Following vote, Wheeler library trustees, building committee to continue fundraising

Library to continue fundraising, fight for ARPA funding

The Wheeler Memorial Library’s trustees and building committee members are determined not to give up hope after voters rejected a debt-exclusion override for the building’s first major renovation since its 1914 construction.

It was decided at a joint meeting on Thursday that the library will continue in-house fundraising and raffles until Director Jessica Magelaner learns if the town will receive American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, which would make a big impact on any decision the trustees make in regards to renovations or finding a new spot for the library. Residents voted 1,291-1,233 last week against borrowing up to $10.4 million to supplement a $5.2 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

The library at 49 East Main St. is falling into disrepair, officials say. At a presentation at Town Hall on Nov. 1, Magelaner said the building’s basement — where the children’s section is — has extremely poor ventilation and relies almost entirely on ceiling fans and a dehumidifier. The library is also in desperate need of a new roof, as the current one regularly leaks, and the building has no dedicated staff space and just one small bathroom. The facility is also not wheelchair-accessible.

“We’ve been trying to renovate the Wheeler since 1988,” Magelaner reminded the trustees and Library Building Committee members at Thursday’s meeting.

Read the full article at