New Library Study Committee

The Town’s New Library Study Committee is wrapping up its 6-month charge, and a full report will soon be presented to the Board of Selectmen. Information about the committee is below. For more information on what the committee is, and what it’s been up to – please check out the information below.

The front page of the Middletown Press had an amazing article about the committee:

There was also an article planned for the East Haddam News written by the committee to explain its work to the town. (please note, the survey mentioned in the article has already been completed. Its findings were presented at the 10/12 and 10/26 meetings of the NLSC, available on YouTube).

The article included in the East Haddam News contained some misinformation, please feel free to reach out to Library Director Michael Gilroy at if you have any questions.

Planned Newspaper Article:

In April 2022, the Board of Selectmen appointed  a study committee (7 members and 2 alternates) to evaluate the library situation  in East Haddam. The Committee has been meeting since May, on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the existing library buildings and their ability to support the library needs of the community in the 21st century. 

The Committee’s charge is to study and evaluate whether to modify the two existing libraries built for a different era, or consolidate them in a new building to serve the community in the future. Additionally, they must recommend whether the existing libraries should be sold or used for other town services, and establish their market value.  Further the Committee must identify potential sites for new construction (either town owned land or private) and the estimated cost of the property.

The Committee started with the analysis of the buildings done in 2017 by architect, George Fellner. At the time, accessibility changes alone were estimated at about $750,000. The updated cost is now estimated to be in excess of $1,000,000, and in making the buildings accessible under ADA would effectively reduce the amount of space of library activities by one-third to one-half.  The committee also reviewed the possibility of adding onto the existing buildings and considered whether the undeveloped lower level of the MOC could be used. Both options presented inadequate and costly solutions.

Thus, assuming that the libraries should be consolidated, the Committee has identified potential locations for such a facility, ideally any new library would be in a central location. Using a library space planning template provided by the Connecticut State Library system, it has been determined that a building of at least 16,000 sq. ft. would be needed.  This would suit community library needs not only for today, but for years into the future.

The Committee’s conclusions must be reported to the Board of Selectmen by November 2022. The members of the Committee are: William Barney, Chairman, Marissa Lehmacher, Vice Chairman, John Bielot. Secretary; Michael Callahan, Elizabeth Dillon, James Leatherbee, Ralph Parady, alternates, Mary Mazur and Clare McCarthy; Irene Haines and Michael Gilroy are advisory ex-officio members.

A survey has been developed for all residents to determine the types of library services  needed in a 21st century library.  Around the State and nation, libraries are being asked to do more than provide books, periodicals, and media.  Technology beyond computers, specialized study and meeting spaces, job and educational resources are some of the services being identified.  The Committee is hopeful that the community will respond to this call for information which will be available on-line, as an insert in this week's East Haddam News, and at both libraries. The information will help the committee complete its evaluation and report.

If you have any questions about the committee, please contact the Library System Director: