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 Kingston Public Library

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               6 Green Street, Kingston Massachusetts 02364          781-585-0517
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Library Building Study Committee  
Committee charge Project timeline Background

Breaking News:
Kingston is among the first communities in the current
Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant round
to be awarded a provisional library construction grant.

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner announced on July 13, 2017, that Kingston has been awarded
a provisional grant of $6,893,430 and a Green Library Incentive grant of $241,270. See the grant announcement here.

To move ahead with the project, residents must first vote at Town Meeting to advance to a special town-wide ballot vote, then vote to approve local funding at the polls. Town Meeting will be held on November 14th at 6:30 pm at the Kingston Intermediate School. You must be present in order to vote.

All residents are invited to hear a brief presentation about the project, followed by a moderated question and answer period, at an open forum on October 11th, in the Library Meeting Room. Immediately following each of the two sessions, we will conduct tours of the existing library for anyone who is interested. The afternoon session begins at 2:30, and the evening session at 6:30.

Planning the Library's Future

The Library's two year planning and design project is done! Building on the work of the Library Needs Assessment Committee (LNAC) with funding from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the Town of Kingston and the Kingston Public Library Foundation, the Library Building Study Committee has completed all of the planning and design tasks below:.


  • Review existing information on the community's current and future needs for library services, and collect and analyze additional information.  DONE!
  • Determine whether the current library building can be expanded or reconfigured, or whether a new location is needed. We have determined that the current site can accommodate the necessary space.  DONE!
  • Hire and oversee consultants to assist with the project work and deliverables.  DONE!
  • Finalize their work in a building program and a schematic design for a facility that will support library services for the next 20 years. DONE!
  • Create a realistic and detailed project budget. DONE!
  • Present the full proposal to the Board of Selectmen. We did this on April 19, 2016.
  • Present the proposal to any committees and groups that would like to be informed about the project. We met with committees and groups, and many individuals.
  • On June 21st, Town Meeting voted to give us permission to apply for the grant.
  • We submitted the grant application on January 25, 2017. Grant awards were announced on July 13th.




Preliminary floor plans for the new library are available here.  The Kingston Public Library is a community resource, and we want the citizens of Kingston be involved in the project!  Please share with us your thoughts and ideas about the new building plan.

Here is the feasibility study we presented to the Board of Selectmen on April 19, 2016.

The slides include preliminary designs and elevations (what the building may look like), as well as an estimated budget for the full project (construction plus all associated costs, including temporary quarters during construction).

The budget includes escalation from today's costs to 2019 costs, when we anticipated the project might go out to bid. Now that we know the project has a faster timeframe, we will look again at project costs and make adjustments to reflect current construction estimates.

Here are the presentation slides from the Feb. 3, 2016 Community Forum. Please keep in mind that the designs are preliminary, and will definitely evolve and change as the project develops.

Here's the current Building Program, which outlines the proposed functions and spaces we've identified for the Library project.  It's a work in progress and subject to change, so please let us know what you think.

Thank you to everyone who came to our forums in January and February 2016. It was very helpful to hear your questions, concerns and ideas.

Thanks to your input we have a preliminary design that we are submitting with the grant application. If the grant is awarded, we will revisit the design and ask for more input from you during the schematic design and design development phases.

The Committee Charge, the Project Timeline and the Background section provide greater detail. As the project progress, we'll provides updates on this page. Meeting minutes can be found here on the Town's website. Please feel free to ask questions or give us your own comments at any time; direct them to Library Director Sia Stewart at 781-585-0517 x6286 or

We submitted the grant application on January 25th. Grant awards will be announced in July. In the meantime, the Kingston Public Library Foundation has begun a capital campaign to raise funds for the new library. We welcome your participation. If you would like to help, please get in touch with Library Director Sia Stewart at 781-585-0517 x6286.
What we are doing November 2016 through January 2017

We are writing the grant application and gathering the documents necessary for submittal. The Kingston Public Library Foundation is developing a capital campaign to raise funds for the new library. If you would like to be involved with the capital campaign, please get in touch with KPL Foundation President Ellen Cook or Library Director Sia Stewart, at 781-585-0517 x6286 or

What we did in September and October 2016

We submitted our final report on the Planning and Design grant to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Along with this report we submitted the various studies, drawings, and plans that were created through the grant. We also submitted a Letter of Intent to apply for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant. Our Letter of Intent was accepted. At a workshop to review the application process, we learned that 34 other communities in Massachusetts have submitted Letters of Intent.  

