Renovation work at the Topsham Public Library will start Nov. 8. Photo courtesy of Topsham Public Library.

Parts of the Topsham Public Library will soon be updated and redesigned.

The renovations are a part of the library’s long-term plan to provide the patrons and staff with adequate and welcoming space. The 13,000-square-f00t library opened at its current location on Foreside Road in 2004.

“The idea was to look at how we could use our space better and see what we could do to make the space more useable and more accessible, and hopefully works well for everybody concerned,” Library Director Susan Preece said. In addition, some staff areas were also getting tight, so the library board decided to use some of the library’s investment money to start the renovation work.

As part of the first phase of the renovation, the conference room across from the front desk will be divided into two rooms, and a little remodeling will be done to the back section of the building to add closets.

“One of the rooms is going to be my office,” said Preece, who has been using the conference room as her office since the start of the pandemic. “I was sharing an office with my bookkeeper administrative assistant, but we could not keep six feet distance, so I moved here as it was easier.”

The adult services librarian will be moving into the other third of this office, added Preece.

The second phase involves creating more space for the staff. The circulation office will undergo minor renovation to add additional storage and shift an extra desk into a knee-wall desk configuration.

Preece said her old office would be converted into a staff room, considering there is no staff space in the library.

“Everybody eats lunch at their desk. We have part-time staff who must find a corner to work, so this office space will allow us to have additional storage space and private staff space. It will also allow us to use the space more efficiently,” added Preece.

The cost of the renovation works is approximately $80,000. The library had received a bequest of $770,000 from a Topsham resident in 2018, which was with the Maine Community Foundation, and the renovation costs will be covered using these funds.

“It is all the library’s money. There is no tax money going to be used for the renovation work,” said Preece.

The library receives 85% of its funding from the town and the remaining 15% comes from various fundraising activities that are carried out throughout the year.

While the library will be closed to the public from Nov.8-13, Preece hopes the work is completed quickly and smoothly so that there is not much disruption for the public.

“We are doing an ecologically friendly demolition. If there is something here that we can reuse again, we are careful about it,” said Preece. “It takes a little bit longer to do something like that as opposed to straight demolition.”

The renovation works are expected to be completed by December’s end.

“There is only one wall that needs to be knocked down or adjusted. After that, they are going to work around us,” added Preece.

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