Friday, June 25, 2010

North Berwick Library Plans for Large Renovations

By Betsy Caron
Staff Columnist
The D.A. Hurd Library of North Berwick is building a 3,560 square foot expansion and renovating their current 1928 building in order to become more handicapped accessible and energy efficient, enhance their children’s section and upgrade their technology capabilities.
The project — estimated to be completed over the course of about five years — will cost $1,250,000. The library has already raised $200,000 and hopes to receive donations and support from patrons and businesses throughout the community. The library’s board of trustees held an event at the Hurd Manor on June 17 to officially announce the plan and present the fundraising campaign
“We’re going to try and raise all the money ourselves without having to go to a bond issue,” said library director Beth Sweet. “We needed the expansion. Basically, the library is just bursting at the sides. The entire building is not handicapped accessible, so we need to do something about that.”
Rumors about a library expansion have been whispered throughout North Berwick for years, but Sweet said the committee is officially moving forward.
“There’s been a lot of stops and starts,” she said. “Now we’re going to go ahead and jump right in.”
The renovations will include a technology upgrade and revamped heating and plumbing systems.
“All the systems need to be more energy efficient,” Sweet said. “We need to upgrade the technology in the structure because we have wires everywhere. The dream would be to go wireless.”
Once the expansion is built, the children’s section will be moved from the basement to the first floor main room at the front of the building. The area will still be separate from the rest of the library, leaving the opportunity to continue the already-popular children’s programs.
Corinne Feehan, the children’s librarian for the past 10 years, is looking forward to the expansion and a new place to hold her activities.
“The patrons really like the fact that we are separate from the rest of the library,” Feehan said. “We can have children’s programs that are a little bit louder than you might actually find in your traditional library.”
Hussey Seating, Pratt and Whitney and the Merigold Fund have been the project’s largest donors, and the library will be holding various fundraising events over the course of the summer and coming year: a book sale, live concerts, a raffle and an auction.
A Pay Pal site has been set up on the library’s website to accept donations and even ticket sales, and pledge sheets for monetary contributions are available at the library.
“We are getting support and I think we’ll continue to get support as things move forward,” Feehan said.
The library staff and patrons hope the fundraising process moves quickly, but until then, the community can continue to enjoy its historic building and the 34,000 books that lie within.
Photo caption: The D.A. Hurd Library staff - (from left) assistant director, Pam Smart; library aide, Victoria Cook; children’s librarian, Corinne Feehan; library aide, Kim Parker; library director, Beth Sweet. (Betsy Caron photo)