Q. What is the Futures campaign?
The Futures campaign is a capital fundraising effort that seeks to address a severe shortage of space at the Scranton Memorial Library with a right-sized facility that will meet the 21st-century library needs of today’s and tomorrow’s patrons.
Q. What are “21st-century library services”?
The phrase “21st-century library services” refers to the evolving ways libraries provide resources and services to meet the community’s needs for education, information and personal development, including recreation and leisure. These services include technology support such as hands-on electronic device and software instruction; downloadable material such as eBooks, and digital magazines and providing devices such as eBook readers for loan to patrons.
They demonstrate the shift in library services from physical to virtual, from individual to community, from collections to creation, and from archival to portal.
Q. Why does Madison need an expanded library?
Connecticut State Library Guidelines call for the library in a town the size of Madison to provide a minimum of 1.5 square feet of floor space per capita. Today, with a population of 18,297, Madison should have a library comprising at least 27,445 square feet. At 17,114 square feet, our current building offers only .9 square foot per capita, falling more than 10,000 square feet short of the minimum, and leaving no room for population growth.
It has been 27 years since our library has been expanded. In that time, the population of Madison has grown by 18%. The current shortage of space translates into conflicts and compromises for library patrons and staff on a daily basis. Library programs compete with community groups for meeting space. Those looking for a quiet place to read compete with study groups trying to work together. A lack of floor space in our children’s area has resulted in a cramped layout and book shelves that are too high for younger patrons to reach. Our teen visitors do not have enough study space, computers or materials to serve their needs.
Q. Are people really using the library when everything is online?
Yes, the usage of the Scranton Memorial Library is consistently above the state average making the expansion of our facility increasingly critical. During fiscal year 2015-2016:
- 420 community groups met at the library.
- 6,789 adults and children attended 566 library programs.
- Our computers were used 23,341 times (usage is up 72% in the last four years!)
- There were 163,730 loans of library materials.
Q. Does the proposed expansion allow for future population growth?
Yes, the Futures plan was designed to accommodate Madison’s population growth well into the future. The increased space provides room for greater flexibility within the footprint to allow for changes in library service for decades to come.
Q. Does the proposed expansion include a parking lot?
Yes! A parking lot that will accommodate approximately 45-50 cars is included in the site plan.
Q. Will a bigger building require additional staff?
We do anticipate hiring some new staff members but the building design also allows us to utilize the current staff more efficiently. By moving staff offices out of the basement and siting them next to service areas, it will be easier to monitor and respond to patron needs without having to add too many new employees.
Q. How do you expect to pay for first-year start-up expenses and increased maintenance costs?
Over the years, the library has accumulated a privately-raised “rainy day” fund for unbudgeted capital expenses. The fund is of sufficient size to cover both start-up and higher operating costs for this project. We will replenish and add to this fund through our annual fundraising efforts in order to continue to offset any increases to our operating budget.
Q. Physically and aesthetically, will the building fit in with the rest of downtown?The architects designed the building specifically to be compatible with its Wall Street neighbors. The library sits on a 1.8-acre lot that includes four existing buildings. In an effort to preserve the look of the original streetscape:
- One historic building (the old post office) will be moved forward on the property.
- The façade of the Hull Office Building, a 96-year-old brick-faced structure located directly behind the library on Wall Street, will be retained.
- A residential duplex built in 1984 will be demolished to make room for onsite parking.
- The library also owns a large white house at 24 Wall Street. This structure will remain and is not affected by the current plan.
- The original library entrance facing the Boston Post Road will be restored by returning the steps and light fixtures to their original positions.
As with any building, final choices in design elements and building materials will be vetted with the proper Town agencies prior to construction.
Q. Does the plan incorporate any “green” or energy saving components?
The Futures plan will incorporate “green” components and building practices that will qualify the new library for LEED Silver status. Specific energy saving components are yet to be determined.
Q. What is included in an expanded library that cannot be accommodated in the current building?
An expanded library provides space and infrastructure for the 21st-century library services that the people, organizations and businesses of Madison deserve.
- Additional meeting rooms for community and study groups.
- Improved 90-seat program room located on the main floor with the ability to be utilized after library hours.
- Completely remodeled and expanded Children’s area with a dedicated story time and craft room, child-friendly shelving, and early literacy exploration stations.
- Separate state-of-the-art Teen department.
- Adult quiet reading room.
- More accessible shelving and browsing in all areas.
- Approximately 45 on-site parking spaces.
Q. When will the expansion be complete?
Assuming a successful referendum vote in early 2017, final design and construction should be complete mid-to-late 2019.
ABOUT THE FUNDING
Q. How much money needs to be raised?
The total project cost is $15 million. Based on our current fundraising efforts, we are asking the Town to approve a bond figure of $9.1 million.
Q. How will this bond impact my taxes?
Residents can expect a tax increase of about $80 per year on a home valued at $400,000. This is less than $7 per month.
Q. Can this expansion be completed without using town funding?
By definition, a public library is built and operated with public funds; Scranton Memorial Library receives 85% of its operating budget from the town of Madison. However, the Futures campaign has acquired and is actively seeking additional donations and grants that will lower the amount provided by the Town.
Q. How much money has been raised so far?
- $9 million bond from the Town of Madison
- $1 million State Library construction grant.
- $1 million State construction bond.
- $1 million from a private foundation.
- $2 million in private pledges and donations
Q. What contributes to the cost of library construction?
Constructing and equipping a public library are unique in a number of ways. The load capacity of a public library is higher than other public buildings, at 150 lb. per square foot, to accommodate the weight of book collections. Furnishings and equipment must be of sufficient quality to withstand heavy use for an extended time.
Q. Can the scope of the expansion be reduced to cut costs?
The Library Board of Trustees and staff have worked with library building consultants and architects to reduce the scope in both size and cost of the 2008 proposal, which in today’s dollars would now be over $20 million. By comparison, the current total project proposal is $15 million.
Space has been planned efficiently and cost-effectively while significantly improving library service to the community and allowing for future growth. Further reductions will diminish the library’s ability to provide the services needed to keep Madison a desirable 21st-century community. Further, if the plan falls below the State Library minimum of 1.5 square feet per capita, we may no longer qualify for the $1 million grant that has been approved for the project.
Q. How can I support the Futures campaign?
As a financial supporter, please consider what the library means to you, your family and your community, and then give as generously as your heart and resources dictate.
You may make a one-time lump sum gift, or make a pledge over a period of three years. Payments may be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or in annual increments. You may also give or pledge stock or bonds or make a planned gift. Please contact our Library Director, Beth Crowley, for details.