History of Friends
History of Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library
In 1999, Tracy Richardson, a 1982 graduate of Stearns High School who was living in Benedicta with her former husband and two young daughters, recognized the need for a Friends group at the Millinocket Memorial Library. Since her girls were homeschooled, the library had become an important part of the girls’ education. She made a weekly trip to Millinocket in those days for the girls to attend Story Time on Thursdays. Tracy spearheaded the effort by recruiting members for the Friends and filing necessary paperwork. The Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library became a 501 (c) (3) in 1999.
The Officers of the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library were:
Tracy Richardson Clement – President
Kamma Michaud – Vice President
John McManus – Secretary
Nancy Dickey – Treasurer
The first and biggest project the Friends took on in the early days was to replace the carpeting in the Children’s Room. Tracy applied for a grant through the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. With those funds, the asbestos tiles were removed and new carpeting installed. The Friends also replaced the window quilts in the upstairs windows, as well as provided a new fax machine for the library, a printer for the Children’s Librarian, provided various supplies for the library, supported the Summer Reading Program financially, and put a flower garden in the front of the building in the shape of a book, which was placed in the flower garden and remains there today.
The Friends held annual Book and Bake Sales at the library on July 4th for many years, which were well attended and provided a large portion of funding for the Friends. The Friends had a small core group, but they worked hard and accomplished much.
Unfortunately, the mill closed, Friends members moved away, and the membership dwindled. In the Spring of 2014, a Friends meeting was held to discuss increasing their membership. They decided to hold a public meeting with the primary purpose of increasing the membership. After that meeting they went from 4–5 members to approximately 90 members with 25–30 regularly attending the monthly meetings. The Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library is the catalyst which has allowed the Millinocket Memorial Library to remain open. Without Tracy Richardson’s foresight in 1999, it would have been difficult to mobilize the effort to keep the library after the recent cuts to the Town budget. The Friends are grateful to the past members, but are also grateful for the energy and commitment the new members have brought to the library and the Town of Millinocket.