18 September 2012

I think I was born for this

Sunday night I was contacted by City Councilor Al Livingston, asking if I would be willing to serve on the Public Library Advisory Board.  I was so surprised, it took my breath away!  What an honor.  Of all the ways that I could spend my volunteer time, this might be my very best, favorite way.

I was invited to make a few remarks at Council session last night, as part of my appointment and "election."

My remarks just scratch the surface of what libraries mean to me:

When I describe where I live to my out-of-state friends, I usually start by saying, “Well, let’s see… it’s walking distance from the Library....” 

Public libraries have been a hugely influential part of my life.  I grew up in Limington, where the one-room Davis Memorial Library was open less than 8 hours each week.  The whole library was smaller than this room [council chambers].  It was the only place close enough for me to ride to on my bike.  I probably read every book in the children’s section. 

Because our rural library resources were limited, we were eligible for the Maine State Library’s “Books by Mail” program.  I ordered so many books, and read them, that my parents installed a bigger mailbox just so that we could receive the giant zippered canvas bag from Augusta right at our home, rather than having to go to the post office to pick up the parcel.  I can still remember that giddy feeling… opening the mailbox and seeing that “the books are here!”  I still get that slightly giddy feeling when my interlibrary loan books arrive. 

I know that our city is a better place because we, as a community, value literacy, the arts, cultural opportunities, programs for children, and the many other services that our library provides.  We invest in it through municipal funding, through fundraising, and we invest in it with our time.  It enables people of every age and income level to have access to learning opportunities.  When we use the library, we are patrons, and we are borrowers.  It is the embodiment of a skill that we should all have learned in kindergarten – to share.  We all don’t have to own a copy of every book, CD, or film – we can share them.  Because in the end, it’s having the knowledge that comes from books in our minds that is the ownership that really matters.

I’m so pleased to be able to help support the library, this community institution that I believe in so strongly, in this very special way.

south portland public library

How can I possibly put into two minutes what books, and libraries, mean to me?  This whole blog is an attempt to tell that story!

What do libraries mean to you?  How has your local library affected your life, or the lives of your children or parents?


  1. This is wonderful news, Aimee. SPPL is very lucky to have you as an advocate and someone who appreciates what a library means to a community. Slainte!

  2. Thank you so much, Mamie! We should talk sometime, like, in real life, about all things bookish and library-ish. Over beverages that also deserve a Slainte!