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State grant fuels first stage of Erving Public Library mission

May Grzybowski from Erving uses one of the computers to search the Web during a visit to the Erving Library in Ervingside.
(Recorder file photo)

May Grzybowski from Erving uses one of the computers to search the Web during a visit to the Erving Library in Ervingside. (Recorder file photo)

ERVING — Plans for a new or improved public library took a step forward recently with the state library board awarding a $50,000 planning and design grant for the project.

The grant is one of two offered through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The first pays up to two-thirds of the planning and design costs, the second pays up to half of the construction or renovation costs.

As reported last week, the Greenfield Public Library was also among the 20 selected for the planning grant from among 28 applications.

Reached Sunday, Erving Public Library Director Barbara Friedman said she and the volunteer Library Building Feasibility Committee were excited.

“We need to hire an owner’s project manager. Then after we do that we’ll hire an architect to look at the three possibilities, either expansion, renovation of an old building — the old school is what we’ve been talking about for a long time — or build new,” Friedman said. The old school building is located next door to the existing library on Moore Street.

Residents at this year’s annual town meeting unanimously approved the $25,000 town match required for the $50,000 grant. That $75,000 will fund the planning and design phase. If all goes well the town may then apply for the construction grant. Like all major spending decisions, the next step would be contingent on approval by residents at town meeting.

Friedman said the feasibility committee is touring other libraries and will be developing guidelines for the architect, including the space requirements, with community input.

“The committee will be looking at surveying the community several times through the process and we will be putting all those ideas forth to the architect,” Friedman said.

Proponents of the project say the current library is too small to serve the number of patrons, and too old to keep out the damp and pests. If all goes according to plan and residents approve a new library, Friedman said patrons could be looking at walking into a new or renovated library in 2018 or 2019.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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