Tell Us More About the Library Project!

If you would like a question answered about the Athol Public Library expansion/renovation project, please email or send to: 568 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331 and we’ll answer your question in a future column!

Question: The library was just renovated recently, wasn’t it?

The Trustees and Staff have done an excellent job over the years of maintaining the building and minor repairs and improvements have been made regularly.  The architect and project manager remarked that they were hard pressed to find any structural cracks which is why we are planning to save both parts of the building.

However, there has been only one major renovation done since the building was constructed in 1916 and that was an addition and interior renovation in 1965, 45 years ago.   That addition was designed to provide library service for the next 20 years and we have long outgrown the space.

Two smaller improvements were completed when the elevator was added onto the outside of the building in 1988 (funded with library trust funds and a state grant) and in 2005 when a USDA grant together with donations and CIP funds spruced up the Activities Room with a new kitchen, paint and flooring.  Again, regular maintenance like painting, a new roof, carpeting and masonry work have been done to keep the building in good condition.


Question: I notice a lot of students going into the library after school.  I remember when I was a high school student back in the day, there were tables for us but we were always getting told to be quiet.  What are the plans to accommodate all the kids?

I remember those days myself.  The situation has only gotten worse because we have had to remove most of those tables to make room for all the new formats like DVDs, cassettes, audio books and computers.  The library has a very active teen advisory board called ATAC who meet monthly to plan various activities and select materials for their peers.

During our focus groups to formulate our long range plan, it has been the dream and desire of this age group to have a space to call their own.  In the new library, they will have their own enclosed room with computers for homework or surfing, comfy chairs for socializing or doing group work, tables for spreading out work and a gaming station where they can use the Wii they currently own for bowling or other tournaments.  The Young Adult librarian will have an adjacent office to meet with teens individually to assist them and to be available for supervision of the room. 

With the new flexible meeting room space planned, they should easily be able to book space for the many programs they enjoy, such as cooking, crafts and book discussions.  It will truly be a ‘dream come true’ for our youth with room for all.