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Community Bound: West Falmouth Library

The quiet reading room at West Falmouth Library

The quiet reading room at West Falmouth Library

On the north side of the library, the immaculately landscaped yard and gardens now serve as event space, with the addition of a deck and terrace. An accessible walkway connects the building to the terrace, allowing everyone to enjoy the outdoor concerts, or simply the serene setting on a pleasant day.

“We take a lot of pride in these kinds of projects—historic buildings, town centers, that you’re kind of resurrecting and bringing back to their former glory,” says Fenuccio. “It definitely helped that there was so much support from the Building Committee and the town to do what we needed to do,” adds Raber. “The effort they put into restoring this building is pretty amazing.”

In August, the West Falmouth Library announced that it surpassed its $2.9 million capital campaign goal for the renovation/restoration project, completed last June. Altogether, the library received 1,088 donations, from community members, businesses and foundations, as well as the Falmouth Community Preservation Fund and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. Carlyn Ellms, chair of the capital campaign and former president of the West Falmouth Library Board of Directors, says that the project has already had an immense impact on the library. “It increased our meeting space, increased our event space—we have lots of speakers and music,” she says. “We now can have more people attending events, and we can rent spaces now as well, so it’s earned income for us.”

Further, Ellms recalls a significant moment just days after the library reopened. “This wonderful woman came in—a little slow in walking—and she came right up to the desk and said, ‘I haven’t been here in four years because I couldn’t go up the stairs or use the lift. And now I’ll be back every week. You all did a good job.’ That was the big vote of confidence for us—that’s exactly what we wanted. We all stood there and had tears in our eyes.”

Oliver Egleston, who grew up visiting the West Falmouth Library, says a question that came up often during the project was why, in an age of electronic books, were they putting such effort into a library? “I think it’s easy to overlook the role of libraries as community centers,” he says, “because most people think of libraries as places for books, which of course they are, but they are more than that.”

“We hope this project continues to prove that libraries are a critical component of our town fabric,” says Fenuccio, “and we hope that the building continues to serve that function and does it well for many years to come.”

West Falmouth Library  575 West Falmouth Highway



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