You may wonder, why do small towns need libraries? Why not go to the big city for a greater variety of books and resources? This way of thinking only makes sense if you think of a library as just a place to borrow books. Visiting Kezar Falls Library, I learned that it is a place for much, much more than that.
Kezar Falls Library is a non-profit entity with a board of directors that serves the towns of Parsonsfield & Porter, Maine, but everyone from the surrounding towns are welcomed. Kim Libby, a South Hiram resident, is a long time volunteer, board of directors member, and she took over as Kezar Falls librarian a little bit over a month ago.
The library offers a variety of books including fiction and non-fiction, junior and adult categories, children’s books and biographies, historical and self-help books, as well a section consisting of Maine authors. Of course most are familiar with Stephen King, but there are many others too. Paul Doiron, for example, is a Maine author who writes about Maine. “Though the names are fictional, he transforms you there, it’s almost like you are receiving an education about our cities and counties” says Kim. John Ford, a Maine native and former game warden offers affection for the land in his Deer Diaries. Another one of Kim’s recommendations is Monica Wood’s memoire from Mexico, Maine, which is deceptively named We Are The Kennedy’s. It's evident, watching Kim’s interactions with patrons, that she enjoys her work and is eager to share her knowledge. Even if you are looking for a book that is not available locally, inter-library loans allow allow reaching into the wealth of bigger libraries, and having the book shipped to Kezar Falls for convenient pick-up.
“We are a small library with a big heart,” says Kezar Falls librarian Kim Libby.
Kim would like us to think about the library as a community hub, a place where people can come to gather and be with each other, a place for culture, and a place for company. She quotes an article by Eric Klinenberg: “The founding principle of the public library — that all people deserve free, open access to our shared culture and heritage,"(1) and it provides different things for many people at different stages of life. For example, for teenagers a library will help “instill an ethic of responsibility, to themselves and to their neighbors, by teaching them what it means to borrow and take care of something public, and to return it so others can have it too.”(2)
You could see the community come together when locals - Gary Nickerson and Joey Vieira with Porter Grange 569 came to fix the ramp when the library fell victim to vandalism over the summer.
There are lap-top computers and free wi-fi available for people to use for those who don’t have access at home. One of Kim’s great pleasures is to help older citizens apply for a job online, navigate the web, or take an online learning course. You can even help yourself to a free cup of coffee.
Youth programs make a great introduction to the library for both children and their parents and caregivers. Story hour is a great opportunity for all to socialize and interact with other people in the community. Inspired by success of “crafter-noons” this summer, Kim hopes to start Story hour on Tuesday mornings and incorporate a more interactive small crafting project at the end of the reading.
This year, the library, with the support of Drummond Masonic Lodge 118, implemented a Bikes-4-Books summer reading program for kids grades K-3rd. Kids received Sea Dogs tickets when registering and the at the end of the summer, they gave away a girl’s and a boy’s bike to those who read the most books.
This was also a second year of the small garden at the library. The ultimate goal is to have fresh vegetables available for anyone who would like to have them. This can not be possible without community involvement and Kim has a vision to involve kids into planting the seeds during April vacation next year.
Coming up in November there will be a children’s book reading by author Teresa Pelham, accompanied by Roxy - her rescue dog. Teresa will read two of her books: Roxy And Her Annoying Little Brother, Stuey and Roxy’s Forever Home. The reading will take place on Saturday, November 10th at 10:30am at Kezar Falls Library, 2 Federal Road, Parsonsfield, ME.
On any given day, the library is a warm and inviting environment. It isn’t just a building -it is a team effort and a community. So please come visit, say hello, ask for help, learn something new and make yourself at home.
By Dasha Smirnova
Visit the library's Facebook page here
1,2 “To Restore Civil Society, Come to a Library” Eric Klinenberg