What we did in July and August 2016  

July and August were quiet months while we prepared the final plans and reports required to close out the Planning and Design grant phase of the project. We'll submit these to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Next, we'll begin writing the construction grant that Town Meeting authorized us to apply for. The grant is due in January 2017, and we expect to hear the status in July 2017. In the meantime, the Library Building Study Committee has scheduled a meeting for September 13th to review what still needs to be done for the construction grant application.

The Kingston Public Library Foundation has been working on plans for a capital campaign to help raise some of the funds that will be needed to match the construction grant. There will be a kick-off event on April 7th. Stay tuned for details!

What we did in June 2016

We presented the proposal to Town Meeting on June 21st. Town Meeting members asked questions, which we found very useful, and voted to proceed with applying for a construction grant. The grant is due at the end of January 2017.

If the application is approved, Kingston's project will be placed on a prioritized list, since an expected 35 other municipalities in Massachusetts will also be applying for this competitive grant. Kingston's place on the list will determine when Kingston voters will be asked at a special Town Meeting and a town-wide ballot vote to approve local funding. The vote could come in 2017, but it's more likely to be 2018 or later.

The Kingston Public Library Foundation is launching a capital campaign to raise funds to help pay for the project.
What we did in May 2016

We talked about the project to as many people as we could! We also sent several emailed newsletters with updates. We want to make sure that Kingston voters are aware of the project and its importance to the quality of life for many residents.

We also want to make sure that voters are aware of the upcoming vote at Town Meeting. Town Meeting convenes at 9 am on Saturday, June 11th, at the Kingston Intermediate School. There are 45 articles on the warrant, and ours is article 35. Town Meeting will adjourn at about 2 pm. If all articles have not been considered and voted on by then. Town Meeting will continue at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 14th. 

We hope that voters will be able to attend the full Town Meeting to vote on all of the Town's business. If you are new to Town Meeting and have any questions about what to expect, please feel free to call or email Library Director Sia Stewart at 781-585-0517 x122,

What we did in April 2016

We presented our proposal to the Board of Selectmen on April 19th.  You can see the presentation slides, complete with a project budget that assumes that the project would be bid in 2019, here. The presentation video is online here. Now we are preparing to present the project to Town Meeting on June 11th. We'll be asking for permission to apply for a state construction grant that would pay for an estimated 42.9% of the total project (approximately 49% of the eligible construction costs).

We hope that you will learn about the project and come to Town Meeting to vote on it. In the meantime, we very  much want to hear your questions and ideas. We've set up a suggestion box in the lobby and welcome your emails and phone calls to 781-585-0517 x122 or

What we did in March 2016

The committee worked with the architects and the owner's project manager to develop the project budget. This includes estimated construction costs, design and project administration services, furnishings, and various other "soft" costs. It also includes the cost of temporary quarters, moving costs, and storage for the duration of the construction phase. The budget includes a contingency amount for unexpected developments. The grant process results in a ranked list of approved projects. Awards are made based on a project's position in that list -- 4 to 8 projects are funded in the first year, and a certain number of awards are made in each subsequent year. We assumed for the purposes of the budget that our project would be ranked in the middle of the list, and that construction would begin in 2019. We added cost escalation to the base budget to reflect the rising cost of construction between 2016 and 2019.

We will present an update to the Board of Selectmen on April 19th at 6 p.m. We'll show them the interior and exterior concept designs and present the budget. This presentation will be televised, and we hope that you can watch it either in person or on PACTV cable television.

