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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

2023-2024 Grant Round: Application: The Library Building Program

Building Program

What is a building program?

A library building program is like a guidebook. It is a community-driven document that serves as a set of instructions from the library director, trustees, and staff to the architects. It's also an excellent public relations and marketing tool for your building project.

The planning portions of the library building program should be written without regard for or reference to the existing library facility. Pretend that the building was flattened by a tornado or burned to the ground and start from scratch. What library services does your community need?

The building program articulates the library’s vision of its future and serves as a set of instructions to the architect. The architect confirms program requirements through independent investigation and then begins conceptualizing a building that answers the needs expressed. Throughout the project, the program serves as a yardstick to determine how true the design remains to that vision.

A 30-year planning horizon is used in developing the program requirements.

See 605 CMR 6.06 (6)(c) for requirements.


MPLCP Library Building Programs LibGuide

Building Literacy podcast episode: "The Library Building Program"

When is the library building program prepared and completed?

For the Standard Grant Type, this document is prepared and completed as part of the application process.

For the Small Population Grant Type, this document is prepared and completed after acceptance into the grant round as part of pre-planning activities in the planning and design phase.

Library Building Program Workbook

MBLC staff have developed a workbook to help with the library building program process. Please download these files and use them to format your local information. While the workbook below addresses most elements, there are some that must be integrated throughout, including but not limited to, energy-related goals, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) goals, and site and exterior considerations. Please see the full list of requirements by consulting 605 CMR 6.06(6)(c)(1).