On Thursday, we had our Kick-Off Celebration at the Charles M. Bailey Library to begin the public phase of the library’s expansion campaign. We need to raise 1 million dollars for the addition, and to date we have raised almost $750,000, enough to get us started some time in the next few months.
For most of Thursday the sky had been gray, but just before the Kick-Off, the sky cleared, and it was sunny and warm. Bailey Library sits close to the street and has very little land. Therefore, the police department graciously agreed to close off part of the street so that the short ceremony could be held outside.
And a good thing, too, because people came and came, spilling from the sidewalk and onto the street. We clapped and cheered as the various speakers—members of the community—extolled the virtues and the beauty of the library. They all spoke from the heart, and it was clear that Bailey Library was dear to them all and of vital importance to their lives.
Our library is of vital importance to many people’s lives. Winthrop has a population of about 6,000, which increases in the summer as people come to stay at the many lakes in town. In April, circulation at the library was 4,888, with half of the materials borrowed being honest-to-God books made of paper. As Mary Jane Auns, the chair of the trustees, put it, “What a town of readers!”
Yes, we are!
Judi Stebbins, chair of the campaign team, spoke at the Kick-Off Celebration, and the sentiment she expressed mirrors what I have been thinking for the past week or so. She spoke of how Charles M. Bailey, a wealthy Winthrop resident who helped established the library in the early 1900s, started something that not only benefited the town in his own time but has also benefited Winthrop residents 100 years later. Now, she said, it was our turn to pay it forward so that residents 100 years from now will be benefiting from the work we have done to expand the library.
I want to add to Judi’s lovely, generous notion. It’s not every day that ordinary folks can come together to work on a project that is larger than themselves, for something that will benefit not only their current time but for something that will also ripple forward to benefit children who haven’t even been born yet. Our lives are short, but the library will continue long after we are gone.
What a good feeling it is to be part of this project.
Now, onward and upward!