What does it take to preserve the essential elements of our communities, to care for those institutions and events that define us as a specific town? Taken individually, they may seem dispensable, easily changed, or even irrelevant. But in many towns, community members have come forward to express their concern that a particular building is, in fact, an important landmark and must be preserved, or to rally for a particular event to continue each year, or to insist an institution in their town is precisely why they live there.

My life has been dedicated to historic preservation, so I know how important it is for communities to keep beloved structures maintained and preserved for the future. And this often is not just about the physical structure alone but is also about the events that take place within it, and how they too are preserved. Libraries, particularly, are institutions of that nature and our library in Brooklin is both an important architectural structure and the heart of our town.

At this time, Friend Memorial Public Library in Brooklin needs our attention, and as the new chair of the capital campaign, I fully embrace this task. Yet it takes, of course, a village because the purpose of preserving our library is for us all. Personally, I see this as an opportunity to unite our town, to invite ideas and opinions, and to include concerned community members to contribute to the effort.

Our goal is to raise the necessary funds to preserve the building itself, and there are much-needed, in fact, urgent maintenance and restoration issues we must address. There is also a need to expand our services such as developing new programs for children, enlarging our collections, upgrading our technology, and further enhancing events, both within the library and in our beautiful outdoor space. To meet these needs, we must expand the physical structure as well. Finally, we must increase our endowment to help cover annual operating expenses.

Much thoughtful work has already been done by the board of our library to move this process in the right direction. The hiring of a well-respected fundraising team, Gary Friedmann & Associates, conducting a town-wide survey to determine the needs and wishes of the community, and hiring Elliott Architects, responsible for our award-winning building expansion in 1998, all make my job easier.

My sincere thanks to all who attended the public meeting on August 14. If you were unable to attend, stop by Friend Memorial Public Library and pick up our FAQ sheet to read answers to questions from the community about this important project. Also, if you have any additional questions or suggestions, you can submit them to our Digital Suggestion Box.

We want to continue to work together with you in preserving Brooklin Memorial Public Library for our community and for future generations!

Robert Baird
Capital Campaign Chair