Jan. 29, 2017
By Library Trustee and Construction Liaison Oliver Egleston

Co-chair of the Building Committee Charles McCaffrey and Library Director Lois Hiller, display the $2.4 million book on our fund raising sign.

In my last update, I noted that the roof framing and sheathing made it possible to see the massing of the Addition. Since then, progress makes it now possible to see the outlines of interior spaces. With the roof sheathing on and covered with ice and water shield, the interior was out of the weather by the beginning of this past week. So carpenters turned their attention to framing the interior partitions and ceilings in both the Addition and the 1972 section. Because it rained last week, additional carpenters from other projects were available to work inside our project, and there were a total of 15 on the job on Tuesday.

Also last week, the masons started the concrete block walls for the elevator shaft and by the end of the next day, the shaft was up to the roof. So it is now possible to see the outlines of the new lobby on the main level as well as that of the Quiet Reading Room and the other interior spaces on both levels.

This week, we expect to see the roof shingled, the skylight installed and the trim at the eves in place. A window was installed as a mock up and the rest will go in next week. Exterior siding and trim is also scheduled to start next week. When the Addition is weather tight next week, mechanical and electrical roughing work will get underway.

We are most grateful to the 725 donors who have helped the campaign raise almost $2.4 million (80% towards the $2.9 million goal). As you can see in the photos construction is well underway and planned to be completed by early June.

However, our fundraising is ongoing to reach our goal.. If you have not made a gift please consider making one. If you have made a gift we thank you and hope you will consider increasing your pledge or gift. Every gift is important and will help us toward our goal. For gifts or pledges of $1000 or more, your name will be included on our donor wall.

Dec. 16, 2016

Construction update – This week new water pipes were installed from the street to the building, one for the sprinkler system and one to serve plumbing fixtures. The new septic system has been completed. The framers have put up studs for the lower level outside walls of the addition and installed the floor joists and deck for the main level.

Next week, work will resume on the upper retaining wall, which will go up another eight feet so that the hill behind it can then be rebuilt. In the addition, the first floor slab will be cast.

Dec. 13, 2016

Due to the ongoing construction project, the West Falmouth Library is now closed to the public. The Library is expected to remain closed through May of 2017. In the interim, the Board of Trustees of Falmouth Public Library and the Board of Directors of the West Falmouth Library have agreed to collaborate to offer services to West Falmouth patrons. North Falmouth will open two additional days per week, with familiar faces from West Falmouth there to serve patrons. North Falmouth Library is located at 6 Chester Street in North Falmouth.

Cape Cod Times
Posted Sep. 20, 2016 at 7:35 PM 
By Sean F. Driscoll

This rendering shows the planned addition to the West Falmouth Library, which will make the library more easily accessible and better able to accommodate events. The original 1896 building will also undergo extensive restoration and repair work. Courtesy of Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects Inc.

This rendering shows the planned addition to the West Falmouth Library, which will make the library more easily accessible and better able to accommodate events. The original 1896 building will also undergo extensive restoration and repair work. Courtesy of Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects Inc.

WEST FALMOUTH — Construction is slated to begin this week on the West Falmouth Library’s $2.9 million renovation project that will include a 2,100-square-foot addition to make the building completely handicapped accessible.

The project also includes renovating the 1972 addition to the 575 W. Falmouth Highway building, constructing a new deck and terrace on its north side and extensive restoration and repair to the original 1896 building. The new addition will be two stories and set into a hillside, giving the library a ground-level entrance from the parking lot complete with an elevator and common stairwell, according to a press release from the library.

During the renovation, areas of the parking lot will be taken up by construction equipment. The library’s mechanical lift that is used to allow for handicap access into the building will be removed, so patrons who will be unable to access the building can order materials and have them delivered to other area libraries through the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) network, according to the release. The Falmouth Public Library also offers homebound delivery service.

