The library has two articles on the warrant for November Town Meeting relating to the Massachusetts public library construction program. Article 12 is requesting $25,000 from Free Cash to fund a Library Facilities Study. The purpose of a facilities study is to (1) examine the community’s current and future library service needs, (2) determine the space requirements to satisfy those needs, and (3) develop appropriate and affordable solutions to meet those space requirements for the next twenty years. We anticipate that the total cost of the study will be $75,000. The state will grant the town up to $50,000 in matching funds for this study. In order to receive a state grant, the Town has to secure money for its share of the cost by May 16, 2014. The town must act now because the November meeting is the only meeting schedule between now and June. Article 13 is requesting the formation of a citizens committee to oversee the study and the expenditure of funds. The facilities study is the first step in a multi-year process that we hope will result in the Town obtaining millions of dollars in state construction funds. More than thirty communities are competing for these grants, so having the support of the voters is crucial if our grant application is to be successful.
There is also another article on the warrant that could have negative consequences for both the library and the Seekonk Meadows. Article 11 would reverse a unanimous vote of Town Meeting in 2010 to amend the Town’s By-laws to place the library building and the Seekonk Meadows under the custody and care of the Board of Library Trustees. The 2010 By-law change was intended to officially accept the library building in compliance with Massachusetts General Laws. It also provided official status to the Seekonk Meadows, which was created through the joint effort by private citizens, Town Government, and the Seekonk Library Trust (a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization). Article 11 was petitioned onto the warrant by the Seekonk Veterans Memorial Committee in response to a decision by the Board of Library Trustees to delay any action on the Committee’s request to build a memorial on the Seekonk Meadows until the library facilities study has had a chance to examine the site. If Article 11 passes, the library building and the Seekonk Meadows would be placed under the direct control of the Board of Selectmen, and the Board of Trustees will no longer make decisions on the use of the building and the Meadows.