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The New Barrington Public Library

This article contains information about the New Barrington Public Library Campaign.

The Barrington Public Library is bursting at the seams. The current library space of 3,700 square feet is about 1/3 of the recommended size for our town’s population. And with over 46,000 visits annually, the community takes full advantage of all that the Barrington Public Library has to offer.

Despite its small size, the library has a large impact on our town. Last year alone, the library offered 562 programs for children and adults on a dizzying array of topics, including storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers, Lego Club for older children, book groups, art classes, and information sessions on local wildlife and a variety of other topics. A number of clubs meet at the library space regularly, including a Cribbage Club, Mahjong Club, Genealogy Club, Garden Club, and a Writer’s Group, just to name a few. The Barrington Public Library also provides services for the students of the Early Childhood Learning Center, located next to the library on Ramsdell Lane, who visit daily for their literacy time. The Children’s Room is the only meeting room currently, which accommodates up to 30 people. This means that during popular programs some people stand in the hallway outside to hear.

Barrington residents can get computer help, tax information, free passes to local museums and a whole host of other information and services which the library provides free of charge to all Barrington residents. The library collection includes more than 35,000 books, as well as Ebooks, Audiobooks, DVDs, and Music CDs. If you can’t get to the library during open hours, they also provide online access to a wide selection of ebooks, audiobooks and even videos that you can access from home. You can even borrow a Kindle or iPad from the library.

This March, a new proposed Barrington Public Library and Community Center will be on the ballot in Barrington. It will be located a few hundred yards from the current building, on town-owned property. The new facility will allow the library the space to grow and expand its offerings. It will be fully accessible to people with mobility issues (currently a challenge due to the cramped space) and will include a community room that will have space for up to 100 people. A separate entrance for the community room will allow it to be used by town and community groups at no charge, even during non-library hours.

The planned facility will be 13,120 sq. ft., with space set aside for different user groups including a dedicated children’s corner as well as juvenile and young adult areas with resources and seating areas to meet the needs of these different age groups. A dedicated adult space will house 3 public access computers and have a flexible seating area. There will also be a craft/maker space room for children’s and adult project classes, a conference room, a study room available for small groups and tutoring, a self-service cafe and a self-service printer/fax machine. The exterior of the building will include a covered porch and patio with a parking lot that will accommodate up to 50 cars.

This expanded space for the library will provide a flexible, barrier-free open-concept layout that would permit re-configuration as the community needs change. The building will also provide open sightlines to allow a small staff to easily observe the activity. This will allow staffing levels to remain the same at least initially when the new building opens. The new library also will feature several computer stations, laptops for use inside the library, charging stations for cell phones and other devices, and WiFi capability extending to the patio and parking lot.

For the past 45 years, the Barrington Public Library has been housed in a metal building at 105 Ramsdell Lane, initially shared with the Town Offices and Police Department. In 2000, the library expanded into the entire top floor. Now, with 3,800 users, nearly 43,000 books and other materials and programs which drew more than 10,000 visits last year, the library needs room to expand. Currently shelving in some areas is 7 feet tall causing many items to be out of reach.

It is past time for a new library to be built in the town of Barrington. That’s why many residents have already donated to the Barrington Library Foundation, which has raised nearly half a million dollars toward the cost of the new library building. Find out more about the new library and the Barrington Library Foundation at https://barringtonlibraryfoundation.org/ or visit the library to see for yourself what it has to offer.