If you have a question, please add it by filling in the comment form at the end of the list.
When is the new library expansion up for Dighton town meeting/vote? What is the project timeline?
At this point in the project, we are required to have the town of Dighton (1) approve the project and (2) give the Trustees the authorization to apply for, accept and expend Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant funds. This is done with two warrant article votes at the Annual Town Meeting of Monday, June 5, 2017. This vote does not put the town of Dighton on the hook with any financial obligations for a library expansion project.
What this town approval does, is tell the granting authority, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, that the town of Dighton is interested in pursuing the chance of expanding and renovating the current library.
We will learn if our grant has been approved, and if so, where we will fall on the wait list on July 13. We are competing with 32 other libraries for these funds. Once we know where we fall on the list, we will have a much better idea of what needs to happen when. We will keep you posted.
What can I do to help support this project?
There are many ways to support this project.
- You can speak with your friends and family about the project and what the library means to you.
- You can speak with your friends and family about the benefits of an expanded Dighton library.
- Share your support of this project with your elected officials.
- Write a letter to the editor.
- Join the Friends of the Library.
- Participate on the Building Needs Committee.
- When a library survey comes out, fill it out honestly – we can only get better!
- If you work with an organization that aligns with the library’s mission, suggest a partnership.
- If you hear things that make you have questions in your mind about the project, don’t hesitate to ask us for information and clarification.
- If there is a reason you cannot use this library, share your story.
- If you can use the library, use it!
- Most importantly, if you support this project, Vote.
What’s this I hear about a library renovation (or renovation grant?)
A renovation/construction grant is available to libraries through the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners. The Trustees decided to apply for the grant in order to improve services at the library – 33 communities in Massachusetts have applied. The proposed renovation would allow us to preserve the building’s original beauty and significance to the town, while improving our ability to provide modern services. One of the improvements we’re hoping to accomplish would be accessibility for everyone, including an elevator and compliant restrooms. We would also bring back a separate area for teens, with much more space for our teens to meet, study and hang out. Meeting and study spaces will be now be available, including a dedicated story room for children’s services, a community room for library programs and outside groups to use, a local history/conference room and a study room for individual or small group quiet study.
With so many needs in Dighton, why is the library a priority? This seems like more of a want than a need.
The library is at a point of need in many areas: outdated electrical systems, lack of space for patrons and services, and is not meeting the needs of 21st century Dighton. Accessibility needs to be improved both outside and inside the building, and the flow of the building needs to change in order to accommodate modern services. Because there is a current grant opportunity that would pay for a significant percentage of the necessary work, this is a good time to move forward, rather than waiting until there is a crisis in the building, with no grant assistance available. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners offers these grant rounds approximately every 7 to 8 years.
Now that people find everything online, why do we need to expand the library?
Despite the Internet’s place in our society, a modern library is an added resource to navigate the rapid growth of the Internet. The updated Dighton library will provide Internet access to those who choose not to pay for home broadband service, or those who need help with finding online tax, government or employment forms. The Dighton Public Library provides subscription services to Internet-based research tools like Ancestry.com, so Dighton residents don’t have to. Dighton library staff help patrons with their technology questions and devices – we serve as a GPS to the Internet. We do a lot of this already, but we can help more people with more resources in an expanded library.
Do keep in mind Dighton library users are still reading books (over 70% of our use), both in print and online. Children require a variety of social experiences and support for early childhood literacy, which the library provides. An expansion gives more Dighton elders and adults, teens and children, a place to meet, be entertained and learn, all while saving money.
The layout for the renovated/expanded space is also mobile and adaptable, with a space that can change with emerging technology and collections as time brings us new media.
Is it true that if our library should close, Dighton residents will not be able to borrow books from any other library?
Yes, when a library closes in Massachusetts, it loses its certification and its reciprocity with other libraries. Dighton residents would be able to use materials in another library, but not be able to check out the materials. The Dighton Public Library’s Board of Trustees had voted to not lend materials to decertified communities because it would be unfair to the taxpayers of Dighton.
Think of it like this: Dighton would never ask Berkley to pay for Dighton’s trash removal because Dighton decided to stop paying for it. This is what you would be doing with library services.
Approximately how many patrons benefit from library services each week?
Our most recent weekly count of visitors shows 293. There has been a downward trend in library visits since the teen room has been closed. Library attendance fluctuates seasonally, with more visits during the summer and school vacation weeks.
Is our present library ADA compliant?
No. Since the library is not accessible to everyone, it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, exposing the library and the town to legal action. The renovated/expanded one will be ADA compliant with the current ADA requirements. The governing body of the ADA in Massachusetts is the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, and the renovated/expanded library would be compliant with Massachusetts building regulations and code.
How many extra square feet will be added to the expanded library?
A total of 9,739 square feet will be added. The current library is approximately 3,000 square feet. A lot of the expanded parts of the building will be the second floor where the teen, children’s and local history/conference room will be located.
Why don’t Dighton youth have a room of their own in our present library? Will they have one with the expansion?
In the summer of 2013, the Building Commissioner and Fire Chief ordered the closure of what was the teen room because of inadequate emergency egress. There was no easy remedy to bring that room back to meet the necessary conditions. Around the same time, the MBLC announced the Planning and Design grant round, which provided funding for the feasibility study, of which we are sharing the results. Special Town Meeting accepted that proposal in October 2013, for renovation and expansion, specifically.
The study and schematic design does provide a teen room with more resources than the previous room had. There is more separation from the children’s area than the previous layout, yet there will still be a level of visibility from library staff.
How many people lived in Dighton when the library was built and what is the present population?
In 1910, Dighton’s population was 2,235. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue reports Dighton’s current population as 7,312.