Vineyard Haven Public Library, Martha's Vineyard
200 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA. 02568
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Library Renovation & Addition Project

Background - Building Committee - Design - Documents - Donate - FAQs

NEW! Click here to view conceptual design images for the addition!

The Vineyard Haven Public Library Board of Library Trustees has engaged an architect to prepare design(s) and budget estimate(s) for the construction of an addition to the library building at 200 Main Street, in order to build a multi-purpose meeting room for classes, lectures, films, entertainers, literary and other cultural programs for all ages. �


In a 2008 survey, 44% of respondents reported that they attended library programs, vs. 56% on 2011 survey and 68% on the 2015 survey. Since 2008, the number of Adult and Young Adult library programs has more than doubled, and attendance has nearly quadrupled (395% increase, 3,872 in FY17 vs. 979 in FY07).

Community Forums during the Library’s long range planning process identified space constraints as an impediment to desired community programming. Recent survey results showed that the existing library meeting room received the lowest satisfaction rating of library services and facilities: 28% rated meeting rooms as “Fair” or “Needing Improvement”.

Based on these usage trends, review of survey feedback, and the significance of programming to the library’s strategic goals, the Board of Library Trustees voted in September, 2016 to pursue funding from the town for the design of an addition to the building to house a multipurpose meeting room, and funding for the design work was approved at Tisbury's Town Meeting in April, 2017.


In December, 2017, the Library Board of Trustees appointed a Library Building Design and Construction Committee, charged with producing requirements for the proposed addition, selecting an architect, and reviewing designs. Committee members were appointed by the Library Trustees, with input from the Tisbury Board of Selectmen.

The nine member committee is made up of community members with experience in building projects, representatives of the Friends of the Library, Library Trustees, and the Library Director. Meetings of the Committee are subject to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, and meeting notices are posted in advance on the Library’s event calendar, Town of Tisbury Website, and at Tisbury Town Hall.

Committee Members:

Paul Munafo, Chair
Andrew Flake, Vice Chair
Elizabeth Bates
Jean Lewellyn
Jim Norton
Sandy Pratt
Ben Robinson (Tisbury Planning Board)
Erik Blake (Tisbury Facilities Manager, Ex-officio)
Amy Ryan, Library Director (Ex-officio)

Arch Smith, Chair of Library Board of Trustees (Ex-officio)


In August 2018, the Building Design and Construction Committee issued a Request for Qualifications for Design Services, and interviewed four firms that responded. Maryann Thompson, Architects, was selected for the project.

In January 2019 the design team and the Commitee began the programming and conceptual design phase of the project, and completed a site survey, documentation and analysis of existing conditions, and building systems assessment.

On February 7th 2019, the Tisbury Vision Forum hosted a Community Meeting with the design team, to learn how the community envisioned the new space, and how they would like the meeting room to look and feel, using a 'wish list' and a character study process to understand community preferences.

Conceptual design work continued through fourteen schemes based on four proposed site plans. Draft cost estimates were produced based on three site plans, and in May 2019 a site plan was recommended to the Board of Library Trustees and approved at the May 22nd, 2019 joint meeting of the Board and Committee.

On June 3rd 2019, the Committee hosted a 2nd Community Meeting to provide an overview of the conceptual design phase, present the site plan to serve as the basis for schematic design, and offer a "menu" of other potential building improvements.

In July, 2019, The Committee consulted with a traffic engineer, and followed recommendations to conduct a parking inventory and parking survey.

At the April 2023 Tisbury Town Meeting, voters approved an additional $800,000 in funding in order to complete repairs to the existing library building along with the planned meeting room addition as a single project. CHA has been engaged to provide Owner's project management services, with plans for groundbreaking in 2024 pending completion of the capital campaign.


The Vineyard Haven Library Board of Trustees has announced a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the addition. Fundraising efforts are being led by the Vineyard Haven Public Library Building Fund, Inc. (VHPLBFI), a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization made up volunteers from the community. VISIT THE VHPLBFI WEBSITE TO DOWNLOAD A PLEDGE FORM OR DONATE ONLINE

Committee Charge, Building Design and Construction Committee

Request for Qualifications for Design Services
Vineyard Haven Library Strategic Plan
Adult Program Attendance, FY17 & FY18

Library Events Calendar
Building Design and Construction Committee Minutes

Jan 7, 2019 Press Release: Community Visioning Meeting with Maryann Thompson

January 9th, 2019 Vineyard Gazette Article
Parking Inventory and Survey Results, July 2019-
February 2020 Schematic Design
Capital Campaign: VHPL Building Fund Inc.

How will this project be funded?

The Town approved funding of $40,000 for design services at the April 2017 Town Meeting, and additional funding for repairs to the existing building were approved in April 2023. The Library Trustees are undertaking a Capital Campaign to raise remaining funds needed for the addition. The Vineyard Haven Library Building Fund Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been formed to assist with fundraising.

What is the "Shakespeare Garden" that has been discussed at recent meetings?

