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 that 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.
Mary Lou Dyer is a citizen of Hallowell and the president of the Hubbard Free Library Board of Trustees.
Board of Trustees: Mary Lou Dyer, Ken Young, Jim McKenna, Susan Sargent, Eric Perry, Dan Shagoury, Sam Webber Sr., Cara Courchesne, Trudy Ellis and Earle Shettleworth
Do you want to honor someone special in your life or thank someone for helping out? Do you need a gift for that person who has everything? Why not buy a book?
The Buy-A-Book campaign benefits the Hubbard Free Library. For a gift of $25, a book will be purchased to add the Library’s collection. A bookplate will be placed inside the front cover with your name or the name of the person you designate on it. This campaign allows you to contribute to the Library’s book collection.
As the Library’s membership grows each year, the need to increase the collection outpaces the Library’s budget. This is where you can help. Your gift will place books into people’s hands reach so many: the a littlest preschooler child who is just beginning learning to read, the a teen writing a book report, with an impending book report or the or an adult looking for the latest bestseller.
Please consider supporting support this campaign. You can choose the category of you would like purchased or have your gift will be placed in the general fund which will be used toward to help meet the Hubbard’s greatest needs.
Yes, I want to help buy more books for all readers! Your donation will buy books for the Library to be enjoyed, teens, adults and you! As a thank-you, your name, or the name of the person or organization you choose to honor, will appear on a special bookplate in a new book.
DONOR NAME: __________________________________________________
CITY: ________________________ STATE: ____ ZIP CODE: _________
PHONE NUMBER: ________________ EMAIL: ________________________
Please Choose a Contribution Level: ___ $25.00 Buy a book ___ $50.00 Buy two books ___ $75.00 Buy three books ___ $100.00 Buy four books ___ $500.00 Buy a shelf of books ___ $2,000.00 a stack of books ___ $________ (Other)
Please Choose a Category: Adult: ___ Fiction ___ Non-Fiction Teens: ___ Fiction ___ Non-Fiction Children: ___ Fiction ___Non-Fiction General Fund: ___
Please choose a method of payment: ___ Check: payable to the Hubbard Free Library and mailed to: HFL, 115 Second St., Hallowell, ME 04347 ___ PayPal electronically (credit card or bank account)
There are many opportunities for volunteering at the Hubbard, including, but not limited to: re-shelving books and other items, assisting at our weekly Children’s Hour – reading to children; helping with arts and crafts activities -, or serving as a computer guru. Stop by and see if there’s something you might like to do.
The Friends of Hubbard Free Library:
The Friends of the Hubbard Free Library sponsor both adult and children’s programming throughout the year. Annual membership fees, as well as fund-raising events such as books sales and raffles, make a wide variety of programs possible. The group has also supported the library in other ways in the past: providing a new sign for out front, a refrigerator, two computers, an adjustable crafts table for the Children’s Room, as well as Leo the Library Lion (the kids love him). They provide refreshments for all events, prizes for our Summer Reading program, keep the library looking warm and welcoming with plants and other decorations, and take on various special projects from time to time. All are welcome to attend the meetings, the fourth Wednesday of every month at noon in the library. Bring a bag lunch, and help brainstorm ideas for programs and fund-raising events! If you are unable to attend meetings, consider at least becoming a member: Individual: $10, Family: $15, Business: $50, Lifetime $75 (per person). Checks should be made out to Friends of Hubbard Free Library. Donations may also be made electronically by clicking on the Donate Button above.
Our capital campaign is winding down, but it’s not too late to contribute! While donations received thus far have enabled us to replace the 130-year-old slate roof, replace our ancient boiler with two excellent new ones (no more having to wear gloves in the library in the dead of winter!), and replace the noisy, defective heaters in the children’s room, much still remains to be done, including repairing the chimney, restoring our beautiful windows which, alas, are not as tight as they should be, and installing a handicapped-accessible restroom. Donations can be made by check or made electronically by clicking on the Donate Button above. All donations, no matter what the amount, are greatly appreciated.
There are numerous methods of making charitable gifts, many while retaining income interest, with current tax deductions generated for remainder gifts. Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts, Remainder Unitrusts, Pooled Income Funds and Gift Annuities are some examples. For information on these and other possibilities please see the link for Kennebec Wealth Management (contact Sam Tippet).