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Grant allows for expansion of Mason Square Library programs

July 2, 2014 | G. Michael Dobbs

This empty lot will become a new outdoor event space for the Mason Square Branch Library by Aug. 14.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – A long vacant lot next to the Mason Square Branch Library will have a new life.

Through a partnership with Project for Public Space, Redbox and OCLC, a library collaborative, the lot will be landscaped and used for public programming, Jean Canosa Albano of the Mason Square Branch explained to Reminder Publications.

The new space will have its debut Aug. 14 when the Mason Square Branch, Stone Soul Festival, Gardening the Community, and the Mason Square Health Taskforce will host a community picnic, concert and farm festival in honor of Annie G. Curran, whose endowment helped create the library.

Albano said plans for the kick-off event “are coming together over the summer.”

She said the grant from Project from Public Spaces and OCLC is for $1,000 in cash and another $4,000 in credit that will be used to purchase a digital projector and screen, among other equipment, to have an outdoor movie theater.

“We were lucky we found out about this [grant] late in the game, close to the deadline,” Albano said. 

The library is working with the Sixteen Acres Garden Center on the landscaping. Albano explained the old driveway will be removed as well as unwanted trees and brush. Fences will be replaced and electricity will be installed.

Outdoor furniture and gardens will be added to create a seasonal outdoor event space, she added.

Program Chairman of the Stone Soul Festival, Jay Griffin, said, “Stone Soul is exhilarated by the fact that the library is expanding its services to the Mason Square community and we’re glad to extend our support to their activities.”

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