At Fall Special Town Meeting on Monday, November 9, residents will vote whether to appropriate $150,000 for a study to evaluate two options for addressing overcrowding and other problems at the Library.  One option is to expand and renovate the current library at 5 Concord Road; the other option is to build a new library on a different site in town. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

  • I love our Library! What’s wrong with it? Yes, it’s a great library, but library services have changed a lot over the years. Our current library is too small, outdated in its use of space, and has site challenges.
  • What are some of the space problems? The library is short of space for collections, and the stacks are overcrowded.  We have only one meeting room and can offer only six cramped public computer work stations. There are no silent study areas, no rooms for group work, and no spaces for private tutoring, The Children’s Room is small, and the Teen Space is tiny. There are no public restrooms on the main floor. Much of the staff works from a warren of rooms in the basement, and space for technology infrastructure is inadequate.
  • What are some of the site problems? Parking and traffic are both problematic, and the building is not handicap accessible.  Most seriously, the site is subject to flooding. In 2010 a spring flood closed the Library for four months for repairs. Minor flooding continues to this day, especially in the Children’s Room.
  • Why is the warrant article coming to Town Meeting now? The Library Trustees have been studying these problems since 2001, and a new library facility has been in the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan since 2005. The Trustees are bringing this article now so the Town will be eligible to apply for a State construction grant.  
  • What would a state grant get us? A state grant would cover roughly 45% of eligible construction costs if the Town chooses to go forward with a library building project. In order to apply for such a grant, the Town must first do some required planning and design work.
  • What sort of study does the article propose? The study is for planning and design. The State requires that the Town investigate at least two sites. The Trustees have designated the existing library as one of those two sites, with others to be determined. Ultimately, one site will be selected for detailed consideration, including geo-technical and other studies, schematic designs, and a cost estimate for construction.
  • If the article passes, are we committed to a new library? No. The warrant article is only for the planning and design work required to apply for a state grant to expand the current library or build a new one. Approval to apply for such a grant and to undertake a library construction project would require separate articles and votes at future Town Meetings.
  • What happens if the warrant article doesn’t pass? Wayland will not be able to perform the planning and design work required to qualify for a state grant. Consequently, the State’s funds will be awarded to another town.
  • Can we wait a year before deciding on this issue? No.  The window of opportunity to have the state cover roughly 45% of our construction costs will have closed if we postpone this vote.
  • I have heard talk of a new Council on Aging and Community Center at Town Center. Is the Library project related in any way?  No, the projects are separate.
  • Who supports this article?  The article is sponsored by the Board of Library Trustees with the unanimous support of the Library Planning Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Board of Selectmen.