Framingham Library Foundation and the Heritage at Framingham hosted a lecture Tuesday night on Nobscot's history, Christa McAuliffe, whom the Saxonville library is named for, and how the two are linked to the library branch's future.
Speakers included, Grace Corrigan, mother of Christa McAuliffe, Amy Finstein, an architectural historian from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Library Trustee Sam Klaidman,who was there to speak about the plan to build a new McAuliffe library.
The Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Library, historically known as the Saxonville Library, has been a part of Framingham since 1963. Framingham was well-known for having six libraries in 1971. However, maintaining so many libraries was extremely expensive and by 1982, that number had shrunk to the main library and eventually the McAuliffe branch.
Christa, with her love for Stephen King, frequently went to the library with her mother. The library was also where she met her future husband, Steven McAuliffe.
Along with speaking about the history of Framingham libraries, Finstein discussed the future of libraries. She characterized the modern library as a “custodian” in the midst of a market filled with Kindles and other e-readers. Despite these advancements, Finstein believes that the library will continue to be a place of community and civic engagement.
In his pitch for a new McAuliffe branch library, Klaidman pointed out there are only two places in town where people can come and mingle with others: the mall and the library. He used this point to assert the importance of maintaining the town’s libraries.
The current McAuliffe Library has 700 daily visitors that must cram into a 5,800 square feet facility. The parking lot is on the other side of Nicholas Road, forcing visitors to cross a road with cars that are often travelling at high speeds.
Flyers with announcements about events around the town are crowding the entry way, which is already busy with library visitors going in and out, making it a difficult place to stop and read flyers.
Earlier this year a Special Town Meeting gave the Framingham Library Foundation authorization to submit a grant application to the state, approved the building design, and signed purchase agreement for the land. This agreement is valid provided Framingham gets the grant or the town can get money by other means.
The land purchase is estimated at $710,000 and the entire project will cost $8.6 million. The foundation has promised to contribute $600,000. The Library Trustees are hoping to secure a state grant to offset the cost.
The Commonwealth will announce grant winners on July 14.