WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

SOUTHWICK — Librarians are requesting $20,659 in Community Preservation Act funds but not to spend in the library. Instead, they’re looking to add features outside.

Currently there’s only a lonely picnic table and a few shade trees outside the Southwick Public Library at 95 Feeding Hills Rd. The library is hoping to purchase a new picnic table, several benches, a trash can, the equipment needed for a permanently installed story walk, an outdoor musical instrument and a new camera to monitor the revamped space.

“We want to make it a more comfortable and engaging place for all patrons … and to host programs outdoors in nice weather,” librarians wrote in a memo to the Community Preservation Committee outlining the project scope.

Over half of the funds being requested by the library — $11,939 — would be used to purchase an outdoor musical instrument that is “inspired by nature,” according to its manufacturer, Percussion Play. Library Director Lynn Blair said Molly Encarnacion, the library’s coordinator of children’s services, suggested the three instruments, known as liberty bells, a petal drum, and harmony bells.

The instruments will allow children and adults of all ages and abilities to experience musical expression outside in a new way and promote collaborative play, according to the proposal.

In addition to the percussion instruments, the library is requesting funding for a story walk, which combines movement, natural settings and literacy. The project would install posts and sealed display cases outdoors that can hold successive pages of a children’s book along an outdoor trail.

Blair said the staff has made some story walk display stands of its own, but they had to be pulled up when it rained, and the pages would fly off in winds.

“It will be nice that we’ll have these that can handle the weather,” Blair said.

The story walk display cases would cost $4,780, and the posts would be $200. Other items requested by the library are a security camera at $855, a trash can for $721, two metal benches for $1,627 and a 10-foot picnic table for $535.

On Feb. 13, the Select Board, in a unanimous vote, authorized the library to submit its proposal to the CPC. If the CPC greenlights the allocation, it will be included in the warrant for the May Town Meeting.

If that happens, and Blair asked the CPC and residents to support the project, the first step is installing a 20- by 20-foot space for the picnic tables and percussion instruments, which will done by the town’s Building and Grounds Department.

Once the project is complete, Building and Grounds will be responsible for maintenance.

The library is requesting the allocation from the CPC under its recreation category. The CPC approves spending from an account funded by a surtax on local property taxes and matching grants from the state. Community preservation funds can only be spent on open space, public housing, history and recreation projects.

cclark@thereminder.com | + posts