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Oxford Seeks Architect to Design New Library

The Board of Selectmen recently gave the library building committee the green light to seek proposals from architects.

The town has taken another step forward in its quest to build a new library.

The Board of Selectmen recently voted to allow the Library Planning and Building Committee to seek Request for Proposals, or RFPs, from architects who can draw schematics and final designs for a brand new facility.

According to First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers, the RFPs will enable the building committee to find out what it will cost to have architectural plans developed for a new library site. The committee was established in October 2009 to plan a new facility, that officials expect could cost about $4 million, although specific costs have not been determined yet. Officials hope that an architect will give them a better idea of how much it would cost.

Drayton-Rogers said the proposed site the committee has settled on its located on a town-owned parcel of land on Great Oak Road, across from Great Oak Middle School and near Quaker Farms Elementary School. She said a Library Site Search Committee was appointed in 2008, charged with examining several prospective sites that could be suitable for a new library.

Several town-owned sites, including the Great Oak Road site, and a five-acre parcel along Route 67, were looked at and evaluated for potential. The former Oxford House property on Route 67 had since been dismissed as not being suitable for a library expansion.

The selectmen also voted at its recent meeting to disband the site committee, as its task has been completed.

“We want to thank them for their hard work and for taking the time to look into several sites for the new library we hope to have someday," Drayton-Rogers said.

She said $50,000 was placed in the municipal budget for library plans to be developed, but when the committee wasn’t ready to act, the funds were put into the town’s General Fund.

“Now that the RFP has gone out, the committee will find out what the cost will be for the architectural plans to be developed on the actual site they have now settled on,” Drayton-Rogers said. “The building committee can then ask the Board of Selectmen to recommend to the Board of Finance and town meeting that up to $50,000 be released from the General Fund for the cost (of an architect), or ask the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance put new money into next year’s budget for the plans. That step is yet to be determined.”

The current 3,000-square-foot library is located on the lower level of Town Hall, and officials said when it was opened as a temporary facility in 1978; the facility was too small for the community some three decades ago.

A new and larger facility is being sought to meet the needs of the growing Oxford community - Oxford is the fastest growing community in the state - library Director Dawn Higginson said. She serves as the library’s liaison to the building committee, and is hoping the town can build something that is at least five times larger than the current facility.

According to information posted on the library's website, http://www.biblio.org/oxford/, the need for more library space is increasing.

The library has added more than 2,000 new borrowers since 2004, and it no longer has much space to hold programs it wants to organize for residents, according to the site.

"People don't realize how much more we could provide them if we had the space," Higginson said.

