MOUNT VERNON — The boom on the truck lifted load after load of wood into the new addition to the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library in the heart of this town.

The first floor walls were up and wrapped with Typar, and the carrying beam and joists were next on Monday’s to-do list for Benjamin Lower, owner of BJL Built of Mount Vernon.

The two-story addition, with 1,200 square foot on each floor — once the home of Dr. Herbert Shaw — is designed to offer more space for books and more meeting space for programs. Mount Vernon residents approved the expansion project at the polls in June 2015, and the library trustees stepped up a fundraising campaign with a $400,000 goal.

“It’s going to be a beautiful building,” said Fred Webber, a member of the library’s Board of Trustees who is coordinating the project and helping with the bid process. He is assisted by Andy Dube of Diversified Drafting of Mount Vernon

Webber goes past the project several times a day. “My office is there and I live nearby,” he said.

He said the project is using local contractors where possible. “We felt it was perfectly right to be preferential because it is the Mount Vernon library.”

The library, which is open three days a week, serves the towns of Mount Vernon and Vienna.

“We made some accommodations for them so they’re still able to use it, which is good,” Lower said. Inside the closed darkened library Monday morning, shelves and carts were chock full of books. The shelves nearest the entry door contained a few magazines.

Lower is aiming to complete the project at some point in June or later.

Checking on the progress Monday were Lower’s wife, Melissa, and their five children. The family moved from Gloucester, Massachusetts, about two years ago, Melissa Lower said, and live nearby on North Road.

His daughter, Lily Lower, 11, said she was looking forward to the expanded library. “I’m a bookworm,” she said. She’s reading a series of books about a rescue dog named. “Hero,” and likes “histories, biographies and books about Indians.”

They had dropped by briefly before heading home. “We have to have school,” said Morgan, 12, standing next to her twin Sadie. Jacob, 7, and Wyatt, 4, completed the troupe. The children are home-schooled.

The children and most of the adults stood on a mound of snow on the library’s front yard. Jim Lower, Benjamin Lower’s father, poked his head through couple of window openings, to watch the work.

The elder Lower, who lives in Monmouth, said he used to be a boat and house builder. Now, he builds furniture, said his wife, Kitty.

Webber said the library can remain open since construction is taking place only on the addition at the moment. An elevator will be installed as well, and the parking area is due for expansion.

Webber credited George Smith, chairman of the library’s board of trustees for the past 15 years, for raising the lion’s share of the money to support the project. “He’s an expert fund-raiser,” Webber said.

The addition also is being tapped for use as an arts and art education center.

Webber said plans include a rotating exhibit of local artists’ work as well as displaying its own collection.

“This is a site for community betterment and art education,” he said. “Mount Vernon is growing in a very positive way. This is a way to foster the process along.”

Other library trustees are Dorcas Riley and Shari Hamilton of Mount Vernon and Kathleen Kelley of Vienna.

Alice Olson, librarian at the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library, offered some statistics via email, noting that the 3,883 visits in 2017 are about 30 fewer than in 2016.

“I think it was slightly down because we had 19 days we needed to close the library: four for holidays, 15 for storm closures and power outages!”

The library had 801 registered users in 2017. Circulation figures for 2017 were still begin calcuated, she said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.