Chronicle of a Capital Campaign

Photo chronicle of the Capital Campaign. From receiving the grant in 2011, and prize-winning historian David McCullough speaking to a full-capacity Agricultural Hall to launch the campaign, numerous talented authors speaking to appreciative audiences, musicians playing sold-out venues, to very young volunteers selling lemonade, West Tisbury Library Foundation is truly grateful for all your support.
Click on any of the images below to begin the slideshow.


Foundation seeks funds for essential “Green” features

West Tisbury Library front view

West Tisbury Library front view from parking lot.

When the Foundation reached its goal of $1.5 million earlier this spring, it paved the way for West Tisbury voters to contribute the town’s share of $1.5 million for the library. With the state’s nearly $3 million construction grant secured, the $6+ million library construction funding was complete and the project got the green light. The project is expected to break ground in mid-November.

The current plans will give the library the additional space it has needed for decades: space for a program room, a unified children’s room, and a director’s office, among other things. The plans also contain a host of significant environmental features. However, putting patron services first meant cutting back on several desirable eco-friendly elements. We are now seeking an additional $325,000 to fund three enhancements of major environmental and aesthetic value:

• Parking lot infrastructure that’s safe and protects the water supply and wetlands;
• Healthy and long-lasting hardwood flooring in place of carpeting; and
• Landscaping that provides a harmonious relationship with the surroundings.

We are deeply committed to the safety, health benefits, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and natural beauty these features afford.  So we ask you to join us in finding the money to pay for them.  Contributions of all sizes are needed and welcome.  In addition, there are naming opportunities, for instance in memory of a loved one, in the building itself and in four gardens that we hope to create outside.  Please turn to The Case for a Green Library for descriptions of your donation’s benefits to water supply and wetlands, individual health and safety, energy efficiency, cost savings, and the beauty of our surroundings.


The Case for a Green Library

Landscape arial view.
North view.
West view.
South view.


Protecting the environment is a high priority for the West Tisbury Library expansion project. Resource efficiency, waste reduction, and a healthy environment have been a part of our planning at every step along the way. Minimizing the building’s carbon footprint and its demands on Island resources are just the start; there will be also be significant and ongoing savings in operating and maintenance costs over the years.

Energy efficiency and water-protecting technology have already been designed into the building wherever possible. These features will earn the library LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the U.S. Green Building, garnering additional funds from the state and signaling our commitment to environmental care.

But there are three other significant environmental features we could not include under the current budget, features essential to protecting our built and natural environments: an ecologically sensitive parking area, hardwood flooring, and landscaping.

More than a parking lot: A safety net for water

Perhaps surprisingly, parking lot design has a lot to do with water quality as well as patron safety and convenience. The library’s parking lot will be surfaced with a combination of standard impervious asphalt (in the drive lanes) and pervious precast concrete pavers (in the parking areas), with a 12-inch stone underlayment and perimeter “rain gardens.” These features will diminish the “heat island” effect typical of asphalt parking lots. Moreover, they will reduce concentrations of pollutants and promote rapid, more thorough water filtration, ensuring that the delicate web of wetlands and ponds beginning at the end of the library property and running all the way to the great pond and ocean is free of noxious chemicals and other harmful runoff. There will be a total of 56 spaces, 18 for the Howes House and 38 for the Library. Four of those spaces will be handicapped accessible, with pavers smooth enough for a wheelchair or person with disabilities to walk or roll over safely. Both this evenness and the rapid dispersal of water will also facilitate winter plowing and reduce icing.

Hardwood floors: A smart long-term investment

Sustainability, hygienic material, and lower life-cycle costs make hardwood an economical and environmentally sound choice for the library flooring. Flooring accounts for a high percentage of indoor surfacing, and can have a significant effect on indoor air quality. Finished with low-VOC sealants, (volatile organic compounds), hardwood floors contribute to clean air while providing no habitat for molds and funguses (a Vineyard hazard). Moreover, harvested legally and responsibly, the supply of American hardwoods is actually growing, and locally available products incur lower transportation costs and keep the economic benefits nearby. Finally, although the upfront costs of hardwood are substantially higher than commercial carpeting, its costs over a 15-year period are less than half those of the alternatives.

