Despite the overcast sky and the chilly breeze atop Grand Army Hill in N. Whitefield, the “OPEN” flag flapped its invitation once again to all who passed through town; beckoning them to please stop in and to take a peek at the new library that is now open for business!
It has been two years since Whitefield Library has been able to welcome its patrons, but now the volunteers are so excited and anxious to share the results of their labor with everyone and to be once again an important part of the pulse of the community. For now, that “OPEN” flag will go out every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With the commitment to bring “library” to Whitefield, several community members have worked tirelessly since 2017 establishing this area’s first nonprofit public library. Goals were set, plans were made, appeals went out, fundraising commenced, and donations came in. After two summers of “summer library” in our not-insulated Grange Hall, the opportunity to purchase the lovely old two-story building presented itself, and with the unbelievable gift from Kennebec Savings Bank, we were able to own our library.
On our website, whitefieldlibrary.org, the “Friends” page is evidence of the many organizations, foundations, and individuals to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude. Their financial support encouraged us to continue reaching towards our goals. It has been two years of “positivity” and physical labor on the part of many; our terrific planners, contractors, and many dedicated volunteers.
The entire first floor was gutted to its frame and rebuilt with all new posts and beams, electrical, plumbing, heat, insulation, drywall, painting, shelving, and remodeled office, kitchenette, and bathroom. A new porch and storage shed was added. Wi-Fi, phone service, and automation have allowed the 6,000-plus donated books to be catalogued online and patrons to sign up for membership cards directly from our informative website.
An unbelievable amount of work has finally seen its rewards this past weekend when parents with children, grandparents, and community members from Whitefield, Alna, Pittston, Windsor, Jefferson, and Somerville walked in to see what was inside this big yellow building. The smiles and congratulations, along with the borrowed books, made our weekend complete.
As the weeks progress, we will direct our focus on training more volunteers to run our library services, catalogue more donated books, and plan the programs that we wish to offer when it is safe for everyone to participate. Our goal is to eventually qualify for Maine State Library services, which will open up a world of opportunity to our communities. We will be focused on extending our hours and finding a library administrator to help guide us along this journey.
The renovation committee has already redirected its attention to the second floor of our 138-year-old building. It is our hope to restore the magnificent, wide-open space, complete with a performance stage, to be used once again as a gathering place for small groups. As one old timer referred to the endeavor, “A place to bring arts to Whitefield.” Right he is about that!
It is a time to look up and look ahead and a time to think positively. Whitefield Library Association is extremely grateful and appreciative to all for what we have accomplished in these past four years, and we’re filled with hope for those to come.
(For more information, call the library at 549-0170 or email email@example.com.)