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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Developing a Library Building Program: Site Considerations

In an Ideal World

The ideal space allocation for a library building site includes:

  • Structure 10%
  • Parking, Driveways, etc. 30%
  • Landscaping, Setbacks, Amenities, etc. 60%

The number of parking spaces required is set by your local town or city authorities; however, 1 space per 400 sf of building area is recommended.

For example, if your needs assessment determines that you need a building of 12,000 square feet to serve your community, you would require:

General Site Requirements
  Percentage of total Square Footage Acreage
Building 10% 12,000 sf .27 acres
Driveways and parking 30% 36,000 .83 acres
Landscaping, setbacks, amenities 60% 62,000 1.65 acres
Total 100% 120,000 2.75 acres

Things to consider

Important considerations for site selection:

  • Visibility from street
  • Access: pedestrian, auto, public transport
  • Parking
  • Soils & geotech
  • Safety & security
  • Maintenance
  • Deliveries
  • Garbage cans/dumpsters
  • Bike racks
  • Outbuildings
  • Exterior seating or activity areas
  • Room for future expansion

Be Very Sure

You must be sure that your chosen site is adequate and suitable, and that you have the right to build there. Once you submit your construction application, you may not change the site. 605 CMR 6.02 states that "The site as approved by the municipality prior to application and specified at the time of application is the only site that may be used in the building project."