October 16, 2018
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Bangor Public Library set to reopen

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Public Library reopens its doors to the public next week after a two-month shutdown for renovations.

“People will find a new library when they come in on Monday,” Barbara McDade said Friday.

When community members are allowed back in starting at 10 a.m., the library will still be very much a construction zone. The century-old building is in the midst of a major makeover.

McDade, the library’s director, said crews are still only in stage three of the five-stage project.

The library has been closed since Nov. 16 to allow crews to complete some of the loudest, dirtiest work uninterrupted.

Library employees spent much of their time during the shutdown placing identification tags in more than 250,000 books. Those tags will allow for self-checkout and help library staff find misshelved books and identify missing books using an electronic wand scanner.

“Library staff are anxious for the public to come back to the building,” McDade said.

McDade recommended people enter on the first floor through what used to be the children’s wing entrance. That is now home to a renovated circulation area. The library’s original entrance, up the granite front steps and through the wooden doors, also will be open.

The updates and repairs are the result of a $9 million fundraising campaign, with $3 million donated by the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, $3 million coming from a voter-approved bond, and the rest coming from private donations throughout the community.

The $3 million replacement of the library’s leaky copper roof already has been completed.

McDade estimated about $1 million of that would go toward the library’s endowment fund, which pays for library operations. About 40 percent of the library’s annual budget comes from the endowment with the rest coming from the city.

Renovations are expected to wrap up in May.

“We hope the public will be patient with us as we find where everything is and how everything works while construction continues,” McDade said.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.


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