Grafton Public Library

Expansion Project FAQS

Q. “What is the current timeline?” updated 2/6/2018 STILL ON TARGET as of MARCH 8, 2019!
A. The current TENTATIVE timeline is:

  • Jan 2017 Submit Grant Application
  • Jan-April – public comment continues
  • May 2017 – Town Meeting vote on design and funding
  • June 2017 Ballot vote for funding
  • June 2017 – Approval of Design required
  • July 2017 – Grants Awarded
  • Feb 2018: Hire OPM. Scout temporary location.
  • March 2018: go out to bid for an architect
  • April 2018: interview architects
  • May 2018: hire architects
  • May 2018-May 2019: Permitting
  • June 2018: sign contract with MBLC
  • June-Dec 2018: develop design documents.
  • March/April 2019: MOVE to a temporary location
  • May 2019: BREAK GROUND
  • May 2019-December 2020: CONSTRUCTION
  • January 2021: Grand Reopening GALA
  • July 2021: 1st reimbursement (less any monies received previously – this timeline could shift up by 1 year due to other libraries not getting their funding)
  • December 2021: Punch list completed, closeout
  • July 2022: 2nd reimbursement
  • July 2023: 3rd reimbursement
  • July 2024: 4th reimbursement
  • July 2025: final reimbursement

Q. I have strong opinions about this project. How can my voice be heard?
A. Wonderful! DRA hosted a print (and online) survey and a series of focus groups and community meetings. The Library Planning and Building Committee currently meets on the first and third Monday of the month at 6pm and all meetings are public. In the interim, we invite online public commenting, feedback to the Chair of the Planning and Building Committee, via the Town website, or to the Library director, Beth Gallaway, via email at

Q.How big is the new library going to be?
A. The Building Committee is working closely with architectural firm Drummey Rosane Anderson Inc. (DRA) to design a nimble 21,000-25,000 sq. foot facility that will encompass the MA Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) requirements for seating, shelving and parking for 20 years to come. The preliminary design came in at 25, 982 sq ft.

Q. How much will the new library cost?
A. DRA works with a professional cost estimator; the estimate came in at $16,597,997.00. It is too early to tell how much the project will cost. DRA has a strong record of coming in on time and under budget with low incidence of change orders. We estimate a 4% increase each year.

Q. What’s wrong with the current building?
A. The current library building was built in 1927 for a population of 6,000 residents. Since then, our population has tripled and we are projected to have 22, 122 residents by 2035, based on 2010 US census projections done by the Central MA Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC). Library use has increased exponentially over the last 5 years, with attendance, materials checkout and programs soaring.

The current building lacks dedicated meeting space, program rooms, teen space, quiet study space, and staff workspace, because in 1927 we only needed an office for a part-time librarian to work a few hours per week checking out a collection of just 5,000 items. We now have:

  • 55,000 items in print and multimedia formats
  • 19 staff members
  • 58 hours of operation a week

Additionally, the plumbing, steam heat, and electrical systems in the building are original, along with the windows and brick facade. Most code issues, such as exit signs, were addressed in 2013 with the accessibility renovation, but adding emergency lighting did not equate to ripping out all of the original copper wiring. While the administration and Board of Trustees have striven to be excellent stewards of the building and have made a number of repairs over the last 90 years, there are many large scale capital issues at present including energy efficient lighting, window repair and replacement, and brick repointing, as well as zone heating and cooling, expanded security camera coverage, climate controlled space for historical materials, comfortable seating, and more.

Q. Didn’t we just spend a half a million dollars making the Library accessible?
A. We did, with the understanding that this was a temporary and incomplete solution to a long-term issue. In 2013, LLB Architects designed and implemented an accessible entrance (without an automatic door opener), a sloped path for walkers and wheelchairs, an additional handicapped parking spot, an accessible washroom, and a limited use limited access (LULA) Lift for people who are physically impaired. The Library removed shelving and tables to meet MIIA code, and lost space with this renovation.

