December 24, 2004

Opportunity For Community: New McAuliffe Branch Library

This project would be so great for the Saxoville community and Framingham's north side in general, it's hard to know where to begin.

The north side of town is terribly underserved by library services compared with demand. Last year, the McAuliffe branch library in north Framingham was the busiest branch library in Massachsuetts. But it's certainly far from the largest.

"Based on well-established nationwide standards for library collections and services, the size of the branch needs to be nearly tripled," according to the Framingham library Web site.

As I've complained before, the current branch library has the look and feel of a trailer. There's not enough room for books, there's nowhere to hold either library or community events, and there's very little place to actually sit, read, research and spend time. In fact, there's not even enough space for the books. The building was designed to hold 16,000 volumes; it currently has more than 72,000 stuffed in.

The staff does an amazing job considering the cramped size and inability to offer any kind of appealing place to do anything more than check books in and out. But this is an unacceptable situation that's getting worse.... yet we now have a great chance for a new building that would offer so much to the community.

The planned new branch would not only have space for enough books, but include an area for children's services and a room for library programs that would be available for community groups (something desperately needed on this side of town). It would be within walking distance of three schools (Cameron Middle School, Stapleton and Hemmenway elementary schools), a shopping center, the Saxonville business district and areas of multi-family housing as well as some single-family dwellings (including mine).

I enthusiastically support this project and urge the Framingham Board of Selection and Town Meeting to approve it.

You can see more information here.

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