Questions & Answers

New South Hero Library Image

“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.  It is a never failing spring in the desert.” –   Andrew Carnegie

Why build a new library?

  • The right to access public resources conflicts with the security concerns of the school.
  • The new library will continue to be a municipal entity, built to suit the civic needs of the South Hero community.
  • This library will be larger than the current library and includes quiet and collaborative space, more shelf space, presentation space, a children’s activity area, designated areas for displaying the work of local artists, and a cozy nook with a fireplace for reading and relaxing.
  • The convenient Route 2 location of the new library will be a cornerstone of community pride and activity, with enhanced outdoor spaces and convenient, well-lit parking.

Why do we need a library?

  • A library is a critical component of a functioning community when it is a fully accessible hub that is welcoming and comfortable.
  • Children, teens, adults and seniors all deserve a welcoming gathering space.
  • Libraries even the playing field for all.
  • A library offers unfettered access to technology, and opportunities for continuing education and self-directed learning.
  • “A public library is a safe oasis where people…improve themselves, and, by extension, improve their communities.” – Tony Marx, President, New York Public Library

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).

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.

How will we pay for a new library?

  • A capital campaign is underway, with a target of $1.5 million to cover construction, the purchase of capital equipment, the cost to move the current collection and the purchase of additional materials and technology.
  • A building site and significant funds have already been committed by generous donors who agree that the time has come for South Hero to have a public library that meets the growing demands of our community.

How will the library be maintained once it opens?

  • Library operations will continue to be funded as part of the South Hero Town budget.
  • The building plan intends to maximize energy efficiency through the use of  renewable resources, thus minimizing energy costs.
  • The non profit organization, The South Hero Library Foundation, has been established with the mission of raising funds exclusively to support the operational and capital needs of the public library of the Town of South Hero.

How can I help?

  • We want to hear from YOU:
    • You can voice your interests and needs by leaving suggestions in the box located in the current library or email the library at
    • We invite you to direct any comments and questions about this project to the Library Board of Trustees. Please see the meeting information and Trustee contact info on the SHCL website:
  • You can make a financial donation to the South Hero Library Foundation:
    • There are multiple opportunities for naming rights; honor your legacy by donating in the name of your family or a loved one.
    • Donations to the South Hero Library Foundation are tax deductible.

Why not move the library to the Folsom middle school building?

To maintain an equal amount of square footage and have bathrooms, the library would need the entire upper floor of the old building, which would mean moving full time classrooms and re-configuring the middle school. There is a strong likelihood that remediation of potentially unsafe building materials would be required if the space were rearranged, as well as costly updates in wiring which could lead to significant expense.

Wouldn’t two libraries mean a lot of duplicated books that we’d be paying for twice?

The school and town libraries, though we share space, are funded, staffed, and operated as two completely separate entities which would greatly ease a transition without a scramble for resources. This also means that we have very little duplication of materials.  The school purchases materials to support the curriculum, whereas the town purchases materials to appeal to a range of ages and interests well outside the school’s purview.  Materials that may potentially see duplication across libraries are mainly award winning juvenile fiction and picture books, which are currently in such high demand that an extra copy would be welcome and useful.

What about combining with Grand Isle to form a new library?

In the fall of 2014, the South Hero Library board of trustees was approached by the Grand Isle Public Library board of trustees with a proposal to combine public libraries into one stand-alone facility to be located in the extreme Southern portion of the town of Grand Isle. Grand Isle currently has an endowment that will partially cover an estimated ¼ to 1/3 of the cost of building a facility.  This would solve the school security issue by relocating the library, but would require significant cooperation both organizationally and fiscally between towns. Four years later, while South Hero is proceeding with plans to relocate from the Folsom school into a new building, ongoing discussions with Grand Isle continue as both towns consider options.

Will the move affect the funding the school currently receives for use of the building as a community center?

