Planning for a Renovated Thomas Memorial Library

Cape Elizabeth residents will be voting on a proposed library building renovation on November 4, 2014.  Last December, the Town Council appointed a five-member Library Building Committee to develop a building plan within a $4 million budget limit.  Serving on the Library Building Committee are:
Frank Governali — At-Large
Kathy Ray — Town Council
Molly MacAuslan — Town Council
Martha Palmer — Thomas Memorial Library Board of Trustees
Mary-Kate Williams Hewitt  — School Board

Staff contact: Jay Scherma, Library Director
Other staff support: Greg Marles, Facilities Director

Kelly Hasson, Pond Cove School Principal & Jeff Shedd, High School Principal

Below, you will find the latest news related to the proposed library renovation, as well as background information and the history of the project. You can read a history of the current project here.

If you have questions or would like to offer feedback, you can email the Library Building Committee and someone will get back to you shortly.


Latest Updates From the Library Building Committee

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Published News Reports

Cape Elizabeth Town Council sends $4M library renovation plan to voters The Forecaster, August 14, 2014

Library renovation will go to November referendum The Cape Courier, August 20-Sept 16, 2014

Library plan heading to Cape ballot Current, August 13, 2014

More details emerge about proposed Cape Elizabeth library renovation The Forecaster, March 26, 2014

Construction manager chosen for library, The Current, March 26, 2014

Thomas Memorial Library fix on fast track, The Current, December 4, 2013

Cape Elizabeth library plan gets boost from council The Forecaster, December 4, 2013

Cape Elizabeth council endorses $4M plan for library The Forecaster, November 7, 2013

Cape Elizabeth’s library panel offering cheaper renovation plan, Portland Press Herald, November 2, 2013

Panel crafts $4M plan to renovate Cape Elizabeth library, The Forecaster, October 31, 2013

Latest Design Plans

Rendering 8-11

The color rendering shown here represents the latest design concept for the library building, as proposed by Reed Architects, the firm hired by the Library Building Committee to develop the library building plan.  The current proposed design would retain the front half of what is now the adult library (from the current reference desk forward to the old front entrance of the building.)  The plan would replace remaining portion of the existing adult library building and the hallway leading to the circulation area, and foyer with new construction. The building that currently houses the children’s library, would be separated from the library, and retained for another use.  The current design plans can be viewed by clicking the links below:

New (6/20/14) – Site Plans – The Library Planning Board has judged that the site plan for the renovation and addition to Thomas Memorial Library is now complete.

Upper Level: Adult and Young Adult areas, Circulation, Technical Services
Lower Level: Children’s area, Meeting and Program Areas

The Library Building Committee welcomes your questions and comments.  You can email them at


Planning Documents

Library Planning Committee Report
Reed (architectural firm) Report


Recent Posts

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In the Fall of 2007, the Town Council authorized the creation of the Thomas Memorial Library Study Committee, a group charged with conducting a Needs Assessment and Design Concept for a Library Improvement Program. The study committee completed its work and issued a final report in the Fall of 2009.  The report recommended that the Town pursue a plan to renovate or replace the Thomas Memorial Library building due to its many deficiencies.  Casaccio Architects was hired as a consultant, and, after a lengthly study and focus groups, they presented their first design for a new library building early spring of 2011 to the town for consideration. This initial design helped to define the space and provided an opportunity for the community to review options, but a new building was not quite right for Cape Elizabeth. After input from the Trustees, Councilors and the community, Casaccio came back with a second design.

The firm of Demont Associates has been hired to do feasibility study to assess the potential of supporting a library project. The Board of Trustees was tasked with educating the public on the project.

In November of 2012, voters rejected the initial plan for renovation of the library with 2,696 votes for the project, and 3,566 against it. Yet the need to address the many deficiencies of the current building remained.  The Library Planning Committee worked throughout 2013 to develop a less-extensive plan for building and renovation, hiring Reed & Co. Architecture of Portland to develop that plan.

The Library Building Committee was established in December 2013.  At the same time, by a 6-1 vote, the council approved a budget for the committee to develop a plan for renovation and new construction for the library in time for a November 2014 referendum. The budget–a $340,810 pre-bid, pre-bond cost–was established to pay for planning such as architect’s and engineering fees, Planning Board review, land and hazardous materials surveys, project manager costs, contingency and legal and bond issuance costs.

On January 6, 2014, the Town Council adopted the following goals related to the library for the calendar year of 2014:

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council commits to the following goals for calendar year 2014:

  • A bond referendum will be scheduled for November 4, 2014 on a clearly defined proposal from the library building committee.
  • A fundraising mechanism will be established to raise funds needed for furnishings and technology.
  • The Town Council will review the current policy for naming opportunities for the library and for other facilities
  • The town will formalize its relationship with the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society.
  • A plan to accommodate space for the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society will be reviewed.
  • Plans will be developed for the repurposing of the original Spurwink School section of the Thomas Memorial Library.

In February, 2014, the Library Building Committee recommended the Town hire Reed and Co. Architecture, the firm that worked with the Library Planning Committee, to develop the actual building plan that will go before the voters in November of 2014.  In March of 2014, the Library Building Committee, after evaluated proposals received from an RFP, chose Zachau Construction as the construction manager for the project.

In March of 2014, Dick Reed from Reed and Co. Architecture  and members of the Library Building Committee gave the following presentation to the Town Council:

Supporting Documents from the Early History of the Project

102 Deficiencies of the Thomas Memorial Library building (9/30/09)

Powerpoint Presentation to Town Council, August 2009 (8/10/09)

TML Final Report 7-31-09 (8/3/09)

Detailed Floor Plan (7/11/09)

Fundraising Discussion (7/11/09)

SAMPLE Fundraising Feasibility Study (Orillia Public Library, Orillia, Ontario) (7/11/09)

TML Phase II Report  (6/19/09)

Telephone survey report by Critical Insights, Inc.  (4/7/09)

Facility Assessment and Improvement Scenarios: Presentation at Town Hall by Consultants (3/2/09)

Phase I Needs Assessment Report (2/10/09):

Body of Report 
Appendix A – Demographics 
Appendix B – Peer Comparisons
Appendix C – Focus Group Report
Appendix D – Web Survey
Appendix E – Facility Report (Architectural)
Appendix F – Facility Report (Engineering)
Appendix G – Technology Report
Appendix H – Initial Space Needs Spreadsheets
Resident Survey – Summary Report of Findings