Craig Zac November 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM
I go it!! We make a big building and fill it with books.. huh? huh? and we'll call it..... The Book Building. Man its not easy being so smart! Seriously though, if everyone had a Kindle, Ipad or other device with E reader software, the library could just be a server in the basement of the town hall or something.. lol.
Liza Zajac Whitehead November 11, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Craig, don't laugh - you're really on to something there! To be honest, as tiny as our library truly is - they've always been able to get me ANY book I desired within a reasonable timeframe through interlibrary loan. Our town-treasure is the fantastic library staff, not the books. So I support a new / bigger library not because we need more book-space (we really don't!), but because we need more people-space. Meetings, events and activities for all ages are severely crammed in the current building. We need places for quiet /private reading (comfy chairs), study (tutoring for example), group meetings, noisy kids activities, etc. Most importantly we need more computers and wi-fi stat! I hope the planners keep this in mind when designing the new building. Technology will continue to develop and further lessen our need for book-space, but as our town grows our need for people-space only increases. That's why I look forward to a new, bigger library!
John M. Joy November 11, 2011 at 03:30 PM
As usual, it's my job to be the bearer of cold water. The town, as well as the state, just experienced a moderate disaster that left us without power for days. That disaster left thousands of trees damaged. As a result, we will be subject to Whac-a-mole power outages throughout the winter season, as well as danger to drivers and pedestrians from falling trees. Many of these are the town's responsibility, and tree removal is expensive. Our roads are in dire need of attention. Our existing buildings are in dire need of attention. There's deferred maintenance as far as the eye can see. And I remain firmly convinced that, not only are we NOT in an "economic recovery" but there's likely to be a serious downturn in the near future. The LAST thing we need to be doing is committing millions of dollars to building something as, frankly, optional as a... people-space for noisy kid activities?
Craig Zac November 11, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Sounds to me like we need a large Coffee bar!!! Huge fire place, comfy chairs with ottomans, couches, tables and chairs, quiet study corners... free wifi, AND space for book rentals!! Ok town, get on it!!
Craig Zac November 11, 2011 at 04:19 PM
lol.. "People space for noisy kid activities"....lol funny. Its not so much the kids making noise, its the parents yelling at them to stop... Maybe the kids should be loowed in and the parents have to wait in the car... lol
kathy johnson November 12, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Right on John.
zoar's monster November 12, 2011 at 01:44 PM
A while back I offered to write a grant to get our library a complete dvd/cd set from The Teaching Company, which produces educational, college-generated lectures. I was told that nobody would want to use them and the library board wouldn't authorize my efforts. I hope the current board will reconsider their decision, independent of the building of a new library. It would cost us nothing.
Rich Gee November 13, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I originally wanted to comment - but after seeing the above comments, I just had to speak. Oxford doesn't need a library. Not a library the way we all think of what a library should be. Lots of books, DVD's, CD's, Reference Books, Computers, etc. Honestly, the minute you spend money on these things they are OBSOLETE. I like the idea of a building (like the senior center) where it can be used for a number of services - workshops, gatherings, art exhibitions - and yes, a library. But a 21st century library. One that embraces current technology we already have. One that can loan out books using Kindle technology, where all the reference materials are online and can be accessed ANYWHERE. I love going to Starbucks (and in the past Borders) to read and surf - why can't we design a building that simplifies what we do today, not an out-moded idea from yesteryear. By all means, have librarians. They can help us research and find up-to-date information where most of it resides - ONLINE. It's too bad - we could've built a senior center/community center in one fell swoop - big enough where all townspeople could go and have fun, learn, and interact with one another. But in the end, money is tight. Oxford needs a lot of other things done first (see above letters). Let's get the new administration to focus on bringing in new business (corporate and retail) to Oxford.
Craig Zac November 14, 2011 at 09:00 PM
...but an overwhelming amount of folks still like holding a real book with real pages that turn, rather than holding a kindle,esp older folks or those who dont like technology, I am all for the new technologies but think of the other folks who dont... what would they do? Id much rather see a new library going up than a new office building or more houses... Id much rather have smarter kids than a bunch of backwards numbskulls running around being stupid because I know what its like being a backwards numbskull.....lol
Craig Zac November 14, 2011 at 09:03 PM
do we have a senior center right now? if the town had 1 million $$ to spend what would be better to spend it on? A) Library B) Senior center C) Road Repair D) Athletic field E) Recycling Plant Id like to see a recycle plant to bring brush, metal and plastics and glass.
Kristi Novin November 14, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Everyone has different "wants" for the town so the list could be miles long but since a list has started (and yes we do have a new senior center) I would like to add a new animal shelter! It's also past due and desperately needed.
CMF November 14, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Oxford has a senior center.
CMF November 14, 2011 at 09:32 PM
What happened to money raised by dog days fairs --wasn't that suppose to fund a new animal shelter?----just wondering. I'm all for the library--but include a community room for use for other town events.
Kristi Novin November 14, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Dog Days was a fundraiser for the shelter (which under a new committee will be returning September 2012). The amount brought in is not enough to fund a new structure and most of the shelter operating costs. The costs of a new building require a lot more then what that one event can do. You will see the increase of shelter fundraisers that have been happening including the Witches Ball, Pet Photos With Santa and an upcoming pasta dinner in January. In order to build a new shelter we need stronger community support (both financially and physically in the way of builders, electricians, plumbers, etc).
Craig Zac November 14, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Hi Kristi, I was going to include that one in my list but i figured if folks dont want a Library then they really wont want a dog shelter.. lol Id love to see a new shelter, what we have now is less than pitiful. not even for the dogs, Im talking for the volunteers!! Another good fund raiser would be a Holiday craft fair and a couple summer time tag sales. The dog days was a nice thing and I bet it was a good fund raiser.
Kristi Novin November 14, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Oxford Animal Shelter volunteers are rock stars and have been planning some great fundraisers! We welcome all ideas and the committee meets at Town Hall the first Tuesday of every month. People can also check the Friends of the Oxford Animal Shelter page on Facebook for the latest news.
Liza Zajac Whitehead November 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM
Zoar's --- I obtained SEVERAL Teaching Company CD sets from our library through inter-library loan. They are top notch stuff. I'd sure as heck would love to see them on the shelves in Oxford!
Liza Zajac Whitehead November 15, 2011 at 12:10 AM
Craig, I'd vote for the library first out of this list. And that's even considering I live off a road that is SEVERLY in need of repair. The library is something that everyone in town benefits from, not just those that live on a particular street.
John M. Joy November 15, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Oh? I hate to say it but, I haven't been down to the library (as a patron, at least), in many, many years. (I have one of my own, and tend to share books directly with family and friends.) I doubt I'm alone. And I certainly have no use for - what was it again? - a people-space for noisy kid activities? Meanwhile, there are those trees. Those roads. The deferred maintenance on the buildings and equipment we already have. In a (yet again) tanking economy.
Craig Zac November 15, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Typical "If its not for me, its not good for anyone else!" attitudes these days, A library isn't only a place for adults, its also great for , oh I dunno... Kids to learn to read, to study, to educate themselves a bit more, stay out of trouble... maybe if more folks went to the libraries instead of the TV we'd not be raising so many little ***** **** . An opportunity to read is an opportunity to learn.. everyone complainers about TV shows, movies and video games ruining our kids but then a chance to do something about it comes along and all of a sudden theres more important issues to tend to. I dont have any kids and dont plan to so I dont even know why I care about everyone elses kids.. I just dont want to live in a world filled with 30 somethings who "Game" all day then walk around crying how they are the 99% and it isnt fair!
John M. Joy November 15, 2011 at 02:10 PM
You're missing the point. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY RIGHT NOW, and what money we have must go to more pressing needs.
Craig Zac November 15, 2011 at 02:19 PM
if we dont have it for that, how do we have if to fill pot holes? cant we do both? maybe we can find a cheaper architect for less than the $50G we are alotting? Perhaps one of the abandoned eye sores along 67 can serve as the new Library? maybe if our community pulls togth.... (ahh never mind, THAT wont happen unless we can find a way to make $$$ off complaining and moaning and blaming everyone else for our mess ups) do we even have a road crew that fixes roads or do we have to pay workers from private companies to do it? do we have town employees like maintenence workers who can cut trees? and do that stuff?
Jennifer November 15, 2011 at 02:28 PM
I could not agree with you more, that "our town-treasure is the fantastic library staff." - especially the children's libraryian. However, she does need more room for all the children taking part in her programs.
Jennifer November 15, 2011 at 02:38 PM
We have a senior center and recycling center.
Craig Zac November 15, 2011 at 05:41 PM
Thats good to hear Dave. Wem need good people to do this and employing our own people to do it is the best way in stead of hiring out of town contractors.

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