Prior to the last library renovation in 2000, a feature of the library's landscaping was a "Shakespeare Garden" dedicated to Margaret Webster, American-British theater actress, producer and director. The garden was laid out in an oval roughly 20’ in diameter, planted with herbs and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. The centerpiece of the Shakespeare garden was a bronze statue by Priscilla Pattison, given by Ms. Webster in memory of her partner Jane Brundred.

In 2000, a Landscaping Committee was appointed to create a new plan for the library grounds, which did not include a Shakespeare Garden, although the statue remains in place in the library courtyard. The library would like to honor Margaret Webster’s memory in a permanent and sustainable way, through landscaping and/or interior features, and this will be an element of the plan for the proposed addition. Several ideas have been put forward already, and we look forward to hearing other creative ideas and solutions, both for memorializing Ms. Webster and for reworking the library's outdoor space.

Doesn't the Library already have a meeting room?

Education and lifelong learning are top priorities for our community, as is reflected in the library’s strategic goals. The library currently holds 7 to 10 free public programs each week for all ages, with several thousand people attending annually. The library’s current Activity Room lacks characteristics appropriate for community programming, and program attendance regularly exceeds the capacity of this room.

What work needs to be done on the existing building?

Almost 25 years since the last renovation and addition, the library building has damage and wear, failing systems, and accessibility issues. The renovation will address these issues and make the building more weather-tight and energy efficient. Issues to be addressed include the following:

  • Roof is in need of replacement, repair and insulation, and to be prepared for rooftop solar
  • Heating & cooling systems need to be redesigned, repaired and replaced (including additional ventilation)
  • Bathrooms have accessibility & plumbing issues, causing odors and other problems
  • Windows throughout the building are damaged or inoperable, and not weather-tight
  • Interior painting and carpeting have not been redone since the 1999 renovation
  • Interior ceilings tiles and light fixtures throughout the building are missing or damaged
  • Landscaping and entryways have damage, accessibility issues, and plantings that have outgrown the space

What is the status of the capital campaign for the library addition?

The VHPL Building Fund, a 501c3 nonprofit, has undertaken a Capital Campaign to fund the addition to the building, which will create a 1,200 square foot multipurpose meeting room, significant additional basement space, and make improvements to the reading room and garden area. The campaign has gifts or pledges nearing $1.5 million, and the volunteers will continue fundraising through the beginning of construction.

Why can’t the project be funded by grants?

VHPL will not be eligible for funding through the state Library Construction Grant Program until 2029, and there is no guarantee that the grant program will have funding at that time (projects remain on the waiting list since the 2017 grant round).

The library building fund has received a number of generous grants from private foundations for the meeting room addition, but grant funding is limited as many local foundations do not support capital projects by organizations like the library that can be sustained by tax-payer dollars.

Why is the Meeting Room addition important?

Since 2007, the Vineyard Haven Public library has experienced more than 300% growth in attendance at adult programs. The library hosts at least 40 events each month for all ages, and attendance has continued to be robust, with more than 6,000 attendees at online and in-person events in FY2022.

In order to safely gather our community for future in-person events we will need a larger space with proper ventilation. The planned community room will have up-to-date technology, ample storage, and appropriate lighting and acoustics. Features will include large windows and doors looking out to the garden, a state-of-the art sound system including an assisted hearing loop, and a large projection screen with high resolution projection system. The project will also include technology and features to allow for quality live streaming of programs for those who can't attend in person.

The room will also be available as a meeting space for area nonprofits, government organizations, and social service providers, and will be used as a collaborative work space for library visitors. Having a large and flexible multipurpose space will allow the library to respond to other community needs, such as serving as cooling center.

How will the courtyard garden area be impacted?

The addition will encompass a portion of the existing patio garden but is sited to leave a large garden area (approximately 2,000 square feet) remaining. Landscaping will increase accessibility and improve interaction between the meeting room, reading room, and garden space. The project will include a new interpretation of the Shakespeare Garden dedicated to Margaret Webster, that was lost in the 1999 renovation.

Will there be enough parking to accommodate the attendance at library events?

Our review of the recent programs indicate that the new room will not significantly change the number of attendees, but will allow for more flexibility, fewer disruptions to other uses of the Library, and more appropriate accommodations. Many citizens currently walk to the Library and others who do drive find sufficient parking nearby (more than 80 street parking spaces are available within walking distance).

Is the project being designed in such a way that it is environmentally friendly and sustainable?

Our architects are creating a plan to improve the sustainability of the entire library with many new windows, a state-of-the art HVAC system, passive lighting, and the addition of solar panels.

Will the Library be open during renovation?

The library building will need to be closed for a period during renovation, but the library will plan to provide services from a temporary location. The repairs and addition can be done at the same time to avoid multiple closures.

How can I stay informed and involved?

The Library will be seeking community input as this project develops. This web page will be updated as we receive new information. To recieve email announcements, including invitations to upcoming community forums, contact the Library Director ([email protected]).

To sign up for the library's weekly program updates, enter your email address in the form below.



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Phone: 508.696.4210 & Email: [email protected]
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