Every day between 500 and 600 people visit the Blackstone Library to read, write, learn, meet and collaborate, conduct job searches and improve technology skills. In the past 20 years, annual visits to the library have grown from 86,500 to 180,248. Last year, community members held 2,431 meetings at the library, borrowed 258,057 items, and used the computers 32,263 times. More than 14,600 people attended programs for adults and children. We have reached a point where the library’s current configuration, last updated in 1996, no longer supports evolving community needs.
The Blackstone Library’s plan for a renovation and addition will ensure that the library can provide 21st-century services now and in the future. The children’s department will be moved to a larger, more open area with dedicated computer stations and program space on the ground floor. An area with technology, space for group study, and an expanded collection will be created just for teens. A computer lab and two conference rooms will be added, and an addition at the rear of the building will provide a welcoming, accessible entry that activates outdoor space with a terrace and plaza. All of these improvements will be made while keeping the integrity of the original building’s iconic architecture.
Since the campaign for the Blackstone launched in March, hundreds in our community have donated generously to make this project a reality. I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support, especially from the Branford Community Foundation, which has pledged to match individual gifts in amounts up to $1,000 for a total match of $100,000.
I look forward to working closely with the town, and the community on this important project, and I welcome feedback from all as we move ahead. The project plan is available in detail on our website at www.blackstonelibrary.org.
Library Director Karen Jensen
James Blackstone Memorial Library