Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, May 22, 2014
King Fund grant will fund library improvements in Deer Isle
by Rich Hewitt
The Chase Emerson Memorial Library has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation that will fund the renovations to the children’s section of the building.
“We’re very excited; we’re just head over heels,” said Susan Lees, the library board president who wrote the proposal for the grant. “I couldn’t be more pleased and this has energized the whole board.”
The grant is unusual, Lees said, because it targets the building itself, which most grants don’t. It will fund a complete renovation of the children’s section which is located in the oldest section of the 100-plus year-old building. According to Lees, the children’s library already has been moved to a different part of the library.
“That section is old and there has been a lot of winter coming in,” she said. “We’ve already moved them to another part of the library so we can work on the building to give them a warm space with better lighting and better comfort.”
The board is still working on completing the details of the plan and looking for a contractor. Most of the work, however, won’t take place until after the busy summer season.
That work will include tearing out existing walls, adding insulation, new electrical wiring and outlets for computer stations. Lees said a good portion of the grant is earmarked for new furniture that is appropriate for children, including seats and book shelves.
“We have a very good collection,” she said. “But what’s the point of having all those books if the children can’t reach them?”
Lees said she has been visiting area libraries to get ideas on how they’ve handled the design of their children’s sections.
The grant also will allow the library to make sure that section of the building is accessible to all patrons.
This new funding comes on the heels of a grant last year that allowed the library to make other improvements to the library including the addition of a ramp to the front entrance of the building.
All of these improvements, Lees said, are designed to allow the community to make better use of the library space.
Because the summer season is already starting, the major work on the building won’t begin until this fall, Lees said. They hope to have all of the work completed by the end of the year.