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Nicole B. Cignoli - Capstone Portfolio

Library Building Project Timeline

Southern Connecticut State University

ILS 561 S70 Public Libraries


Building a new public library requires a long, detailed planning process involving many stakeholders including, but not limited to, the Connecticut State Library, elected officials, the Board of directors, consultants, contractors, citizens and the press. During the planning process, specialized committees can be established to monitor specific phases of the project such as a Building Feasibility Committee and a Building Construction Committee. These committees, the library director, and the Board of directors are given the task of developing a community resource on time and on budget. In addition to the physical elements of the project, all stakeholders will benefit from discussions centered on clarifying their collective vision, mission, and value statements for the library. The vision statement attests to the libraryÕs overall role within the community, the mission statement outlines the actions to attain that goal while the value statement provides the conduct to which all stakeholders are expected to adhere to along the way. (Gottlieb, 2007, Part 3, p. 1) Once the three statements are established, each committee can benchmark each step of the building project to what was envisioned for the new library in the community. The following project timeline uses Massachusetts Library Board of CommissionersÕ Checklist for Success as a template and incorporates key steps indicated in other sources as well as Connecticut State LibraryÕs Buildings & Construction Web Pages.


  1. Determine what is the libraryÕs current inventory of facilities? What is its role in the community and what new facilities will help the library attain that role? (Gertzog & Beckerman, 1994, p. 508) and analyze the answers against the three statements.
  2. Revisit the libraryÕs current mission, vision, and value statements with the board to determine if the statements are still applicable or need to be modified.
  3. Revisit the libraryÕs long-range plan to see if it needs updating. If deemed necessary, board of directors should complete this step to tie it into the new library development program and prior to discussions of possibly hiring a library building project consultant.
  4. Organize interested individuals who have previously approached the municipality to establish a new library to be the Library Building Committee. This committee may or may not include the board of directors, but it should elect members for the construction committee, fundraising committee, building facilitator or consultant and determine roles and responsibilities respectively in relation to the mission, vision, contractors, and board of directors.
  5. Contact State Library Building Consultant for assistance and advice on grant and funding requirements, building consultants, contractors as well as to obtain a detailed long range planning guide similar to the Massachusetts Public Library Trustees Handbook. (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, 2007).
  6. Work with Connecticut State Library and attend sponsored Construction Grant and Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant Program for Long Range Planning Workshops. Both are required steps in obtaining grant monies from the respective funds.
  7. Investigate additional sources of funding such as state library grants, federal grants, and foundation sources to finance various aspects of the plan such as technology, hiring a feasibility consultant, architect, library building consultant, etc.  
  8. Consult Public Library AssociationÕs (PLA) annual Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report to benchmark library against other libraries in state and nation based on population, demographics, and municipal/or service area size to determine. (ALA, 2007).
  9. If benchmark information is inadequate, issue a Request For Proposal and hire a consulting firm to prepare a feasibility study of the residents needs, opinions of creating a library, how much would they be willing to have their taxes increase, and to determine potential building sites.
  10. Based on of feasibility study, building committee determines site selection, space development, and the projectÕs scope.
  11. Purchase one or two of the library building handbooks from the American Library Association web site to become acquainted with the overall process and to obtain a more detailed timeline.
  12. Research other sources from American Library AssociationÕs Fact Sheets 9 and 11 (ALA web site, 2007).
  13. Contact other libraries serving similar demographics for building ideas and references for potential library building consultants.
  14. Issue a Request For Proposal and retain a library building consultant. (Back to the top)

  15. Prepare the Library Building Program Statement. The library building consultant will write with input from the library director, the board of directors, the staff, the Building Committee based on the existing long-range plan.
  16. Plan a series of public forums to explain the library development plan and to enlist feedback and support from the community.
  17. Revisit Library Building Program Statement to incorporate stakeholdersÕ input, as applicable, and benchmark the revised statement against the mission, vision, and value statements.
  18. Schedule viewings of potential architectsÕ and contractorsÕ previous library projects, if possible, check their references as well as those of the technology company, interior designer, furniture design company, and movers prior to selection of providers.
  19. Retain building team: architect, technology company, interior designer, furniture design company, and movers.
  20. Build Project Management Timeline to determine key funding, communication lines, roles, and responsibilities. Create an organization chart for the building consultant and architect to illustrate lines of communication.
  21. Designate one person responsible to update and distribute daily updates of the project timeline to the parties involved at that particular point of construction. (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, 2007, Chap. 12, p. 4).
  22. Meet with municipal and state building inspectors to verify parameters of the project will meet state and federally mandated requirements.
  23. Meet with union leaders, if applicable, to understand compensation requirements during the move.
  24. Obtain approvals from municipal departments such as inland-wetlands, planning and zoning, building inspector in order to receive certificate of occupancy.
  25. Continue communication campaign with board of directors, building committee and subcommittees, municipal and state government, the state librarian, library staff, citizens, and the press.
  26. Conduct periodic meetings with the consultant, contractors and building committee throughout the process.
  27. Invite key stakeholders to participate in the ground breaking and contract the press to cover the event.
  28. Move into the new building.
  29. Invite all stakeholders to participate in the grand opening celebration and contract the press to cover the event.


Although there will be many more steps and missteps, the timeline provides a good basis for the library director to keep the project on track. Building a new library is a very time consuming endeavor with a long completion end date of ten years. The Connecticut State Library web junction and state building librarian can provide up-to date information and support. A successful project is one in which each stakeholder feels that they have had valuable input in building a community resource that will serve everyone.


American Library Association. (2007). Sample benchmarking process. Retrieved September 23, 2008 from http://wikis.ala.org/professionaltips/index.php/Sample_benchmarking_process

(2008) Library Products, Services, and Consultants. ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 9. Retrieved September 19, 2008 from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/hqops/library/libraryfactsheet/alalibraryfactsheet9.cfm

(2008) Building Libraries and Library Additions: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 11. Retrieved September 19, 2008 from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/hqops/library/libraryfactsheet/alalibraryfactsheet11.cfm.

Connecticut State Library. (2008) Library Buildings & Construction. WebJunction Connecticut. Retrieved September 23, 2008 from http://ct.webjunction.org/ct/buildings.

Gertzog, A. & Edwin Beckerman. (1994). The library building and equipment. Administration of the public library. (p. 508). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Gottleib, H. (2208) part 2 - The Structure. Governing for what matters (community driven governance.) Retrieved September 23, 2008 from http://www.help4nonprofits.com/NP_Bd_Governing_for_What_Matters2-Art.htm.

Massachusetts board of library commissioners. (2007). Chapter 12. Construction and renovation. Massachusetts public library trustees handbook. Retrieved September 24, 2008 from http://mblc.state.ma.us/advisory/trustees/trustees_handbook/ch12s05.php.

Massachusetts public library, LSTA policies and procedures 2008-2012 http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/lsta/LSTA_Policies.pdf. Retrieved September 22, 2008 (Back to the top)

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