The mezzanine stacks, high shelving, and Children’s room stage remain inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair, and a variance was granted for these spaces. Approximately 80% of the collection is not available through autonomous means. Computer desks and tables are not adjustable. The Down Under Book Store and first floor restrooms are inaccessible.

It’s possible that some of the 2013 renovation can be salvaged, but the LULA is difficult to use and unlike a full service elevator, is not intended for book carts, deliveries (freight), or strollers.

Q. You aren’t getting rid of the Main Reading Room are you?!
A. No.We hired DRA Inc to develop a plan for an expansion/renovation so we can apply for a state grant (MA Public Library Construction Grant) to pay for half the cost of the project. The grant requires a whole building renovation, which means the renovation should touch every aspect of the old and new building while meeting current building code, MIIA code and historical commission codes.

Q. Where will the new Library go?
A. The current site is the only option for the expanded facility. Other sites were explored in previous feasability studies.

Q. You should put a new building on Worcester Street and change this building into a restaurant or something.
A. The current site is the only option for the expanded facility. Other sites were explored in previous feasability studies.

Q. I attended a forum several months ago on this project and an idea was put forward: simultaneously with the design for the large addition, the architects should also sketch out (and develop an estimate for) a more modest addition (5-10k sq ft) that would not be eligible for matching funds from the State. That way, when presented to the voters, they would understand that for the same, maybe even less cost to Grafton taxpayers, we can get a substantial addition. Please have the architect do such a sketch and cost estimate, it will go far in building support for the expansion project.
A. Thank you for your comment. We brought the suggestion to our committee and architect for discussion at our meeting on November 7, 2016. The additional work you suggested is beyond the scope of the work that the architect was hired to do: namely, to develop a design with input from building committee, staff and community that met the requirements for the MPLCP grant: adequate seating, shelf space and parking for our population 20 years into the future.

At our November meeting of the Library Planning and Building Committee, this comment was shared. We discussed a graphical illustration of a smaller floor plan at an estimation of half the value was desirable, in fact more desirable that the numbers comparison. In your email you’ve written, “That way, when presented to the voters, they would understand that for the same, maybe even less cost to Grafton taxpayers, we can get a substantial addition.” We would get an INSUBSTANTIAL addition should we opt out of the grant by producing a building with only a 5,000-10,000 square feet addition. That would be inadequate for today’s population, let alone for the future. In 2011, reducing the building by half would have dramatically increased the per square foot cost, and cost less than a million dollars less:
Option: Full expansion, with state funds, cost to town ~ $6.6M (other 1/2 paid for by grant) = Cost per square foot = $300
Option: Half expansion with only town funds, cost to town ~$5.8M. = Cost per square foot = $830

We will work on providing a current estimate, based on cost per square foot only, though it would obviously reduce many of the services/capabilities because of the size.
I invite you to attend a Library Planning and Building Committee meeting or community forum to share your vision of which pieces of the program to cut in that case: the meeting room, the book stacks, the children’s space, teen space, adult space, or staff space. Many thanks for your input!

Q. Will the front door [Main Entrance on South Street] still be open?
A. Yes, if our request for a variance is accepted by MIIA. It will not be an accessible entrance or a Main Entrance anymore, but people will still be able to come in and out the door.

Q. “Elevator, not lift!” [Do the plans include an elevator?]
A. Yes, the plans include an elevator. A lift does not accommodate strollers, book carts/trucks, or freight.

Q. Can there be a book drop outside that goes inside the Library?
A. Yes, the plans include an Automatic Materials Sorter. Borrowers can scan books from outside the library (when the Library is open or closed) or inside the library (when the library is open) and they are scanned and then sorted into a bin for reshelving. The site plan shows a convenient pull up for a quick hop in and out of the car.

Q. [is there] “A coat rack/hooks for backpacks”
A. This is not currently shown on the plans, but it’s a good suggestion! We can include this on interior walls in several sections of the Library: Near stroller parking for families and school age children, in the teen area, in the  tween area, in the study rooms, in staff areas for volunteers.

