Rockport Public Library celebrates 100 years of service

By Dwight Collins | Jun 02, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins Residents gathered as Rockport Public Library celebrated 100 years of serving the community May 30 with an open house.

Rockport — The Rockport Public Library marked its 100-year anniversary May 30 with an open house that brought patrons together from all around the Midcoast.

A bouncy house, balloon animals and an appearance by Rockport Fire Department kept children busy for the afternoon while performances by Camden-Rockport Middle School Jazz Band, Camden Hills Regional High School Jazz Band and the high school a cappella group the “OffBeats” entertained the large crowd.

Prior to a presentation by State Rep. Joan Welsh, Rockport Town Manager Richard Bates announced that Ann Filley would take the helm as the new library director.

"It's not about the books, it's not about the building, it is about the people who are here supporting the library," Bates said. "I thought it would be really fitting that we start off the next 100 years by announcing who the new library director will be and I am pleased to say that Ann Filley will be the new director."

After months of searching and interviewing candidates from as far away as Florida and Indiana, town officials decided Filley would be the best fit to lead the library through change. She has been the interim director for the past 7 months.

"I am just so honored to be part of this great organization and the people involved with it," Filley said. "As I have said many times, this is my town and to be a part of it in this way is monumental for me, I enjoy everyday that I come to the library -- I really don't want to get teary eyed -- so thank you all so very much."

Filley is the seventh director of the library during its 100-year existence.

Welsh then read a proclamation that recognized the library's importance to the community during the past century.

"The library began as a roomful of books in the basement of the Rockport Opera House in 1914 and has had only six directors in its 100-year history. It has grown and expanded under the leadership of those directors who, with dedicated staff, have nurtured and expanded its collection and programs. The library now houses more than 32,000 books and circulates more than 67,000 titles each year,” she read. “It hosts many programs for adults and children and has an active Friends of the Library group. We extend our congratulations to the Rockport Public Library as it continues to be a treasured resource for Rockport residents and visitors; And be it ordered that this official expression of sentiment be sent forthwith on behalf of the 126th Legislature and the people of the State of Maine."

Filley addressed the crowd expressing her heartfelt thank yous and appreciation for each and every person involved with making the library such a success, but wanted to make sure that three individuals received additional recognition.

“I just want to say one last thing, that we have been so fortunate in this library as Rick [Bates] said, with the people that have worked and have committed themselves to this library and to service this community, and I just want to let you know that our own Jane Babbit is retiring after 11 and-a-half years,” Filley said.

Filley also acknowledged Pricilla Wood and Jenny Ruddy, each for 20-plus years of service to the library.

Hannah Burke rocks a plastic fire hat and balloon monkey during the 100th anniversary celebration of Rockport Public Library. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley hands out fire hats to children during the 100th anniversary Celebration of Rockport Public Library. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
The "OffBeats" perform during the Rockport Public Library 100th anniversary Celebration May 30. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Rockport Town Manager Rick Bates congratulates Ann Filley after she is named director of Rockport Public Library May 30 at the library's 100th anniversary Celebration. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
State Rep. Joan Welsh, right, holds up a proclamation on behalf of the 126th Legislature during the 100th anniversary Celebration of Rockport Public Library. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Kyle Edgerly, front, and Matthew Edgerly make balloon animals during the 100th anniversary Celebration of Rockport Public Library May 30. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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