December 26, 2016
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNNFIELD — A new public library building is coming closer to reality in 2017.
Library Director Holly Mercer said the next step in the multi-year process is for the Board of Library Trustees to submit a grant application by Jan. 26 to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
Mercer said the status of the grant application, which will potentially cover 40-60 percent of eligible costs, should be finalized by summer.
A portion of the funding for the project will also come from the town, said Mercer.
At the April Town Meeting, residents voted to approve initial plans for the new library.
In October, the town moved one step further in the process and voted to transfer a portion of land at Reedy Meadow Golf Course for the library building.
The library project may come up again on the agenda at next fall’s Town Meeting, Mercer said, when the trustees have a better idea of how much funding they can expect to receive from MBLC.
According to the Lynnfield Public Library website, the library first opened its doors on July 22, 1892 with a collection of 554 books.
The collection has grown significantly since then and the building is facing issues with a lack of street parking and handicap access, basement flooding and limited space for children’s programs.
Mercer confirmed that the new library will be located at the site of the Danforth-Bancroft House on Summer Street.
The Danforth-Bancroft House was built in 1744 by Deacon Nathanial Bancroft, according to information provided by Linda Gillon of the Lynnfield Historical Society.
Gillon said the property is now owned by the town.
“We want to incorporate as much of the Danforth House heritage as possible,” said Mercer, who explained that the expense of renovating the historic home was more than the town could afford.
Mercer said artifacts will be removed from the Danforth House and displayed in the new library. She said a reading room will be dedicated to Bancroft.
In the meantime, Mercer said several updates have been made to the existing library structure, such as new paint.
“We’ve also added a lot of programming,” said Mercer. “There are over 1,000 individuals who attend our programming each month. I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t been in for a while to come and explore those services.”
Leah Dearborn can be reached at email@example.com.