CAMDEN — The original 1930 message that honors our community, etched into the front steps of the historic Camden Public Library building, has been restored by Andreas von Huene. The sculptor, who has taken excellent care of the library’s "Two Little Fauns” sculpture and the famous Andre the Seal sculpture in Rockport, was on hand at the library on Friday, April 12, to answer questions about the work.
Library Trustee Amy Rollins and Parks Director Dave Jackson led special tours of the library building and grounds, highlighting the restoration, as part of National Library Week celebrations.
“The library’s historic building and parks need constant attention and care to keep them the remarkable jewels that people from near and far enjoy,” Rollins said. “It is by the generosity of many donors that we were able to restore the message on the front steps.”
“The message on the steps, which reads ‘Erected by The United Effort and Generosity of the Community,’ is emblematic of the mission of the Camden Public Library and the recently announced Campaign for the Future,” said Jackson, who is also the campaign’s co-chair, along with Susan Flynn. “The restoration of this message feels like a timely rallying point for the work that needs to be done to keep the library’s building and grounds maintained and beautiful for years to come.”
Andreas von Huene agreed with the sentiment, stating, “It is a noble community that bands together.”
Executive Director Nikki Maounis said of the message’s restoration, “It couldn’t be more fitting as we invite the community to join our effort to support our library’s future. Many people believe that the library is well-funded, and the buildings and grounds are in good condition – and that perception is only partly true.”
Jackson said, “Keeping up the historic buildings and parks takes an extraordinary amount of effort, but it is worth it. We work hard to ensure that none of the library’s historical features deteriorate to an irreparable point. Several years past, funds ran low and the library’s parks become unkempt, which changed the atmosphere in the center of town significantly. Restoring the parks cost nearly $1 million. Today, just like a good business, we are striving to keep things in good repair, while investing in protective measures today, so we avoid such daunting costs in the future that ultimately impact everyone in the community.”
The Camden Public Library is a rare example of a library that is also responsible for maintaining its surrounding parks – the Camden Amphitheatre and Harbor Park. Together with the library building, they are a National Historic Landmark – a rare distinction. Providing a consistently polished historical setting that is also the center of public life for our community is beneficial not only to the library goers and visitors, but to Camden and the greater Midcoast as a whole.
To protect the future of the Camden Public Library and its parks, the library launched the Campaign for the Future during National Library Week. The goal is to raise $2.5 million, of which $1.5 million has already been raised through its most generous donors and friends. That effort included more than 20 local businesses that form the Business Leadership Circle, which contributed more than $100,000.
Community help is needed to make the Campaign for the Future a success. Library supporters are invited to purchase commemorative bricks to raise funds. Each brick costs $250 and can be engraved with a personal message or tribute. Donors are also encouraged to make a gift of any amount. To purchase a brick or to learn more about the campaign, visit librarycamden.org/future or contact Diane Lebson at email@example.com.
About the Camden Public Library: The Camden Public Library is the center of public life in our community – bringing people together to read, connect, and discover. For more than 100 years, the library has provided essential services to the greater Camden community and today attracts some 230,000 visits each year. Since 2008, the library has earned “star” library status from the Library Journal, making it one of the top 85 libraries in the country.