Pictured: City Mgr. Robert W. Healy, MBLC Chair John Arnold, Camb. Public Library (CPL) Dir. Susan Flannery, CPL Board of Trustees Chair Janet Axelrod. Middle: Deputy City Mgr. Rich Rossi, MBLC Exec. Dir. Robert Maier. Back: Alan Burne, Library Expansion Project Mgr. Cliff Gayley and Phillip Gray, Architects/William Rawn Associates.
The City of Cambridge has been awarded $10,698,495 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MLBC) for its new Main Library Construction Project. This is the single, largest grant awarded to any Massachusetts city or town for a library construction project.
For nearly a decade, the city administration, elected officials, library trustees and staff, and community leaders have envisioned a state-of-the-art main library for the city. The estimated $60 million construction project is under way. City officials anticipate opening the new and restored library in the last quarter of 2008.
”We were extremely pleased to learn that the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners would be awarding us a second grant for this very important community project,” said Cambridge City Manager Robert W. Healy. ”Library services are amongst the most valued by our Cambridge citizens, and this new facility will aptly serve future generations of Cambridge residents.”
The 102,000 square-foot new library will be fully accessible for those with disabilities and will include: a newly created young adult area; silent reading room; a climatically controlled Cambridge History Room; spaces for public meetings and library programs; a spectacular children’s room; significantly more public access computers; a computer training center; greatly increased seating and places to work; as well as room to grow for at least 20 years. It will also include a 47,000 square foot, underground parking garage for 70 cars and a 350,000-gallon stormwater retention tank under what is now the historic building’s front lawn. Once the garage is completed, soil will be placed over it to allow for new landscaping, including several large caliper trees, to be planted.
Throughout the initial design process, the architects have been guided by the requirements for excellent library services and the history of the library building, which is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and is located in a designated historic district.
The development of the site, the inter-relationship between the library, the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School and the neighborhood have all been of critical importance to the design of the new Main Library - a “green” building that will be:
A place of pride for the City of Cambridge;
A library that serves Cambridge citizens;
A creative balance between old and new;
A harmonious relationship between the library building and the park;
A strengthened relationship between the CRLS and the Library.
”The new 21st century Main Library promises to be the civic and intellectual heart of our community. Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, that promise will be kept,” said Susan Flannery, Director of Cambridge Public Library.
The Cambridge Public Library has temporarily moved its operations to the Longfellow School, 359 Broadway, for the duration of the construction of the new library.
Last year, the Library served an estimated 66,000 customers, loaned out nearly one million items and hosted 53,000 attendees for various programs. Cambridge residents logged nearly 100,000 hours on library computers.
The construction of the new library and extensive renovations to the existing facilities are being financed through a combination of tax-supported bond proceeds ($63,285,495), State Grants ($6,651,647 & $4,046,848 for a total of $10,698,495), Community Preservation Act Funds ($900,000), and Sewer Bonds whose debt service will be financed through the sewer service charge ($2,700,000) for a total budget to date of $77,583,990.
“This latest grant to be awarded to Cambridge for the construction of our new library is of great significance,” said Janet Axelrod, Chair of the Cambridge Public Library Board of Trustees. It underscores the library's importance to our city as well as to the state, and reinforces our plans to construct a world class institution to benefit our city's people. The Cambridge Public Library's Trustees are grateful to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for the support they have deemed our project worthy to receive as we acknowledge the centrality of their grants to the successful completion of the library's mission. Cambridge wishes to convey a warm thank you to all who are involved in making the award, with the assurance that it will be used in the spirit with which it is given.”