St. George raises $1.6 million for new library, eyes August groundbreaking

Samantha Cote (left) associate director for youth and technical services, and Jackson Memorial Library Director Yvonne Gloede stand at the site of the new library in St. George that will have a groundbreaking in August.
Samantha Cote (left) associate director for youth and technical services, and Jackson Memorial Library Director Yvonne Gloede stand at the site of the new library in St. George that will have a groundbreaking in August.
Posted April 12, 2012, at 4:02 p.m.
Last modified April 13, 2012, at 7:19 a.m.

ST. GEORGE, Maine — Supporters of a new Jackson Memorial Library have raised more than $1.6 million and are well on their way to breaking ground in August.

The Jackson Memorial Library will launch the final phase of its capital campaign when it mails letters April 20 for a communitywide gift appeal to put the finishing touches on the new building.

“The Jackson Memorial Library has outgrown its 75-year-old home on Main Street in Tenants Harbor and needs a larger and better space to continue to provide and expand the programs and services the St. George community has come to need and expect from the library,” Library Director Yvonne Gloede said in a news release.

She said that through the hard work of many volunteers and the generous donations of more than 180 individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations, the campaign has received more than $1.6 million in advance gifts and pledges.

“I never thought in a million years we would have reached that goal so fast,” Gloede said. The fundraising began in earnest a year ago.

St. George has a year-round population of 2,700 people, but that nearly doubles in the summer.

She said both year-round and seasonal residents have contributed to the effort.

“They feel a huge connection to the community. They remember coming to the library as children and want their children and grandchildren to have the same experiences,” she said.

The new library will be located across Route 131 from the current building with the entrance facing Juniper Street. The new building will have 4,000 square feet on one floor, compared with two floors totaling 2,100 square feet.

The new building was designed by Elliott & Elliott Architecture of Blue Hill. Gloede said the firm was selected after its work on other libraries, such as the Brooklin library, was viewed.

The new Jackson Memorial Library will have separate areas for group meetings and activities to accommodate a wide range of educational, literary, cultural and social programs, a children’s room, an adult reading room, a media-teen room, a multipurpose community room and other spaces for quiet work and study.

Free high-speed wireless Internet access will be provided throughout the building with desktop and laptop computers available for patrons.

The library will be handicapped-accessible and have environmentally sound materials and systems including geothermal heating and cooling.

The final community appeal being mailed next week will be for items such as furniture, technology and moving costs.

There is no dollar amount sought in the final communitywide appeal but there is a donor willing to match up to $20,000 in donations.

“This is a once-in-a-century project,” said library President Susan Bates. “The new library and community center is for everyone in St. George and through this townwide campaign we hope everyone will help put the finishing touches on the new building by giving as generously as they can.”

An open house is scheduled at the current library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, to see the new library’s design and to talk with members of the building committee.

For information, contact the Jackson Memorial Library capital campaign at 372-8961.

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