does the new building compare with the current building?

Current Building Proposed Building
ADA Compliant       X        
LEED Certification (Healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving green building)        X        
Ample Parking        X        
Community Room Available After Hours        X        
Dedicated Tween Area       X        
Dedicated Teen Area        X        
Sized for Sharon’s Current Population       X        
Quiet Study Rooms       X        
Up-to-date Computer Infrastructure       X        
Structural Issues              X
Adaptable for Future Needs       X        
Business Pod for Conference Calls and Video Chats       X        
Large Meeting Room/English for Speakers of Other Languages Room       X        
Self Checkout Station       X        

What has the Town already approved and what remains?

May 5, 2014 – The Town voted at Town Meeting to proceed with a feasibility study and to allow the Trustees to apply for a state grant for this purpose, and to allow the appropriation of $25,000 towards the study.

Nov 17, 2014 – The Town voted at town meeting to authorize the Trustees to proceed with the feasibility study using the $25,000.

May 2, 2016 – The Town voted at Town Meeting to authorize the Trustees to approve the library project and to apply for, accept, and expend any state grants for an approved library project.

May 1, 2017 – The Town voted at Town Meeting to accept the preliminary design for the proposed building.

May 6, 2019  – The Town voted at Town Meeting to approve the borrowing of funds to build the new library at 1 School Street. 

May 21, 2019 – The Town voted at Town Election to approve an exemption from the provisions of Proposition 2 1/2 in order to borrow funds for a new library.

What will happen to the current building?

The Select Board has created a Library Reuse Committee to help the Town determine what will happen with the current building. Please refer all questions and comments about this topic to that committee.

Will additional library staff be required at the larger location?

No. The grant was approved at the current staffing level.