News and Events

KINGSTON—A 21st Century Library might soon become a reality in Kingston. Kingston is among 33 Massachusetts communities that applied for a highly competitive Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant in January 2017, and on Thursday July 13th, after a suspenseful wait, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners announced the provisional grant awards. The award list is prioritized according to need and other factors, such as the severity and extent of handicapped-access issues that must be addressed.

Kingston has been awarded a provisional grant of $6,893,430 and placed in the first group of projects to be funded. Placement in the extremely competitive first group of projects is a signal that the MBLC rated this project highly in terms of both the need and the proposed solution. The Town now has six months to appropriate the local matching funds through a Special Town Meeting process.

A new library for Kingston would mean more and better space for people, collections, collaboration, and technology. Beyond addressing existing space and accessibility deficiencies, the new library would introduce new features such as small study and conference rooms, space for distance-learning, an expanded program room for children, and an inviting and up-to-date room for teens. The proposed building will be energy-efficient, meeting at least Silver LEED certification standards, which would qualify the Town for a further Green Library Incentive grant of $241,270, in addition to saving the Town considerable operating costs.

The Kingston Public Library Foundation has begun a capital campaign to help raise the matching funds. Town Meeting will be requested to appropriate the Town’s contribution, and the project will also require a ballot vote. The grant is expected to cover approximately 43% of the total project cost. Anyone interested in helping with the capital campaign is encouraged to get in touch with KPL Foundation President Ellen Cook at ejcook@me.com.

The Library Building Study Committee, which was appointed by the Selectmen and other town boards, will work with the Library Director, Board of Library Trustees, and the Town Administrator to oversee the project. Once funds have been approved, design development will continue, and there will be ample opportunity for residents to participate in that process.

Kingston has been working to improve the library building since at least 2012, when the Selectmen appointed a Library Needs Assessment Committee to study the town’s needs for library services and recommend a solution for the many deficiencies of the 23-year-old library, which was remodeled from a 1971 telephone company building on a minimal budget in 1994. On the recommendation of that committee, the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting voted to apply first for a planning grant, and then a construction grant, through the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.

The town of Kingston has seen significant change since the current library opened in 1994, including population growth of nearly 50%. Not surprisingly, the Library has seen changes too. Library visits more than doubled, borrowing has nearly tripled, and the Library’s collection has grown to more than 154,500 items in a building designed for a collection of 58,400.

 

The Foundation is conducting a Capital Campaign to raise funds to help with a local match for a state grant to build a new library for Kingston. If you would like to support this effort, please email info@kplf.org for more information or visit www.kplf.org to make a donation.

PLEASE attend Town Meeting Tuesday, November 14 and support the new library building project.