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Coming soon - details about the Wheeler Memorial Library building project

We're excited to get this information out to you ASAP, but our website is not as excited - the PDFs and images we want to have here have caused the entire library website to crash more times than your humble site admin can count! 

What's coming soon:

Meeting agendas and minutes, a future meeting calendar, and a better layout!

What we have now:

A PDF of the most current building design

A PDF of the most current 3D model

This Q&A!

  • Question: Who is on the Building Committe?
  • Answer: The Building Committee currently has 6 members: Jessica Magelaner, (the library director and committee chair), Joanne Woodcock, Deborah Kent, Candace Cross, Robin Shtulman, and Maria Bull. 
  • Question: Why are you applying for a grant now? Why not wait another 6-8 years?
  • Answer: The money might not be there in another 6-8 years!  Currently, the grants are only awarded every 6 years, but it's looking more and more likely that they will be pushed back to 8 years after this round, and with less money to go around. (Governor Baker cut 98 million dollars from this fiscal year budget in early December - money is tight everywhere!) When we were first approved for this grant back in 2003, the state was prepared to reimburse us for 80% of the project costs. Now, in 2016, we're hoping to get 50% of the project cost reimbursed, and the work has only gotten more expensive over the last 13 years, The longer we wait, the more it will cost the town. Applying for a grant now is our best shot at giving Orange an up-to-date, up-to-code library while minimizing the cost to the town.
  • Question: Up-to-code? What's wrong with the library the way it is now?
  • Answer: The library as it is now isn't accessible, and there's no effective way to make it accessible without significant renovation. We have one small bathroom for staff and public, we have very limited meeting space and quiet study space, our children's room is subject to leaks and mildew issues, our children's programming room is also our storage/public meeting/staff room space, our teen space is just a corner with a few tables, and it shares a room with our public internet computers, there is no part of the library available to the town or public without a staff member present, and no part of the library is ADA-compliant.
  • Question: Why do we need a new library in Orange when there's a brand-new library in Athol?
  • Answer: It's fantastic that Athol has a new library, and Orange deserves one too! One of the great things about the Wheeler Memorial Library is that it's right downtown, within easy walking and driving distance for a lot of residents. Also, remember that investing in your community sends a signal to developers and homebuyers that you care about your town and its future. It's not a coincidence that when Athol citizens voted "yes" to renovate their library and school they also saw an upturn in new business and increased confidence from existing businesses! Also, should anything ever happen to the Wheeler Library that could cause it to close, the Athol library trustees have been very clear that Orange residents will no longer be allowed to borrow materials through the Athol Library. Athol and Orange are part of a consortium called C/W Mars. We share materials with each other, and with every other library in the consortium. If Orange fails to take care of its library to the point where it no longer has resources to share, then other libraries, (and their taxpayers!), have no good reason to continue to share with Orange.
  • Question: What did the vote at the special town meeting on December 10th accomplish? What is Orange now committeed to?
  • Answer: The vote on the 10th gave us your support to file an application with the MBLC to try to get a grant. Orange is not committed to officially supporting the application, (we'll be back at another special town meeting before June for that), and it is definitely not committed to accepting the grant; we'll ask for that once we find out if the MBLC is even willing to give us a grant. (Filing the application does not guarantee Orange a grant, though we think we have a pretty good chance!)
  • Question: What if we don't get a grant?
  • Answer: Then the building project will have to wait for the next grant round. The trustees of the library and the building committee all live in Orange as well - they know the town can't support the full cost of the renovation.

  • Question: This Q&A didn't answer my question, who should I contact?
  • E-mail Jessica at director@orangelib.org, or come to a Building Committee meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for January 4 at 7PM - we'll post the place and the agenda at mytowngovernment.org once we've got it confirmed.