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Ames Free Library Looks to Improve Roof, Build on Successes

A new roof and a new director are on the horizon.

Touting their newly-won "Best Small Library in America" finalist award and in the process of changing directors, representatives from the appeared before the Easton Finance Committee Wednesday night to discuss their Fiscal Year 2013 budget and funding for the restoration of an aging roof in the library's children's wing.

Jim Fowler, the Finance Chair for the Library's Board of Directors, said the board is hoping to secure a third of its funds for the roof from Community Preservation Act funds, a third from the Massachusetts Historic Commission and a third from its own endowments.

In all, the project will cost $210,000.

The library is asking for $70,000 from Community Preservation Funds, which the Community Preservation Committee recommended and included in its 2013 budget, as documented in a draft of this year's Town Meeting Warrant.

Fowler said it is still unclear as to whether or not the library will secure all funds requested from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. If the board does not secure the entire $70,000 it has asked for from the state, it will look to raise more through endowments.

"It's one third from three different sources," Fowler said." We’ll back it up with more endowments if we don’t get the full Mass Historic [grant]"

The campaign to raise funds for the library, being called "Raise the Roof" is already underway. Director Madeline Holt said the library is offering raffle tickets at $5 a piece or five for $20. Three prizes include:

  • First Prize: Amazon Kindle Fire
  • Second Prize: Amazon Kindle Touch
  • Third Prize: $100 U.S. Savings Bond

To buy tickets, click here.

The library is also transitioning to a new director. Assistant Director is taking over for Holt, who is retiring this summer.

Additionally, Fowler and Holt told Finance Committee members that the library intends to hire a new "teen librarian" to help coordinate activities for the library's younger members.

The hire will be another step in the library's overall mission to live up to its motto "Where the Community Connects."

Success with their mission helped the library earn a finalist spot for the 2011 competition by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Holt had just returned from a reception in Philadelphia.

"We were guests of the Library Journal editors and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so it was quite an honor," she said. "We felt we were right up there with what the best libraries were trying to do."

Finance Committee member Keith Graveline said he felt the library was taking steps in the right direction.

"I was very impressed with the dedication of the staff and the vision that the library is trying to create for themselves," he said.

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