Windham library gets help from Kings: The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation grant will assist in some big renovation plans.

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Windham Public Library Director Jen Alvino is working on a project to reorganize the library's circulation desks. That project has been bolstered by a $30,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foudnation. 

WINDHAM — The Windham Public Library’s renovation plans have received a $30,000 boost from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

The grant will support a project to reconfigure the library’s circulation desks and reorganize other space in the building. The non-profit King foundation was created by the famous Maine author and his author wife in 1986 to support community-based initiatives in Maine.

“It was a nice surprise, but one that we were hoping would materialize,” said library Director Jen Alvino. She noted that the library first applied for a grant from the foundation in 2015, and then reapplied in December 2016.

The project is estimated to cost about $340,000 in total, depending on what happens during the bidding process with contractors, Alvino said. Planning for the project began two years ago, she said, and work should get underway late this summer or early fall.

The plan is to combine the existing circulation desks on the the first and second floor into one desk on the first floor. The project will also add two rooms that will function as meeting and study spaces, add a quiet reading area and create a teen area that is more clearly defined that the existing one. 

Alvino said that about $260,000 for the project has already been generated through other grants, fundraising efforts and some existing town funding. If things go according to plan, the rest of the money will come through the next town budget.

“We also have a grant from the Davis Family Foundation, and great support from some of our local banks, as well as our Friends of the Library group,” Alvino said. “So, we’ve been able to come up with a good portion of the funding needed. And then through the town budget process, we’ll be looking to bridge the gap between what we still need to complete the funding.” 

Windham Town Manager Tony Plante’s proposed budget, which is currently being considered by the town council’s finance committee, includes $150,000 for space reconfiguration at the library. Plante said that level of funding was included in the proposed budget to provide a reasonable contingency for the project, and that the proposal for $150,000 was made before the $30,000 grant from the King Foundation was announced. 

The library project will likely happen in phases so that the building can remain open during construction, but Alvino wouldn’t rule out a scenario where the library could potentially have to close for a short period of time. That is dependent on the construction bids that come in for the project and what the projected costs will be based on those bids. 

Alvino, who was awarded Maine’s 2014 Outstanding Librarian Award, stressed that the donation from the Yarmouth-based Davis Family Foundation carries a time restriction, and that the money needs to be spent this year. She noted that the library had already received an extension for the grant from the Davis Family Foundation, which was established by Phyllis Davis and her husband H. Halsey Davis after he retired as president and chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets. 

According to its website, the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation has “a strong interest in literacy, community services and the arts,” and only supports projects in Maine communities. 

“The Windham Public Library appreciates the generosity of the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and is looking forward to getting the project underway this summer,” said a press release from the library.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Windham Public Library Director Jen Alvino is working on a project to reorganize the library’s circulation desks. That project has been bolstered by a $30,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foudnation. 

One of the planned changes at the Windham Public Library will be a more defined teen section. 

Windham Public Library

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