The library’s two early literacy programs for children will be held at Turning Pointe Dance Studio in East Falmouth, which provides handicapped accessibility. The programs began the week of Sept. 12 on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Information and updates on construction will be posted at

Construction begins as the independent, nonprofit library searches for its next director. Pamela Olson retired effective last weekend after nine years at the library. During her tenure, she helped expand the library’s presence in the community by getting it included in the CLAMS network, which helped increase the library’s circulation, increasing community programming and launching new fundraisers, said Carlyn Ellms, president of the library’s board.

“She brought the library much more into the greater community, not just West Falmouth,” Ellms said.

Olson’s last project was overseeing the fundraising and planning for the expansion and renovation, Ellms said. With the construction now underway, it was a natural time for Olson to make the change.

“For the next person, it’s a great opportunity to be in the next phase of construction and to be able to help the library move to its next stage,” Ellms said.

Although construction has begun, the capital campaign is still about $600,000 short of its goal, Ellms said. Donations can be made online at; checks may be made out to West Falmouth Library (designate “for Capital Campaign”) and mailed to P.O. Box 1209, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

July 19, 2016

An Historic Ground Breaking Ceremony for the building project was held on Friday, July 15, 2016 which also marked the 120th anniversary of the dedication of the original library in 1896.

from left to right: Building Committee Co-Chair, Oliver Egleston, Building Committee Chair, Charles McCaffrey, Architect, Rick Fenuccio, Library Director, Pamela T.Olson, Board President, Carlyn J. Ellms, honorary speaker, Robin Wheeler, Julian Suso, Town Manager,and Jack Dankert, Project Executive, JK Scanlon.

May 10, 2015

The Capital Campaign Newsletter Spring 2016  is now available. Catch up on the latest news about our building project.

May 2016Moms 2.2 Million Capital Campaign Sign

‘Families in Support of the Capital Campaign’, from left, Katie Fawcett, Pia Mezzacappa, Andrea Thorrold, and Meegan Hatch, get ready to attach the $2.2 million book onto our fund raising sign. Thank you donors for your generous support. For more information about our building plans, please click on the Capital Campaign tab above.

January/February 2016Wetherbee

In January and February of 2016, we were fortunate to host two musical concerts with proceeds benefiting the Capital Campaign. Kudos to Bobbie Wetherbee, the celebrated pianist and singer, who ‘wowed’ our audience for one and a half hours straight. Thank you to Bill Black and the members of “Cat’s Melodeon” for their lively renditions of traditional Irish dance music.bill black cats melodeon (1)

November 12, 2015

The WFL Newsletter Fall 2015 is now available. Catch up on the latest. Did you know that we have received 257 donations and pledges so far? Thank you to our generous donors. $900,00. more will meet our goal.

October 9, 2015

capital campaign sign mel + mike

Kimberlee + 2 millionHave you checked out our Capital Campaign sign on the library’s front lawn? Kimberlee Zacek (left), one of the sign’s designers, is about to add the $2 million ‘book title’ to our stack.

Special thanks to Mike Day (right) of Day Sign Studio, for donating his time and expertise to bring our unique fund-raising ‘thermometer’ idea to reality.

Thank you to everyone who has generously given to our building project.


August 2015Lego Model Tom and Peter Cook

Tom and Peter Cook of West Falmouth volunteered their time to build a Lego model of the future addition for the library.  The model is now available for viewing at the library along with information about the capital campaign. The model was unveiled at the Art Show reception on Friday, July 24.

July 2015
The Bulletin
Article by Rachael Devaney

After raising $1.8 million towards its $2.9 million capital campaign, the West Falmouth Library will open a historic new chapter during this next phase of fundraising.

While West Falmouth Library campaign committee members and professionals have raised roughly half of the money needed for a building restoration — a renovation of its 1972 addition as well as a new addition which will address critical issues associated with safe access to the building — library organizers are turning to the community to help with the $1.1 million needed to end the campaign successfully by this December.

While the capital campaign has been quietly ongoing since June of 2013 and has received financial backing through private donors and Massachusetts facilities funds as well as from community preservation funds, organizers are preparing to embark on the public phase of the campaign; they will give presentations at neighborhood gatherings, association meetings, and local
civic organizations to appeal to the community for support.

