SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough Public Library will be holding an open house on Sunday, April 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. This event will kick off National Library Week which will take place from April 3-9.
During the open day, visitors can learn about the improved services that the much-needed library expansion will provide, mainly view sketches of the proposed library expansion, and share their feedback. Take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the space constraints that affect their services. Residents can meet members of the Scarborough Public Library community, volunteers, patrons and staff, as well as enjoy refreshments and view architectural plans and drawings for the building’s long-awaited expansion.
Library expansion projects have been underway for over 15 years. The library is looking to accommodate Scarborough’s growing community, which means more space and new services. Design plans for the building began two years ago, but the COVID pandemic caused a setback.
The proposed addition would provide an additional floor and 22,000 square feet to the building’s footprint. This new building would allow the library to have more reading nooks, meeting spaces, an improved computer lab, activity space for young and old, and much more.
After school the library is full of children and young adults from primary school and high school the library would like to provide more space for all ages to have their own sections of the library as well as provide more rooms tutoring or children trying to do homework in a quiet space.
“A vibrant space for children and young adults is important,” said Nancy Crowell, Library Manager.
“It’s important to have a safe, welcoming and warm space for children and young adults. We want a vibrant space for children and young adults that feels like them,” said Bill Donovan, chair of the library board.
The library is thriving as you walk through the double doors, but what residents and councilors don’t understand is that behind the scenes the library is at maximum capacity to keep up with population growth, accommodate new and old books, storage and many other issues, according to library staff. Crowell and staff were able to move around the library and meet the needs of the public. But there is a lack of office space for employees, lack of storage space for supplies including tables, technology, books, etc. The shelves in the current library need updating, there is not enough space for books and they are too high for the elderly or in wheelchairs. Books and DVDs are at maximum capacity, the library must recycle through the books every year. Each year, the library recycles 3,500 to 5,000 books due to lack of space.
“The need for this expansion is necessary. The expansion will accommodate the community for 20 years from now and not just a band-aid for now,” Crowell said.
The library expansion will include a new computer space that will allow seniors to come in and learn about technology as well as receive assistance. The lab would include 20 to 30 computers for free use.
“The need for socialization is great and the library would like to offer more senior services different from what is offered at the Community Center,” Donovan said.
Due to the pandemic, the referendum target date to support the expansion has been pushed back and the city council will vote on whether to approve it to appear in the November 2022 ballot.
The library is the smallest library per capita in Maine, according to library staff. The current size is approximately 12,884 square feet, Maine’s largest library is in Portland at 88,000 square feet.
The estimated cost of planning the building expansion is estimated at $250,000; this would cover engineering and architectural designs for the projects as well as a project budget, in preparation for a referendum vote on the bonds in November. The entire expansion is estimated at approximately $12 million with proposed construction beginning in September 2023 and a completion date of December 2024. Construction is expected to take 12 to 14 months and the building is expected to be ready for use. occupied in January 2025. During the construction period, the library will find a different location to open so that residents can still use their resources.
The library continues to host several new events and has also brought back in-person events. Monday morning movie day is back. On Monday, April 11 at 1:30 p.m., the library will screen the film “Belfast,” which is PG-13, 98 minutes and free to the public. The library asks those who wish to participate to register due to the reduced number of places. Check the library’s website for more details. The library currently offers AARP Tax Help held in their meeting rooms on Friday mornings and will have Federal Tax Forms 1040/1040-SR and instruction booklets available. Those looking for help can call the referral office at 207-883-4723.
RSVP for the open house or email questions to http://[email protected]