Caring for the earth, tending the gardens

West Tisbury is home to the Agricultural Society, the Polly Hill Arboretum, the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club, the Farmer’s Market, and numerous family farms and nature preserves. Given our rural heritage it’s fitting that our library, too, should embrace a respect for nature and love of the landscape. The terraces and gardens to the north, east, south and west of the library provide exceptional opportunities to landscape with native plantings, encourage the growth of beneficial local bees and other insect populations, provide shade and break the wind, firm up the earth and aid in filtration, and beautify the surroundings.

These spaces present opportunities for donors with a passion for gardening and landscaping, especially using native materials and species. Each area is an invitation to create a setting, make a statement, and perhaps remember a special person or favorite cause.

There are opportunities for naming in each of the garden areas as well as in the building itself. Please contact the Foundation for details!

A final word: Teaching by example

More than just a collection of materials, a good library is an ongoing, evolving conversation with the community it serves. That conversation asks questions, proposes challenges, and spurs healthy growth. When the library reopens, its staff will have lived through an experience that changes this town institution forever. They’ll be in the unique position to tell the story of every decision, every feature, and the varied reasons for choices made in materials, design and technology.

Our island struggles with the consequences of growth daily, and all construction has a profound impact on the local environment. There are always newer and better ways of building and serving the environment, and having a prominent, publicly accessible example of green construction will be an important resource to owners and builders who would like to explore ways to protect our common home. Our expanded and improved library will be an important teaching resource and living laboratory for the community. Some examples:

• A super-insulated envelope reduces requirements for heating and cooling;
• Composting toilets reduce nitrogen put into the ground;
• Future photovoltaic capacity built into the south-facing roof;
• Skylights and lighting controls improve lighting quality;
• Energy Star appliances reduce energy usage;
• Natural and mechanical ventilation increase occupant comfort;
• VRF heat and air with heat recovery is more efficient than fossil fuel system;
• Low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption 30 – 40% over code;
• Low VOC emitting materials and finishes meet “Green Seal” requirements;
• Recycling and reuse of more than 75% of demolition and construction waste; and
• Rapidly renewable/durable, regional, and recycled materials cut costs and reduce harm to the environment.


West Tisbury Library’s Dollar Tree Grows to Reach Its $1,000 Goal

Dollar Tree reaches its goal

West Tisbury Library’s Dollar Tree grows to Reach Its $1000 Goal

The West Tisbury Library Foundation, Inc. announced this week that their “Dollar Tree” campaign had reached its thousand-dollar goal in less than a year.

In November of 2011, an anonymous donor offered to match every $1 donation given to the West Tisbury Library Foundation, Inc., up to the amount of $1,000. Each donation added a leaf, inscribed with the donor’s name, to a tree on the library wall. The challenge was inspired by the campaign to renovate and expand the West Tisbury Free Public Library, and the “dollar tree” was to benefit the new Children’s Room.

“The Dollar Tree has flourished and borne fruit,” said Foundation chair Hunter Moorman this week. “Dollar by dollar, we’ve more than reached our target. It’s living proof that even the smallest donations count.”

“The original donor’s intention was to encourage the participation of families with children,” said library director Beth Kramer. “The hope was that they could feel excited about the library, and about giving to the library. But even families with grown children were encouraged to participate. There are whole generations of people on the Island who have fond memories of the West Tisbury Library as children.”

The West Tisbury Library is on schedule to break ground in November. The start of the project will be celebrated at a party at the Grange on November 17, to thank the community for its support. Construction should last about a year, during which the library will be open in temporary quarters across from Conroy’s Apothecary.

Message from the Chairman

Dear Website Visitor,

Great news!  Just before the Labor Day weekend, a very generous family and great library supporters offered us a wonderful challenge grant: They will match each dollar donated to our “green” campaign fund from now until October 1 up to a total of $35,000!  These funds are very much needed in order to include key eco-friendly features in the new library construction.  It’s a great chance to double your contribution and put these key elements in place!

After a year of accomplishment, which saw private, town, and state funds together put the library’s $6.055 million construction budget “in the bank,” no one is taking a breather.  Ground breaks on the expanded, renovated library in November.  By that time, the library will have moved to its temporary quarters; space will be cut back, but essential services will continue.  The Foundation’s focus shifts from construction fund-raising to the “green” campaign and monies needed to pay for native landscaping, hardwood flooring, and a parking lot filtration system, all of which reflect our town’s commitment to economical, efficient, healthy, and eco-friendly operation.

