The Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth will close for most of February to prepare for a $2.5 million renovation to expand and update the library’s facilities.

The closure is a change of plans for the library staff, who had previously sought to keep the facility open during construction. Instead, the library will occupy a temporary location at 65 Forest Falls Drive in the Cascon Pump Co. building.

Librarians will spend much of February moving thousands of resources from the 43,000-item collection to the new, 4,000-square-foot temporary home.

“It certainly is going to be a smaller collection than what we’re housing now,” said Library Director Heidi Grimm. “We’ll be pulling the most heavily used stuff.”

That includes recently purchased fiction and nonfiction, as well as most of the DVD collection and much of the audio collection.

Previously, Grimm and others were planning on an intricate series of phases that would have allowed patrons and construction workers to occupy the main building at the same time.


But once the contractor began working with library staff, that plan proved too costly to execute smoothly. The library will likely reopen at its temporary location by March, Grimm said.

The renovation project will expand meeting space for library staff, add programming space for patrons and open up the library’s third floor, which is currently out of use by the public.

“From a very basic standpoint, things need to be pulled off the shelving in order, moved, and then put back on a different shelving system in order,” Grimm said. Library officials have signed a one-year, $60,000 lease at the Forest Falls Drive location, but likely won’t need to occupy the building for that length of time.

Gro Flatebo, leader of the library’s fundraising campaign, said construction is scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2014 — about six or seven months of construction, compared to 18 months under the phased plan.

Flatebo said that $1 million fundraising campaign is close to complete, with about $900,000 already raised. The $60,000 in rent will be withdrawn from the library’s endowment, not from the capital funds raised for construction.

The other $1.5 million to complete the project will be bonded through the town, and was approved by Yarmouth votes in June by an overwhelming margin.

Matt Byrne can be reached at 791-6303 or at:

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