MILO, Maine — Longtime town librarian, Judith Macdougall, who is retiring this week, will be feted at an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 1, in the library.
Macdougall, who started as the assistant and children’s librarian in 1976 and later became the director, said Wednesday she will miss the patrons. She does, however, plan to do some volunteering at the library after her retirement to help her replacement, Pamela Flanagan of Derby. Flanagan is assistant librarian.
“I’d rather leave and have the people say, ‘I’ll miss you,’ than stay and have people ask, ‘When is she ever going to leave?’” Macdougall said. Appreciative of her tenure as librarian, Macdougall said it has been enjoyable meeting people and helping them with their reading materials.
Macdougall said she has seen some drastic changes over the years. When she landed the job, it was a time before computers were in homes and schools, before cable television was developed and before schools had their own individual libraries. The circulation of the Milo Free Public Library, which caters to residents in the re-gion, then was about 25,000 books, she said.
Today, in the information age, Macdougall said the circulation has dropped to about 7,000 books; however, more people are using the library for computer access. Of the approximately 5,000 people who came through the library door last year, more than 2,000 came to use the computers, she said.
Macdougall has embraced the changes, having worked to acquire five computers for patrons and two for the staff’s use. She also started a summer reading program, which is in its 25th year, and she encouraged the use of the library as a learning center where local people can work to earn a general equivalency degree. Macdougall also helped create an inviting children’s corner, a project she said she most enjoyed.