Building project

The Montague Public Libraries are applying for state funding to expand the Carnegie Library or build a new library in downtown Turners Falls.

Next up: community forums

on Zoom — Tue 12/12, 6-7 pm
in person — Wed 12/13, 6-8 pm @ Discovery Center

Love the Montague Libraries? Join us for a community forum on the future of the Carnegie Library.

Register for the Zoom forum

The in-person event (12/13) will be followed by a reception where participants can chat with the libraries’ trustees and library director.

At this forum we will:

  • Review the current conditions of the Carnegie Library.
  • Go over the state construction program timeline and application process.
  • Highlight the community feedback we have gathered so far.
  • Answer questions and listen to your input.
community forum

Project timeline

We are in the Application Phase of the project, and will be until Fall 2024. If we are awarded the grant at that time, we embark on the Planning & Design Phase.

completed check underway underway future future
check Spring 2023 Submit Letter of Intent

Notified the state that we plan to apply for the library construction grant from the MBLC (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners).

Submission requirements included a checklist of eligibility, a brief statement of need, and a letter on official municipal letterhead signed by municipal and library officials stating support.

check Summer 2023 Hire consultant for application process

In consultation with the Town Planner, and following the recommendation of the MBLC grant administrators, we hired library consultant Barbara Friedman to help us navigate the application process.

check 10/1/23 Submit Library Strategic Plan

Strategic plan for FY2025

underway Fall 2023 Request community input

We ran a public survey for all of October, soliciting online and paper responses, in English and Spanish.

Our consultant facilitated three focus groups, two with the public (one online, one in person) and one with library staff. We invited a representative cross-section to seek input from a variety of perspectives, including: disabled person, downtown business owner, retiree, educator, teen, home schooler, green energy advocate.

In December we'll be running a pair of community forums, one via Zoom and one in person.

underway Fall 2023 Visits to other libraries

The library director, trustees, and occasionally an interested member of the public have toured several local libraries. We've selected several recent building projects of comparable size, and/or that also had Carnegie buildings, to see how they used their grant funding to expand their buildings or build new ones. Our purpose is to glean insight from their directors into what has/n't gone well for those building projects. We've been to: Erving, Hadley, Granby, Athol, Greenfield, Northfield. We're still synthesizing our findings.

check 12/1/23 Submit FY2025 Action Plan

Action plan for FY2025

future 5/31/24 Submit grant application

The bulk of the work for the overall application will be the Library Building Program.

Our application must consider both the renovation option and the new-build option; only once are accepted to the program will we explore which path to choose.

future 6/16/24 Submit proof of local funding appropriation

"Approval of appropriation of local funding for the Planning & Design Phase by a majority of town meeting or city council prior to application is required."

Town Meeting is the first Saturday in May, 5/4/24.

future Fall 2024 Grants are awarded

Hopefully we receive good news and embark on the planning and design phase of the project. Since our "need" rating is quite high, a score based on metrics about the size/usability of our building and population demographics, our chances of winning the grant look good.

The Planning & Design Phase would begin with hiring an architect to help us examine our options to renovate or build.

Construction grant program

The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP) helps communities improve their public library facilities through funding and technical assistance for planning & design and construction projects.

A great many towns in MA have benefited from these grants, including many that were now 20+ years ago. The below map shows the current status of library construction in each Massachusetts municipality, for the entire history of the grant program since 1987. On their site, you can drill down by town name to explore the details of each grant.


Responses to public survey, fall 2023

We asked our community to tell us about their local library experiences, and about their dreams of a new or improved library space in Turners. Here are the free-text responses they wrote in. (Click on Read More for a legible page.)

Amherst/Greenfield (they are "on my way") Carnegie only to drop off and pick up passes as Montague Center doesn't have them. CW MARS on line to order Erving is so new and beautiful. Erving library. Easy parking. Spacious children's room and easy to use bathroom. Erving-Open sundays, great librarians, beautiful site! Forbes in 01060, GPL, Sunderland Erving, for their crafting sessions and maker space Erving, MA Erving, South Deerfield -- Erving is accessible for persons with disabilities Erving, the facility Greenfield Greenfield Greenfield - convenient to my paid work / Libby comme...

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("The Carnegie Library is adequately accessible") - Handicapped access seems limited. / - Limited parking. / - Small, crowded facility. -narrow passways in stacks, -sticking, heavy front door, -small children's room and computer area, -difficult to get to top floor ... but it is a wonderful old building. The ramp at the back is nice, but then the interior navigation is tough. Is there any wheelchair access to the basement, eg, for book sales? (answer apperared elsewhere but relevant here): I am disabled and the overall access is too difficult and contentious. Aisles t...

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("I find the size of the Carnegie Library, its rooms, and shelf space to be sufficient to serve my needs") A larger computer area w/isolation dividers would aid security A larger reading room would be nice. Again, for me. Insufficient for younger age groups aisles are too narrow all rooms are too small - no privacy for reading beautiful little building, but definitely cramped! Carnegie is too small, badly configured, and hard to access and use. Claustrophobic. Uninviting "closeness" to person and product (books, movies, etc) Could be a little bi...

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("I find the parking at the Carnegie Library to be adequate and safe") a parking lot would be safer than crossing the road when parking across the street additional choice "poor" written in above / handicapped parking is difficult / front stairs and front parking is difficult for children's safety and (the parking) is no cost! Hurrah! awkward, not clear to a first-time visitor better with dedicated lot, hill is steep, hard to access when driving west Building is located on a busy corner. Parking on Seventh Street can be a challenge because it is a hill & has few spaces near the building....

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("I consider the Carnegie Library to be a safe space indoors and out") accessing handicap exterior door not good. activities held outdoors -- ground is uneven. Caring staff! Carnegie is very safe and a comforting place and location concrete stairs difficult / parking limited / function rooms not accessible Except as mentioned above. Except parking on the road feels a little crowded sometimes, but I have never felt unsafe. The heavy front door has caused a few startling moments but no real problems. fire alarms, large alarm/signage for all hard to park Have never had an issue, sta...

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(1) Access to the upstairs and I will staff it and protect it; (2) comfy chairs; (3) take the house above it by eminent domain and create ground level parking and access. (I’m kidding about eminent domain).  A better easier way to park and get in the library. It's a hufe resource for me and I depend on the library, reading, community, etc. We NEED our library and access for all. A closed door meeting room for library classes, programs, or instruction A few more computers A light weight front door, with a window A little kid space  A new building, safe, quiet and spacious with friendly at...

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