What we did in February 2016

We held two more forums on February 3rd. About 30 people attended the afternoon session, and about 12 people attended the evening session. The architects presented two possible structures and several possible exteriors for the building. We talked about how the building would be used and what we mean by a 21st century library:

A gathering place and a resource for the community, a "community living room," a safe space for all, with friendly, well-trained staff ready to assist library users of all ages with services and collections that meet their changing needs for information, technology, training, and entertainment.

To accomplish this, a 21st century library building needs to be welcoming, easy to manage and maintain, fully ADA-compliant, with good natural light, a responsive lighting system, good acoustics, good separation of “active space” from “quiet space,” with after-hours access for community use. It needs to accommodate study, work, technology and other training, learning, and relaxation. It's a place to read and browse, meet your neighbors, connect with people who share your interests, study, work on projects, and use fast, efficient computers, wireless internet access, and other technology. It's a place for a lifetime of learning opportunities.

Following the forums, the Committee met again. After discussion, we chose one of the exteriors to develop further. After the architects have had a chance to work with this design, we'll present it to the Board of Library Trustees and the Board of Selectmen, and the design will be available to look at online and on boards in the library lobby. This design will be submitted with the grant application. It's important to remember that while we have chosen a preliminary design, it is very likely to change over the course of design development. We continue to welcome your comments and will do our best to make sure that everyone's voice is heard throughout the design process.

What we did in January 2016

We held two public forums on January 5th. About 30 people attended each session. We presented the need for the building and the proposed designs to date. Residents had the opportunity to ask questions, and it was very helpful to hear people's concerns and ideas. At a meeting later in January, the Committee saw a first look at possible exteriors, which we will present at public forums on February 3rd. We also met with the Capital Planning Committee to answer further questions about the grant we hope to apply for, and about the cost of repairs and upgrades to the existing building if the Town decides not to proceed with the new building. Finally, we sent out a building update newsletter to people who have requested to be on the list for updates about the project. If you would like to receive occasional updates, you can sign up by emailing or giving us your name when you're in the library.

What we did in December 2015

We now have preliminary designs for a new building, just under 21,000 square feet, proposed for the current location at 6 Green Street. We presented the design to the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, and Capital Planning Committee. We'll be developing that design further and working on cost estimates, which we hope to complete by the middle of March.

We hope that you will come to one of two public forum sessions planned for January 5th at 2 pm and 7 pm, at the Library, to see what the design looks like so far and hear the data behind the decision to propose new construction at the existing location. This is still a very early stage of the design process -- if Town Meeting approves moving ahead with pursuing a 50% construction grant, and if Kingston is awarded the grant and the Town accepts it, the project will still go through a long design development process. There is plenty of time for you to help shape the project, and we very much hope you will come to a forum and contribute your ideas about Kingston's future library.

We plan to offer two more forums in February, date still to be determined, but if you can't make it to any of these sessions, please come to the library to see the designs, ask questions, and offer your ideas. We've set up a suggestion box in the lobby and welcome your emails and phone calls to 781-585-0517 x122 or

What we did in November 2015

The Committee met twice in November to review data on new construction versus renovation/expansion. The data makes it clear that new construction provides a better position on the site, a more efficient floor plan, and greater flexibility for future needs. The cost difference is fairly small between the two approaches. Based on this data, the Committee took a provisional vote to support new construction at the current location. We will be giving a project update to the Finance Committee and Capital Planning Committee on December 14th and the Board of Selectmen on December 15th.

Plans are underway to present preliminary designs to residents at two public forums on January 5th, at 2 pm and 7 pm at the Library. We hope you will join us to see the proposal so far and give us your thoughts.

What we did in October 2015

After looking at two alternate sites, we concluded that 6 Green Street is still the best location for the town's library. It's close to other town buildings with related functions, provides a good transition between the downtown area and the mostly residential historical district, has enough parking, room for expansion, and it's easy to find. In our various surveys and public forums, people have repeatedly told us that they like the current location.

