Public Forum Questions and Answers

On January 11, 2017, The Library Building and Selection Committee and Library Architects from Lerner Ladds and Bartels welcomed the community to a presentation on the schematic design floor plans and exterior renderings of the proposed new Sharon Public Library at 1 School Street.

Note:  Several questions were asked about sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic patterns, exterior lighting in the parking lot, side street parking, etc.  The answers to these questions are not in the purview of the Library Building and Selection Committee, nor the architects. They are questions for the Town Engineer, Superintendent of Public Works, Standing Building Committee and the Board of Selectmen.

Questions that the library can answer include the following:

1. What is the total square feet of shelving in the new library?
A. The new library will have a total of 9,606 Linear Feet of public shelving to hold 106,000 items. 
     The current library has a total of 5,910 Linear Feet of public shelving for the current collection of
     80,000 items.

2. Why doesn't the town hall move into the current library and the current library use the town hall
    property?  (As of November 6, 2017, the voters approved a new Town Hall project at
                           no cost to the tax payers.)

A. The Library Building and Selection Committee reviewed a total of 23 different municipal properties
    to determine which would be the best suited to a new proposed library.   Most residents want their
    library to be in the "downtown area".  During this time the town hall property was considered.
    When asked about the possibility of using the town hall property, the answer was no because a
    feasibility study would be underway to expand the present town hall facility in its present location.

3. Why do the population projection figures determine the size of a new library and where do
    the figures come from?
A. The *UMass Donahue Institute Economic and Public Policy Research provides population 
    projection figures for the Office of the Secretary for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for
    research and planning purposes for the state.  The estimated 2035 projected
    population for the Town of Sharon is 18,790.  **The projected "Service" population includes the
    number of people served by the library, including those within its municipal boundaries and an
    estimate of nonresidents. This figure, based on circulation statistics is 22,098 out 20 years. 

   The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Grant process funds projects that will last for
    many years to come and not have to be added to or renovated every 10 years. The current
    library has an original 1914 Carnegie building of 2,000 square feet which was built at no cost to
    the town. It was built with a donation by Andrew Carnegie.  Two additions were added, each built
    10 years apart because the town population increased, and the library couldn't provide services
    needed and as required by Massachusetts General Laws. The library is facing the same problems
    again.  That is why the state requires planning to encompass changes based on projected 
    population figures to prevent short sighted construction projects that cost more money in the end. 


** Public Library Standards used by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to determine staff, hours, and materials required per capita.  Quantitative Standards by Municipal Population.  Town of Sharon population falls between 10,000 and 24,999.   The municipal projected population is 18,890 and the Sharon Public Library projected "Service" population based on usage is 22,000.  Both figures are within the 10,000-24,999 standard.   All new construction projects are required to calculate all categories using the "Basic" level.


Alternate Site Becomes Primary Site

The Sharon Historical Commission denied the current library site as a future new library site because of state and federal historic regulations.  The proposed third floor would "mass" over the historic Carnegie Library which would result in the loss of tax benefit for historic properties. 

Having heard this determination by the Sharon Historical Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Board of Selectmen voted to approve the use of 1 School Street as the proposed new library site - August 9, 2016. 
Alternate Site Review
As part of the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Grant process, the Library Building and Selection Committee (LBSC) must reveiw an alternate site along with the chosen site.  The LBSC chose the 1 School Street property as the only available municipal land in the "downtown" area.

The Architects reviewed the site and presented the following documents to the Board of Selectmen on February 23, 2016.  The architects recommended the 1 School Street site as the best suitable site for a new Sharon Public Library.