Falmouth library expects summer start for renovation

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FALMOUTH — The Planning Board was expected to grant final site plan approval Tuesday to the more than $5.6 million renovation and expansion of Falmouth Memorial Library.

The project would add about 8,000 square feet to the library, at 5 Lunt Road. The plans also call for tearing down the original farmhouse and a 1964 addition, while the 1995 entry lobby would remain.

The goal of the construction project, which is slated to start sometime in mid-to-late summer, is to allow the library to become a true focal point for the community, according to library Director Andi Jackson-Darling.

The library will be closed during the expected 12-month construction period. Library services and programs will be offered temporarily at the Mason-Motz Activity Center, off Middle Road.

The library project was initially approved by voters in a 2014 referendum, but it took library leaders until the end of last year to raise the funds needed to to move forward.

Under terms of the referendum, the town agreed to borrow $2.81 million to support the renovation and addition, as long as the library raised another $2.81 million privately. A variety of grants, fundraisers and pledges helped the library finally reach its goal.

When the project is completed, the library will have more than 18,800 square feet and will include a separate youth services wing, new seating areas, a separate reading room and increased access to computers and other technology, along with other innovations.

The intent of the library renovation and expansion is to help the institution remain relevant, Jackson-Darling said previously.

Overall, according to the library website, “our much-needed expansion will allow us to maintain the traditions and practices of the past, while crafting and leading the way to new and exciting traditions for our future.”

And Jackson-Darling said the project is “a recognition of the changes and evolution of libraries. They’re now about people; connecting people with the information and resources they need. And people need more space than a stack of books.”

Marsha Clark, president of the library board agreed, said the library is the only place in town where residents can come free of charge, and find something “designed especially for them.”

This week’s Planning Board meeting was held after The Forecaster’s deadline.

A sketch of what the interior of the new Falmouth Memorial Library will look like after a $5.62 million renovation and addition project is completed sometime next year.

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