SWANS ISLAND — The Swans Island Educational Society (SIES) is one step closer to funding its new home – a new library that will contain 12,000 items including books, videos and historical documents, and will host community events on the island.
The association received $50,000 through a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation on March 1. The money will help fund the estimated $1.2 million cost of constructing a new library.
Island librarian Candi Joyce heard the good news while visiting her father out of state. “There was screaming from Maine to Florida,” she said. “It was absolutely amazing. I was just overwhelmed.”
The island began raising money in 2009 after the old library – a schoolhouse built in 1903 – was struck by lightning and burned in July 2008. All of the library’s books as well as irreplaceable historical documents were lost.
Although insurance paid $605,000, the remaining funds to build a new structure must be raised. So far the organization has come up with $150,000 through numerous donations, fund-raisers, and an additional grant from the Virginia Cabot Wellington Foundation.
“It’s just amazing the support that we’ve had from the community, the state and around the country,” said Ms. Joyce.
The new single-story library, which has been designed already, will have 3,200 square feet of space. Construction could begin as early as this spring, pending the receipt of a $398,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would cover the remaining costs.
“It’s not in the least extravagant,” said Ms. Joyce. “But we want it to be energy efficient, well-organized and long-lasting.”
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