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How will the new library be paid for?

The total cost for a new Sharon library is approximately $17.5 million.  Sharon is approved for a grant of approximately $7.5 million from the State.  This means that Sharon will receive the $7.5 million as soon as it is  released in the State budget and Sharon begins the project. The remaining approximately $10 million is to be raised by Sharon.  The Sharon Public Library Foundation is undergoing a capital campaign to raise funds, which will be applied towards Sharon’s share. Please refer to our website to find out how you can help us reach our goal.

Why should I donate money?

Now is the time to build a new library due to state grant funding and Sharon’s needs. 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.  Sharon has already been awarded a grant which we will lose if we don’t build now.

Your donation will help lower the funding requirement.


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 with 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 next steps to make a new library happen?

Funding for a new library must be approved through Town Meeting and then a Town vote. To make this happen, vote YES!

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. This location (visible from the current site) was approved by the Selectmen 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.

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.

Future Town Meeting – The Town will vote to approve a debt exclusion for the total sum of $17.7 million of which the state will pay $7,485,943 and the Foundation will pay as much as possible. (Your contribution will add to this amount)

Future Town Election – This election will take place after the Future Town Meeting and will be a ballot vote for the debt exclusion.  Vote YES!

What will happen to the current building?

The selectmen have 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.