The new building design and a new site, 1 School Street, was approved by town vote on May 1, 2017. A State grant for public library construction funds was approved by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) on July 13, 2017 for $7.5 million.
Funds from the grant are expected to be allocated within the next two years. Once MBLC makes the grant announcement, the Town will have six months to approve the additional funds that will be needed to complete construction. In summary, the state will provide Sharon $7.48 million towards a $17.75 million project. The Town would need to approve $10.26 million.
However, the Library Foundation is committed to defraying the Town’s cost by raising at least $1 million through it’s Campaign for the Sharon Public Library.
The present Library building, while beloved by many, is no longer adequate to meet the growing and diverse needs of our residents.
The plans for the new building include:
- Two fully accessible and welcoming floors
- A technology-rich resource with 39 public computers to capture the full potential of our digitally-driven age
- A roomy, playful, and educational environment with dedicated spaces for our children, tweens, and teens
- A place for quiet study or group collaboration, with four study rooms
- A hub for small business and local entrepreneurs with a “Business Pod” that will have the technology needed for conference calls or Skype sessions
- Spacious and comfortable, with the correct amount of space for the collections, programs, and services
- Reconfigurable, with a 120-seat meeting room that can convert into two separate rooms and be used after the library closes
Among the other features for the 1 School Street site are:
The new building will have 31 parking spaces on site including handicapped parking.
The new library will be completely accessible for patrons with physical, hearing, and sight challenges.
The library is a warming, cooling, and technology center for Sharon. Power is out—where do you go? The library! A generator will allow the new library to serve people in crisis offering electricity and access to the internet.
Sharon prides itself as a community concerned with the environment. Sustainability is essential to any new library building project across the country. The library’s building plans call for Silver Level LEED certification with a building that will be energy and water efficient. The building will have integrated and climate-controlled energy and electrical systems that are expandable to meet future needs. Additionally, windows will be fully insulated. Water consumption, will be monitored for efficiency and use reduction.
Mobility within walls—that’s how Sharon’s new library will live. Shelving, service desks, and furniture will be movable, in order to accommodate larger programming or reconfiguration as the community’s needs change. The electrical, wiring, fiber, and data port infrastructure will also accommodate future changes in technology. The building is being built with adaptability at its core. If space becomes an issue, the basement level of the building will be suitable for expansion.