WEYMOUTH — With the opening of the new 50,000-square-foot Tufts Library, Matt Tallon said he sees an opportunity for residents to get involved in supporting an asset that has something for everyone.
So he helped start the Weymouth Libraries Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to gather support for the city’s libraries and set up a foundation to fund ongoing library needs.
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“The goal is to have a foundation in Weymouth for the first time to attract larger donors who want to invest in the town,” said Tallon, a member of the library’s board of trustees. “The library is our best meeting point. We cater to the 0-100 age group and offer things that go well beyond a place to pick up a book and go home.”
The new Tufts Library opened in September 2020 with half a dozen meeting rooms, a digital media lab with high-tech editing software, a local history collection, a tranquil reading room and spaces designed specifically for children, tweens and teens.
The State Board of Library Commissioners selected Tufts Library for the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program in July 2017, providing the city with $12.1 million for the project. The grant represents approximately 41 percent of eligible costs, excluding temporary library space, furniture, computers, landscaping, sidewalks, and parking.
The City Council unanimously approved Mayor Robert Hedlund’s request in October 2017 to borrow $33 million to build the library.
Tallon said the foundation will ensure the library has money available for things not covered by its existing budget.
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“The library has received decent funding from the city, but that’s mostly staff and programming,” Tallon said. “The goal is for the library to have a chunk of cash available for various investments.”
Rob MacLean, director of Weymouth Public Libraries, said the state grant process requires the creation of a foundation to fund the community’s share of the project. But in Weymouth, the city paid the local share in full.
“Now that the building is open, Matt (Tallon) has stepped in to help create a foundation that will help us maintain the building and services we have dreamed of for years to come,” he said .
MacLean said some things the foundation could pay for include programming the nursery, landscaping, updated technology and preserving items in the library’s local history collection.
“It’s always great to have a foundation and resources that we can draw on to do the things that we should be doing and people now expect us to have this great institution,” MacLean said.
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As the city celebrates its 400th anniversary, the foundation has launched a campaign seeking 400 families and individuals willing to pledge $4,000 to build the fund. That would be $1.6 million.
“We’re trying to be aggressive and build something that will outlive our board,” Tallon said.
The donors, who will be known as “The Foundational 400,” will be honored in some way for their contributions.
For more information, see https://www.weymouthlibrariesfoundation.org/