For 150 years, the Concord Library Corporation has owned and maintained the library buildings in Concord. In that time, the library has grown, the buildings have expanded, and the day-to-day grind of keeping the buildings in top shape has gone on.
This year, identifying a need, the library corporation decided it needed a facilities manager, a person charged with the care and feeding of the critical infrastructure housing the Concord libraries. The man they turned to, Douglas Meagher, is a familiar face to Concord residents, serving first as a Concord police officer and later, as deputy town manager.
“The volunteer members have maintained the buildings, coordinating with contractors and all that. It’s really remarkable they have done it this way,” Meagher said.
Jeff Adams, a trustee of the Concord Free Public Library Corporation, is the man Meagher identified as his go-to person on building issues – sort of the guy who has been handling many facility issues before Meagher’s arrival.
“The Library Corporation and Library Director Emily Smith are thrilled that Doug Meagher has joined the library team as property manager. As a longtime Assistant Town Manager, Doug supervised renovations of the town of Concord buildings, including the Town House. Doug brings a wealth of experience and energy to the Library,” Adams said in an email.
Meagher left Town Hall in 2014. During his retirement, he became an interim assistant town manager for hire, filling in when towns in the area were looking for long-term replacements.
“I’ve been staying busy,” he said. “But I have always maintained an attraction and affection for Concord and when I saw this, it was really attractive.”
The library buildings are in good shape. The main branch on Main Street just finished a massive expansion, moving part of the facility into an adjacent historic house and integrating the house into the brick building.
The Concord library is three different entities. One is the Concord Library Corporation, which owns and maintains the buildings. Another is the town side – the books, staff and equipment that people think of when they think “library.” That is operated by the town government – Director Emily Smith works for the town. The third leg is the nonprofit library Friends organization whose volunteers provide programming and raise money through its book sales and annual dues.
Meagher works for the nonprofit corporation. His first day was June 1 and since then, he’s been working on familiarizing himself with the buildings.
He starts from a position of some strength: As assistant town manager, he estimates 30 percent of his time was spent on facilities management, taking care of the Town House, the Harvey Wheeler building and other key town buildings.
The libraries are in good shape, building-wise, he said.
“The buildings have been maintained very well. We are looking at things like masonry and windows, reglazing… things that can be improved on,” he said.
He’ll also be responsible for longer-term, bigger ticket items such as maintaining the roofs and the heating and air conditioning systems. An objective laid out by the trustees is to develop a capital plan, guiding investment in the buildings going forward.
“One thing is the library would like to be carbon neutral by 2030. So we will be looking at fossil fuel use and ways to get away from that,” he said.