Sunday, May 26, 2024

Library Renovation and Addition Project Update

May 28th 2024 Annual Town Meeting article 5 c (Community Preservation Act Projects) will fund $150,000 for rehabilitation and renovation of the Library courtyard, to include design, landscaping, fencing, plantings, seating areas, accessible paths, hardscaping, and regrading to correct water infiltration to the library building.


  • This warrant article will partly fund the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Library Courtyard, an existing community “pocket park” with seating and WiFi access, used by individuals as well as for library programs.
  • The Courtyard improvements are part of a larger addition and renovation project for the library,  in planning since 2017, and expected to break ground in FY 2025.
  • 24 years since the last renovation of the library, plantings have outgrown the space, brickwork has settled to create tripping hazards, and regrading is needed to create proper pitch to shed water away from the building.
  • During early planning for renovation and addition project, public input showed community interest in maintaining and improving outdoor space at the library, as well as honoring the legacy of Margaret Webster, Vineyard resident and groundbreaking figure in the theater. (The “Shakespeare Garden” honoring Margaret Webster was eliminated during the last renovation of the library in 1999).
  • The plans for the addition and renovation of the building were created to maximize the remaining garden space as well as its relationship to the building, both by creating new opportunities for indoor-outdoor programming, and improving views of the garden space from with the building.
  • While the planned addition to the building will encompass a portion of the existing Library Courtyard, a large public outdoor area (approximately 2,000 square feet) will remain. The amount of usable outdoor public space will remain similar, since the current poor layout limits activity to a smaller hedged-in brick patio area.
  • The newly created hardscaped area will adjoin the new community meeting room in the addition. Project planners expect that public use of the garden will increase as it will be available for indoor-outdoor programs.
  • CPC funds will be used for the hardscaping, seating areas, new plantings, accessible paths, and for a new version of the former Shakespeare Garden similar in dimension, but featuring hardier perennial plants.
  • A planted border and fencing will maintain privacy both for library users and for abutters, since the courtyard is in a residential neighborhood.

What is the status and timeline of the planned renovation and addition project for the library?

Town and Library Administration agree that critical repairs to the existing library building and the construction of a meeting room should be combined into a single renovation and addition project, to limit interruptions to library services for the public, as well as achieve significant cost savings. Funds appropriated at the April 2023 Town Meeting are being used for Owner’s Project Management services being provided by CHA Solutions, and to fund a review and assessment of existing conditions for the library building and grounds, completed in January 2024 by Tappe Architects.

Project designers Maryann Thompson, Architects, have produced a detailed schematic design for the addition, with a conceptual design for the courtyard landscaping, and will be completing construction documents for the combined addition and renovation of the existing library building by September 2024.

The project will break ground in FY2025, pending completion of the capital campaign and appropriation of funding for building repairs at a fall/winter Special Town Meeting.

What work needs to be done on the building?

While the building assessment identified no structural concerns, 24 years since the last renovation and addition, the library building has damage and wear, failing systems, and accessibility issues. The renovation will address these issues and make the building more weather-tight and energy efficient. Issues to be addressed include the following:

  • Roof repair and insulation, and preparation for rooftop solar
  • Redesign and replacement of heating & cooling systems, including additional ventilation
  • Update of electrical and plumbing to bring systems up to current codes
  • Bathroom renovation, including correcting accessibility and plumbing issues causing odor problems
  • Replacement of damaged, leaking, and inoperable windows throughout the building
  • Interior painting and floor coverings (not done since the 1999 renovation)
  • Repair and replace ceiling tiles and light fixtures throughout the building that are missing or damaged
  • Repair or removal of masonry chimney (before it manifests as a structural issue)

·        Address issues identified in 2019 Accessibility Survey for building and grounds

·        Other repairs to the building envelope, and environmental upgrades for sustainability

·        Meeting room addition, to include much needed storage and flexible meeting facilities that will position the library to deliver optimal services to our community for years to come

What is the status of the capital campaign for the library addition?

The VHPL Building Fund, a 501c3 nonprofit, has undertaken a Capital Campaign to fund the addition to the building, which will create a 1,200 square foot multipurpose meeting room, significant additional basement space, and make improvements to the reading room and garden area. The campaign has gifts or pledges over $1.5 million to cover the cost of the addition, and the volunteers will continue fundraising through the beginning of construction.

Why can’t the project be funded by grants?

Vineyard Haven will not be eligible for funding through the state Library Construction Grant Program until 2029, and there is no guarantee that the grant program will have funding at that time (projects remain on the waiting list since the 2017 grant round). The library building fund has received a number of generous grants from private foundations for the meeting room addition, and will be seeking grants for some sustainability upgrades.

Why is the Meeting Room addition important?

Since 2007, the Vineyard Haven Public library has experienced more than 300% growth in attendance at adult programs. The library hosts at least 40 events each month for all ages, and attendance has continued to be robust, with more than 7,500 attendees at library programs in FY2024.

The planned community room will have up-to-date technology, ample storage, and appropriate lighting and acoustics. Features will include large windows and doors looking out to the garden, a state-of-the art sound system including an assisted hearing loop, and a large projection screen with high resolution projection system. The project will also include technology and features to allow for quality live streaming of programs for those who can't attend in person.

The room will also be available as a meeting space for area nonprofits, government organizations, and social service providers, and will be used as a collaborative work space for library visitors. Having a large and flexible multipurpose space will allow the library to respond to other community needs, such as serving as cooling center.

Will the Library be open during renovation?

The library building will need to be closed for a period during renovation, but the library will provide services from a temporary location in Tisbury. While some books will be in storage, library patrons will be able to request items from the CLAMS system for pickup in Tisbury. The repairs and addition will be done at the same time to avoid multiple closures.

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