SPRINGFIELD — Sen. Eric P. Lesser joined Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other local and library officials in the formal groundbreaking of the East Forest Park Branch Library on Monday. Earlier this year, he secured $75,000 in funding for the library in the state’s FY2019 budget.
“The residents of East Forest Park have been without a full-service library for the better part of the last 50 years, and I’m excited to see this neighborhood have a permanent library of its own. This is a significant investment for Springfield, and will contribute to this neighborhood’s revitalization after the 2011 tornado, alongside the new Pope Francis High School,” said Sen. Lesser.
Sen. Lesser is also Chair of the legislative Libraries Caucus, which successfully advocated for increased funding to the state Board of Library Commissioners in next year’s budget, including $9.6 million in state aid to public libraries and $2.8 million in library technology and resource sharing funding.
The cost of the East Forest Park Branch Library’s construction will be offset by $4.9 million in a grant from the Board of Library Commissioners, announced in July 2017. Springfield was one of nine communities to receive a grant award, with 34 others on the waitlist.
The new East Forest Park Branch Library will be located on Surrey Road in Springfield, adjacent to Mary Dryden School and Pope Francis High School, and is expected to open in 2019.
The library’s new location will be a permanent home for the library, which is currently located in a shopping plaza on Island Pond Road. Limited by its size, the library — which is the second busiest in the City of Springfield — has only eight computers and no dedicated space for teens.
The new permanent library will have special areas for children and teens, a community room, study rooms and dozens of public computers.