Please take a moment to become familiar with our “green” campaign, review the new library plans, and read about the wonderful $35,000 matching challenge.  I hope you’ll be moved to then click on the Donate button or get in touch with me.  I’d be delighted to talk with you!

We thank all who have donated and gotten us to this point.  If you can possibly make a further donation now, we will be deeply grateful.  If you have not made a prior donation, please consider becoming one of our valued supporters now.  THANK YOU for your help in making our library, our community, and our Island an even more special place to live and visit.

Hunter Moorman


Forum explores proposed design

Upper level plans, cutaway. Oudens Ello Architects
Lower level cutaway. Oudens Ello Architects
Interior Childrens level. Oudens Ello Architects
Front view. Oudens Ello Architects
Basement level. Oudens Ello Architects
Side view. Oudens Ello Architects

West Tisbury Library forum: Monday, March 26, 5:30 p.m. at the Howes House.

The West Tisbury Library’s long-incubated expansion and renovation project will come before the town for final approval in April, both at Town Meeting and on the town ballot. The library has held forums and focus groups almost every month for the past two years, and is inviting the community to one last in-depth presentation on Monday, March 26, 5:30 p.m. at the Howes House, across State Road from Alley’s Store. The forum will feature the design team, the building committee, trustees, and community fund-raising groups.

The proposed design seeks to expand the current library’s 5,640 square feet to about 13,000. The bulk of the expansion consists of features that are lacking in the old building, which opened in 1993: a study room for young adults; a room for programs, lectures and films; a director’s office; staff work space; and much-needed meeting space and restrooms. The design attempts to foresee the needs of the coming 20 years, including unfinished space for future expansion.

Central sections at the heart of the current library will be preserved, while renovating them to current codes and energy standards. The exposed beams, skylights and cozy feel of the “old library” will be carried throughout the new construction. With its intersecting gables and cupola, the design retains the rural character of West Tisbury barns such as Arrowhead Farm, the Agricultural Hall, and Misty Meadows, that were the library’s original inspiration.

Most of the addition occurs behind the building. From State Road, the library’s profile will look much as it has for the past 20 years. One important change restores the front entrance to the center of the building, as it was in architect Ben Moore’s original plan from 1988. The proposed expansion also creates two new outdoor terraces, north and south, that will take full advantage of the lot’s contours and expansive views across the Maley Field Gallery property.

From the start, the library project has had a strong leaning toward “green” construction. Renovation work will unite the old structure with the new, enclosing both in a super-insulated envelope to improve heating and cooling. Triple-glazed windows, a photovoltaic array, a heat pump system, water-conserving fixtures and rigorous construction waste management are expected to make the West Tisbury Free Public Library the town’s first LEED-certified municipal building. Certification by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) will also qualify the project for a $100,000 state energy grant.

In April the town will be asked to pay up to $1.5 million, or approximately 25% of the total expansion and renovation project cost of $6,055,308. The remainder of the funding comes from a state grant ($2.98 million) and private donations ($1.57 million), all of which are already in place.

West Tisbury Library forum: Monday, March 26, 5:30 p.m. at the Howes House.

Pledge puts West Tisbury Library fund raising past half way mark

The West Tisbury Library Foundation Inc. announced Tuesday that a pledge of $300,000 has brought the library past the 50 percent mark in its goal for private donations toward expansion and renovation of the long-outgrown library facility. The donors, who requested anonymity, have the right to name one of the library’s rooms when the facility reopens after renovations in 2014, according to a press release.

“News of this gift has been enormously encouraging, and we are extremely grateful to these generous members of our community,” Foundation chairman Hunter Moorman said. “Private giving now stands over $750,000, and continues to rise.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Times | September 27, 2011

more …


Knitters Support Library Expansion

The Martha’s Vineyard Times | Dan Waters | August 24, 2011 | photo: Susan Safford

A large, handsome, and cozy handmade blanket (or, if you like, Afghan) has emerged as a symbol of the widespread community effort to expand the West Tisbury Free Public Library. Each of its 20 squares, in subtle natural shades from heather-grey to the blue of an autumn sky, boasts a unique texture and pattern, reflecting the varying personalities of its makers. Even the wool is from various blends of local sheep.

More …

“We Got It!”

