Marlborough City Council approves $250,000 gift to help pay for library renovation

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By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

Marlborough City Council approves $250,000 gift to help pay for library renovation
The Marlborough Public Library Foundation presented a check to the city at a groundbreaking ceremony last month. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough City Council unanimously approved a $250,000 gift from the Marlborough Public Library Foundation for the library’s ongoing renovation project at a meeting on Sept. 27.

The gift, wrote Foundation President William Keyles in a letter to Marlborough Mayor Arthur
Vigeant, was raised through a mixture of corporate, civic and individual donations through its ongoing Building the Dream capital campaign.

“Some corporate donors have chosen to name spaces in the library after their business or civic group, while others have named spaces in memory of loved ones,” Keyles wrote. “Many have simply chosen to donate because they love the library and all it offers to the residents of Marlborough.”

The renovations for the library broke ground on Sept. 21. Most of the current library will be demolished and replaced with a 16,000 square foot addition. The historic façade of the library and its front rooms, however, which were built thanks to a donation from Andrew Carnegie, will be preserved.

The Foundation’s new donation will supplement a $24 million bond approved by the
Marlborough City Council and a $10 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library
Commissioners’ Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program to pay for the project.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Marlborough Public Library Foundation for their support in this project,” wrote Vigeant in a letter to the City Council. “It’s a great start to their commitment for the Library expansion that will allow us to enhance services to our residents.”

Marlborough City Council approves $250,000 gift to help pay for library renovation
Plans for the library stand during the groundbreaking ceremony last month. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

Marlborough City Councilor John Irish thanked the Foundation for their gift and support for the City of Marlborough.

“I would also like to wish them great success going forward with their fundraising efforts for the project,” he said.

As the City Council thanked the Public Library Foundation, the Friends of the Public Library
expressed special thanks for a $16,000 donation in memory of Ray Johnson.

Johnson was the president of the Friends of the Library from 1972 to 2017, when he passed away.

He also served on the library board of trustees.

“I can’t think of anyone who was as dedicated to the Friends as Ray,” said current president Jean Peters in a press release. “The Friends was a huge part of his life, and he was committed to putting on cultural events for the enrichment of our city.”

That commitment took many forms, that press release noted, with Johnson often driving a three-hour, round-trip commute to Marlborough from Bernardston, Mass.

“Ray Johnson was devoted to the Marlborough Public Library as both a Trustee and President of the Friends,” Library Director Margaret Cardello said. “During these exciting days of planning for the library renovation and expansion Ray’s presence is especially missed. I am pleased his name will be represented in the new facility and thank the Friends for their generous donation in his memory.”

Fundraising efforts continue as the library renovations take shape. Learn more at
https://www.marlborough-ma.gov/library/mpl-foundation.