Q. [Are there] “Computers for kids with programs like ABC mouse?”
A. The plans include 2 sit down workstations for Preschools (AWE Early Literacy computers with skillbuilding games), 4 sit down workstations for school age children, 2 stations for teens, and 4 stations for adults. In addition, we have included 4 laptop carts to hold 8-10 computers/tablets for children, teens, and adults for in-library use with centralized printing.

Q. [Is there] “Drive Up Drop Off”
A. Our site plan includes a curved drive to drop off/pick up library users, or to hop out of the car to return books. We are not offering a Drive Thru option. We will ask the architect to site our book drop, which is of
the correct height to drive up to, on the entrance for your convenience.

Q. [Are there] “Snuggly reading spots with cubby or fort-like nooks”
A. We requested a Tree for imaginative play in the Children’s room. Curling up inside may be a possibility. We may also be able to provide this feel through furnishings. Nooks and cubbies are problematic from a staffing point of view. We need to be able to have good sightlines to maintain control of the space and discourage inappropriate Library conduct.

Q. [Is there a] “Computer lab for coding”
A. A full computer room/lab is something we gave up to reduce the space. The plans do not include a computer lab; however, all youth and adult spaces have dedicated computers for this purpose and a 3-D printer is planned for the Teen Room. We will be able to offer a pop-up computer lab for 8-20 people at a time by reserving a cart or two of laptops and reserving a meeting space or study room for this purpose. Laptop dispensing and laptop counters are provided for adults.

Q. [Is there] “Adult Game Space!”
A. The plans do not include dedicated gaming space for adults. However, adults will be able to create their own pop-up gaming space by checking out a console and booking a study room—they will be equipped with televisions or white boards with easy access to HDMI / computer input. It should be noted that teen gaming spaces may also be used to watch a movie or work on a project; the technology is not limited to gaming.

Q. [Is there] “Game/Tabletop Adult Games”
A. The plans include storage and display for the current collection, and plenty of tables and seating is provided to play games.

Q. [Is there a] “Teen Area”
A. The plans include a teen area with the Teen collection, a gaming space, a DIY craft table, display space, computers and printers, study tables, and space for the teen librarian.

Q. [WIll there be] “Art Room Kids & Adults rental for classes”
A. To keep the size small, there are not room designated with specific purpose to this degree. Meeting spaces are multipurpose. The plans include a large meeting room that seats 117 which can be split into 2 smaller rooms for classes. Tables and chairs are provided for multipurpose instruction and conferencing. Meeting and study rooms will be available for free to non-profit users, and for a fee to for-profit users, following the Town’s meeting room use policy.

Q. “Be sure Upton Street sidewalk connects to the bookdrop area.”
A. Our plan includes a sidewalk that runs from the front of the building, facing the Common on South Street around the corner on Upton Street, with paths to the emergency exit and to the book drop and new entrance.

Q. “If possible, could there be small rooms with windows looking out and doors to do private group studying? 
A. Yes! In some not all. Our plans include:

  • 1 2-seat tutoring room in the Children’s Room (no outside windows, glass windows/door to see into the room)
  • 2 2-seat tutoring rooms in the Teen/Tween Room (1 with outside windows, 1 with glass windows/door to see into the room)
  • 1 3-seat tutoring room on the second level (small outside windows, glass windows/door to see into the room)
  • 1 4-5 seat room on the second level (outside window, glass windows/door to see into the room)
  • 1 6-seat room on the second level (outside windows, glass windows/door to see into the room)
  • 1 10-seat room on the second level (outside window, glass windows/door to see into the room)

These 8 spaces will likely not be sufficient to meet demand, but we have done the very best we could to fit private study spaces in at every opportunity.

