Sherman Library, Sherman Connecticut (860) 354-2455

Building Committee

Mason Lord, Chairman
Karen Cushnie
Christine Lent
Millie Loeb
Bruce Tuthill
Walt Sizemore

The Sherman Library Campaign

Background

The Sherman Library has played an important role in our community for over 100 years. Beyond the traditional function as a public library, it has been a gathering place for local residents to exchange ideas and a center for community programs and group activities. It is also a place where people can find out what’s happening in town, catch up on local events and generally keep in touch with each other.


The Sherman Library Association can be traced back to 1901 when a group of Sherman women formed "The Delvers" which met occasionally to discuss books and current events. They began to raise funds for a library and after many years with $8,000 raised in 1926 the Sherman Library Association became a reality in the “Historic Town Center."


It came about because there was a need and a vision, one that united a town with the Sherman Library at the center. The Sherman Library does serve as a Town Center offering so many possibilities for everyone always at no charge.  For children and adults, it is a place to learn and dream. It is the exchange of ideas through books and songs.  And it is a world of information at your fingertips.


Libraries have always offered such a panorama. When the Sherman Library was established the population of the town was 600 but the library survived and flourished on annual dues of $1 for adults and 50 cents for children.  Throughout the years the Sherman Library continued to thrive and usage accelerated.


As the town grew the library expanded as well. During the past twenty years, however, there has been a dramatic increase in our population more families now live in our town, as well as many who have chosen to stay all or seek retirement in our wonderful setting. At every age, there have been changes in the demographics and today the town needs a library that can meet these changing needs.

The Need for a Change
During the mid-1990’s, it became apparent that The Sherman Library would not be able to accommodate the boom in growth, unless it was to grow along with the town. So, in 1999, the Sherman Library Board of Trustees and the library director started planning for the next era of growth. They created a long-range plan that addressed library use, governance and funding. This plan included a formal facility review by an architectural consultant. This assessment of the building confirmed and supported the findings of the community survey: The library needed to expand. When the Board of Trustees reviewed the options for enlarging the library, they were cognizant of the most important findings gleaned from their survey: Sherman residents have a very strong attachment to their library. Its central location, historic feel and overall ambiance are very important to the community. For these reasons, the Board decided to stay with its current site and work for an expansion rather than start from scratch somewhere outside the town center.

Every day there are competing claims for library space. The constraints of size and layout conspire to create overlapping demands for room. The Connecticut State Library has developed space-planning guidelines to assist libraries with their building plans. The elements that determine the appropriate building size for a library is population, library collection size and usage. According to these calculations, The Sherman Library should be approximately 12,000 square felt. Right now there is only 3,200 square feet on the mail level; roughly one-quarter of it recommended size. The library is significantly undersized to serve our town's needs.

The Future Library

Over the course of many years, plans were developed, reviewed, shared with members of the community for feedback and taken back to the drawing board. At the end of the day a dynamic, working solution was developed. The new Sherman Library will blend with the historic setting and it will be 9,706 square feet to allow for today’s needs and tomorrow’s future growth.

The following outlines the design solution that will both meet the current and future needs of the town, while allowing the Sherman Library to retain its present charm, special ambience and historic significance.

1. Improve areas for adult book collections and displays.
This will allow visitors to the library the opportunity to find what they want quickly – or linger in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

2. Enhance shelving for multimedia collections
Today’s library user has many expectations that go beyond the traditional books. Multi-media, audio books, DVD’s and more make up today’s collection.

3. Increase space to build children’s programs and provide an activity room
Nowhere is the space shortage more evident than in the lack of space for children’s programming. Today, not a single book can come in without another book going out. And some children’s activities are best provided during the warm months so they can be accommodated outside as there is not enough space inside.

4. Dedicate the original Sherman Library building to a quiet reading and study area
With a growing population of active adults, a quiet reading space will be a welcome area. To be housed in the original library with a warm fireplace, people of all ages can find their favorite periodical or peruse that interesting book in a quiet sanctuary.

5. Provide space for young adult activities
The proximity to the school makes the library a great place for young adults to stop, do some homework, pick up a new book and spend time in a safe and nurturing environment. Today’s young adult area is one shelf on rollers – inadequate to meet today’s needs.

6. Establish library meeting and program areas
There is never enough space in Town for the many programs people desire. The library has been experiencing this for years. By renovating the existing barn and transforming it into a multi-purpose programming room, the opportunity to create dynamic and interesting programs for the Town will be the realization of a dream that was started nearly a century ago.

7. Increase the number of computer work stations
A library has always been civilization’s source of knowledge. Today; however, much of our knowledge is now available through the internet. And research and processing knowledge requires computers. That is why there will be a number of computer stations throughout the library for everyone to use.

8. Expand and redesign staff areas
Libraries are run and managed by competent staff and willing volunteers. Today’s cramped quarters mean that staff is not as effective. They often do their work in shifts for lack of space, and volunteers cannot be effectively utilized. Redesigned staff areas improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the library.

9. Meet LEED Certified Standards ( Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system) with green materials, better lighting and a more efficient heating system.

Progress to Date

Since the original plan was conceived, a great deal of progress has been achieved:

1. We conducted a feasibility study to determine community support and the feasibility of raising funds for the proposed expansion and as a result we have tailored the project to meet both community needs and capacity for support

2. We hired the renowned library architectural firm Tuthill and Wells which has created a design that maintains and respects the character of the Sherman Historic District, yet serves the functional needs of the library

3. We have met with all the town Review Boards, encompassed changes as necessary and finalized the design to meet community-wide and governance needs.

4. We acquired the property adjacent to the library, which will allow us to keep the library in the center of town.

5. The Sherman expansion project has received approvals from all Town of Sherman Boards and Commissions.

6. We have received private support of approximately $600,000 during the quiet phase of our capital campaign. Every member of the Board of Trustees has personally committed financial support for this project.

7. Our Town approved a $1,000,000 grant to support the library renovation and expansion.

8. We wrote and submitted an extensive building program to the State of Connecticut and we were awarded a $1,000,000 Library Construction Grant.

9. We received $200,000 from the Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) and a $100,000 construction grant through the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. We were awarded a $10,000 Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Grant.

10. The total cost to build the new library will be $3.3 million. We have raised $2.95 million in grants, private donations and pledges. The Board of Trustees will raise an additional $350,000.

11. We hired the construction management company Enfield Builders.

12. Capital Campaign Delvers of the 21st Century launched and State Library Construction Contract signed.

13. Construction Bids received. Enfield Builders presents Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) that exceeds budget. Building Committee reconvenes to scale back project design and site work.

14. 2012: Revised schematic design drawings completed. Enfield presents schematic budget.

Why You Matter

There is a time when people can come together and make a difference for future generations. That time is now.

Nearly a century ago the dream of a few created an opportunity for many when they envisioned a literary club that became a library. While a handful of women had the dream it took an entire town to make it a reality.

Today, we are at a similar junction. The vision of a Board and a town saw a library that could span the next hundred years as an important resource for future generations. The early work has been done. It now takes the help of more visionaries and believers to make it come true.

Your early support matters:

1. It provides the seed money for the first phase of this campaign.

2. It sends a strong message that we can accomplish something significant together.

3. It speaks to your personal vision of excellence for future generations. And for a vibrant library centering the town of Sherman.

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