Help the Hubbard!

Every generation is called upon to rise above its own self-interests and persist for those who are yet to come. This has been done for us in immeasurable ways on “our own little postage stamp of native soil” as Faulkner wrote; but few examples shine brighter than the selfless efforts made for Hallowell’s own little library.

From its original generous benefactor, to its expansion a few short years later, to its rebuilding after a disastrous train derailment, to its upkeep during the depression years, the people of Hallowell have continually risen to the challenge and supported our library.

However, in a time when a library’s role in our society is more important than ever, Maine’s oldest library (in its original building) is significantly reducing its hours and operations for the foreseeable future.

Over the last 137 years, the Hubbard Free Library has nurtured the minds of citizens of Hallowell and the surrounding towns, and has been a community center and community builder connecting people to ideas, people to other people, and people to the wider community.

The Hubbard is facing a serious, ongoing budget problem. We are a private nonprofit and over the last few years, Hubbard suffered a major hit from the economic downturn which reduced its endowment and income. Donations have dropped significantly, and Chelsea and Farmingdale entirely cut our funding. We have not been able to recover.

We are reducing important services and staff. Our work to reduce costs to match declining revenues is having an adverse effect on day to day operations, and it’s still not enough.

There is a belief in our community that the Hubbard has a great deal of money because of our Capital Campaign (Help the Hubbard!) a few years ago. The campaign was a great success. However, the $450,000 was raised to save our ailing building (the oldest public library building in Maine) for the next century – not to maintain the daily functions and programs of the Hubbard.

The slate roof has been repaired and no longer leaks, the outer walls have been fixed and cleaned, and important interior repairs have been made. We are now repairing our leaky windows and making them more energy efficient, which will also cut heating costs during the cold winter. The Hubbard has never looked better!

A beautiful, sturdy building, however, is only one part of the Hubbard – and only matters when what happens inside continues to grow and flourish. Hubbard provides free access to many wonderful books, and outreach services to residents who have difficulty visiting the Hubbard on their own. It also provides a wonderful community meeting place, free internet access, children’s programs, and public events.

One patron told us of how her daughter recently learned to walk in the children’s room. For many in our community, it is a calm refuge. For visitors, it is a beautiful gem nestled on Second Street near Hallowell’s bustling downtown.

Our community needs its library now more than ever. Our community needs a place for discourse, for public conversations, and in a time of great divide, a place to come together.

The Hubbard Free Library was established and has been sustained over the years through the generosity of thousands of Hallowell citizens who understood that a democracy thrives only when citizens have access to knowledge about their city, their state, their country, and the world.

We need to save the Hubbard, and to do what we can to make sure it’s sustainable for generations to come. We need to invest in our institutions, because our communities are only as strong as the libraries that bring them together.

 

Community Compass: Hallowell library needs your help

BANNED BOOK WEEK SEPTEMBER 24TH-SEPTEMBER 30TH

BANNED BOOK WEEK September 24TH-30TH

The 2016 Top Ten List of Most Challenged Books includes these titles:

  1. This One Summer,”written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: Challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.
  2. “Drama,”written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
  3. “George,”written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”
  4. “I Am Jazz,” written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
  5. “Two Boys Kissing,” written by David Levithan
    Reasons: Challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.
  6. “Looking for Alaska,” written by John Green
    Reasons: Challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”
  7. “Big Hard Sex Criminals,”written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: Challenged because it was considered sexually explicit.
  8. “Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread,” written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all-around offensive.”
  9. “Little Bill” (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: Challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  10. “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: Challenged for offensive language.

Attempts to silence diverse voices by banning books pose a serious threat to democracy, and in response, the ALA is encouraging the public to participate in the Stand for the Banned Read-Out. During Banned Books Week, participants are encouraged to film themselves reading from banned books or sharing how unrestricted reading has impacted their life.  The submitted videos will be uploaded to the ALA’s Banned Books Week YouTube channel.  Also for the first time, ALA is hosting a Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament, a national effort that invites readers to post banned book-themed action items on Twitter with the hashtag #RebelReader.

First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.  This year’s Banned Books Week theme is “Words Have Power. Read a Banned Book.” The words in banned and challenged books have the power to connect readers to diverse perspectives. When books are threatened with removal from library shelves, your words have the power to challenge censorship and to safeguard the freedom to read.

Additional information regarding Banned Books Week, the Stand for the Banned Read-Out and other events is available at www.ala.org/bbooks .