Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
FSC classes in city library stalled
J.J. Huggins, Sentinel & Enterprise, February 20,
LEOMINSTER -- Library officials say they like a proposal
from two city councilors who want Fitchburg State College to
offer classes at the new library.But now that the library is
not scheduled to open until June, it is too soon to make an
agreement with the college, according to the officials.
"Since several members of the Library Trustees are alumnae
of Fitchburg State College and the current president of the
college (Robert Antonucci) once served as the chairman of
the Leominster Public Library Board of Trustees, you can be
assured that this suggestion was welcomed wholeheartedly,"
Gilbert Tremblay, the chairman of the library trustees,
wrote in a letter to city councilors.
"However, we hope you will understand that library-sponsored
programs will take priority and that any long-term
programming will be addressed when the meeting room policies
are established," he concluded.
The trustees feel it is "too premature to enter into any
long-term agreements until we can evaluate the needs of the
community for use of meeting-room space," according to
Tremblay, during an interview, said the library hosts a
variety of activities and meetings for children and adults
throughout the day and night.
"We welcome it (the proposal), but later," he said. "City
needs will come first."
More than 3,500 people visit the library each week,
according to Library Director Susan Shelton.
Shelton looks forward "to working with the Library Board of
Trustees to consider proposals from Fitchburg State College
and any other institutions that have an interest in
utilizing space within the library," she wrote in a letter
to the City Council.
Councilor at-large John Dombrowski and Ward 4 Councilor
Robert Salvatelli are proposing that Mayor Dean J.
Mazzarella and the trustees negotiate with FSC and any other
college or university to bring classes to the library.
Dombrowski read Shelton's and Tremblay's letters and he
understands their desire to give priority to programs they
already run before they start hosting something new, he
"I certainly don't want to interfere with any library
functions," he said. "I think the idea of having a college
presence in the new library is a great idea, and it's really
something we should work hard for."
Dombrowski figures students will patronize nearby stores and
restaurants before and after classes.
Both Mazzarella and Antonucci have said they like the
FSC offers several off-campus classes, according to
Dombrowski, a lawyer, said he got the idea from fellow
attorney Charles Gelinas Sr.
Gelinas is a Leominster resident and a former FSC trustee.
Having FSC classes at the library would be convenient for
continuing education students, Gelinas said.
"If you were to canvass area educational students, you would
find a lot of need for a satellite campus," he said. "As a
former trustee at Fitchburg State College, I know how
congested it is, the parking is difficult."
Drawing college students downtown would make the city more
vibrant, he said.
It would also be an opportunity for the library to make
money, because the college would pay to use the space,
according to Gelinas.
The city has a contract with Fontaine Bros. Inc. of
Springfield to renovate the existing West Street building
across from City Hall and add onto it.
The project is expected to cost more than $12 million.
The library is temporarily operating out of the Crossroads
Office Park on Mechanic Street.
Volunteers have waged a private fundraising campaign to help
pay for the building, and they have raised $1 million to
date, according to the library's Web site.
Their goal is $1.2 million.
The city is holding an auction to generate more money on
March 24 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in City Hall. For more
information about the event, call the library at