This study was completed for the original project, which included construction of an addition and renovation of the existing Jeudevine building at the same time. This was the project presented to the community in early October 2016. Since then, the project concept has changed, but the comments in the following Executive Summary remain accurate and on point, except as amended by the Consultants' Note below.
Economic Feasility Study for Expansion
Consultants’ Note, Feb 7, 2017: Due to the complexity of the project and to help reduce its tax impact on Hardwick property owners, the Jeudevine Library’s Board of Trustees decided, shortly after this report was delivered, to approach the project in two phases. Phase I will complete the construction of the new addition and address the urgent need for more space, with a goal of $1.9 million including a 30-year bond at $950,000. Phase II will involve renovation of the existing historic building, and its goal of $600,000 will not require a bond. The total goal for both phases is $2.5 million, lower than our recommended goal of $2.9 million below. We wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse this strategy, and believe that it is a wise approach to conducting the successful campaign needed to create the great community library that Hardwick deserves.
CPG Enterprises, Inc.
Christine Graham, Principal, and Joyce Cellars, Associate
For decades, the Board and friends of the Jeudevine Library have recognized the need for a larger, more accessible library in Hardwick. Recent participation in the Vermont Commission for Rural Development community process ranked an improved Jeudevine among the top community needs, and acknowledged the fact that today’s libraries must offer much more than the printed word. At the same time, the historic and architectural importance of the building was reaffirmed.
The Library Board responded with practical steps toward the Jeudevine of the 21st Century: a fully accessible library that serves the needs of all local residents and visitors, of every age and interest. Beyond traditional library services, the Jeudevine will welcome groups and expand programs, offer information, resources, training, meeting space, entertainment and a solid connection to our changing world. The treasured architecture will be preserved, and augmented with sensitivity.
Our study was designed to measure the enthusiasm and support for a $2.9 million expansion of the Jeudevine funded by a Bond, grants and donations. We found very strong agreement that both the vote and the donations would be most successful with a focus on:
- Fully accessible, adequate space for gathering, programs and library use
- Building a healthy future for Hardwick
- Technology access and training for those without computers or software
- A beautiful, historically respectful addition with welcoming outdoor space
- Positive impact on local self-image, real estate values, and the economy
All agreed that the proposed plan is ‘more than just a library,’ and would make a huge difference in Hardwick. They feel it is visionary and important, and feel strongly that the vision must be communicated, not just ‘improvements.’
This shared positive reaction is tempered by concern about obtaining a positive vote on the bond, and about raising adequate charitable support. The plan is financially ambitious and not yet well understood by voters and prospective donors. To succeed in transforming the Jeudevine Library, great educational and communication efforts are essential. Scratching the surface is not enough: this project requires reaching and enlisting people from every part of the community: connections must be found, relationships developed, and a moving vision communicated. Each person and family must see how this will touch their lives.
At this point, a charitable goal of $800,000 is realistic, along with grants of at least $750,000, both added to a significant positive Bond vote of around $1 million. With thorough education and outreach prior to the vote, it is possible that enthusiasm will rise sufficiently to increase the charitable goal and success.
All three areas (philanthropy, grants and bonding) will require a powerful outreach effort, which means that recruiting workers is the first task. This must be a proactive groundswell of activity, not just hoping for interested people to visit the library to learn more, but rather going to the many diverse groups in the region to make presentations, answer questions, and gain support.
There are three levels of work needed:
- Educating the public to encourage a positive vote.
- Meeting the highest-capacity donors and enlisting their enthusiasm and support.
- Launching a true grassroots effort that will engage all local residents as donors at their own levels of comfort and ability.
This will require intense effort with a very personal touch: it may be smart to hire a part-time manager for the outreach and the campaign management. Having staff will allow a committee of a dozen or more enthusiasts to focus on building relationships with prospects while they educate the whole community about the plan.
We found great enthusiasm for the Jeudevine plan, along with some realistic, understandable concern about pulling off an ambitious challenge. Overall, this is seen as a ‘bold, big vision for the town we are proud of’ and a way for residents and neighbors to ‘give back, pay it forward, and give people opportunity.’ This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will make a tangible positive impact on the town and the people of Hardwick and its region. It will be hard work, and worth it.