Benefactor Mary Louise Curtis Bok returns from the 1930s to join ribbon-cutting ceremony

Walsh History Center in Camden reopens with more meeting space, easier layout

Posted:  Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 6:15pm
Share: 

CAMDEN — On Wednesday, April 10, the Camden Public Library hosted a grand re-opening of the Walsh History Center. The History Center is a repository and a research center where people can browse its newspaper and map collections, trace their roots, or look up their family members in Camden and Rockport high school yearbooks.

The Center has been refreshed to offer more meeting space and an easier layout for research and archival work. Mary Louise Curtis Bok, an extraordinary benefactor to both Camden and Rockport, made a “visit” to celebrate the formal ribbon cutting.
 
Bok, portrayed by library trustee Marti Wolfe, spoke to the audience from April 10, 1930: “While in this Great Depression, many pockets may be empty – [but] all hearts and imaginations may be filled with abundance as we look forward to the future of the Camden Public Library, the Garden Theatre, and Shorefront Park,” according to the Library, in a news release.

Bok was also shown a short film about the library, the realization of her philanthropic vision.
 
The renovations to the Walsh History Center were made possible through the investments of the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation and the Davis Family Foundation.
 
“Bangor Savings Bank is honored to have partnered with the Camden Public Library on this important project,” said Skip Bates, senior vice president and director of Main Street Banking at Bangor Saving Bank, in the release. “The expansion of the meeting space and the overall improvement of the Walsh History Center is of great significance to residents of Camden and Rockport, and we are committed to enhancing the quality of life for our friends and neighbors.”
 
“The library relies on the generous contributions of our neighbors and friends like the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation and Davis Family Foundation, as 52% of our budget comes from charitable donations, fundraising events, and fees,” said library Executive Director Nikki Maounis, in the release.
 
The re-opening was part of the library’s celebration of National Library Week and the public launch of the Campaign for the Future. This fundraising effort will provide for the library’s programs in the future, specifically creating young readers, fostering lifelong learning, and sustaining its historic building and parks.

The library is striving to raise the remaining $1 million of its $2.5 million goal through this campaign. To date, $1.5 million has been raised by the library’s closest friends and most generous donors who have quietly made significant contributions in advance of the public launch.

The amount raised to date also includes more than $100,000 from local businesses who have joined the library’s Business Leadership Circle.
 
The campaign also features the opportunity for people to purchase commemorative bricks to raise funds for the campaign. Each brick costs $250. To purchase a brick or to learn more about the campaign, visit librarycamden.org/future or contact Diane Lebson at dlebson@librarycamden.org.
 
The Camden Public Library is the center of public life in the 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.