Lincolnville Library work begins, funding still needed
Lincolnville — The first day of construction at Lincolnville Library was May 16, as volunteers cleaned out the structure of supports used to move it across the street last fall.
"The next phase? We are moving ahead with the plans," said Diane O'Brien, a member of Lincolnville Historical Society, Linconville Improvement Association and a driving force behind creation of the community library.
Those plans include adding windows to the former schoolhouse, which used to sit across the street from its present location on the former site of Dean and Eugley's in Lincolnville Center near Breezemere Park. Volunteers moved the building using manpower last fall; during the move, the interior of the structure was braced with wood. According to Cindy Dunham, another of the driving forces — along with her husband Jim, Librarian Sheila Polson and O'Brien — behind the "Move It!" project and library, those structural braces will be recycled into floor joists.
O'Brien noted the exterior of the building will remain "fairly historically correct," but the interior will offer modern amenities, such as indoor plumbing and Internet access, she said with a chuckle.
“The old feel and the new usefulness,” Cindy Dunham said.
Work so far has been carried out, for the most part, by local volunteers, though Jim Dunham noted a number of professional workers such as carpenters have volunteered their expertise alongside retired and semi-retired residents. Some work — gutting the building and future roofing — were or will be contracted out, Cindy Dunham said.
O'Brien said the group has set a completion date for the exterior of the building as Oct. 27, 2013, one year from the date the building was moved. The structure was placed on an existing concrete pad on the site, which is leased from the town by the historical society, due to restrictions dictated by Maine's Department of Environmental Protection.
“There was some petroleum contamination,” O'Brien said, adding the septic system will not require excavation of the soil on the parcel. “It's working out that we're able to do this without constant DEP oversight.”
Also planned for the site is an open air museum to house historical equipment. O'Brien said the open air sheds are planned to be completed by fall as well, likely by a mostly female construction crew. She said there already are 10 women signed up to help and anyone “not used to using tools” is invited to participate in the educational experience.
Part of the vision for the site is making use of existing and recycled materials, which also will be reflected in the books and materials available inside, Jim Dunham noted.
“We're sourcing wood locally...people have donated individual trees,” he said, adding donations of materials from individuals and businesses are welcome. “That's the spirit of this: to use what we have, be resourceful.”
Jim Dunham pointed to a beam inside the skeletal structure and noted the tool marks — “that's a hand-hewn beam” — while noting other beams clearly are machine-finished. A large bank of windows on the south side of the building will create solar gain, which means increased warmth without a heating appliance. The group said double insulated walls and an insulated floor will ensure lower heating costs as well. At some point, photovoltaic panel installation also is a goal to cut down on electricity use.
Once construction is complete, the hope is for the library to be a full-service library that meets state standards, Polson said. Author talks, workshops, classes on all types of subjects and access to state resources will be offered as well as Internet access at a limited number of computers and free wireless access.
“We hope to have a special collection on self-reliance,” Polson said, adding books addressing topics such as gardening, knitting and more will be offered. “[The goal of the library is] mainly for it to be a real gathering place for people.”
Currently, the beginnings of the library — 1,000 adult books and nearly 400 children's books — are housed in a temporary location at the corner of Heal Road and Route 52. Several events sponsored by the community library at the temporary location have been successful and drawn a crowd.
“People are really excited about it,” Polson said. “We already have library cards.”
O'Brien pointed out the library effort has been, and will continue to be, funded by volunteers and grants.
“It's not [financially] town-supported,” she said.
A continuing capital campaign is seeking the remaining more than $140,000 needed to complete renovations to the former schoolhouse.
“In-kind donations of materials and labor count,” O'Brien said. “We're just finding people who are willing to help us.”
The group is not just working toward the single-minded goal of establishing a community library, they also hope to help revitalize a part of town that's been in a slump for years. O'Brien noted the planned reopening of Lincolnville Center Store, renovations to the town office and improvements to trails in Breezemere Park all are contributing to a renewed Lincolnville Center. New trails also will branch from the library property and connect with existing ones, Jim Dunham noted.
“The idea is for walk-ability,” he said.
An area on the south side of the building has been set aside for gardens featuring native and historic plants.
Nearly every day, volunteers are working at the library. Those interested in volunteering to help or contribute financially should contact O'Brien at 789-5987 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations for the library project also can be sent to LHS/Library Project, P.O. Box 204, Lincolnville ME 04849.