FITCHBURG — As one of the many positive changes in downtown, the library renovation and expansion project will begin soon and, until the expected completion in 2025, the library will be temporarily relocated not too far away on Boulder Drive.
The library, however, will be closed for roughly a month, after which the library will temporarily relocate to the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority’s Putnam Place office.
“The library will be closed to the public to accommodate the relocation effective Saturday, Oct. 21, with reopening at the 166 Boulder Drive location anticipated in late November,” said an official release from the office of Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale.
Putnam Place will be the library’s home until the $40 million renovation and expansion project is completed in the summer of 2025.
“We are so thankful to Mayor Stephen DiNatale, the Fitchburg City Council, the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for all their respective efforts to move this transformative project forward,” said Fitchburg Library Director Deb Hinkle.
Library officials have provided residents with useful information to help those who would like to still use the resources of the library while in its temporary location:
• All materials checked out prior to the closing will be automatically renewed until after the library has reopened at Putnam Place. Patrons are encouraged to make use of neighboring Central and Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing (CW MARS) libraries and FPL’s online resources during the transition to the new location.
• While housed at Putnam Place, the library will be open and active for all and will have a large portion of the collection available to borrow. Patrons will also be able to rely on the library consortium, CW MARS, to reserve and fulfill requests for materials that they may not have readily available.
• The library will continue to offer information and reference services, public computers, Wi-Fi, hotspots, printing, copying, faxing, meeting spaces for the public, story times, programming, museum passes, and more during the transition.
The $40 million library renovation project will encompass two major changes; overall better use of the existing interior space as well as expanding the space in the library with a new children’s library.
“[The city] will renovate the existing Wallace Library, preserving its structural integrity and creating an interior space that more efficiently, effectively, and safely serves the community,” said a project summary on the official building project site. “[The city] will create an entirely new children’s library and learning center to replace the existing Youth Library. Both elements of this project will not only improve the facility, but also empower the library to continue serving as a key community resource to enable the opportunity to work, learn, and expand personal horizons.”
Of the total project cost, a Library Construction Program Grant from the state Board of Library Commissioners contributed $12.44 million in funding, $12 million came from the Fitchburg American Rescue Plan Act and $12 million came from “city of Fitchburg funding,” according to the building project’s official site.
The OWL (Offering a World of Learning) Capital Campaign has been raising the additional $3.5 million through the generosity of local individuals, businesses, organizations, agencies and others. The capital campaign will bring in additional funds to cover a variety of expenses for the renovation project including design, construction, furnishings and equipment.
Library staff has also posted a public notice saying that the library will be opening late at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 to allow for a staff meeting.
Learn more about the library renovations on the official site for the building project at http://fitchburgpubliclibrary.org/1028/Building-Project.