HARRINGTON – Groundbreaking for a $350,000 expansion that would more than double the size of the town’s library is planned today.
Charles Nichols Jr., director of the Harrington Library Association, said changes to the Gallison Memorial Library are long overdue.
“It will be great,” Nichols said Monday. “It will breathe more life into this little village, and we certainly need that.”
Built in 1921, the Gallison library operates 20 hours a week in its 670-square-foot building on Route 1A. It was adequate when the library housed only 800 books. But today’s collection of 5,000 books and a half-dozen computers demands more space.
Moreover, library users park at the next-door post office parking lot, which, Nichols said, “they’ve been gracious to share.”
The library’s expansion will provide for its own 18-space, paved parking lot, and will add more than 1,000 square feet to the building. The library will gain wheelchair access and restrooms, plus additional space for more computer terminals, the children’s collection and a resource room.
Library associates have been working for more than five years to find funding for such an expansion. Last year the town learned of its approval for a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state.
The architect for the addition is Liddy Hubbell of Cherryfield. Construction, by Norcoeur Construction of Westbrook, is expected to be completed next January.
The library’s board originally had wanted to expand with a 40-foot connector to the former church on the library’s other side from the post office. The association bought the church in 2002, only to be told last year by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission that such a change could not be approved.
The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. That means that any expansion could not change the look of the front of the building.
The expansion will connect to the back side of the library.
The association hopes to raise another $50,000 this summer through donations from area businesses and library patrons, Nichols said.