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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

MPLCP Planning & Design: Getting ready

Planning ahead...

Since the 2016-17 construction grants were announced, there have been more than thirty libraries that have expressed interest in seeking funds to help them plan, design and construct improved facilities in the next grant round. These inquiries have ranged from expanding and renovating their existing building or building a new building to converting a building into a libraries. We have even had libraries from towns interested in joining forces with neighboring town to create a joint library. To all of these libraries we say "good for you!" let us help you, if we can.

If you are one of these libraries, we suggest starting with a phone call to the MPLCP (contact info at right) and let us help guide you through the process. Even though we have not scheduled either the next planning and design grant round or the construction grant round, there are things that you can be doing.

What is an MPLCP Planning & Design grant?

Planning and design grants provide financial support to municipalities in order to plan and design major capital improvements and/or expansion of their public library facilities. Planning and design grants assist libraries in preparing for the MPLCP construction grant application process (but does not obligate them to do so).

These grants are offered on an irregular basis. As of early 2018, no planning and design grant round is scheduled for the near future. All Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant rounds are announced on the MBLC's Construction listserv. You can subscribe or view the list archive here.

The 2013-14 grant round

The MPLCP's planning and design grant rounds are offered on an irregular basis and timed about two years in advance of offering a construction grant round. The last time a planning and design grant round was offered was in Spring 2013. Applications were due in January 2014 and grant awards were made the following June. 24 applications were received and 22 projects were approved and awarded awarded  up to $50,000 each. Awards helped to offset the costs of planning for a expanding and improving their facility, including building a new building, hiring an owner's project manager, architectural services, engineers, and a cost estimator. In order to qualify for a  grant award a library had to commit local matching funds of up to $25,000. 

Libraries accepting their grant awards had until June 2016 to complete their planning and design projects, which prepared them to apply in the 2016-17 construction grant round. Nearly all of the libraries completing planning and design projects were among the thirty-three libraries that submitted applications in the 2016-17 construction grant round. However, in accepting a planning and design grant, you are under no obligation to apply for a subsequent construction grant.