Southborough Library
Southborough Library

  Catalog     Website  


The Southborough Library is actively applying this year to the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP), a state grant administered by the MA Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and regulated under 605 CMR 6.00. The purpose of the grant is to provide financial support to municipalities for the improvement of library facilities. Municipal votes for approval of support and local funding are required prior to a project moving forward into each phase. The Planning and Design Phase funding is for activities related to the planning and designing of new, renovated, or expanded public library facilities in advance of a whole building project.

According to the United States Census Bureau July 1, 2023 projections, Southborough has a population of approximately 10,409 residentsThe population of Southborough is 1990 was 6,628. In 33 years, the town's population has increased 57%.

Why do we need to renovate and expand the library?

The library must grow to meet emerging user and community needs.

The Southbororough Library is a vital part of our community. Built in 1911, the library has been a historical icon of the Town of Southborough for over a century. The last renovation and expansion of the library was in 1989 which added the Children's Room, an elevator, and the Main Floor Stacks area upstairs. The current Southborough Library facility has 14,000 gross square feet. The library has maintained 7,567 active library card accounts in the last two years. Of that number, 6,325 of those patrons are Southborough residents.

The need for a new library to service the town's current and future needs has been widely recognized by the residents and the town leadership. These needs are especially apparent with respect to accessibility, adequate spaces for seating, dedicated youth program areas, technology upgrades, and importantly additional space for book collections, media and other/new printed collections. New book shelves cannot be added without ceding a signficant portion of the public space that is used for library programs.

In 2024, the town has a unique opportunity to apply for a library construction grant through the state. The Southborough Library Board of Trustees and Library Director are hopeful that the town will approve the article for $150,000 for the planning and design of a renovated and expanded library facility.

The Southborough Library is too small to keep up with demand

  • Youth services areas for children and teens are too constrained
  • Circulation desk operations are clustered and inefficient
  • Requests for study space cannot be fulfilled
  • Storage space for books and materials is insufficient

Solution: State Grant to fund building expansion

  • State Grant cycle is currently underway
  • Grants to small libraries like Southborough are the focus of the program
  • The MPLCP grant could pay for up to half of a new library facility

Path Forward

  • Conduct and pay for planning & design feasibility study
  • Present results of planning & design feasibility study to MA Board of Library Commissioners
  • If selected, make public the amount of the grant award and any grant conditions
  • Determine amount taxpayers would be asked to fund over minus grant funds awarded
  • Explore a capital campaign to begin independent fundraising for the expansion
  • Ulimately request necessary funding from taxpayers

Current Request of Taxpayers

  • Agree to fund $150,000 to cover required feasibility and cost study

Needs & Challenges

The current building does not fully meet the needs of the community. Multiple collections in the library are at capacity. Newly developed, popular collections, such as puzzles, board games, and the more than books collection, need more storage space where they can be easily accessible. All book collections in the library are constantly at capacity, and those that get extra high usage show a heightened need. These include the collections of graphic novels and manga, Children’s literature, adult fiction, and DVDs. This would decrease the library’s need to constantly weed collections. 

The library also has a high need for new program spaces. A set aside space for popular Children’s Programs including story time, music performances, educational sessions, and craft activities, would allow for the Children’s Room to be fully functional during programs. An enclosed space would also younger children to take part in the activity in a full safe environment. The current options are the children’s Room, in which space is cramped, the Eaton Program Room which lacks a carpet and and a separate storage area, and the Main Floor which disturbs other patrons’ activities. Teen programs have an even smaller space in the Teen Room, and again limited space in Eaton Meeting Room. If teen and children’s programs overlap, options for location of program become more limited. Study spaces are the most requested 

The library also has high quality, high value items that should have locked storage spaces. A separate room for the Idea Lab is necessary. The library has state of the art equipment including a 3D printer and a laser cutter, that are currently stored in the Teen Room. This leads to equipment lacking suitable supervision and secure storage. Similarly, the library holds a substantive historical collection that has works from as far back as the 1700s. These items are stored in the Main Room, which lacks controlled temperature and humidity, and again has no enclosed storage for high value items.  

The current library building also lacks a functional layout. Staff space is limited at full capacity for best usage. Lack of room to process new materials lessens staff efficiency. Public service points are also currently in suboptimal locations that hinder patron services. Insufficient electrical outlets also creates challenges for patrons with today’s many regularly used devices needing power sources.

At this time a letter of intent has been field with the state, and staff have attended the required trainings. The grant MPCLP funds is due in April 2024, and progress is being made to develop the required statistics and narratives.


Come chat with the library director!

All are invited to meet with library director, Ryan Donovan, for a one-on-one discussion regarding the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program (MPLCP). For questions, please email Ryan at



  • Saturday, March 16 from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM in the Judy Williams Reading Room upstairs
  • Tuesday, March 19 from 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the Judy Williams Reading Room upstairs

Library Building Survey Results

Feedback from Southborough Library patrons

Southborough Library offered a survey in 2023 to collect feedback on the library's current building, to ensure the library meets user needs. Please see survey results below.

Below are selected quotes from Question #9 about the library and the library building.

"The Marlborough and Natick libraries both added on to their original historic locations- so should Southborough!!!!"

"I love the library & staff. It works great for me but I support what the staff thinks is needed."

"Love the current building but it does fill up very quickly, needs more breathing room."

"I love our town library, I would love to see it expand."

"I love the library and wish it had more of the more than books, like other libraries. I also wish there were more information services (taxes, bureaucracy, insurance, legal advice, ESL, etc)."

"I love our library and would support any of their needs. We are truly blessed to have this gem in our community and I use it weekly."

"It’s a beautiful space but very small. Would love to see ideas for the future."

"I love going to the library because of the relationships I have with the librarians. I would listen carefully to their input as they know the community and its needs."

"I’m a library supporter. My kids and I support every effort there is to expand and make this library a state of the art resource to the community...Please continue to make the library a hub for the town to build knowledge, skills, and a sense a community."

Grant Timeline

Standard Grant Timeline

Date Event
February 2, 2023 Grant round announced
February 28, 2023 Amplifund training for Letter of Intent submission
April 28, 2023 Letter of Intent due by 4:00 pm Eastern
May 2023 Mandatory application workshops
June 7, 2023 Amplifund training for application
May 31, 2024 Application due by 4:00 pm Eastern (must have submitted a Letter of Intent to qualify)
June 16, 2024 Certified votes of local approvals and appropriations for application and Planning & Design phase local funding due by 4:00 pm Eastern
June-August 2024 Independent review of applications and reviewer site visits to applicant libraries
September 2024 Grant recipients recommended to MBLC Director
October 2024 Commissioners vote to approve immediately funded and waitlisted grant recipients; MBLC contracts executed with grant recipients
October 2024 - December 2025 Planning & Design for Standard Grant recipients
December 2025 - January 2026 Independent review of MPLCP Level of Design
February 2026 Estimates based on MPLCP Level of Design; Construction phase grant awards calculated
March 2026 Commissioners vote to approve Construction phase grant awards
March - June 2026 Certified votes for local approvals and appropriations for Construction phase local funding
June 2026 - June 2027 Design work from completion of schematic design through construction documents
July 2027 Bidding
August 2027 Construction contracts for projects (usually 16 to 24 months)