At our October meeting, the architects presented two preliminary designs to help us evaluate whether a renovation/expansion or new construction would be the best approach to meeting the space and service needs. The committee has asked for costs of both approaches as part of the data we will use to make that decision. We expect to make that decision at the end of November, and we will then be able to develop designs for whichever approach is selected. We will present the preliminary design to the Board of Selectmen on December 15th and to residents at a public forum on January 5th.

We also met with the planners the Town has hired, to bring them up to date on what we're doing as they work on the town's new Master Plan.

What we did in September 2015

We met twice in September, to review possible sites and approaches for the expansion space we need. We also presented the project to the Board of Selectmen at their September 22nd meeting. Here is a link to that presentation on the PACTV website. The library presentation starts at 1 hr and 3 minutes in and continues to the end. We will be offering a couple of public forums soon. In the meantime, we welcome your questions and comments. You can speak with any member of the committee or with Library Director Sia Stewart.

What we did in August 2015

We held our first meeting with Oudens Ello Architecture to review project goals and schedule. We set a preliminary schedule that includes a presentation to the Board of Selectmen for a project update on September 22nd, as well as two or three public meetings to update residents about the project. These will be oppportunities for you to learn about the project and for us to get your reactions and feedback to the design ideas at several stages. Watch for announcements about dates and locations!

July 2015 update

We interviewed three architect firms and selected a finalist: Oudens Ello Architecture. We've seen some of their work already -- they designed the new libraries in Millis and West Tisbury. Two other projects of theirs are under construction now: the new libraries in Eastham and Scituate. We're very excited about working with them on a great solution to Kingston's library space issues.

We're also happy to welcome a new member to our committee, Selectmen Lindsay Wilson. He brings a deep knowledge of the laws and regulations that affect this project, as well as an understanding of Kingston's planning, finances, and procedures that will be very valuable to us.

June 2015 update

We issued an RFQ for architectural services in June, conducted a walk-through of the building for nine firms, and received six responses to the RFQ. We'll review the responses and interview finalists in July. We hope to select a firm and have a signed contract by the end of July. Then we'll begin the exciting work of beginning to develop a design and cost proposal for Kingston's future library. Stay tuned for updates!

May 2015 update

Our Building Program has been completed, approved by the Committee and by the Library Trustees, and submitted to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. We're on our way!

We have hired and begun working with an Owner's Project Manager, Jon Lemieux of The Vertex Companies. Jon's first task is to help the Committee prepare and issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an architect. The architect will conduct a feasibility study of the current location (and check to see if there might be any better sites in Kingston), and then begin the work of creating schematic designs from our Building Program.

During May, the Committee also visited the public libraries in Pembroke, Carver, and Lakeville, to see what ideas we might want to include in our own design.

April 2015 update

Owner's Project Manager (OPM) applications have been received and reviewed by an Ad Hoc Library Building Review Committee consisting of Town Administrator Robert Fennessy, Building Inspector Paul Armstrong, Library Trustee Vanessa Verkade, Library Director Sia Stewart, and LBSC member Jack Burrey. Interviews with the finalists are scheduled for April 30th. We hope to have a signed contract and commence work with the OPM by mid-May.

The LBSC has accepted a building program from consultant Cheryl Bryan. Further edits will be made before the Committee votes on a final Building Program to present to the Library Trustees on May 5th. Once approved, the Program will be sent to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and will be the basis for the proposal we develop over the next year, to present to the Town in March and April 2016. 

We are also scheduling further informational visits to area libraries in May.

March 2015 update

The Building Program is nearly complete. The first draft was sent to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for review, and we are now finishing up the revisions.

We have issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an Owner's Project Manager and conducted a walk-through of the building with four interested firms. Responses to the RFQ are due on April 16th, and will be reviewed the next day by an Ad Hoc Library Building Review Committee set up by the Town Administrator. We will schedule interviews with the finalists.

The Owner's Project Manager will help us select and hire an architect, help make sure the project stays on track, meets all legal requirements, and stays true to the Building Program.

