Our Library, Our Future

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Welcome to the Our Library, Our Future project page!

The 21st Century Manchester Public Library Task Force wants your input to help make community-driven decisions around the future of Manchester libraries. Your feedback will help make this a successful process and ensure that the voices of all interested residents are heard.

To the right, you'll find information on the project's team, a timeline, and an overview of what's in store.

Below you'll find two tabs. The Overview & Updates tab has important up-to-date resources and reports on the latest project findings, plus info on why the Town is embarking on this process. The Ideas tab asks residents to share your thoughts/perspectives/opinions on the future of Manchester's libraries. This interactive board lets you upload photos and like/comment on other's ideas.

Continue to check back regularly as we will update this page with the progress of the project.

Welcome to the Our Library, Our Future project page!

The 21st Century Manchester Public Library Task Force wants your input to help make community-driven decisions around the future of Manchester libraries. Your feedback will help make this a successful process and ensure that the voices of all interested residents are heard.

To the right, you'll find information on the project's team, a timeline, and an overview of what's in store.

Below you'll find two tabs. The Overview & Updates tab has important up-to-date resources and reports on the latest project findings, plus info on why the Town is embarking on this process. The Ideas tab asks residents to share your thoughts/perspectives/opinions on the future of Manchester's libraries. This interactive board lets you upload photos and like/comment on other's ideas.

Continue to check back regularly as we will update this page with the progress of the project.

  • Library Task Force Final Report Released

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    Manchester's 21st Century Public Library Task Force has released its final report, concluding a nine-month process that involved research into past improvement efforts and modern industry best practices, collaboration with several town departments, and a widescale community engagement effort involving more than 1,100 surveys submitted by residents.

    The report recommends that the town design and build a new, fully-accessible, and code-compliant public library of approximately 83,000 square feet, with adequate parking, flexible space design for multipurpose uses, private and group meeting and work spaces, and sustainable “green” design with efficient building systems. It also recommends that the Board of Directors enact a process to prepare necessary site analyses, selection, and plans; architectural designs; and cost estimates for a fall 2022 bond referendum.

    The full report can be downloaded here. A formal presentation will be made to the Board of Directors at their September 14, 2021 meeting.

  • More Than 1,100 Residents Surveyed By Library Task Force

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    The 21st Century Public Library Task Force's 7-week "Our Library, Our Future" community engagement period concluded Saturday, July 31, 2021, with more than 1,100 local residents having submitted survey responses outlining the features and spaces they'd like to see in a modern Manchester Public Library. In addition, more than 300 residents spoke with task force members at community events, nearly 200 people took a virtual tour of Mary Cheney Library's staff-only areas, and more than 1,400 visits were logged by the task force's website. Public awareness outreach was conducted in all nine of the town's voting precincts, with special efforts made to reach traditionally underrepresented groups and neighborhoods.

    The task force sincerely thanks all "Our Library, Our Future" participants for their thoughtful and detailed feedback regarding what residents want to see in the future of the Manchester Public Library. The comments received will help formulate the task force's final report to the Manchester Board of Directors, which will be delivered in September 2021.

    If any community members still want to weigh in on what a modern public library should offer in our town, the Library Advisory Board can be reached via e-mail at librarycommittee@manchesterct.gov. The inclusion of e-mailed comments in the final report cannot be guaranteed, but all comments will be read.

  • Engagement Opportunity for Seniors

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    The 21st C. Public Library Task Force continues to table at events around town, with hundreds of community members having already shared in-person with us their ideas for what a modern Manchester Public Library should look like.

    In order to help ensure that all demographic groups in town are being reached through our community engagement efforts, a special seniors-only engagement session has been added to our schedule:


    Wednesday, July 21, 2021

    Manchester Senior Center

    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 549 East Middle Turnpike


    Paper surveys will be available in English, Spanish, and Bengali. We hope to see you there!

  • Behind the Scenes at MPL

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    Generations of Manchester residents have found ourselves asking the question, "What's down those stairs in the Mary Cheney Library?" Here's the answer, in video form!