“WE GOT IT” says the sign on the door of the West Tisbury Library. Director Beth Kramer drove to the Northborough Public Library on July 14 for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners meeting and awarding of construction grants. Grants to eight libraries were announced in alphabetical order, keeping Beth on the edge of her seat, as Athol through West Springfield were called out. Then she heard West Tisbury.

“With library use at an all-time high, these grants will help libraries meet the growing library needs of their residents,” MBLC chairman Katherine Dibble said.

Now the work begins, as we have to raise private and town funds to match the grant of $2,982,544.00, which is 55 percent of the projected total cost of an addition to our library. Along with Beth and her staff, many people in town have worked so hard to get us to this point, including trustees and friends of the library, foundation members, and the building committee. We’ll all take a deep breath and continue on.

more …

The Martha’s Vineyard Times | Hermine Hull | July 22, 2011

One Town Wins Library Money

The Vineyard Gazette | Remy Tumin & Peter Brannen | July 15, 2011

The tale of two Island libraries took a new twist this week when the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners awarded a grant to the West Tisbury library for building a new facility, but Edgartown did not make the cut and will receive no funding, at least for now.

Eight of the 27 towns that applied for grant money received awards, announced yesterday morning, including West Tisbury, which will receive $2.9 million, the full amount requested, for a library addition at its current location. Edgartown had applied for $5 million for a new facility at the old Edgartown School on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The town is currently on a wait list.

Towns that received funding now have six months to commit to a design and raise remaining monies for their projects.

Funding for the town libraries is coming from a $60 million fund designated by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2008; $27.4 million of that was awarded in the first round yesterday. It is not known when the second round of monies will be awarded. There are 15 towns on the wait list; Edgartown is fourth.

It was all jubilation in West Tisbury after the announcement as library trustee Dan Waters struggled to digest the news.

“I feel almost delirious,” Mr. Waters said Thursday morning. “I can’t believe it. I was so far into our plan B already, because you have to think that way, but we got exactly what we wanted. Everything is lining up perfectly.”

West Tisbury’s renovation and expansion is expected to cost $5.1 to $5.5 million, a number which will become more precise after a period of refinement to the plans. The project calls for an H-shaped design that would largely maintain the building’s current facade while doubling the building’s size from 6,031 square feet to over 13,000. The new building will feature a 70-person dedicated program room and two reading gardens, and will be the first town building to seek a LEED certification in energy efficiency. Doors to the new library could open as early as the spring of 2014. The West Tisbury library has the highest volume of use of any library on the Vineyard.

In the short term though, Mr. Waters said the library needs to raise 25 per cent of its share of the project by January and then ask for the remaining 25 per cent from the town at the annual town meeting in April.

The upshot of Thursday’s news though was that the project is moving forward.

“This means it’s really going to happen,” Mr. Waters said. “Cross your fingers, but every door we’ve pushed so far has opened for us — I just feel like this project is charmed in so many ways. It’s a vindication of all the hard work of the people in the community who supported us.”

In Edgartown, by contrast, the state’s decision was met with disappointment over what has amounted to six years of work for a new library. Library building design committee members said they remained hopeful they would make the second round of funding.

“We didn’t do too badly,” said library trustee and building committee member Carl Watt at a special meeting Thursday afternoon. “I think everybody that worked so hard on this application did a terrific job. It was a major effort . . . while it’s disappointing that we’re not in the first-round release, we’re high enough on the list [for the second].”

Celia Imrey, one of the architects for the project, said she too is optimistic.

“It’s important to know even though we didn’t get funding this time around, our application was approved and we are very high on the wait list,” Ms. Imrey told the Gazette yesterday. “I’m really pleased, the town should be pleased . . . this project has a good chance of being built.”

The expansion project has proceeded in fits and starts since 2005 and has struggled to settle on a location and price tag. An early plan that included marrying the Capt. Warren House property on North Water street with the current Carnegie building won more than $4 million in state grant money, but that plan was eventually scrapped when the price tag climbed too high, and the grant was lost. The current plan calls for relocating the library to the old school building on the West Tisbury Road. The town now plans to sell the Warren House and put the proceeds toward the new project.
Ms. Imrey said there was some question about whether the town’s forfeiture of grant money the first time around would color its chances this time.

But Mr. Waters offered some words of encouragement for Edgartown.

“As I understand it, the waiting list moves rather quickly,” he said. “They have an excellent project, a great team and their library needs to expand as badly as ours does. I wish them all the best. In the end other libraries may drop out. I feel their time will come.”