Otis Library & Otis Selectboard Interview  Minutes Thursday, February 10, 2022, 11:00 AM

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Otis Library & Otis Selectboard Interview


Thursday, February 10, 2022, 11:00 AM

*Hybrid Meeting was conducted in accordance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law on Zoom and in person.  This interview was recorded. A link to this meeting can be found at:



On behalf of MLBC, Lauren Stara, requested and chaired this interview as part of the application being submitted to the Small Library Pilot Project.


Members present – MBLC: Lauren Stara, Andrea Bono-Bunjer, Bill Beny, Beth Krauer, Lindsay Forbes, Lisa Sepannski, Karen Schrader, Town Officials/Departments: Larry Southard, Chair Otis Selectboard, Terry Gould. Otis Selectboard, Larry Gould, Building Inspector, Brandi Page, Town Administrator,  Lyn O’Brien, Town Clerk, Hal Kobrin, Planning Board, Frank Tolopko, Technology, FRRSD: Carol Lombardo, Chair, Arlene Tolopko, Deb Fogel, Jane Gleason, Council on Aging, Jeanne Randorf, Otis Cultural Council, Patricia Richard, Recreation Department, Otis Library: Diane Dyer, Chair, James Adams, Kathy Bort, Sue Brofman, Susan Ebitz, Lois Hall, Gloria Mamokhin, Donna Rich, Patty Strauch, Arlene Tolopko, Frank Tolopko

Acting Chair Lauren Stevens called the meeting to order at 11:08 AM.

Introductions: All live participants and Zoom attendees introduced themselves.

Lauren then stated that the MBLC had some questions for those present.


Question #1: The SLPP is going to require electric heat. We noticed that you didn’t think you’d use solar panels even though 75% of the cost for installing solar can deducted for this expense as long as the solar panels are on the building. Why? In answering, Larry Gould, thought the other energy investments would be enough and didn’t realize this expense was eligible. He assured the members of MBLC that town would be happy to reconsider installing solar power as part of the project.


  1. What is the greatest strength going into this project?
  • Loving the library
  • Growing community
  • Working for the community
  • Interest in moving into the 21st Century
  • Passion for the library
  • Intergenerational space
  1. What is the biggest barrier to constructing a new library? How do you overcome this?
  • Get chosen this grant
  1. Only 6% of registered voters came out for the presentation. How do you know that people know about this project?
  • 75% state funding is once in a lifetime opportunity

Many people know about this and support this

  • Town of Otis news, Otis Observer. Library, Town Facebook pages
  • Robo calls
  • Run information forums with babysitters
  1. How will you go about accomplishing this- getting support & getting funding?
  • Once we know what we need we have a history of getting it
  • Set a goal and we will provide the energy and effort
  • Seek grants from Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Taconic Fund
  • New people and new programs are good for the economy
  • Otis has supported several municipal projects over the years.
  • Diverse group in terms of income levels
  • Find templates from public funding sources
  • Monies raised by the Friends of the Library

*A suggestion was made to identify the funding pyramid

  1. How will you deal with Opposition?
  • There has been little opposition so far.
  • Communication, written and in-person at events and actual spaces.
  • Need to know the actual costs
  1. If you do not receive the grant would you be willing to be on a waiting list? would you be proactive and put an article on the warrant in May or hold a special town meeting? On behalf of the town, Brandi answered “yes.”
  2. If you did not get this grant, what would you do?
  • We would certainly go forward in some ways.
  • Go to the town plans where the library would move to the fire station when the fire station vacates. Would be about 3 times the size of current library

The Erbe building is slated for demolition regardless of grant and is the chosen site.

Bill asked the Question of whether the building would fit on that site.   How much is the square feet of the proposed Library? (6761)

Reaction was:

  1. Town officials had no idea of the design never saw the building plan. it was not publicized.
  2. too large and because it is too large it will be too costly.  Feeling that this is a big jump.

Need to reassess this

Settle the disagreement of the size of the plan.

Will this building fit on the site?

Given time to look at the building plan and make adjustments. Corrections due February 24th.

Both Lauren and Andrea acknowledged that misunderstanding could be corrected.

Lauren thanked everyone for coming and the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 PM.


Respectfully Submitted,

Susan Ebitz, Otis Library Recording Secretary