Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated: March 28, 2016

Q: Why renovate the Library now?
A: In recent years, it has become clear that in many important ways the current building no longer adequately serves the needs of the people who use it or the people who work in it. The last major renovation of the Library was done nearly 80 years ago, well before the advent of computers, the Internet, or online learning opportunities that require modern connections. Antiquated mechanical systems need to be replaced to make the building more energy efficient and to enable the Library to offer enhanced services.

In addition, the Museum & Archives’ historical collections have outgrown their space; the generous and growing support for the Museum’s activities necessitate additional storage, work, and exhibit space to properly conserve the many pieces of Stockbridge history that its townspeople have donated.

The current configuration of the Library also limits the areas that can be used for meetings and programs, a major emphasis of the Library and Museum’s efforts. Overall, our facility is not physically accessible to all our patrons, a fact that must change to comply with building codes. Moreover, we feel an obligation to provide a space that will meet the needs of current and future generations.


Q: What services will the Library provide that it isn’t able to provide now?
A: The renovated library will include a dedicated program center allowing the Library, Museum & Archives to provide expanded educational lecture series and symposia. Additional renovated spaces on the third floor will allow smaller groups to meet and work privately, while other groups or individuals are using space on the main level. The Library has not been able to provide simultaneous programming to multiple groups, until now. Facility upgrades throughout the Library will also allow greater accessibility to all patrons, providing a comfortable and energy efficient space to meet, learn and connect.


Q: Will the renovations significantly change the Library’s exterior?
A: Changes to the Library’s exterior will be minimal and are designed to complement the historic nature of this building. The renovation will not radically alter the footprint or the façade of our beloved building, nor will it substantially change the costs of operating and maintaining the Library and Museum.


Q: What is the timeline for the project?
A: Construction began in Fall 2014, and is expected to be complete in early 2016. For a full project timeline click HERE.


Q: Will the Library and Museum be open during renovation?
A: During construction, the Library will relocate to the Berkshire Scenic Railway’s Stockbridge Station, located at 2 Depot Street. The Library will continue to have a selection of the newest books, DVDs, and other materials on hand, and inter-library loans will remain available via the C/WMARS network. Hours will remain the same.  The Library will close its temporary location at the end of the day, Thursday, March 31, 2016.

The Museum & Archives will have offices and display area at The Merwin House, located at 14 Main Street. However, beginning July 11, 2014, the M&A offices will be available by appointment only; please call (413) 298-4703 to arrange for research requests. Key pieces from the collection will be on display and open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The Museum & Archives’ Merwin House display will close on Saturday, March 5, 2016.


Q: How long will the Library be closed?
The Library will be closed from April 1 through April 29, 2016.  We will celebrate our grand reopening at the Library on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Museum & Archives will reopen in June 2016.


Q: What should I do about items that need to be returned between April 1 and 20, 2016?
Materials with a due date that falls between April 1 and 29, 2016 will need to be returned to another C/WMARS member library.  Please do not return items to the Stockbridge Library book drop at Stockbridge Station or at 46 Main Street between April 1 and 29, 2016.  We will not be able to process them and don’t want you to incur late fees!


Q: What about items I’ve placed on hold?
The Stockbridge Library will be unavailable for holds pickup between March 25 and April 29, 2016.  However, any holds that have been placed with Stockbridge Library designated as the pickup library will make their way to us after we reopen on April 30.  If you are placing a hold in the near future, you may wish to designate an alternate library for pickup to prevent a delay in receiving your item.


Q: How many people actually use the Library?
A: Here’s a look at the Library by the numbers:

  • Over 55,000 items in the collection, from books and DVDs to photographs, town records, and historical artifacts
  • 26,500 visits last year, with 3,669 people served by the Museum & Archives from 35 states and 15 countries
  • 1,370 cardholders, a 15% increase over the previous year
  • In the past two years, the number of programs has expanded by 50%, and program attendance has grown by 41%


Q: Why do we need the Library?
A: For as long as it has been a cornerstone of Main Street, the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives has been an indispensable information resource for the town. The Stockbridge Library is also a center of our community, providing a safe and comfortable place to read a book, use the Internet, research Stockbridge history, or simply connect with friends and neighbors.

Q: How much is the renovation going to cost?
A: The cost of the construction and associated hard costs is approximately at $3.5M. Additional soft costs of supporting services and contingencies bring the total campaign to an estimated $4M.



Q: Are contributions to the campaign tax deductible?
A: Contributions to the capital campaign are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.


Do you have another question about the renovation?  Please feel free to call the Library at (413) 298-5501 to speak with the Director, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required (please put “Renovation question” in the subject line).