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Defining ‘Library of Future’

What’s happening with the Peterborough Library and the Library of the Future project?

As a taxpayer, parent, patron and also a director of the 1833 Society, I have a vested interested in the Peterborough Town Library. The library trustees encouraged the formation of the 1833 Society to help design and raise funds for an enhanced Library of the Future.

We have been asked by many people around town how things are going. Although the highly visible input sessions were over in June, we continue to plan and move forward.

We spent several months gathering community input, starting with last February’s forum and then a series of meetings around town from March until June. We also included comments submitted via email and the suggestion box at the library. The outreach group’s summary of that input was shared with the public in mid-July — you can find that information on the 1833 Society’s website, Currently, 1833 directors and incorporators are in the process of filtering and prioritizing that information. Listening to all of the community members who care so passionately and evaluating themes and trends has been very inspiring.

We have made diligent progress on other planning fronts.

We are looking at peer libraries and their experiences in reconstruction and revitalization. We are in the process of gathering lessons learned by other libraries that have undergone renovations or upgrades.

We are wrapping up research on fundraising capacity for a new building – with a report due in late October from Ghiorsi & Sorrenti, Inc., our research firm. This report will help the 1833 directors to know what size our project can be.

The search for new library leadership (a new director) is under way – the current director retires in May 2014. The trustees are currently defining the process through which they will find and hire a new director to take the library into the future.

We have had meetings with several architectural firms about how they might work with us on a new library building — and anticipate putting out a request for proposal for design in December or January. Robert Hillier, the distinguished library architect who spoke at the Monadnock Summer Lyceum in 2010, is helping to guide us through this process.

Based on what we were told by the community, we have developed a vision statement.

Our vision is for a library that is both a center for lifelong learning and a community cornerstone. In shaping our plan, we have identified seven “pillars” that we’ll use to bring the Library of the Future project into perspective:

∎  Welcoming flexible space

∎  Accessible, user-friendly resources

∎  Flexible, up-to-date technology and infrastructure

∎  Clear, compelling communication

∎  Library as community cornerstone

∎  Dynamic leadership

∎  Effective and efficient operations

None of these is more important than the others — together they form the framework of how we will plan for the Peterborough Library of the Future.

Do you have ideas for us? We’re still listening, and are very interested in hearing your thoughts. You can use the library’s online suggestion box at or the real live suggestion box in the library. You can send us a note or an email ( or, or talk to one of the librarians, trustees or 1833 directors. We’re always happy to discuss how to make the library our community cornerstone and a center for lifelong learning for all.

Tina Kriebel lives in Peterborough with her
husband and two sons.

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