Outline of Need
Original Dighton Public Library, located on Dighton’s Main Street was a Carnegie library built in 1910 with 3,000 square feet of operational space.
Current space limitations, building safety, lack of adequate egress and handicapped accessibility issues have forced the closure of the original Main Street location.
Town has temporarily relocated library operations to Dighton’s Town Hall Campus, with its General Collection housed in a 12’ x 60’ modular trailer unit and its Youth Services Department located in the lower level of Town Hall.
Temporary space has continued to significantly impede town library operations. It has separated staff and caused a major disruption for library patrons, especially patrons with children. Temporary library services include very little technological programming, thereby preventing Dighton’s ability to offer modern day library services to its residents.
Dighton remains on Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) project funding waiting list. The town’s current application, which proposes to construct an $8 million addition to the Main Street Library building, has failed to meet local needs.
Town officials anticipate that a new MBLC application proposal would cost in excess of $8 million.
The need for a new home for the Dighton Public Library comes at a time when the town is grappling with a host of longstanding capital needs, the need for a future debt exclusion vote on Dighton’s $22.6 million share of the Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical High School building project, and operational budgetary needs.
- Town officials have identified an opportunity to acquire a suitable, unique and historic property in town, located at 207 Main Street, utilizing its local share of ARPA funding to acquire the property. This proposes a cost-effective solution to addressing the library needs, all while minimizing the impact on the local tax rate.
- The acquisition of a historic community property also makes future improvements eligible to be funded through Dighton’s Community Preservation funds, also limiting the pressures on Dighton’s operational and capital budgetary needs.
- Initial costs, including acquisition and building improvements, are expected to cost approximately $2 million. The costs won’t impact the town’s tax rate. They would be significantly less than the previously proposed $8 million addition; and they would allow the town to preserve a valuable, historic property located in close proximity to the Wild & Scenic Taunton River.