About the Belmont Library Foundation

About the Belmont Library Foundation

Belmont residents formed the Belmont Library Foundation, a 501(c)(3) exempt private foundation, in the early 2000s to honor the historic “public /private partnership” established over a century ago by the vision and generosity of Henry O. Underwood, who nearly single-handedly created the Town’s first dedicated Library Building. The Belmont Library Foundation’s mission is to sustain Underwood’s legacy of financial support for one of Belmont’s most valuable and enduring institutions through fundraising for a new library building.

The Belmont Library Foundation and the Library Building Project

In 2016, after the development of a five-year long-range plan, the Library Trustees commissioned a comprehensive Feasibility Study to evaluate how to address the ongoing needs of our library. The study evaluated renovating the existing building, renovating the existing building with an addition, and building a new library on the site of the existing library. The result of this study was a recommendation by the Trustees to construct a new library building. A renovation of the current building was not deemed a viable solution, as it would have been costly, would have reduced usable space, and would not have met current and future library needs.

Town Meeting approved the creation of a Library Building Committee in November 2017 and in 2019 the Building Committee concluded the Schematic Design phase of the Library Building Project. The Belmont Library Foundation funded half of the Schematic Design, with Town Meeting approving the funding of the other half. The Schematic Design process included a series of public forums and surveys to invite the community’s thoughts and feedback on the new library. The final Schematic Design was presented at a Public Forum on November 12, 2019.

Following the presentation of the Schematic Designs, the Belmont Library Foundation began fundraising for the new library building. After a pause in 2020, due to the pandemic, fundraising efforts began anew in the Fall of 2021with a successful “Our Library Needs a New Home” fundraiser, garnering contributions from more than 600 residents and massive community support.

After the success of the “Our Library Needs a New Home” campaign, the Belmont Foundation embarked on a major gifts campaign, including opportunities for named recognition. This ongoing campaign has been extremely effective and includes individual donations, corporate donations, grant awards, and community fundraising.  Between the efforts of the BLF, Library Trustees, and others, $5 million has been raised for the Library Building Project.

In July 2022, Belmont’s Select Board voted unanimously to place a debt exclusion for the Belmont Library Project on the November 8th ballot. The vote was successful; Belmont’s residents approved a debt exclusion for a new library building. On November 30th, Belmont’s Town Meeting authorized borrowing for construction of a new library. The authorized amount ($34.5 million) reflects the $5 million in funds available for the current building which has a total project cost of $39.5 million.

The Library Building Committee is now continuing its work with Oudens Ello Architecture and its design team and Daedalus Projects, Inc (OPM) to complete the design of the Library Building Project. For current updates and information about the project, visit the Library Building Committee page.

The Belmont Library Foundation Today

The Belmont Library Foundation continues to actively fundraise for a new library for Belmont with the goal of offsetting the amount of public funding required for the project and thereby reducing the financial impact on Belmont’s residents.

For fundraising updates or to learn more about various donation opportunities and options, please click here.

Belmont Library Foundation Board

The Belmont Library Foundation Board is composed of community volunteers that share a love for libraries and the vital role they play in our communities. The Board brings together a diverse set of skills including fundraising, community outreach, event planning, and communications.

Entities of the Belmont Library

Many different entities serve the Belmont Library and/or the Belmont Library Project.

The Belmont Public Library provides a center for information and discovery through innovative programming, robust collections, and responsive services. The Library is a place for Belmont to learn, share, and create. Its mission is to enrich the lives of the community by empowering its citizens’ personal, educational and professional growth. The library is dedicated to advancing literacy and fostering life-long learning.  Learn more here.

The Board of Trustees of the Public Library consists of six members elected at the Annual Town Election for a term of three years (two members each year). The Trustees are responsible for “sole care and management of the library”, including custody of books and other property, regulations for governing the library and its use, appointing the Librarian, and overseeing Town appropriations for the library and expenditure of funds for books and other materials, maintenance, support and promotion of the library and its facilities. Learn more about the Library Board here.

The Friends of the Belmont Public Library focus on enhancing library programs and services. Friends memberships and donations, combined with revenue from used book sales, fund activities that are beyond the scope of the Library’s regular operating budget. For example, in 2017 the Friends funded museum passes, author readings, musical performances, teen programming, and circulating Kindles among other things.  Learn more about the Friends here.

The Belmont Library Foundation is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) private foundation formed to undertake promotional and fundraising activities for the Belmont Public Library, with its current priority to support the construction of a new building.

The Library Building Committee was created by Town Meeting in November 2017 and appointed by the Town Moderator Mike Widmer.  In 2018 the committee worked to hire Daedalus Projects as the Owners Project Managers and Oudens Ello Architecture as the Architecture Firm.   Learn more about the LBC here on the Belmont Library website.