Temporary home in Yarmouth library's future

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YARMOUTH — Merrill Memorial Library will close on or around Feb. 1, 2014, and reopen a week or two later at a temporary location on Forest Falls Drive.

The move is part of a $2.5 million renovation of the 108-year-old library. The board of trustees had hoped to keep the building open throughout a five-phase construction process, but found it would be faster and more cost effective to close the building and complete the renovations all at once.

Construction should take six or seven months, down from 18 months, Gro Flatebo, president of the board, estimated. The library should be open again at its 215 Main St. home next fall.

The library’s temporary home will be on the second floor of an office building owned by the pump engineering firm Cascon Inc.

“We wanted something close to the village,” Flatebo said. “We were looking for a building that has enough space and parking and is walkable. This (area) has sidewalks, and people can get to it off the Beth Condon Pathway.”

The board signed a one-year lease with Cascon that begins Jan. 15. Rent and moving costs will come out of the trustees’ endowment, not the capital campaign, Flatebo said.

The library’s high-use materials will be moved into the new space in early February, while specialty and niche collections will be held in storage.

Space limitations during construction will force the library to get creative with some of its programming.

“We may have story hour in Town Hall,” Flatebo said. “We may use the community room in Bay Square for movies or poetry groups. We may have a tech hour at some place like the Royal Bean. So we’ll really be reaching out to the community and doing a lot of programs off-site.

“We have to maintain a level of customer service at the library (during renovations) because it reaches so many people in our community, and we just can’t leave them without a home and all the things we provide,” Flatebo said.

Much of the library’s programming will eventually be held on Merrill Memorial’s third floor, which will receive sprinklers and new electrical wiring as part of the renovation.

Construction will also include a $300,000 glass entryway that will run from the parking lot to the libary’s doorway.

Landry/French Construction Co., of Scarborough, is the builder.

In June, voters approved a $1.5 million renovation bond, 1,422-476. Library trustees agreed to fund the other $1 million through private donations. To date, they have raised nearly $900,000, and expect to be finished in late spring or early summer, Flatebo said.

“We got $9 from a lemonade stand, and we also had several large gifts from the Gorman family,” Flatebo said.

Leon Gorman, chairman of the board of L.L. Bean, and his wife, Lisa, contributed $100,000, as did Leon’s daughter, Jennifer Wilson, and her husband, Bennett, Flatebo said.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.