Athol Library Awarded MBLC Construction Grant

Thank you Director Deb Blanchard, Building Committee, and Voters for moving this project forward!

JULY 14, 2011 – Meeting at the Northborough Public Library, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) awarded a grant totaling $4,752,147 to the Athol Public Library for the community’s planned $8.5 million renovation and expansion of the historic Carnegie library.  An additional Green Incentive grant of $200,000 is awarded at the end of the project when the LEEDS certification is earned.

“We are honored and grateful for this wonderful investment by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in our community,” said Library Director Deb Blanchard, who attended the meeting in Northborough. Blanchard was joined at the meeting by Library Trustees Carol Ambrozy and Susie Feldman, as well as George Roix, Linda Oldach and Ben Feldman.

 “We want to thank the MBLC and all of the people who supported our successful grant application effort – volunteers who served on the library building committee, voters, our project manager, our architect, our staff and our trustees,” Blanchard said.

 “We congratulate Everett, Grafton, Granby, Shutesbury, South Hadley, West Springfield and West Tisbury on their awards,” Blanchard added, referring to the other seven recipients among 28 communities that applied for grants. Athol will receive its grant in two parts: $1,335,390 this fiscal year and $3,236,757 effective July 1, 2012.

“Because Athol rallied behind its library project early – especially when voters approved a bond for the town’s cost share of the project – the MBLC was able to award funding to help other library projects in the state move forward this year,” Blanchard said.

“By demonstrating commitment and leadership, Athol has helped other towns and is able to begin its own project implementation right away.”

“This gives us the start-up money to take advantage of the current building climate and move forward,” Blanchard said. “I spoke with Senator Stephen Brewer and he assures me that the money is set aside for us and he will work with the MBLC to get a letter forwarded that states this.  This is truly a wonderful day for Athol and we can’t wait to get started!”

The Athol Public Library – a Carnegie library built in 1918 and expanded in 1965 – plans to renovate its 8,100-square-foot building and expand to approximately 20,000 square feet to meet community-specified priorities, including after-hours meeting rooms, young adult room, quiet study rooms, computer lab and children’s program room.

At the same meeting, the Athol Public Library was awarded $2,500 for a Preservation Grant to begin identifying the value collections in the library and how they can be safely provided for in the new building.