Building a new Rural Library
January 24, 2017 9:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm on the board of our local rural library and we're in the very beginning stages of planning to build a new library. Our current lease runs out in March 2021.

We own the property where we want to place the library. It's also more property than we probably need and shaped in such a way that a portion could easily be lopped off and sold to help finance construction. ( Adjacent a lake with views! )

We have the beginnings of our requirements for said new library. square footage, parking, community room, restrooms, etc..

We've begun very preliminary conversations with a USDA Rep re: Community Facilities Loans and Grants. But, we also have, IMO, a substantial "rainy day nest egg" that we'd like to tap for a large portion of the construction.

My question is: Do any of the brilliant MeFites here know of any federal resources we could tap into to help with the planning? Things like site planning, architecture, financing strategies etc. Like a paid consultant, but from the government & already paid for.

I've been watching a lot of Parks and Rec lately and it seems to me that such an org would exist in the Leslie Knope universe.

Thank you!
posted by bricksNmortar to Law & Government (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Usually the place to start (and forgive me please if you are already all over this) is with the State Library system who can suggest people who are familiar with your area and the very unique issues with funding libraries which is state by state in the US and then push you in the right direction.

My understanding with how these things go in Vermont is that the first step is just accumulating money once you have a ballpark of what you are trying to raise (state library, very helpful with this) and an idea of what your community needs are (you can do this at the same time, sort of) then you start shopping around for architects who often will handle a lot of the rest of the stuff.

When I've gone to national level library conferences, there are often a large number of architectural firms that deal specifically with libraries (and who understand the ADA issues as well as library use case issues) who are often willing to do some initial consults for free or cheap. I have, in the past, known people who have worked with Tappé who is a firm out of Boston who does some really excellent work in the New England area. If you are where your profile says you are, this link should be helpful, you might want to see if there is a statewide mailing list (it's ALL mailing lists) for other library trustees that you can tap into and maybe adjoining states. I know Vermont has one but it looks like your state association (a distinct thing from the state library) may not. But maybe make a few phone calls or ask your library director if they have local ideas from their professional org too, they might.
posted by jessamyn at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not in the USA, so I cannot give you specific advice, but I know one really well-made, award-winning rural library that was made super cheaply by using a local sustainable building programme from a college a couple of hours away. Reaching out to a similar programme may also give you some leads.

So, I guess my other advice would be to reach out to other libraries that have recently built and find out what resources THEY used.
posted by saucysault at 12:42 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

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