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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Library Building Programs: 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% 72,000 1.65 acres
Total 100% 120,000 2.75 acres

Be Very Sure

You must be sure that your site options are adequate and suitable, and that you have the right to build there. Once you submit your application, you may not change the site options.

605 CMR 6.02 states, "Approved Site. The site as approved by the municipality and accepted by the Board during the planning and design phase of a project. The approved site is the only site that may be used in the building project; it may be changed only with prior approval by the Board and only as the result of circumstances entirely unforeseen and beyond the control of the Applicant or Grantee. The site for a library building project must be specified prior to commencement of MPLCP-funded design work with a stamped site plan prepared by an architect registered in Massachusetts and must be delineated by a stamped survey performed within the preceding 15 years by a land surveyor licensed in Massachusetts. The site must include adequate space for parking, grading, utilities, and the library building, including any necessary space for future expansion. Before acceptance by the Board, any site on municipal or school owned land must include documented and official approval defining the site and agreeing that it is to be used for the library for the duration of at least 30 years. If the project is planned on land not owned by the library or the municipality, the Applicant or Grantee must have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement or a lease of not less than 99 years at the time of acceptance by the Board."

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 service and programming areas
  • Room for future expansion