    Although Manchester Public Library is consistently one of the top five libraries in the state when measured by total books and items borrowed, it ranks #114 for the number of books per capita and #135 for the number of DVDs per capita. This means that while there is far more demand for library materials in Manchester than in other towns, there are fewer choices available per resident. And as you can see, thousands of the materials Mary Cheney does have must be kept in the basement, where residents can't browse them for safety reasons.

    Is the ability to browse all materials freely important to you? Or are there other things you'd like to see in a modern Manchester library? Please take our survey -- in English, Spanish, or Bengali -- and let us know your thoughts!

  • July Community Engagement Opportunities

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    The 21st C. Public Library Task Force is off to a great start with gathering community input regarding what Manchester wants to see in a modern public library.

    So far, more than 600 surveys have been collected and more than 150 residents have spoken with task force members -- and we're still hoping to hear from you! Surveys will be collected through Saturday, July 31, 2021.

    This month, you can talk to us in-person at the following events:


    Wednesday, July 7, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 8, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Saturday, July 10, 2021

    2nd Saturday Downtown

    10 AM to 1 PM, Forest Street Parking Lot, corner of Forest and Main


    Wednesday, July 14, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 15, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Wednesday, July 21, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 22, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 29, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    All interested residents are also welcome to fill out our on-line survey -- in English, Spanish, or Bengali -- or fill out a paper survey in-person at Mary Cheney Library or the Whiton Branch Library.

  • Community Engagement Events

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    The "Our Library, Our Future" initiative will be seeking the public's input at a variety of community events this summer, giving Manchester residents a chance to share your views directly with the 21st Century Public Library Task Force.

    Look for our table at the following events, with more to be announced soon:


    Saturday, June 12, 2021

    2nd Saturday Downtown

    10 AM to 1 PM, Forest Street Parking Lot, corner of Forest and Main


    Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Saturday, June 19, 2021

    Community-Wide Juneteenth Commemoration and Mural Dedication

    12 PM - 6 PM, Mahoney Center, 110 Cedar Street


    Wednesday, June 23, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Wednesday, June 30, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Wednesday, July 7, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 8, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Saturday, July 10, 2021

    2nd Saturday Downtown

    10 AM to 1 PM, Forest Street Parking Lot, corner of Forest and Main


    Wednesday, July 14, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 15, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Wednesday, July 21, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 22, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    Wednesday, July 28, 2021

    Spruce Street Farmers' Market

    4:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Market Field, 153/163 Spruce Street


    Thursday, July 29, 2021

    The Off-Main Experience

    5 PM - 8 PM, Purnell Place


    All interested residents are also welcome to fill out our on-line survey -- in English, Spanish, or Bengali -- or fill out a paper survey in-person at Mary Cheney Library or the Whiton Branch Library.

  • About the Our Library, Our Future Initiative

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    The 21st Century Manchester Public Library Task Force, which includes the members of the Library Advisory Board and community volunteers, was formed by a resolution of the Manchester Board of Directors on January 12, 2021. The board recognized that the current public library system, comprised of Mary Cheney Library and the Whiton Branch Library, remains set in a past era, with an inadequate, costly, and inefficient main facility last "modernized" nearly 60 years ago.

    Meanwhile, communities across Connecticut and throughout the world are investing in their changing, diverse populations by building state-of-the-art public libraries that embrace the principles of access, equity, civic discourse and participation, lifelong learning, and social connection and engagement. Public libraries of the future empower residents with a new set of sustainable skills, competencies, and knowledge that barely existed a generation ago.

    The resolution charged the task force with reviewing past studies and plans to address the community’s needs; researching industry best practices regarding the appropriate services and requirements for a 21st Century library; and creating a vision for Manchester in terms of space needs and location. The "Our Library, Our Future" community engagement initiative is the task force’s way of ensuring that all community stakeholders have a chance to give their input on Manchester's library of the future.

    A report with findings and recommendations is expected to the Board of Directors in September 2021, to serve as a basis for decision-making about appropriate next steps toward investing in a library that serves the needs of our diverse community.


Page last updated: 08 September 2021, 14:15