King Foundation Grants Library $50,000

Lobster Rolls for the Library: South Berwick-Eliot Rotary raised funds for the new South Berwick Library by selling lobster rolls at South Berwick’s Strawberry Festival in June.

Rotarians Deb Decolfmacker and Wes Kennedy present a check for $1594. to Patti Mitchem, Capital Campaign Chair and Karen Eger, Library Director.

A $50,000 grant last week from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to the Friends of South Berwick Library’s building fund means there soon will be bookshelves in the empty Great Hall of the new Library.

“We are thrilled that our application to the King Foundation was successful, and it comes at a critical time,” said Friends’ Capital Campaign Chair Patti Mitchem. “So much work already has been accomplished in the Great Hall, but our new Library can’t proceed much further without bookshelves.

“The Library has been operating out of the small addition since March, but most of our collection has been stored in the basement while we continued raising money to complete the new library.”

Added to that good news was announcement of a grant from the Strawberry Festival Committee to purchase a sturdy outdoor book drop, replacing the wooden box that stood at the former Library entrance for decades.

The King grant brings the total raised by the Friends to $655,000, 60% of the $1.1 million the volunteer organization pledged to raise toward the cost of renovating the former St. Michael’s Church on Young Street.

“Despite reaching this milestone, we still have some heavy lifting to do in terms of fundraising,” said Mitchem. “Shelving, furniture and equipment, including computers, must be purchased. Some construction items have been put off, including insulation of the foundation, a restroom in the children’s area, a stairway to the former choir loft, and eventual completion of the loft for use as a reading area.”

The campaign committee continues to meet with prospective donors and welcomes help in any form, she added.

The Friends currently are raffling off an overnight stay at The Country Inn at Camden/Rockport in a Country Suite that accommodates couples or families. Certificate is good from Oct. 29 through May 20 of next year. Included are three guest passes to the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20, on sale through Aug. 31 at the Library and Hot Summer Nights.

The temporary wall between the addition and the Great Hall is scheduled to be removed in mid-September. In the meantime, Library patrons can view the ongoing work through a window in the wall.


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