The grant, which must be matched on a 2:1 basis, will support a $9 million reconstruction project that seeks to replace, among other things, the library's roof. According to the AP, the library's copper roof was installed in 1912 and local officials say it is beyond repair. A new roof, estimated to cost $3 million, is necessary to protect the library's collection, believed to be the biggest in the south-central Maine region.
Bangor residents will vote in June to decide whether the city will issue a bond for up to $3 million to pay for the project. The library also is in the early planning stages of a major interior upgrade, which will modernize the facility and create additional meeting space. Tabitha King, a former board member of the library, serves on its building committee. Zone Radio, a trio of radio stations owned by Stephen King, has launched a campaign to raise money for the renovation.
"We've had a hundred years of wonderful roof, and all of a sudden it has failed," Bangor Public Library director Barbara McDade told the Bangor Daily News. "We currently have a staging set-up to hold the ceiling up in the local history room, because [it] is caving in and moving.....In the fiction area we have tarps and plastic over books, because we've lost ceiling tiles and we just can't stop the water from coming in. We've had rivers rolling down the front marble steps [of the library]. So the time has come that we really need to do something now."