Q. “Should be like Shrewsbury’s Library cool idear (sic)”
A. Shrewsbury designed an excellent library for the needs of their Town. They have a larger population and a larger commercial tax base. Private and business donors contributed private money to help fund their expansion. Shrewsbury’s design is an excellent model, but what works in Shrewsbury may not necessarily work in Grafton, but here are some of the things we like that we have included in our plan:

  • Gates to separate library from meeting space for after hours meeting room use
  • Standing desks for staff
  • Automatic materials sorter
  • Outdoor space (we implemented a patio and a children’s garden)
  • Window seats
  • Track shelving to save space in storage areas
  • Donor wall

Q. What Green Initiatives will the Library include?
A. Efficient heating and cooling, sustainable materials, and more. We are aiming for Silver LEED certification. Please see our LEED chart at

Q. [Can you include in the] “Teen Room: Bay windows and a little nook and a charging area where we can charge electronics while sitting in bean bags or lounge chairs. Also there could be a summer program and a program room for events and such; work room where people can work on projects, homework, tutoring, etc.
A. The plans include booth seating for teens along a window but not a window seat. Nooks are problematic from a staffing point of view. The building program called for floor outlets and wall outlets. Some furniture may be wired for charging. We will continue with our Library Summer Programming for all ages in the new building. Teens will have a dedicated Program Room that is open for seating, computing, and projects while not in use, and the public meeting room may be used for teen programs. Other quiet study space may be booked by patrons for teen use. The Teen Space includes a DIY project table and mini computer lab, and a gaming space that can be utilized for projects and movies. Teens will also have access to tutoring and study space throughout the Library.

Q. [Can you include a] “Book Return box outside that you can drive up to and return books without getting out of your car.”
A. While we did not include a drive up book drop in our plans, we can consider keeping our current book drop, which is tall enough to drive up to. A staff member would have to empty it daily and feed the returned items through the sorter. Will take it under consideration and share with architect.

Q. “More parking and parking lot located off or far away from the ‘rotary’”
A. The site plans include parking for 80+ cars extending 300’ away from the library over an incline of around 4’.

Q. Will there be computers?
A. To keep the building size small, we eliminated a computer room/lab. The plans include 2 sit down workstations for Preschools (AWE Early Literacy computers with skill-building games), 4 sit down workstations for school age children, 3 stations for teens, and 4 stations for adults. In addition, we have included 4 laptop carts to hold 8-10 computers/tablets for children, teens, and adults for in-library use with centralized printing and provided over 100 seats condusive to laptop use.

Q. “Will there be a quiet area?”
A. Both the Main Reading Room and Large Print Room are likely to be quiet areas. In addition, there are 7 tutoring/quiet study rooms available.

Q. “Please have a little garden with tables”
A. We have planned garden space, but not seating in that area yet. Good idea!

Q. “The Railing above the entrance is superfluous and impedes snow melt. Either provide a French Door for access to shovel off or tall window [for exit] next to the palladium window)”
A. We will share this feedback with the architect, thank you!

Q. “The [indecipherable] at the second register should be symmetrical!” (illustration of missing window)
A. We will share this feedback with the architect, thank you!

Q. [Can you eliminate] No Roof Top Patio
A. UPDATE MARCH 2019: Yes – we eliminated the patio to bring the stack height down.

Q. [Can you eliminate the] No Sky Light
A. The insulated skylight is not an expensive or high maintenance addition to the plan. It brings natural light, which was prioritized in our focus groups and in our building program, to the center of the upper level. It’s energy efficient, so we don’t anticipate heat loss. The electricity we will save from the light brought it should offset any heat loss.

Q. [Please add] Similar posts in back as in old front
A. We explored this option with our community forums. Because the proportions are different, it looks odd. We want to pay homage to the historic building without overpowering it, thus we have designed an entrance that is complimentary and functional without being grandiose.

Q. South side should be brick not cement
A. The South side faces the neighbors and the wetlands. It is barely visible from the street and to save money, using less expensive and highly efficient materials on the non-street view side is ideal. The change in materials also makes the new part of the building obvious, which is what MA historical commission prefers in these types of projects.

Q. [Can you eliminate] No iron work on the top of the new main entrance?
A. The railings, which add emphasis to the entrance, are fitting for the style of the building that has been designed. They are likely to be made of an affordable composite or wood.

Q. [Can you eliminate] No toys in the Children’s Room, just books.
A. Toys and games for patrons of all ages fit our Library’s mission and our strategic plan. Our long range planning committee adopted Satisfy Curiosity and Stimulate Imagination as two of six core functions of the Library from 2016-2020. Toys satisfy curiosity and stimulate imagination.

