Grave Public Library in Wakefield

wakefield_mapThe Grave Public library has been a sharp public figure in the Wakefield community since 1915. Built in memory for Jay Philo Graves, this library has been serving Wakefield for over 9 decades. The original structure held a portico entrance standing six feet tall, above a 13 step exterior staircase. The building is a great honor for the Grave’s family and served the community proudly.

However, time will take its toll. Over 9 decades of intense weather, wear and tear, and lack of utilities, this building was facing numerous infrastructure problems. Deteriorating surfaces both interior and exterior, the out dated heating system, no elevator to reach different levels, only one set of restrooms located in basement, no telecommunication networks, and trying to uphold building codes, this historic structure was removed and the town of Wakefield wanted a change for the better, so they embarked in the development of new construction.

image01Those who became the backbone of this project were The Wakefield Library Foundation, Wakefield Library Board, City of Wakefield, patrons of the Grave Public Library and the Wakefield community schools. How were these advocates going to support this huge community project? A decision was made to apply for a Community Development Block Grant. This would become a great way to fund the new facility. A unique aspect revolving around this Community Development Block Grant was the remarkable local input this project received. Local community insights where highly influential in all aspects of this rehabilitation project. From the planning process, to funding resources and construction possibilities, the opinions and ideas of the local community were beneficial and well supported by the entire delegation. In addition to the CDBG funds the Wakefield community raised $112,000 in private donations and was granted a $400,000 donation from the Gardner Foundation. Due to their tremendous donation, the new library was designated as The Gardner Public Library.

Structural improvements made the new Gardner Public Library more accessible to governmental and educational opportunities, expansion of library books and resources collection and an overall increase in library patronage. In addition, the Gardner Public Library offers computer and Internet access, community meeting rooms, and facility accessibility. The Gardner Public Library is extremely beneficial to other community groups. The community meeting rooms serves as a gathering place for the Gardner Senior Center, Wakefield Family Resource Center, Community Schools, Library Board meetings, and committee planning events.

image03Wakefield community continues to strive for success. Wakefield has seen the advantages of the Community Development Block Grants and is planning to further community investments. Future projects include water infrastructure improvements, sports complex with track and field, recreational swimming pool, and updated Family Resource Center. Wakefield community is making significant steps in the stride for community progress. With a committed local population and the assistance from CDBG, the City of Wakefield is determined for excellence.