Town Report, 2019 Trustees
Having celebrated 140 years of the Abbot Public Library last year, the Trustees set about fund-raising this year with a plan to present a renovation project to Town Meeting in May, 2020. The library has traditionally been funded by both private and public resources. The first donor was Benjamin Abbot in 1877 whose donation was then supported by the public at Town Meeting with $20,000 for the founding and maintenance of our town library. Since that time, every successful renovation/improvement has been jump-started by private funding and followed by public support. The Trustees, therefore, committed to raising $1million towards a renovation and going to Town Meeting for the remaining funding ($8.5 million).
The proposed renovation, conceived by well-known architects, Johnson and Roberts will attend to critical infrastructure needs and redesign the current space to better provide 21stcentury service to Marblehead citizens. The infrastructure needs which will be addressed are: elevator, electrical, fire alarm and protection, HVAC, ADA access, stairs, surface storm fun-off, and parking lot. The new design will feature: a more welcoming entry station, fireplace café, a quiet reading room, an information zone, quiet nooks, meeting areas, study spaces, tutor areas, teen center, maker space, garden access and garden performance space, and improved technology platforms.
The Trustees have been working in concert with several highly- talented citizen groups. The Building Renovation Committee has been involved throughout the process and will continue to advise as the project moves forward. Members of the Building Renovation Committee include Gary Amberik (architect), Rick Settelmeyer (fund raiser), John Jacobsen (museum planner), Thomas Amsler (architect), Ken Fisher (architect), Dick Nohelty (financial planner), Charles Gessner (industrial engineer), Gary Ritter (civil engineer), Kathy Bradford (landscape architect), Patricia Rogers (library director), and Phyllis Smith (library board chair). Previous members whose contributions are remembered were John Arata, (attorney) and Ned Dawes, (civil engineer).
The Development Committee, under the leadership of library trustee, Nancy Perkins Arata and Building Renovation Committee member, Rick Settelmeyer, has been involved with informational meetings, tours, social gatherings and mailings. Members of that committee include Russel Ryan, Patrica McLaughlin, Meryl Thompson, Rich Bowen, Charles Ives, and Wayne Stemmer. Fund-raising is on target with contributions and pledges received from many loyal citizens.
The Advocacy Committee, under the leadership of newly-named library trustee, EuRim Chun, was formed to inform, educate, and mobilize citizens to vote for funding the proposed renovation. The tagline being used during this process is “ OUR 17THCENTURY TOWN DESERVES A 21STCENTURY LIBRARY”. Members of this committee include Cheryl Byrnes, Courtney Kelly, Courtney Munroe, Doug Hill, Karen Rosenberg, Kate Sweezy-Brooks, Kelley Braun, Kim Girard, Laurie Flowers, Lolli Leeson, Maeve Rice, Meryl Thompson, Molly Bushman, Molly Williams, Patricia Rockett, and Rich Bowen.
The Friends of the Abbot Public Library under the leadership of Sue Ball have been reinvigorated and continue to support both the current library and the plans for a renovated library. The Sale Away used bookshop has been a wonderful addition to library services, especially as we are now a town without a commercial book seller.
In addition, the Trustees have committed to continuing to fund-raise another $2million after the renovation project is approved by the Town. They believe that a modern library needs to create financial flexibility to accommodate change and new opportunities. Municipalities like Marblehead are going to encounter continued financial pressures that will impact all budgets including the Abbot Public Library’s. The additional funding will go towards: 1. An endowment to fund for anticipated future maintenance of the renovated library, 2. Flexibility of responding to ever-evolving changes in the library’s focus and services caused by the introduction of new technologies and their associated impact on the way we learn, communicate, and work, 3. Financial resources to act strategically, in a timely manner, to potential parking options as they are identified. A Technology and Educational Planning Committee is in place to provide guidance as the renovated library moves into the 21st century. That committee is being chaired by Building Renovation Committee members, Rick Settelmeyer and John Jacobsen
The Trustees are hopeful that the Town will recognize the critical need for library renovation at this time and that citizens will raise their voices in support as the citizens of 1877 did. As quoted from the Marblehead Messenger of March 24, 1887, “never was there such an earnest determination manifested among our citizens, to make wise provision for the future.”