Expansion proposal for Falmouth library to be revealed

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FALMOUTH — The Falmouth Memorial Library board of trustees next week will reveal preliminary plans for the library’s expansion and renovation.

At the design discussion, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the library on Lunt Road, the board will reveal the conceptual drawings of the library created by Portland-based Scott Simons Architects, and take public comment.

The board expects to have a final design ready by November, which will be followed by a feasibility study.

While the Town Council allocated $25,000 for the design in June, a cost estimate for the expansion project is still unknown. The project will likely require significant fundraising.

Trustees have been mulling the expansion of the library for several years and had previously considered moving the library to another location.

But in April, trustees rejected alternative plans to move the library to the former Sampson D. Plummer school, favoring instead to expand at the current location.

The Plummer building was purchased by the OceanView retirement community in March and was leased to the Portland School Department’s West Day Treatment program in late August.

The Lunt Road library is structurally in good shape, but because of growth in demand for services and programming in recent years, available space has been stretched thin. This has forced staff to consolidate offices and turn storage space into work places.

Circulation has also increased dramatically in the last decade, rising from 146,000 borrowings in 2002, to 205,000 in 2012, according to library figures. And, according to state data, the Falmouth library had more than 135,500 patron visits in 2011, highest among comparable towns in the state.

The library also lends items beyond traditional reading materials, including CDs, movies, a telescope, ukuleles, video cameras and a Kill A Watt energy detector.

On Sept. 16, the library will also host its 69th annual meeting to recognize people who have made significant contributions of time and energy.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.