The project to renovate and expand the Rice Public Library is a far-sighted investment in the quality of life in Kittery.  The private Rice Public Library Corporation 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation is partnering with the Town of Kittery to raise $700,000 to bring forth the complete vision for this project, including the costs of furnishings, equipment, technology, landscaping, and gardens, including a Children’s Garden. Our private fundraising initiative reduces the burden on taxpayers and gives willing benefactors the opportunity to create a meaningful legacy for future generations. 

The project has widespread support throughout the community.  In a 2017 non-binding referendum, voters overwhelmingly selected expanding and improving the Rice Library as their preference among three options (build new at the KCC property, expand on-site, or do nothing). The overall cost of the project is approximately $6.2 million.

In November 2019, voters subsequently approved a $5 million bond to fund the base project, including the construction of the addition, an elevator, technology infrastructure, and other costs.

In January of 2020, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $500,000 Infrastructure Challenge grant in recognition of the Library’s historic status and longtime contribution to the quality of life in the community.  

In January 2021, the Town of Kittery signed a “Guaranteed Maximum Cost” (GMC) agreement with Wright-Ryan Construction for $4.6 million for the base project, excluding soft costs. The total project cost, including all soft costs – design, engineering, legal and other factors – is estimated at $6,135,927.

The objective of the Rice Public Library Campaign is to raise the remaining $700,000 needed to bring forth the full vision of transforming the Victorian-era Rice Building into a 21st-century library.

Because of this public-private partnership, and foresighted planning by the Town of Kittery in managing its debt obligations, the Town expects this project to have little-to-no impact on the tax rate.

Note: The Rice Public Library Corporation (RPLC) is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that formerly operated the Rice Public Library, in a public-private partnership that is common in New England. The RPLC transferred its assets to the Town of Kittery in July 2019, and the Library is now a Municipal Department within the Town of Kittery. The RPLC is now dedicated to supporting the Library, financially and in other ways, and will be transferring Campaign funds to the Town of Kittery via a protocol established by a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the Town Council and the RPLC Board of Directors in 2020.