U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Selection Criteria

The March 24th public meeting organized and discussed the proposed selection criteria from four lists: Physical, Community and Financial Factors, plus a category called "Civic Success." Recognizing that the three to five (including the existing) sites that will be selected for analysis and presentation to the City Manager will be studied in greater detail, it was necessary to conduct an initial screening of a "long list" of thirty candidate sites.

The source of this long list of candidate sites included suggestions received from the Library 21 Committee, the Library Selection Task Force, the initial public meeting, direct expressions of interest from the Cambridge real estate community, and our own review of potentially feasible locations.

Each of the sites on the long list was weighed against a set of six criteria that reflect what we consider to be "critical success factors." The eighteen best of these are documented for review at the second public meeting of April 30th. The factors used to review the long list of sites synthesize our interpretation of what factors are most important to the community.

Library Program Suitability - Assuming the need for a 90,000 - 100,000 SF library program, this scoring assigns a priority to sites which have an optimum configuration and which have a maximum amount of frontage on a major street and one or more adjoining streets. It is considered to be beneficial for natural light to reach different sides of the building as it would increase the potential for different zones within the library. An assumption is made, where appropriate, when gut rehabilitation is envisioned.

Parcel Size – This scoring "prefers" a site of 35,000 SF or more in order to accommodate a three-story building, but retains sites over 20,000 SF on the list.

Accessibility – Inclusive of distance to the MBTA as well as access to bus and parking. The scoring for this factor puts high priority on MBTA access.

Centrality – Inclusive statistically of demographics (concentration of residents) as well as card holders. Scoring for this factor is a reflection of density of population and card holders.

Availability – Reflecting primarily on ownership of the land/building and if it is potentially available. Scoring ranges from the city owner and/or availability (on the market) to location where current information suggests it is likely to be unavailable.

Civic Heart – Speaks largely to the potential for civic success. This factor summarizes a combination of physical, community and finance factors. Because it is perhaps the most subjective of the factors, it is not scored. The judgment is based upon a site specific analysis of the potential for achieving a solution that will meet the very high standards appropriate to the new library and that will enable the investment in a new central library to make the greatest contribution to the overall quality of the city.

Additional Evaluation Criteria 

It is recognized that the final evaluation and documentation of the short list of up to five sites will address a range of more detailed issues. For purposes of the review of the long list of sites, these additional criteria are assumed to be relatively less critical to potential success of a site. While they can be a critical factor in the final determination, the goal for the initial review of sites is to create a list of the best locations that pass the basic test of program accommodation, size, accessibility, centrality, availability and potential to be a civic heart. The additional factors include:

  • Utilities/availability
  • Soils/environmental
  • Regulatory constraints
  • Parking - on and off-site
  • Costs - Construction Premiums

- Acquisition

- Relocation

- Operating Premiums

- Parking Premiums