by Kathleen Whalin, Children’s Librarian
It’s nearly unfathomable but I have been working at the Library, writing these columns for twenty years. When I interviewed for the children’s librarian job, all those years ago, I told the hiring committee I was “looking for a home” and I was. Although I don’t live in York, I have certainly spent most of my time since the day I was hired getting to know this particular lovely town on the southern coast of Maine. I know this town, I know some of you, and this has been a place to call home.
The question is not why I came, I think (who could resist such a beautiful place) but rather why I stayed. The early days were hard. I often said I felt like I’d stumbled into the last act of a play without knowing any of the fine points of the plot. Our budget was voted down year after year, I was often reminded I was “from away”, every book I bought was a major purchase. All my years of working in other states and other libraries did not prepare me for such major rejection. But through it all, I could see the potential in the town and in all the people who live here and who really care about each other.
Time passed, the financial straits widened a little, and I spent my days reveling in the pleasure of introducing young kids to stories. I am so glad I spent my last working years here- sharing my love of books with all of you. It’s strange to think that this summer will not bring mobbed storyhours, returning summer people and a chance to introduce Elephant, Piggy, Poppleton, Wolfie and a host of other favorite characters to the next generation.
But, as Christopher Robin knew, there comes a time to leave. And that time, for me, is now. I’ll miss all of you but know, as with Christopher Robin and Pooh, that my puppets and I will still be in our own place. To paraphrase Milne at the end of the Pooh books “But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a librarian and her puppets will always be playing.”
Miss Kathleen’s last day at the Library is May 15.