In the meantime, we have begun work on an RFQ for an architect. The architect's job will be to review the Building Program, evaluate the current library building and location, determine whether the current location is the best place for the library, and whether the current building can be remodeled to meet the issues identified in the Building Program. Based on that information, the architect will create schematic designs and cost estimates.

February 2015 update

The Library Building Study Committee was not able to meet in February because of the barrage of storms, but we did hold our February 7th focus group, attended by a lively group of 15 residents. We heard many ideas for what the group treasures about the current building and wants to see in the future building. Others who could not attend gave us their ideas by email and in person. It is not too late to submit your ideas. We'll keep refining the plan over the next year.

The first draft of the Building Program is nearly complete.

We worked with the Town Administrator and Town Counsel to create a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an Owner's Project Manager, a building professional who will look out for the Town's interests when we begin working with an architect to create schematic designs and cost estimates from the Building Program.

January 2015 update

The library director and building consultant continued work on the Building Program. The Library Building Study Committee worked on plans for a focus group to be held on February 7th, specifically about the library building. The Committee also visited public libraries in Mashpee and Falmouth to interview the library staff there about what works and doesn't work in their buildings.

Library director Sia Stewart held four focus groups at the middle school and high school. One of the interesting revelations was that most of the students expressed a preference for reading physical books, especially when they need to focus. Since then, we've seen several studies of reading preferences among students, and we find that Kingston students are no exception. Lots of students still prefer physical books, and we know from experience that many adults do as well. We'll make sure to include plenty of shelf space for print books in our Building Program.

The Strategic Planning Committee held its third and final meeting to review a set of draft goals based on what we heard from the community. The library director and staff will turn these into an action plan for the next five years. The Building Program incorporates the mission and goals.

December 2014 update

We continued work on the Building Program.

We worked with the librarians at the Silver Lake Regional High School and Middle Schools to plan student focus groups, to be held in January.

Library director Sia Stewart and Trustee Vanessa Verkade attended Library Journal's Design Institute, an annual conference held at various locations around the country and attended by library and design professionals from all over the globe. This year, the Institute was held at the Boston Public Library.

The Kingston Public Library's building study project was chosen as a "design challenge" for which we worked with the Boston design firm OudensEllo on three possible scenarios for the future Kingston Public Library building. The scenarios were discussed and critiqued in a group session of conference attendees, and we came away with some great ideas. We also got a preview of the fabulous renovations at the Boston Public Library, and we strongly urge you to visit!

November 2014 update

In November the Library Building Study Committee and library staff worked with our building consultant to compile community and library data that would become part of the Building Program. The consultant interviewed library staff, gathered statistics, and spoke with the Town Planner to get an overview of town projects, plans, and standards. We also held a second community forum on November 22nd at which 15 residents gave us their priorities for library services. We toured public libraries in Hanover, Abington, and Duxbury to gather ideas for our library building.
October 2014 update

The Library Building Study Committee has hired a building consultant and is beginning to work on writing the Building Program that will be the basis for the design proposal. We'll be visiting libraries in the area for ideas about what works and what doesn't work so well, so we can incorporate the best ideas and avoid some pitfalls. We're also looking at ideas from libraries across Massachusetts and in other parts of the country.

We are also collaborating with an Ad Hoc Library Strategic Planning Committee to gather ideas from the community from which we will develop our next 5-year strategic plan. The strategic plan will be very useful to us as we write the Building Program. There will be two Community Forums, the first on Tuesday, October 28th from 6 to 8 pm and the second on Saturday, November 22nd from 2 to 4 pm. You are warmly invited to attend one of these forums to share your thoughts for the future direction of Kingston and the Kingston Public Library. Register here for the October 28th forum or here for November 22.

Library Director Sia Stewart and Trustee Vanessa Verkade will attend a national Library Design Institute in Boston on December 5th, hosted by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. This will be a day of design presentations and working sessions with experienced library architects. Our library has been submitted as one of the challenge projects for groups to work on.
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