Andi Jackson-Darling, who has worked at the Falmouth Memorial Library for 14 years, announced she is retiring this summer. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

FALMOUTH — Andi Jackson-Darling, director of the Falmouth Memorial Library for the past eight years, is retiring July 1.

Her retirement plans include spending more time with family, getting back to playing her ukulele and learning to fly fish with her husband, she said this week. Jackson-Darling is leaving the library in a good place, she said, especially with its “great Board of Trustees, amazing staff and very supportive and hard-working volunteers.”

What she’ll miss most, Jackson-Darling said, is the people. “I mean not only the great staff, board, and volunteers that work hard to keep the library going day-to-day, but the whole community we serve. It has been a privilege for me to work in this library. If you’re not using the (library), you’re missing out on a great community resource.”

The new $6.6 million Falmouth Memorial Library is almost complete, with May 1 the tentative date to reopen. The temporary library at Mason-Motz Activity Center is set to close March 17. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

Steven Knapp, head of the library board, said it’s difficult to see Jackson-Darling go.

“She leaves some large shoes to fill and a strong organization for a new leader to come into,” he said. “The board, the entire organization, and all the patrons Andi has connected with over the years are sad to see her retire.”

Before joining the staff of the Falmouth library in 2006, she worked at Merrill Memorial Library in Yarmouth and at the Camden Public Library.

The job posting on the Maine State Library website lists the library director’s salary at between $70,000 and $80,000. The post says the board is looking for someone with “a clear vision,” leadership experience and financial management skills, including overseeing the budget, along with the ability to seek out grants and other funding sources. The deadline for applications is March 13.

Meanwhile, the $6.6 million renovation project, which broke ground nearly a year ago, is nearing completion. The target date to reopen the Lunt Road location is around May 1. The temporary library at Mason-Motz Activity Center on Middle Road is scheduled to close March 17, Jackson-Darling said this week.

In terms of the new library, Knapp said, “each time I walk through the building, I’m filled with even more enthusiasm and excitement for the expansion and what it will provide the community.  The (project) will dramatically change the scope of services the library is able to offer, which will ultimately allow the library to better execute our vision and provide even more value to our community.”

Members of the board first saw the need for an updated, larger facility as far back as 2012, and in a November 2014 referendum, voters approved borrowing $2.81 million for the project if the library matched it with private donations. 

In the summer of 2018, directors learned the project was significantly over budget and requested an additional $500,000 in borrowing to maintain the integrity of the initial design. That second bond also passed.

The new library will have a separate youth services wing along with a separate room for teens, an adult services wing and a quiet reading room, along with a community gathering space. In total, the new structure will encompass about 18,000 square feet.

The library is private, but receives much of its operating budget through the town. This week, Town Manager Nathan Poore said he’ll miss working with Jackson-Darling, whom he called “extremely competent, a team player, fun to work with, always optimistic, fiscally responsible and so much more.”

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