Proposed New Sharon Public Library Project

Sharon Public Library is a vital part of our community. Built in 1914, the 2000 square foot Carnegie-funded library has been an icon of downtown Sharon for generations. It was completely funded by Andrew Carnegie at no cost to the taxpayers of Sharon.  Since that time, two additions were built to accommodate the growing population.  The first was built in 1960 which added collection and children’s space at the cost of $72,000.  The second and last addition/renovation of the library was in 1979, which included circulation and administrative office space, the reference/reading room space and the 75 seat community room, all of which resulted in the current size of 10,500 square feet. All additions to the original structure, listed with the National Register of Historic Places, have left the Georgian facade intact.

The proposed new library will service the town's current and future needs for the next 50 or more years.  Expansion room on the lower level is available in the new design if ever needed.

ADA Compliance for physical, sight and hearing challenged patrons
Interior Access -
 the new library will be completely accessible for walker and wheel chair access throughout the building including: aisles between shelving, spaces between computer stations, space around tables and chairs throughout the building. A quiet study room with a specialized computer station dedicated to the needs of the hearing and sight challenged. The community room will be hearing accessible via use of a hearing loop or other system.  Bathrooms and water supply will be available on both floors. 

Exterior Access - accessible to book drop and building entrance. Handicapped spaces right in front of the entrance to the new building.  

Adults – the new library will have an expanded selection of adult and youth fiction, non-fiction, audio and video collections.  There will be an easily accessible new materials and large print area with plenty of comfortable seating. There will be an expanded computer technology center and an accessible local history room with meeting room capability.  A quiet reading area with comfortable seating will accommodate patrons reading newspapers and magazines. Laptop/notebook computer counters with tel/data access will be available throughout the building. 

For our Adult Students – There will be a quiet study area for you to take your proctored exams.

For our ESOL Instructors and Students – A large meeting room will seat up to 18 students and will include shelving to accommodate specialized newspapers and other training materials.
 
For our Business Community and our work-at-home business partners– the library will have a “Business Pod” which is a private meeting room with a white board, and tel/data capability for private meetings with clients, conference calls or skype sessions.   
  
Children and Families – The new library will have a separate children’s room with an expanded picture book, easy reader, board book, audio, video, fiction and non-fiction collections.  It will have a separate story time area with comfortable seating for both adults and children.  There will be an early learning activity center inside the children’s room for craft and makerspace projects.  There will be a family bathroom to accommodate parents and young children right inside the children's room. 
 
Tweens (middle school aged) – The new library will provide an expanded fiction, non-fiction, audio, video, and magazine collection with comfortable seating. Table seating will provide a space for homework, quiet study and tutoring.  A computer technology area will provide updated technology and school required software programs. 
  
Young Adult/Teen Area – The new library will have a separate Young Adult area with an expanded collection of college and career guides, test preparation materials, fiction, non-fiction, audio, video, and magazines with comfortable seating.   There will be a multi-media lab for the production of audio and video presentations.  There will be a (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) STEAM Makerspace for hands-on creative learning activities including robotics and team engineering skills.  A computer technology center and  counter height seating area for laptop and personal use devices will complete the space.
 
Public Meeting Rooms – There will be a 120 seat community room that can be separated into two smaller meeting room spaces. Both rooms will be sound deadening and able to used simultaneously, complete with audio visual capability.
The community room can be reserved for after-hours use after hours.
The community room will have access to its own kitchenette, bathrooms, AV and table storage area.
The community room will also be ADA hearing accessible by means of a hearing loop or some other hearing technology. 
  
Infrastructure – The new library will also feature technology upgrades including fiber cabling for better broadband connectivity.
The library is a “shelter in a storm facility” during power outages.  A generator will be installed to maintain the library as a shelter in a storm facility.  Patrons use the library to power their cell phones and other devices during an emergency, use the computers to contact their insurance company, banks or other companies during emergencies. They also come to the library for heat/cooling as indicated by the weather. 
 
In 2014, the town applied for a Library Planning and Design grant through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.  At the Annual Town Meeting in May 2014, the Town of Sharon voted to approve the $25,000 1/3rd match required for the state funding.

The Town of Sharon was awarded a $49,245 grant. The library established a 6 member Library Building and Selection Committee (LBSC) to hire a Library Building Consultant to write the Library Building Program document which is the guideline for the project.  It includes the 20 population projection figure for the Town of Sharon as provided by the Donahue Institute, which forms the baseline for the library building program size.  
 
The LBSC followed all appropriate Massachusetts Design Procurement regulations to hire the Owner's Project Manager and the Architect.  The LBSC hired Design Technique to handle the work of Owner's Project Manager and  Lerner Ladds Bartels (LLB) Architectural firm to complete the feasibility study and prepare schematic designs and cost estimate.
 

1 School Street Site

On August 9, 2016 - The Board of Selectmen voted to approve the use of 1 School Street for a new library feasibility study and schematic design, as the only viable site left in Sharon after hearing that the Sharon Historical Commission would not approve any expansion at the current library site.

As requested by members of the local government and of the Sharon Historical Commission, this new site shall be built with deference to the historical character the old Centre School Building. 

Due to the condition of the current building, which has been changed three times since the original 1892 Centre School, design work will include the preservation of whatever can be salvaged from the current school.   Depending on condition at time of construction, that could include cornices, dentils, the fan light window over the door, preserved original wood flooring, etc. 

Architectural and schematic design work began on September 7, 2016 with the perk test. All required testing is in compliance with the Massachusetts Library Construction Grant program.  

Read the Architectural Assessment prepared by two different Architects hired by the Superintendent of Schools in 2011.