While print remains the largest component of our collection, we recognize the different learning styles people may have, and recognize that 20% of the population has dyslexia. Therefore, we must provide materials in a variety of formats

We embrace the concept that play is the way children learn. Toys provide opportunity for key social interactions that help children get ready to learn and ready for school, specifically, sharing, turn-taking, critical thinking, and developing multimodal literacies. Toys and games engage children in vital STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math play/learning.

Q. [Can you] Call Youth Services Young Adult something else – it sounds like Social Services?
A. We are open to suggestion—it’s pretty standard in the Library profession. Children’s Services is birth-9, Tween Services is 9-12, and Teen/Young Adult Services serves 12-18. Youth Services encompasses 0-18.

Q. [Please add] Balance to addition, particularly new entrance.
A. The back of the expansion is asymmetric to the front so it does not overpower the historic building. While this aesthetic may not be pleasing to everyone, it is functional to the design.

Q. Eliminate doors [on South facade, next to new entrance]
A. We are required to provide access to emergency responders and egress from the stairwell. However, we will review the placement of these 2 exterior doors.

Q. [Please install a] Sloped metal roof. Green roof could be used on existing bldg & new addition.
A. The nearly 100-year old slate is holding up remarkably well. If it’s not broke, we don’t want to spend money unnecessarily to “fix” it.

Q. Patio – partially cover with trellis
A. We will pass this suggestion to the architect.

Q. [Can you add a] Second media projector
A. Yes, thanks! The plans now include a second media projector for the large meeting room so if it’s divided, both sides have projection capability.

Q. Does sprinkler room need an exit door? Are there components that could be accessible from exterior i.e. hydrant?
A. Possibly, will bring to architect.

Q. [Move] Staff Room & Break Room [to where Children’s office space is]
A. That would necessitate putting the children’s staff offices on the upper level, removing the staff from the Children’s Room, and moving the Down Under Storage to the upper level, requiring donors and volunteers to truck donations up and down the elevator.

Q. [Eliminate] Shelving/Kid Sink [in youth services program room]
A. Both components are outlined in building program, and were identified by the Children’s Librarian as essential. These are standard for most libraries.

Q. Will there be a sidewalk on 140 to bring you from the front to the back?
A. Yes.

Q. Why is the back different from the rest, are we skimping? How much is it saving?
A. We are still considering the concrete clapboard on the portion between the old and new entrances. The actual color is TBD — it’s paintable. Savings in columns as well as siding. Try to get the building as attractive as possible. We also need to keep MA historical in mind (they want it to look new). Trying to balance traditional with new.

Q. Where is Super Park?
A. It would be off of the loop, there is more land than is reflected on our plan for Super Park to branch off of.

Q. Why two kitchens, meetings won’t take place during staff breaks.
A. They will. Staff need a private area to store personal belongings, such as their meals, that is not in public space. This is not an extravagnace. We are confident there is not duplication of space.

Q. Community space at One Grafton Common is available, isn’t this huge meeting room is duplicative?
A. Apple Tree Arts and Grafton Public Library serve two different purposes. Their extensive schedule of shows and rehearsals, plus music classes, mean their spaces are not available to the general public — they are always booked, which is a wonderful measure of success for them! It’s true that the Fire Station and Police Station also have meeting rooms, but they are not truly public. Reserving them in advance has ben a problem due to their requirement that a staff member be available. The Library books engagements 3 weeks to 6 months in advance. The Police Station is used frequently for continuing education and training for their own officers as well as for local law enforcement meetings and trainings, and can also be hard to get into. Off site programming requires bringing materials off site, eliminates the possibility for browsing the collection and taking advantage of other on site resources, and creates a need for 2 additional staff members to run/shepherd the program while two remain behind. Many families go directly to the Library after our programs at UniBank and Willard House or the Municipal Center to use the collection and use the Children’s space.

Q. I’m wondering about energy efficiency and storm water management.
A. Please see the most current site plan, which includes basins for drainage and storm water management. Regarding energy, we have designed for a silver LEED certification. Someone suggested we have an opportunity for rain gardens and signage and education.

