December 19, 2013TUFTONBORO — Anyone using the Tuftonboro Free Library knows full well that space is tight.
The Hamel Meeting Room, a place for numerous committee and group meetings, public programs, and library activities now houses 40 percent of the adult fiction collection and two additional public computer stations.
To be more specific, the increasingly crowded space has accommodated 116 library programs for adults and children and 62 other local meetings just through September according to information gathered by the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) earlier this year for analysis.
That's just the tip of the iceberg.
As far back as 2004, a space needs consultant, hired by the trustees, found that according to American Library Association guidelines, the library required almost double the space to fully support the level of service provided at that time.
Since then, over 600 new library patrons have registered for borrowing privileges; the 1,893 local patrons, representing 79 percent of Tuftonboro's population, have boosted circulation by over 65 percent in that same time period.
The question before the CIP was whether to support a warrant article to construct a new library building in 2014. It decided in the affirmative. The building is 50 percent over design capacity.
The cost is estimated at $2.6 million. Capital reserve funds approved by voters and gifts amounting to around $500,000 would reduce the amount to be financed down to $2.1 million.
Moving forward, reported the CIP, "allows the town to take advantage of continuing low cost financing and reasonable building costs." The form of the warrant article and the terms of financing are to be determined by the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen.