BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Public Library patrons will get a chance to chime in on the facility’s $9 million modernization project during an open house Tuesday night.
Crews continue to install the library’s new $3 million copper roof, which Bangor voters agreed to fund in June’s election by taking out a bond. The roof work is expected to be completed around the beginning of January, according to Lisa Frazell, director of marketing and development for the library. Last month, workers hoisted copper cupolas onto the roof. The fresh copper replacement to the library’s iconic, century-old dome will be delivered and installed in the near future.
“We’ve been very, very busy,” Frazell said Monday morning.
At the same time, the library is ironing out plans for a major overhaul of its facilities to ensure the facility remains relevant and flexible to the patrons of the future.
The architect, Scott Simons of Portland, who designed the recent Portland Public Library renovation, will be at the open house to discuss the plans. The event is scheduled 6-8 p.m. and snacks and drinks will be available, Frazell said Monday.
So far, the library has raised $8.44 million for the project and is reaching out to private donors to raise the remaining $560,000, Frazell said, adding that many requests are still pending and a mass fundraising mailing went out to library patrons in September.
Along with the bond, Stephen and Tabitha King promised $3 million, but only if the library raises the rest of the $6 million, which includes the $3 million bond and $3 million worth of private fundraising.
Frazell said the fundraising deadline is Dec. 31.
Simons’ design incorporates a glassed-in addition that he called a “front porch atrium” on the front of the building where the children’s wing is located. The children’s and young adult programs will move up to the top level, where there will be space for performances or storytime and a small kitchenette.
The two-story atrium will serve as the main entrance and link the old and new sections, which now are connected by a small, dark, low-ceiling octagonal structure. It will house a cafe-style room where patrons can gather, the main circulation desk and a public computing area.
The overhaul also will bring safety improvements, such as better lighting and lower book stacks to improve visibility. It also will add more meeting space for businesses and nonprofit groups. The library hosted about 500 meetings last year, according to Frazell.
Now that plans are somewhat solid, Frazell said the architect will listen to people’s suggestions and determine what the “fits and finishes are going to look like,” Frazell said. The architect and library officials have held a series of focus groups during the past few months to take suggestions, some of which were incorporated into the design, according to Frazell.
The library also will improve its technology and workspace in hopes that the library becomes a place for entrepreneurs to go to conduct business, turning the library into a sort of “incubator” space for small business owners, Frazell said.