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Stockton Springs Community Library Awarded for Volunteerism

Stockton Springs -

STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — The Spirit of America Foundation awarded Stockton Springs Community Library the 2011 Spirit of America award for volunteerism. The ceremony for Waldo County recipients was held at Dirigo Grange Hall in Freedom on Thursday, September 15. Representing the 21-year old foundation were Foundation President Terrence McCabe, and Foundation Director Richard Grotton who was also the emcee for the evening.

Basil Staples, library Vice President, accepted the award on behalf of all of the Stockton Springs Community Library volunteers. The award was presented by State Senator Michael Thibodeau. Also present from Stockton Springs were Town Selectman Peter Curley, Library Co-Director and Treasurer Pat Curley, Library Trustee Janice Capano and volunteers Henry Capano and Paulina Joyce.

Stockton Springs Community Library is one of only 2 or 3 libraries in the state of Maine that are completely operated by volunteers and is one of the most active.

Staples, a founder of the library, shared a thought from years ago that “every town around, in Waldo County, has a library; there’s no reason why we can’t have one.” That vision became a reality with the effort of many dedicated volunteers. According to Staples, SSCL currently has about 26 permanent volunteers and another 4-6 more. “When you can get 30 people or so all going in the same direction, you can really do a lot with it,” Staples said.

Now, 10 years later, the library is a hub of activity for the town. The building, given by the town to SSCL and the Stockton Springs Historical Society, was formerly a sea captain’s home. It has 14 completely refinished rooms, kept in their original form as much as possible. The library is primarily funded by its Bottles for Books campaign, made possible by the generosity of many who donate their returnable bottles and cans as well as volunteers who handle redeeming them.

Additional annual fundraising events include a book sale, plant sale and, most recently held, a Victorian Tea with a Victorian Tea Boutique, all run by volunteers.

Selectman Curley said, speaking on behalf of the residents of Stockton Springs, “We are really proud of what these people are doing.” He continued to say of the library and it’s volunteers “…they have really become the heart of the town: they run a lot of functions, they run a lot of programs for the kids during the summer, so it’s really gotten a lot of people from Stockton Springs together. It’s just been a great thing and we’re very proud of them for that.”

Twenty-three other individuals, groups or organizations in Waldo County were also recognized with a Spirit of America award.

Foundation President McCabe expressed his gratitude for a full house at the event. He recognized Lois Zezima of Dirigo Grange, various legislators and Commissioner of Waldo County, grange members and guests. He also recognized Alma Jones from Washington, the first recipient of the award in 1991, who has volunteered thousands of hours. McCabe pointed out that volunteers save Maine’s government a lot of time, effort and money. He also noted that, while volunteering is beneficial to Maine government, it is very heartwarming to the volunteer. In conclusion, he acknowledged how people always give up something to volunteer – whether it be a favorite TV program or something else – and there’s a reason for that: “that nice feeling of accomplishment that you’ve done something for your own community.”

Senator Thibodeau said to the roomful of volunteer award recipients, “I’m extremely proud of this group. I can’t say enough good about Waldo County. And it’s the people like you that make it the special place that it is, so thank you.”

For more information on SSCL, go to: www.stocktonspringslibrary.org

For more information on Maine Spirit of America Foundation, go to : spiroaf.org

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