Q. Flooding has been an issue in the past, what are you doing to remediate the issue?
A. We made the architect and structural engineer aware, and completed site testing. We will be sealing some areas and providing an excellent storm water management plan.

Q. Is it possible to have a book receptacle in other areas of town, like UPS drop boxes?
A. That would require more resources: staff, vehicle, etc.

Q. Can plans include outdoor projection for amphitheatre wall or theatrical space for interactive performance?
A. Will pass along to architect. The Children’s Outdoor patio will be condusive to performance.

Q. Please might want to advocate how glass is energy efficient to hold and collect heat and light.
A. Thank you. It’s insulated, energy efficient, there are shades inside and out, and exterior shades as well.

Q. Opportunity for an entry plaza – it looks fairly sizable. Hope you are working with a landscape architect with experience planning outdoor public space.
A. We are, thanks!

Architect FAQs

Q. Is the Library an individual or contributing building to the Grafton Common Historic District?
A. The Library is a contributing building to the Grafton Historic District. Please see the MA Historical Commission’s Sheet on the Library Page 1 / Page 2

Q. How strictly does the design have to comply with state and local historical?
A. Strictly. Compliance at the local, state,and  federal level is required. We have a liaison from Grafton Historical Commission on the Library Planning and Building Committee.

Q. Would the hired architect stay for future project?
A. The Town of Grafton will procure architectural services again at the end of the project should the Town receive a grant award, through MGL 7C Public Bidding for Project Design.

Q. What other buildings on the Common have been renovated?
A. Other renovated buildings include:

  • One Grafton Common (Grafton Townhouse) renovations include addition and full service elevator, safety and other code updates
  • Two Grafton Common (Grafton Country Store)
  • 25 Grafton Common (Grafton Inn/Hunter’s Grille & Tap) interior renovations
  • Congregational Church (interior, LULA, exterior painting)
  • Baptist Church (painting)

Q. Is there any reason why the topographic survey that was included as part of the 2010/2011 grant application could not be reused for the current project? (i.e. Have there been any significant changes to the property in the past 5 years?) I realize the MBLC requires a survey within the past 5 years, but this type of update is relatively straightforward.
A. Per scope of the RFP, stamped topographic land survey delineating boundary lines for entire site is to be included in the library building project. The prior project’s survey is out of date.

Q. Who prepared the 2010/2011 topographic survey? Can you make this document available for review?
A. Land Planning Inc did a Phase I survey for the Superpark project. The Town has a permit good through 2018 based on this survey. Town GIS maps are online at

Q. Are hazmat consulting services to be included in the $75,000 fee? Please clarify role of architect (Item #6 on page 5 of the RFP says that the architect will “coordinate execution” of these services, which could be interpreted as being procured outside the architectural services contract.)
A. Per scope of the RFP, the Architect will coordinate execution of the hazardous materials survey report; the Town will pay the cost of the hazardous materials survey.

Q. Was a hazmat survey performed in 2010/2011, and if so, by who?  Can you make this document available for review?
A. We are unable to find any hazmat surveys.

Q. Has any hazmat remediation been undertaken since the 2010 report?
A. No – we are unable to find any hazmat surveys.

Q. Is there brownfields that we need to be concerned about?
A. There are no brownfields to be concerned about.

Q. Who prepared the 2010/2011 geotech report?  Can you make this document available for review?
A. Land Planning, Inc prepared the Geotechnical Report in 1996. It is too old to use and a new geotechnical survey must be conducted.

In 2006, Irwin Engineers conducted a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Document is available for review, and in 2006, CMG Environmental reviewed the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment by Synapse Risk Management on parcel 90 only, an adjacent lot. Documents available for review:

Summary Letter from Synapse

CMG page 1

CMG page 2

CMG page 3

Q. Is there any reason why the geotech report and boring logs that were included as part of the 2010/2011 grant application could not be reused for the current project?
A. Yes — the previous project included a Geotechnical report that was already nearly out of date. A new survey must be conducted.