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Pierson Library under construction

Library Building history

Shelburne Library Trustees, community members, and town officials spent more than a decade developing plans for a vibrant new library and town center to serve as a place for learning, gathering, and celebrating community. 

For many years, the existing library building barely met the needs of its patrons and had problems including: water infiltration, damage, and associated dampness; inadequate stack space; lacking ADA accommodations; undersized, and confined spaces.  The Historic Town Hall had a solid structure with historic significance, but had some problems:  poor lighting and acoustics; water infiltration into basement, roof, and damage to ceiling; deferred maintenance; and lacking energy efficiency.

A $6.5 million bond vote passed in November 2017 to build a new library, to renovate the Historic Town Hall, and to improve the municipal campus with items like additional parking, a new exit lane onto Shelburne Road, and improvements to storm water management.

A generous, anonymous donor pledged to match up to $500,000 of donations towards the project to reduce the total amount bonded.  426 donors made 519 gifts ranging from $2 to $100,000, with a typical donation of around $100, meeting the goal of $500,000 in donations from the community.

The building that formerly housed the Pierson Library was demolished in September 2018 and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building was held September 29, 2018.

The project includes a new 12,900 square foot library building, renovations to Historic Town Hall, and Municipal Campus improvements. The new library is a net-zero-ready building and has solar panels to generate almost enough electricity to power the building all year. Other library features include: a brand new, upgraded space for children, community living room with fireplace, terrace, light-filled new book reading space, modern business computing center, increased space for book collections, and meeting rooms throughout the building.

The Historic Town Hall, built in 1927, received structural renovations, mechanical system improvements and interior upgrades.  The Municipal Campus saw improvements with more green space and better storm water management, additional parking and safe pedestrian paths, a second exit lane to improve fire department egress, and new landscaping.

The Pierson Library Grand Opening was held September 14, 2019.  Over 100 people attended the dedication ceremony in the main room of the renovated Historic Town Hall.  Speakers included former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, Library Director Kevin Unrath, Town Manager Lee Krohn, Library Trustee Ruth Hagerman, and Shelburne Historical Society President Dorothea Penar.  Shelburne Poet Laureate Rick Bessette was unable to attend, but wrote and recorded a poem for the occasion which was played at the ceremony.  

Former Governor Kunin said that libraries are important in communities.  “Libraries still send one message – access to knowledge,” she said. “People place value in a community on intellectual growth and a community gathering place.”  After the dedication ceremony, former Governor Kunin cut the ribbon to officially open the new library.


*Video below represents plans and budget information as of November 2017.  Plans continued to evolve with new information after the video was created.

Companies instrumental in the project: