The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges for our ongoing effort to enhance the Vineyard Haven Public Library. Significant funding for this project will come from grants and community donations, and fund-raising priorities have understandably shifted to address pressing needs of our society. While improving our community’s library is not urgent relative to our national priorities, we feel strongly that this building project will greatly improve the quality of life for many Islanders and visitors. Creating an open, spacious, and well-ventilated place for our community is more important than ever. The expanded and redesigned interior and exterior spaces will provide the flexibility the library requires to provide future services with greater safety and comfort. We continue to welcome donations, and invite volunteer support for this project.
A Space to Welcome Everyone
Through free programs, as well as through books and media, the library is here to introduce our community to new authors, new ideas, new friends and new technologies, all in a secure and comfortable space. This is the feeling we want our library patrons to experience when visiting the library, and the experience we hope to create through our lifelong learning programs, cultural and social events.
Over the past decade, our creative and dedicated library staff have done an outstanding job of recruiting speakers, planning events, and obtaining grants, enabling the library to participate in stimulating program series, taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge and talent found among our local residents and seasonal visitors.
Since 2007 the library has experienced more than 300% growth in attendance at adult programs, in addition to maintaining a vibrant schedule for children. Annually, the library hosts several thousand program attendees of all ages, with up to 40 events taking place each month. All programs at the library are offered free of charge and are open to everyone. These educational and cultural activities provide personal development and social interaction for active older adults, opportunities for parents with young children to convene, and a safe, fun way for kids to gather after school.
However, the dimensions of the library’s small basement program room are not able to accommodate this demand, with poor acoustics, a low ceiling, and room to comfortably seat no more than 45 adults. Too often our limited program facilities mean people are turned away, become confused about the location of library events relocated to other venues, or find that the existing space makes it difficult to see and hear a presentation.
The Journey So Far
The community’s interest in participating in library programs, and the inadequacy of the current space, were highlighted by survey results and discussion at community forums during the library’s recent strategic planning process. The Board of Trustees and library staff began planning for improvements, envisioning an addition to address these issues, without reducing any of the space dedicated to the library’s existing collection.
Over the past year it has been inspiring to work with our design team, including the committed volunteers on our Building Committee and our talented architects at Maryann Thompson, to develop plans for a flexible, comfortable, accessible, and beautiful new community meeting room, that will have up-to-date technology, appropriate lighting and acoustics, and most importantly, enough room to make everyone feel welcome. Some features include:
The Town of Tisbury demonstrated support for the project at our April 2017 Town Meeting, by approving funds for the design of the new space. Our Capital Campaign Committee is committed to raising funds for construction without further taxpayer financing. We hope you will agree that it's time for our library to create a space to welcome everyone, and support the Capital Campaign Building Fund for the construction of our new community meeting room.
Project Planning & Timeline
Plans for building an addition to the library building at 200 Main Street in order to create an improved multi-purpose meeting room are currently being developed. We anticipate that the design for the addition will be completed in summer of 2019.
For more information including project background, design and construction developments, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit the project page on the Vineyard Haven Public Library's website, http://www.vhlibrary.org/Building.shtml