Carlyn J. Ellms, president of the West Falmouth Library Board of Directors, explained that the present building, which was erected in 1896 but saw an addition and renovations in 1972, is now in need of renovations as well as a new addition. This, she said, will allow the library to not only continue to play a central role role in the community but also to serve as a safe and comfortable meeting and gathering place for residents and visitors alike.

“We had a long range plan after holding community forums where people identified issues that they had with the library including the stairs, which are 100 years old, and access to the building, ” Ellms said. “It was then that we received a $200,000 anonymous gift and we were confident that we could begin the process of solving these problems.

“We hired an architect who has begun to design an 1800 square-foot addition and that will include everything we need including an elevator, handicap and child-friendly bathrooms on both floors, a reading room, archives, as well as a book drop that will be located at the back of the building.”West Falmouth Library from Rte. 28A

Because the West Falmouth Library recently received another $250,000 grant from The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, a new terrace and deck will also be included, offering visitors easy access from the building to Jane’s Garden. Ellms said the area will include seasonal outdoor seating, free Wi-Fi, space for a wider range of outdoor events and activities, and space for private functions.

“A lot of people think the $2.9 million is only covering the addition but there are many other things that need to be attended to throughout the building such as a sprinkler system that needs to be installed. We also would like to renovate the children’s area, the computing resources, relocate and redesign the kitchen so it can be more functional during fundraising events and rentals, and we also want to update the lower level activity room,” Ellms said. “There are many things that need to be done and we just really want people to be informed about what we are planning to do and what they can look forward to.”

While construction will not begin until the spring of 2016, the building improvements planned have been designed by Brown, Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Inc. out of Yarmouth. Library Director Pamela Olson said the firm, which designed the 2014 Centerville Public Library’s additions and renovations, was “perfect for the job.”

“When the architects came in, we could tell that they really had a passion for libraries,” Olson said. “They are extremely bright and capable and they have a lot of experience with historical buildings and maintaining and preserving the history and character of buildings, while also updating and creating additions and renovations.

“By hiring this firm we feel that we will be able to take care of what we inherited and we have every faith that they will be able to give the building everything it needs, while making everything cohesive and making it work for future generations.”

The West Falmouth Library is an independent, non-profit community library. According to library materials, it was initiated by five service-minded women who met weekly to enjoy literary and musical programs. The group donated books from their personal collections and supported their organization through membership and circulation fees. By 1879, they stored their 50-volume collection in a kitchen closet and then the first library building was erected in 1881. From that point on, Olson said, the West Falmouth Library has been committed to the community and hopes those who love the library will consider giving back to help maintain not only the history of the building but also to support “lifelong learning” for visitors of all ages.

Ellms agreed. She explained that, as organizers begin to inform the public about plans for the library’s future, they will also explain how community members and businesses can pay tribute as capital campaign donors and become a part of history.

“We will begin appearing at ambassador-type gatherings to not only describe the project and stimulate financial support, but mostly so people can understand what is going on and become excited about the project – whether they choose to donate or not. We are so excited that we have already received so much support from many generous people and that has brought us so much closer to our goal and that is so exciting in itself,” she said. “Through this endeavor we have found that people really still believe in libraries and it is encouraging because that is how this library began. It is because of that success that we will see the legacy of the West Falmouth Library continue far into the future.

For immediate release: June 19, 2015

West Falmouth Library Announces $2.9 Million Capital Campaign

The West Falmouth Library has raised $1.8 million toward its capital campaign, more than half of its $2.9 million goal. The public phase of the campaign was announced during a kickoff celebration at the library on Monday, June 15.
Carlyn J. Ellms, president of the board, said, “We are excited to be at this point in the campaign and now ask the community to join those individuals and private foundations that got us to this point. Our next goal is to raise the remaining $1.1 million needed to end the campaign successfully by December 2015.

