Town puts 'community' into community library
Lincolnville — After hundreds of hours of donated time and thousands of dollars' worth of donated or discounted materials, Lincolnville Community Library will officially open in its new space at 208 Main St. Feb. 1.
The library has been a true community project, according to three members of its board, Lois Lyman, Kathleen Oliver and Sheila Polson, who also serves as librarian. Polson said people have told her they have made new friends working on the library. She displayed a list of those to be thanked with hundreds of names on it – people who have donated services, labor and money.
“The project brought people together,” Lyman said.
Businesses have also donated to the project – many without even being asked. For example, Art Durity, owner of Dot's, built storm windows for the building; Windsor Chair is making tables and chairs; Robbins Lumber donated 3,500 feet of primed clapboard for the exterior, said Polson. There have been many others.
Polson referred to Feb. 1 as a “soft” opening, because there is still some work to be completed: final wiring is being done, the computer system has to be set up, the scanner for checking out books is not in place, and a few other items. She hopes to have a phone and Internet service by the beginning of February, and books will be checked out the old-fashioned way, with a paper card stamped with a return date, until the electronic circulation system is set up.
Within a short time, Polson expects to have Wi-Fi, a website (which will be created by a volunteer) and the ability to offer patrons access to the Maine InfoNet Download Library, featuring e-books and audiobooks that can be borrowed via the web. Interlibrary loans will also be available from libraries across the state.
The library has already been recognized by the Maine Library Commission as a public library under its definition, said Oliver, a goal the committee had expected to take five years to reach, but achieved in just one year. The recognition means that the library has met state-defined standards of governance, staffing and services. For now, the library has met the standards for the lowest of three levels defined by the state, called the basic level.
Libraries at the next level up – the core level – can participate in Maine State Library programs and make use of its services, including state and federal funds.
Library organizers worked with Northeastern Maine District Library Consultant Valerie Osborne to meet the state standards, and she had praise for the progress Polson and the library board are making.
“They're moving themselves along quite nicely. I wouldn't be surprised to see them up at the next level before too long.”
Some programming has already been planned, including a Friday morning children's story hour, an adult book discussion group and a seniors' group. Polson said she would like to hear from residents about other programs they would like, including ones they want to offer.
Currently, the library offers regular concerts and author talks, Polson said. Programs have covered topics as diverse as beekeeping, genealogy and feng shui. On Feb. 5, Jay Foster will present a program about his father's experience in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.
In addition to the volunteer board of five or six, 15 people have expressed serious interest in volunteering, she said.
Polson asked that no more books be donated for now, as about half of the 2,000 volumes the library has still have not been cataloged.
Oliver said the board hopes to have a library friends group to raise funds. As a nonprofit, the library has received a grant from the Maine Community Foundation for program development. Though it is on town-owned land, it receives no municipal funds.
The library will be open Tuesdays 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesdays 2 to 7 p.m. (until 9 on program nights), Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon.
To volunteer or for more information, call Polson at 763-3098.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.
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