The Many Benefits of the Proposed Library Location

“The mission of the South Hero Public Library is to enrich, inform, and educate the citizens of South Hero.” This is a powerful mission statement and one that is taken seriously by the Library Board members, whom are always working hard to find ways to fulfill it.  In the current Library location, there are significant schedule, access and space related challenges to achieving this mission.  These can be resolved with a new free-standing Public Library. We have the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ to building a new Library…. but how about where?

You may have noticed on the north side of Route 2 (#260) as you drive into South Hero Village there is a big pile of dirt located just east of the building being constructed that will house Wally’s Bagels & Deli and the new Community Health Center.  Where you see that big pile of dirt is the proposed location of the new Public Library. Check out the map on the upper right of this page.

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Importance of Accessibility to a Public Library

One of the most significant challenges faced by our current Public Library is accessibility.  The issues of limited hours during the school year, poor parking situation and difficult entrance configuration will all be resolved with a new free-standing Library.

The new South Hero Library will offer greatly increased accessibility to those with limited mobility by providing more designated Library Parking in closer proximity to the Library. Better parking will make it easier for Seniors and those with small children to access the Library.  The new Public Library will allow a return to regular operating hours. Regular operating hours will provide access for those who work and will allow young families increased opportunity to function around eating and nap schedules. Having very young children encouraged to learn and explore at their Public Library sets the stage for a positive learning experience throughout their lives. A new Public Library can be a bus stop for High Schoolers who wish to take advantage of the Library’s resources for research and completing school assignments. The new Library will allow for increased programming for youngsters, youth, high-schoolers, and adults. The new Library will provide Community Space for meetings such as an early morning yoga class or chess club, classes such as ‘How to Use That New Smart Phone’ or learn to make jewelry, mentors and tutors may book the small meeting room for quiet sessions… and more.

A new Public Library will support and enrich our vibrant community by offering increased accessibility.  For further information please take a look at previous postings to read FAQs, view the conceptual site plan and design, and read the Case Statement. You may also stop by the current Library and talk with our Library Director, Keagan Calkins.

Welcome, Luke!

We not only have exciting happenings with the new library project, we also have them on the Library Board of Trustees. We have GREAT NEWS – Luke Tremble agreed to join the Library Board and fill the roll of Select Board representative. We are so fortunate to have Luke on the team with his energy, insight and community spirit.  He will be a wonderful asset, not only on the grand adventure we are embarking on with the new library, but also as the Board works to support the current library space, its programs and operations.  Luke’s first official Trustee’s meeting was May 11. You can find a list of SHCL Trustees and Staff with contact info on the SHCL website.

Questions & Answers About the New Library

Library_Exterior1. Why don’t we just make do with what we have?

Visiting the current library typically answers this question.  Hours are restricted to when school is closed. There is no space to grow the collection or have programming for the public. There are no windows, no fresh air, and no air conditioning. There is no place for teens to meet, nor is there study space.  When the Town Library moves out there will be room for the School Library to grow their collection to support curriculum and teaching reading to our children. For more info on the ‘WHY’ question, see this earlier post and for a peak at the good things to com check out this one.

2. How much have the building plans cost?

The conceptual site planning and building design so far has been donated by the builder, Hayward Design Build, and architect, Wiemann Lamphere Architects, both of these folks are South Hero locals.

3. Why don’t we merge with Grand Isle?

Our Lead Donor strongly believes in South Hero having its own Public Library.  We honor and support that belief.

4. How did you come up with the floor plan and elevations for the new Library?

The Steering Committee under the guidance of the Library Director, compiled a list of all of the absolutely necessary components.  As fellow townspeople, the committee members have prepared a plan that provides the Town with a quality, long-lasting, eco-friendly structure that compliments the new Wally’s Bagel & Deli and Community Health Center building which is based on the architecture of the historic Merchants Bank (formerly the South Hero Inn).

5. Who is going to pay for a new Library Building?

The South Hero Library Foundation, Inc. has started a Capital Campaign to raise $1.5 million dollars through private donations.  A lead donation has already been pledged in the amount of $500,000.  The plan is to match this amount by August 1st. The balance will be raised before Spring 2017 through continued fund-raising and professional grant writing efforts.

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There is so much to look forward to!

The new South Hero Public Library will be…


  • The hours will be determined according to the needs and wants of its patrons.
  • The Route 2 location is a short walk from the town center and in a small enclave of commercial entities.
  • Volunteers will no longer need a background check to access the building.
  • The building will conform to Americans with Disabilities Act specifications and be fully accessible to patrons using wheelchairs, walkers and strollers
  • Volunteers will no longer be required to pass background checks.
  • Ample parking, including spaces for the disabled, will be available in well-lit areas close to the building.

Technologically enabled.

  • The new library will have its own network with greatly enhanced computer and internet services, wi-fi access, videoconferencing capabilities and its own software programs.
  • There will be opportunities for computer and internet skills training.

A gathering space for the entire community.

  • The library will be a place for readers of all ages to meet in cozy, comfortable surroundings, with private spaces for those who require quiet and solitude, and community spaces for assembling and socializing.
  • The talents of local artists will be exhibited in dedicated display areas.
  • Programs to expand learning and knowledge in broad ranges of topics will be offered for students, entrepreneurs, and all who seek to engage in life- long learning.
  • The convenient location exploits the natural beauty of the Islands and the library will boast beautiful views from inside and outside.