FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Library solved a mystery Thursday.

It received a check for $50,000 dated Aug. 1, 2008.

“The check was in the mail” for almost a year, Librarian Melanie Coombs said.

It’s funny today, but it wasn’t last January when Coombs and her staff tore the library apart to be sure they hadn’t misplaced a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

Last year while the library was undertaking a nearly $200,000 roof project, Coombs applied for two different grants. One application was sent to the King Foundation.

“I thought I had done a great job making the application,” she said after wondering last fall why the library didn’t hear from the foundation.

In January, Coombs received a call from a foundation representative, Stephanie Leonard, asking why the library had not cashed the check.

“You mean we got the grant,” Coombs responded. In order to resolve the issue, the library launched a massive searched.

“We went through everything,” she said.

The King Foundation then canceled the original check and issued another, Coombs said.

Thursday, almost a year later, two letters, one from the Maine State Library and the other from the King Foundation, arrived. Each was postmarked Aug. 1, 2008. Each was in fine condition.

After tearing the envelope open and realizing what it was, Coombs went to the post office and was told “they just showed up. Hope it was nothing important.”
“It was just $50,000,” Coombs said. This grant and the other one received for $21,000 amounted to about a third of the cost for the roof project.

“The King Foundation is just so wonderful to Maine libraries. This was a huge boost for our roof project and they have helped out on so many other library projects,” Coombs said.

As for this canceled check? “We’ll probably keep it for a souvenir,” she said.

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Melanie Coombs, librarian for the Farmington Public Library, looks over a grant check received Thursday … almost a year late.

Melanie Coombs, librarian for the Farmington Public Library, looks over a grant check received Thursday … almost a year late.


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