Education foundation adds $50K to Falmouth library building fund

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FALMOUTH — Fundraising efforts for the Falmouth Memorial Library expansion project continue to move along.

The library announced last week that it has received a $50,000 grant from the Falmouth Education Foundation, which will be put towards a new study room. The new room will feature study spaces for small groups and tutoring, a teen mentoring area, and space for children’s programming.

Whitney Bruce, FEF president, said the grant was part of the organization’s spring grant cycle. She said it was important to FEF that the money be used for something that would benefit Falmouth youth.

“FEF’s mission is to support programming and entities that help the youth of Falmouth,” Bruce said, adding FEF believes the library is an important part of the community, and the grant will “help that resource for the entire community.”

Marsha Clark, president of the library board of trustees, said she anticipates the study room will be used by people of all ages, not just children.

The library’s fundraising campaign went public in June. The campaign has to raise $2.81 million; to date, the board of trustees has raised roughly $1.2 million. The board has until Dec. 31 to finish raising its share of the funds.

In late June, the library also received a $25,000 donation from the Falmouth Lions Club.

Erin Bishop Cadigan, who chairs the board’s fundraising effort, said the campaign has received roughly $152,000 in grants so far, ranging from $7,500 to FEF’s $50,000. Other organizations that have contributed include the Davis Family Foundation of Yarmouth; the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation of Maryland, and the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust of Portland.

“We’ve been really pleased with the results,” Cadigan said, adding members are happy to see organizations recognize the value of the project, especially FEF, which is a local organization.

Cadigan said the board feels it is in a strong position in terms of fundraising, and has momentum.

Clark said the support shows people are “recognizing the value of this project to the community.”

Residents overwhelmingly approved a bond in 2014 to have the town finance up to $2.81 million of the $5.62 million expansion project.

The new library, which is expected to open in 2018, will be nearly 18,000 square feet, up from 10,700 square feet. The new space will include natural lighting; a quiet reading room; more space for the collection; additional public computers and a more user-friendly environment for personal devices; a larger children’s area; a dedicated space for teenagers; more group study and meeting areas, and dedicated common areas where people can gather.

Library Director Andi Jackson-Darling said the expanded building will be better able to serve all members of the community.

“We’re working hard and we’re really excited,” she said.

Cadigan said the new library will have a major impact on the community.

“It’s not just an expansion, it’s a transformation,” she said.

In addition to seeking grants, individual and corporate donations, the library will also be hosting fundraising events throughout September and October, beginning with a Sept. 10 event at the Falmouth High School theater that celebrates Maine’s authors for middle school students. That event is at 2 p.m. and, later that night at 6 p.m., there will be a panel discussion with Maine authors.

At the end of September there will be a concert with local musicians Kate Shrock and Glen DaCosta; the latter played with reggae legend Bob Marley and the Wailers for nearly 10 years.

Cadigan said the events are a way to get the community engaged in the project. A list of events and links to purchase tickets can be found on the library’s website

Falmouth is the latest in a growing list of area libraries that have undergone renovations and expansions.

Cape Elizabeth completed a $4 million expansion of the Thomas Memorial Library last winter. Yarmouth’s Merrill Memorial Library completed a $2.5 million renovation in late 2014. Portland Public Library recently completed renovations to its Burbank branch on Stevens Avenue, and is also proposing major renovations to its Peaks Island branch and community center.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

The Falmouth Memorial Library Board of Trustees has raised about $1.2 million of $2.81 million needed for an expansion project that would almost double the available space at the library.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.