AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Lithgow Library in Augusta celebrated the multimillion dollar renovation and expansion of the building Saturday morning.
The new facility has a new "teen area," a redesigned kids' room, more seating, and is ADA accessible.
It took two referendums before the library finally was approved to move forward with the nearly $12 million renovation. The building uses many aspects of the old library, including granite steps that were cut from a previous granite structure that was part of an addition in 1979.
"It was time. We needed another investment in this building so that it would last another century," said Library Director Betsy Pohl. The library makes a statement about the community, about its health and vitality and how it supports its citizens and I think this building says it all."
The new library boasts 67,000 books, as well as computers, which Pohl said were difficult to operate in the old, unmodernized facility.
"We were using a lot of masking tape and almost squirrels turning in the background to make it run," said Pohl jokingly.
Gail Brown, a frequent visitor of the old library, is impressed with the new design.
"You want to look, you want to relax, you want to be here," said Brown.
She said she encourages her grandchildren to read physical books, in addition to using technology.
"Watching the grandchildren be excited really tells you that the next generation wants both. They don't want just the technology. They want both," said Brown. "You can tell that whoever did it really thought about who is going to be coming."
"This is truly the quintessential community project and we should all be proud," said Andrew Silsby, the chair of the trustees of Lithgow Library. "Libraries are not the hush-hush buildings they were when we were kids."