FALMOUTH — Voters on Nov. 6 will decide whether to approve a request from Falmouth Memorial Library for the town to borrow an additional $500,000 to complete an expansion and renovation project.

Supporters of the bond say libraries are more relevant than ever and the Falmouth institution must keep evolving to continue to meet patrons’ needs.

At public hearings and in published letters, opponents have argued the library should stick with the original $5.6 million expenditure and be content with whatever that would buy, instead of seeking more money from taxpayers.

In comments to the Town Council, resident John Winslow said the library should “change course to make (the original $5.6) million work. … We are in the electronic age and we don’t need a repository for books.”

But library supporters like Vicki and Bob Swerdlow said they believe “the library is one of the greatest blessings in our communal lives” and that “Falmouth needs and deserves this expansion now.”

Library leaders say the supplemental funding is a maximum amount and could be reduced by further private fundraising or finding more cost savings in the overall project.


They’re hopeful that the overwhelming support the expansion project received four years ago will carry over this fall.

In a 2014 referendum, residents agreed to pay half the cost of the $5.6 million library project if the organization could raise the other half.

The goal of the project is to enlarge the library to 18,000 square feet and provide a separate youth services wing and reading room, along with increased access to technology, among other updates.

The library was ultimately successful in raising its share of the initial cost, but in the meantime construction costs skyrocketed, leading to a cost overrun of $2.2 million.

After completing several rounds of value engineering, however, the library found $1.2 million in cost savings and also said it could raise an additional $500,000 on its own, reducing the total new amount requested from the town to $500,000.

In late August the Town Council voted 5-2, with councilors Andrea Ferrante and Aaron Svedlow opposed, to put a bond referendum for the additional amount on the November ballot.


In an interview, Maura DeNoia, vice president of the library board of trustees, said it’s important to “maintain the integrity of the original design” as much as possible.

Immediate past President Marsha Clark added: “We had very clear needs when we first went into this (four years ago). … The new building is at the low end of our space needs and we’re using every bit of space we have now. To cut (square footage) means cutting programs.”

DeNoia said the library is more than a repository of books. “It’s a great place to gather and learn, meet others and build a social network,” she said. “It’s a place where everyone can go free of charge. It’s a true resource.”

Clark said construction costs went up 30-60 percent for all aspects of the project, which created a snowball effect.

“The construction market is a very different environment now than it was four years ago,” DeNoia said. “And this type of (project overrun) is happening all over the state.”

Kate Irish Collins can be contacted at 710-2336 or at:


Twitter: KIrishCollins

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