BAR HARBOR — A new era at the Jesup Memorial Library will become a reality in 2023 thanks to a transformative $5 million gift from two friends of the library, Spencer and Rena Fulweiler of Tiburon, Calif., and Bar Harbor.
“Rena and Spencer share our vision for a vibrant, inclusive and resilient island community, and like us, they see that the Jesup is vital to that vision. We are honored and thrilled they have joined us in shaping Bar Harbor’s best possible future,” said Matt DeLaney, the Jesup’s director since 2021.
The library has now raised $10 million of the $12 million required to move forward with phase three of a renovation project, which is the construction of a new building on the property next door. The first two phases of the project included the purchase of the adjacent property, architectural design work and a comprehensive renovation.
“This new gift means we plan to break ground on our expansion in 2023,” said DeLaney, adding that feedback received through community planning sessions will be central to the final design, particularly its youth spaces, archive, technology and sustainability.
The expanded library will offer bright and sunlit children’s and young adult spaces, conference rooms, an elevator and improved accessibility, environmentally friendly mechanical systems, modern restrooms and climate-controlled archives for historic and special collections.
“Our team has been hard at work for over five years on this expansion and this gift from the Fulweilers comes at just the right moment. This changes the course of history for our library, and we believe it will change history for our town,” DeLaney said. “The Jesup has served many generations over the past century, and it’s time that we update this well-loved institution to serve generations to come. We couldn’t be more excited and hopeful about the future of the library and Bar Harbor and we look forward to reaching out to our friends and neighbors this summer to join us for this final push as we prepare to break ground next year.”
“Rena and Spencer’s gift is an extraordinary reminder of the power of personal philanthropy, giving because it makes our whole community better,” said Jesup Board Chair Ron Beard. “The same spirit drove our founders more than a century ago, the same motivation inspires Jesup’s many, many supporters today. We are grateful for each and every one.”