REASON #1: The Current Building Is Far Too Small For Wayland’s Population
Our current library building at 5 Concord Road is nowhere near large enough for a town with Wayland’s population, based on both an independent study and comparisons to neighbor towns of similar size. This is the central reason why the state has chosen our town for a $10.1M grant to help us build a new one that is right-sized for us.
Its inadequate size means the building significantly under-serves Wayland. While the staff have been trying as best they can to make the most of our very limited space, there just isn’t enough room for an adequate children’s area, or public meeting spaces, modern technology services, teen space, private meeting/study spaces, comfortable seating, bathrooms, parking, staff work areas, and more. Oh, and books too. There’s not enough space for adequate collections for our town, either, including books. The size of the proposed new library – 33,390 square feet – is consistent in size with neighboring town libraries, and with libraries in towns with similar populations. The design adds more space to accommodate an expected increase in usage from Middle School students. It also includes room for future expansion.
Consider this: A library is a center of any community, a place to learn, explore, and gather. It reflects a town’s values, plays an important role in shaping civic identity and daily lives, and helps attract families to choose to live in a town.
Wayland needs a bigger library just to meet the basic library needs of all its people.
REASON #2: There Is No Realistic, Financially-Responsible Way to Adequately Expand The Current Building
For years we studied possible ways to retrofit the existing library to meet Wayland’s needs, but the parcel is just too small to allow us to expand it enough, and any attempt to do so would cost the town about the same as the proposed new library but would give us an inferior library — while also ruining the historical beauty of that building.
(Note that the current parcel is also constrained by the Wetlands Protection Act, our Zoning Bylaw, and Wayland’s Aquifer Protection District, which only limits the possibilities further.)
REASON #3: There Is Strong Demand For Library Services in Wayland, As Well As Unmet Need
Some would have you believe that the internet makes libraries obsolete. Not so. Even with our substandard facilities, demand for library services in Wayland is strong. The new building is sized to accommodate and serve all of Wayland’s library needs, and is updated to remain relevant today and in the future. Further, its spaces and programs are designed to foster healthy, in-person connections for Wayland residents of all ages.
REASON #4: The Current Building Has A Woefully Inadequate Children’s Area For Wayland’s Many Young Families
Take a look at the modern children’s spaces serving nearby towns. They are warm and bright and welcoming, and encourage reading and exploration. Our basement space in the current antiquated Wayland library building, on the other hand, is small and dark and cramped and uninviting, without enough space for child-centered furniture and comfortable parent/child reading and adequate collections and technology. Our children and young families are getting undeserved, and this is drawing families away from us to other towns.
REASON #5: The Current Building Has No Dedicated Teen Space, An Important Resource In Towns That Value Education
Look at the teen spaces serving nearby towns. They are separate so teens can work together without disturbing others. They are welcoming to encourage teens to use the library, and include new technology and space for dedicated collections. Library teen spaces form an important education partnership with the public schools. But in Wayland’s antiquated current library building, we have no dedicated teen space at all, just a little corner shoehorned at one end of the stacks – which means our teens are seriously getting underserved.
REASON #6: The Current Building Has No Private Meeting/Study Spaces
Modern libraries have multiple small rooms that can be used for individuals or small groups to work privately. With doors that close, they can be used as private work-spaces, spaces for individual study, group study, tutoring, interviews, small group discussions, teleconferences, and more. The current antiquated Wayland Library has no such room. Not one. (No, the Raytheon Room is for larger meetings and is not private as the door is supposed to remain open and people must be allowed to wander in to view the artwork. Besides, it is frequently booked.)
Wayland needs a library with private meeting/study spaces to accommodate individuals or small groups.
REASON #7: The Current Building Has Only One Public Meeting Space, and It Is Seriously Inadequate
When you visit public meeting spaces in nearby towns you’ll see multiple large spaces with light, comfortable seating, ground-level access, and technology-equipped. In Wayland, we have only one public meeting space — the Raytheon Room –a cramped, drab, windowless, low-ceilinged, crypt-like rectangle in the basement. Prone to flooding and inaccessible to many who are mobility impaired, the Raytheon Room is too small for many uses, not equipped with modern technology, and is often overbooked and frequently unavailable, which means that great programs and other opportunities that regularly happen in other towns, can’t happen here in Wayland. Which once again means our current building leaves Wayland underserved.
REASON #8: The Current Building’s Parking Lot Is Too Small For Our Needs and Dangerous For Pedestrians
At our current library building, the parking lot has too few spaces, is often full, and is dangerous for pedestrians. Driveway access from the road is also treacherous. For many popular library events, the full parking lot actually prevents people from participating. We know this because people say so to the library staff, who also report that the lot is full at least once a week. Unfortunately the footprint of the building, the size of the lot, and the proximity to wetlands and private land all prevent any serious increase in parking spaces that could adequately address these important issues.
Wayland needs a library with safe and adequate parking.
REASON #9: The Proposed New Library’s Location Beside The Middle School Will Benefit Our Students & Families
One of Wayland’s best assets is its strong school district. The new library will be located adjacent to the Middle School and have easy access from the high school and two elementary schools. Its spaces will enable a tighter educational connection between the public school district and the library, resulting in programs that serve and support studying teens, offer inventive instructional programming, and help better educate beginning and young readers.
REASON #10: The Proposed New Library Is Affordable
Summary: The Wayland Finance committee estimates an average household tax increase of $6.01 a week or $313 a year for the average homeowner. That’s about the price of just 2½ cups of coffee per week.
More Detail: The warrant lists $28.9M to cover all costs, but this is not what the town will pay. The state has given Wayland a one-time grant of $10,137,980 for this project and the Wayland Trustees are contributing an additional $750,000 from The Millennium Fund, leaving a net estimated cost of $18,052,730 from Wayland taxpayers. This $18M is the maximum our town would spend. What’s more, the Trustees are launching a capital campaign to further reduce the cost to the Town. The goal is an additional $2M and we hope for more.
REASON #11: State funding for this project expires if it is not approved now.
State funding for this project expires if it is not approved now. There is no second chance for this state grant. This money will go to another town, and there are currently no plans at the state level for additional library grants. Wayland cannot re-vote this project next year, or the year after and receive this grant. The grant expires at the end of town meeting and the funds will go to another town.As the federal government moves to get more national services funded by states, the Library Trustees are concerned that this kind of cost-sharing opportunity may not arise again for Wayland.
REASON #12: Wayland Values Community & Education
Public libraries are where communities learn, work, gather, and connect. In Wayland we pride ourselves in our education system, and yet our public library is the one area where Wayland is lacking, especially compared with peer-towns. A new library will better serve our community, our schools, and those of all ages interested in learning and connecting — not only bringing enormous benefits to all those who live here, but also demonstrating – in tangible and programmatic terms to potential buyers – that Wayland residents of all ages cherish education. Investment in this library is an investment in Wayland’s values – and your home.
The current building has inadequate space for collections
The current building has inadequate space for comfortable seating
The current building has severely constrained staff work-spaces and technology infrastructure.
The current building is not ADA compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act), which means people with wheelchairs or other movement constraints cannot fully use the facility.
The fact is, Wayland needs a new library simply to meet the needs of the town. The good news is that the state has offered us $10.1 Million in grant money to help us build it, but that grant money is only available if we support the debt exclusion question at the ballot on March 27, and the library project at Town Meeting in April (we need both).
Please support the new library project.