Voters will decide Tuesday whether or not to support plans for a $6.75 million expansion of the library.

Included in the proposed new library are more enclosed spaces for children, more space for adults including a reading room complete with fireplace, a small cafA?©, computer lab, large meeting room, offices for the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation and more room to better display and store materials.

To pay for all of the changes, the library will take out a loan with the United States Department of Agriculture. The loan is for rural development and, according to Library Director Nancy Crowell, comes with low interest, a 40-year payment period and no penalties for any prepayments.

Each year the town will include payments in the library’s budget. Though the loan will not directly add to the town’s bond debt, the payments will still come from taxes. According to Crowell, the library also plans to raise $1.5 million to help with payments.

Crowell said the library is considering incorporating “green construction” methods into its plan. According to Crowell, those methods could be used to lessen the impact on the environment.

“The technology that is available out there is amazing,” said Crowell.

Although no specifics will be decided until all the planning is done, one idea is to use materials from within a 500 mile radius in order to lessen the amount of energy needed for transportation. Another is to use more sophisticated heating and cooling systems to conserve energy. The new library itself could potentially be built from recycled materials to help reduce strain on the environment.

“These may cost us a little more up front,” said Crowell. “But the payback period is very quick.”

Though green construction might cost more, according to Crowell, it would save money in the long term by cutting down on expenses such as heat.

Former Library Board Director Fred Kilfoil is not so sure $6.75 million is the right number. He thinks all the proposed improvements for the library are good ideas, but is concerned that needs are being confused with wants.

“I’m not opposed to having a nice library,” he said. “I’m just opposed to how they’re proposing to spend the money.”

Kilfoil agrees the library is crowded at times and parking is a problem. While he’d like to see more space for everyone, he does not expect the library to go as far as providing every group with its own area.

“If people are willing to pay for it I’ll be delighted,” said Kilfoil. “But I know people are unhappy with the size of their tax bills.”

Scarborough resident Holly Lancaster couldn’t be more delighted that plans for the library include more space for kids. She often brings her two young children to the library and hopes that soon they will have their very own section.

“I just think that in a community like Scarborough where there are lots of young families with children there should be a place that we can go without worrying about bothering others,” said Lancaster.

Her kids especially love story hour, and she’s glad the new library would offer a more enclosed space children can call their own. For Lancaster there is no question that these plans should go through.

“I would be very surprised if the vote isn’t yes,” she said. “There is a lot going on in town right now, so I hope our priorities are in the right place.”

Crowell agrees that the mood in town is in favor of the library. She’s done about 16 presentations around town and believes the library will be successful.

“There’s a significant amount of support. Our hope is that people get out to the polls and demonstrate that support.”


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