I read the article “Longtime Orr’s librarian out as board pursues new vision” with deep disappointment and disbelief. The Orr’s Island Library has become the Harpswell institution I love most in the five years I have lived here. The reasons are Joanne Rogers and Maura Donovan. The recognition when you come through the door; the beautiful garden; the thoughtful, spot-on book recommendations (thank you for “Spoonhandle” by Ruth Moore); the friendly chats at the desk among the patrons and librarians; the sense you have that everyone is warmly welcome. You’re a fellow reader, even if you just moved here from away, and that’s all that counts. It is (or now sadly was) one of my happy places on earth.
When someone asks me to describe Harpswell, I describe the time I came in to pay a 25-cent fine. Joanne explained that the fine jar supports needs that come to her attention in the community. I’ve never been so delighted to multiply a library fine. Technology is often overrated. Deep, genuine, wholehearted kindness is harder to find.
It seems like an unnecessarily abrupt end. If the board has received only two letters that were less than wildly enthusiastic, I wonder if it is possible that is because there was no formal survey or any other process for library patrons to voice what they value most about the library until after the fact? Orr’s Island Library was the people who created it and loved it.
Kristin Brennan, Harpswell