Sea wall being repaired at MDI library

Posted Sept. 16, 2011, at 1:39 p.m.
A row of boulders marks the spot where an embankment is being shored up to fix erosion next to the Somesville Library in the Mount Desert village of Somesville. The project, with an estimated cost of $25,000, is aimed at preventing structural damage to the library building.
A row of boulders marks the spot where an embankment is being shored up to fix erosion next to the Somesville Library in the Mount Desert village of Somesville. The project, with an estimated cost of $25,000, is aimed at preventing structural damage to the library building.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — The marine environment may make for an invigorating subject when it comes to the written word, but it doesn’t mix so well with books in the physical world.

For this reason, officials with the Somesville Library decided this past year that they needed to repair the embankment between their building and Somes Sound, an ocean inlet that nearly cuts Mount Desert Island in two.

Work began this week to install large boulders along the shore by the library and to fortify the ground by the northeast corner of the building.

“It’s really been eroding for three or four years,” Jean Fernald, vice president of the Somesville Library Association’s board of trustees, said Thursday. “We are a small library, and this was a huge concern. We were concerned about finding the money to pay for it.”

The library is more than 100 years old, Fernald said, and has been located at the same seaside property since its founding in the early 1900s. The library is run as a private nonprofit association, she said, though it does receive some annual funding from the town of Mount Desert.

According to Karol Hagberg, president of the library association’s board, the project cost is about $25,000. A gift of $20,700 from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation is helping to foot the bill, while earmarked gifts from the library’s regular donors are rounding out the rest of the needed funds, she said.

The library has one main room with smaller reading and children’s book rooms off to the sides, according to Fernald.

According to an annual library report printed in the town’s 2010 annual report, last year the library circulated 1,406 adult books to 1,044 patrons, 804 children’s books to 436 younger patrons, and provided high-speed Internet access to 152 patrons during open hours. These figures do not include people who used the library’s wireless signal outside when the building was closed.

The library can be contacted at 244-7404.

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