As of 2015, the school receives $115,000 per fiscal year directly from the town for community use of the school building, a part of which is reckoned to be the library. The South Hero select board assured the Folsom school board, in an open meeting on May 21, 2015, that this would have minimal impact.

How much will it cost tax payers?

This year Town voters approved an Article for the Town Library in the amount of $73,355.  It is a hope that Town voters will continue their support as they have been doing over the years to fund general salaries and operations. Will a stand alone Library building cost more to operate? Yes, it will.  That is why the South Hero Library Foundation, Inc. (SHLF) was formed. This 501(C)3 entity is dedicated to raising funds to support the Library.  It is the intent of SHLF to eventually endow the Library.  In the meantime, we can only estimate what stand alone costs will be.  Utilizing other Vermont stand alone library budgets a pro forma operating budget has been created (PDF here). Cost savings can be realized in cooperation with the Town through such things as fuel and copier contracts, insurance coverage etc.

The Town already funds $115,067 towards community use of the Folsom Education & Community Center. Will moving the Town Library out impact this support amount?

This question was asked of the Select Board and their response was that the formula that arrives at that amount results in an amount more than the maximum the State allows.  Therefore, there will be little if any reduction in the $115,067 amount.

Will other functions be moved out of Folsom and will that create a shortfall?

In light of the fact that the Planning Commission could not schedule a Public Forum at Folsom during April or May this year due to the gym being booked by other community groups and sports teams; and, the same was experienced by The South Hero Players, it is clear that South Hero needs another community space. Since the community needs the Folsom Gym space for so many activities there should be no reduction to the Town’s community funding amount.

Who is going to own the Library?

Ownership will remain the same as it is now, the Town of South Hero will own the Library. The Library Board of Trustees will oversee Library operations.

Where will the new Library be built?

The plan is to have the Library located in the #260 complex that is currently being developed as the new home for Wally’s Place Bagel & Deli, and the Community Health Center (preliminary site plan here).  The owners have designed the project and infrastructure to allow for additional buildings on the site.  In addition to the donation of land, the donation also includes the following land improvements:

  • A new curb cut onto US Route 2,
  • Road access up to the Library,
  • A permitted, and built, Advantex septic system (constructed with the 1st building with additional capacity),
  • Municipal water has been brought to the site (also constructed with the 1st building),
  • A new power vault with 3 phase power stubbed to the building envelope,
  • Phone and cable/internet nearby with service stubs near the building site.

Other than the fact that it is being donated is there anything else that makes it special?

Yes.  Location! Being right on US Route 2 makes this site easy to access.  Additionally, it is within walking distance to other South Hero Village businesses and services.  Also, property with this amount of permitting and engineering work completed, and with infrastructure in place, will expedite the remaining permitting and significantly reduce site work costs.  A permit process such as this, which could take years, may be completed by this fall.

How do we know we are getting a good deal on the construction if the developer is also the builder?

The South Hero Library Board of Trustees has been in discussion with a consultant about providing owners’ representation, including a thorough, third-party pre-construction review of the plans, specifications, schedules, and budgets for the new Library.

Who designed the Library?

This has been a coordinated effort between Hayward Design Build, Wiemann Lamphere Architects, and the Library Steering Committee. The preliminary design and site plan can be viewed at the Library or the Town Office.


Why are the land owners donating the land?

The land owners feel that this is an opportunity to do something great for their town.  They also believe that this streamlined approach will get the Library built faster and for less money.

What is the value of the donated land?

Fortunately, this is more than a donation of raw land.  It also includes some professional fees, permitting, and legal costs, associated with permitting the land, and building the infrastructure that has been, or is being, completed.  It is hard to quantify the precise value until after the Library is completed.  An idea of the savings to the Town can be quantified by looking at the costs that have been incurred to date by the owners (a chart is available at the Library or the Town Office). The best way to determine the actual market value would be to have it appraised.

We invite you to explore the website and to check back as we add news and information in the months to come. We’re excited to share the library’s progress!