Rockport Library Committee to share results of listening tour Jan. 21

By Dwight Collins | Jan 16, 2014

Rockport — With its “Listening Tour” complete. the Rockport Library Committee will host an informational meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Rockport Opera House beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The final meeting is designed to help inform community members of the results of the tour, which provided numerous forums during which residents could voice their opinions on what works – and doesn’t work – with the programming, building and current location of the library.

“We had terrific participation at the five neighborhood meetings,” said Library Committee Chairman Kathleen Meil in a press release. “And we’re really excited to share the ideas that emerged from those conversations.”

Community members will have the opportunity participate in an information gathering and brainstorming session for possible next steps at the meeting Jan. 21. The Library Committee anticipates forming a steering committee to prioritize and guide those next steps.

“All of the heavy lifting – consideration of the library’s location, size, and design – will come in those next steps,” said Meil. “It will involve working groups, committees and subcommittees, library experts, and – I hope – people from every part of Rockport. After all, whether you visit the library every week or have never set foot inside, this is your town library. The exciting part of this process is that we get to work together to make it the best it can be.”

In March, the committee presented to the public two ideas for new construction of a library at the site of the former Rockport Elementary School on West Street but those plans were met with criticism.

In May, the Library Committee endorsed a plan for the construction of a new library on the former RES site at the intersection of routes 1 and 90. A study, funded by a $15,000 grant secured by former library director Molly Larson, was completed and determined RES was the most likely site as it already is owned by the town.

In July, nearly 100 residents came to a meeting at Rockport Opera House to support the notion that there is room for expansion at the current location in the village.

To that end, in November, residents voted to make a change to the Shoreland Zone Overlay District, adding municipal buildings to the acceptable use section of the ordinance. With plans approved by Maine Department of Environmental Protection, renovation or new construction of the public library could take place at its existing location in the harbor village.

For more information about the upcoming meeting contact Kathleen Meil, Library Committee Chairman at 318-5401 or kmeil@town.rockport.me.us; or Ann Filley, Interim Library Director at 236-3642 or annfilley@rockport.lib.me.us.

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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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