What is your history with the Ellsworth Public Library?
I got a library card pretty soon after moving here, so around 1998 I think. I’d used my hometown library a lot as a kid, in Jackman, and at times it seemed like I lived at the Colby library while going to college there. I guess I took to heart the message Colby’s president had for us in one of his speeches: No matter where we went, to get a library card. It was a way to tap into the community, to get access to information, entertainment, and connections, no matter how much money we had. I still think public libraries are a vital underpinning of our democracy, for that very reason. So I was really happy to get my card and “plug in” to the Ellsworth community. I also was a Trustee for 9 years, and am grateful for a chance to get to know my library, its staff, and the community it serves even better.
Why are libraries an important part of the community?
Like I said, I think they are a vital part of the foundations of our democracy. No matter who we are, our age, jobs, income, etc., we can have access to the internet, to information and thus self-education, to entertainment, to social connections, even to getting help with applying for jobs. Whether it’s my age or what’s happening in our country, we don’t have many places left where people of all walks of life mingle together (public schools are still one in Maine, for the most part). That still happens at our public libraries. It’s crucial for a functioning democracy.
What’s one thing about the Ellsworth Library that you wish more people knew about?
How much VALUE the Library provides to Ellsworth and its service area. Whether we count the hours of free internet access, the value of the items circulated, the number of questions asked and answered by our staff, the information shared at events, Ellsworth Public Library provides a lot of value for the tax dollars devoted to it.
Do you have a favorite place in the library?
Sitting by the windows looking out at the river. Those large windows connect us to the river and to whatever is happening in Nature… a nice mix as I’m reading a book, paper or magazine and waiting to head back out to the busy world.
Do you have any good books to recommend?
Tons! It’s always so hard to narrow a list down. Right now I’m really enjoying Becoming by Michelle Obama. I had no idea that I, a white gal from rural, northwestern Maine, could have so much in common with a black gal from Southside Chicago. She’s becoming serious in her relationship with Barack, so that common thread may be changing soon. Seriously, how powerful is reading if we can find common ground with someone so “from away”? And of course, I checked this book out from Ellsworth Public Library!