Capital Campaign Kickoff Building Committee

Capital campaign committee members and professionals involved with the building and renovation project include (from left): Oliver Egleston, vice-chairman of the library board and member of the building committee; Chris Kerr of JK Scanlan Company, builders; architect Rick Fenuccio; Charles McCaffrey, chair of the building committee; and attorney Bob Ament. [Photo credit: Sarah Murphy]

The West Falmouth Library plays a central role in the community, not only as a vibrant public library but also as a community meeting and gathering place for residents and visitors alike. Housed in a historic building, the library provides educational, informational, and entertaining programs and services for all ages in its mission to support lifelong learning.

The library began its capital campaign in the fall of 2013 in order to raise funds that will go toward restoring the original 1896 building and ensuring that the structure is accessible, useful, and beautiful for future generations. A new addition will provide an archives room and quiet reading areas as well as easy access from the parking lot and an elevator and stairway. The project also includes a renovation of the 1972 section of the building and a deck and terrace that will complement the garden on the north side.

“The dreams and vision of past generations that created this beautiful library are ours to pass on to future generations. We have inherited the responsibility for this legacy and have the opportunity to create the library for the future,” said Pamela T. Olson, library director.

For more information about the building project, or if you would like to donate, please call the library at 508-548-4709, email, or visit

West Falmouth Library Receives $250,000 Grant Award from MCC.

On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, celebrated with recipients at the West Falmouth Library after a formal announcement of grants totaling $339,000 that have been awarded to cultural organizations, schools, and community groups on the Cape and Islands by the MCC.

Massachusetts Cultural Council Presentation

The announcement was made as part of a statewide funding program by the MCC.  State Representative Tim Madden and Senator Vinny deMacedo, who helped organize the event, were also in attendance. The West Falmouth Library received a $250,000 grant award for the building project capital campaign. 

“I am happy to see such support for cultural organizations and community groups whose work enriches our lives and improves our communities through the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said Rep. Madden. “Additionally, I would like to commend those who pursued these grants and acknowledge them for all their efforts and their commitment to bettering our community, as it was the work done by these individuals that secured this important funding in such a competitive grant cycle.”


March 2015

patio addition

For immediate release –The West Falmouth Library’s Board of Directors announces a $250,000 gift from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation to support its capital campaign to renovate, restore and add a small addition to the library. This leadership gift brings the total raised in the $2.9 million campaign to $1,650,000.

“We’re pleased to support the library that benefits our community and to play a small role in building a legacy for generations to come. The addition of an outdoor deck and terrace will be a wonderful gathering place for children, families, and residents of West Falmouth” Mr. Smith said.

In 1970, the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation was established as a private family foundation. Today, three generations of the family oversee the foundation, including Richard and Susan Smith who serve as co-chairs, and Amy S. Berylson and John Berylson, Rob Smith and Dana Smith, and Debra Smith Knez, and their children. Richard and Susan Smith, Rob and Dana Smith, and Debra Knez are summer residents on Chapaquoit Island in West Falmouth. The new deck and terrace on the north side of the Library will be named in honor of the family. The foundation has also provided generous support to Falmouth Hospital, Cape Cod Community Health Center, Falmouth Service Center, and the Falmouth Fund.

“This gift will help immensely as we continue to raise the additional funds needed and enables us to begin the public phase of the campaign. We are very grateful to the Smith Family Foundation as they are instrumental to getting us to this milestone in the campaign,” said Carlyn Ellms, library board president.

West Falmouth Library plays a central role in the community, not only as a vibrant public library but also as a community meeting and gathering place for residents and visitors alike. Housed in an historic building, it provides educational, informational, and entertaining programs and services for all ages in its mission to support and promote lifelong learning. “The dreams and vision of past generations that created this beautiful library are ours to pass on to future generations. We have inherited the responsibility for this legacy and have the opportunity to create the library for the future” said Pamela T. Olson, library director.

The library began its capital campaign in the late fall of 2013 with a goal of raising $2.9 million. “We are deeply encouraged by and thankful for the generous support we’ve already received for our vision for the library” said Ms Ellms. “We hope that people from across the community continue to join in our campaign and thus ensure that the library is a safe, accessible, useful and beautiful building for future generations.”

For more information about the building project, or if you would like to donate, please call
508-548-4709 or email at  .