The James Blackstone Memorial Library was built in a time when the needs of the Branford community, and the function of a community library, were very different from today. Dramatic changes in technology coupled with the more diverse educational and social roles met by the library are limited by a facility which, while striking, was designed for a very different purpose.
The Campaign for the Blackstone is an effort to ensure that the Branford community can continue to count on the library as a literary, educational, technological and social focal point of the town for decades to come. The Campaign is the fundraising effort designated to pay a portion of the capital cost of renovation and redesign, in addition to funds from the Town of Branford and the State Library.
Why Expand and Renovate?
The Blackstone has not undergone significant renovation since 1996. In the time since those changes, the role filled by community libraries across the country has changed dramatically, mainly due to rapid innovation driving technological developments.
While the need to offer patrons access to a wider array of technology is clear, these changes have also created a greater need for libraries to serve as community meeting spaces and resource centers. The focus will be on adapting and improving a 19th century building to accommodate 21st Century technology and community needs.
Two primary groups that will be addressed by these renovations will be Branford’s teens and seniors. Both groups are increasingly in need of a place to access technology, programming and meeting spaces.
Physical changes to make the facility more accessible to seniors and more accommodating to the needs of teens will be cornerstones of the building improvements. In addition, families with younger children will find the new children’s area to be safer and more age appropriate.
Overall Project Cost: $4.8 million
based on estimates received January 2017
State Library Commitment: $1 million
committed contingent on meeting matching requirements by March 2018
Capital Campaign Goal: $800,000
a very reasonable amount based on the overall project cost
Balance to be requested from the Town of Branford, with the possibility of additional state bond funds reducing the ask to the Town.
We Need Your Help
The Blackstone has been an integral part of the Branford community for well over 100 years, and stands as a visible reminder of the value the past generations placed on education and literacy.
Inside and out, the prominence and fantastic design of the Blackstone tell of the importance not only of reading, but also of engaging in activities with our neighbors, sharing stories with our children and learning, in all forms and fashions.
Today we have an opportunity to show future generations that we place the same high value on learning, by investing in changes that will keep the Blackstone relevant, and even cutting edge, for decades to come.
This is the reason why we ask for your support – to serve families, youth, seniors – all who come to read and learn in a spectacular place unlike any other in Connecticut: the Blackstone Library!
Branford Community Foundation Matching Grant
The Branford Community Foundation (BCF) is generously offering a $100,000 matching grant for donations to the Blackstone Library’s Campaign for the Blackstone. When you donate any amount up to and including $1,000, BCF will MATCH your donation, doubling the gift you give! Read more about this announcement in the New Haven Register, The Sound, and The Branford Eagle.
Please make a gift or pledge today.
To make a gift to the Campaign for the Blackstone, click the Donate button below. You may also make a gift or a pledge by completing a Campaign Pledge & Donation Form (PDF). See the Campaign Gift & Pledge Acceptance Policies here.