WATERVILLE — The Waterville Public Library serves community members at every stage of their life.

There are programs to get parents reading to their infants and toddlers, youth services and a teen room, book discussion groups and lectures for adults, a career center for job seekers, and more than 100,000 books, movies and magazines.

“A good public library should offer programs and activities that are of interest to all members of the community,” said Library Director Sarah Sugden.

On top of providing many services and being connected to a network of libraries with 6 million items, last March the library renovated and expanded its building on Elm Street after completing a $3.1 million capital campaign.

That’s why the library is the recipient of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Community Service Project of the Year Award.

Kim Lindlof, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the library is a natural fit for the award, which is given to a nonprofit that has improved the community and economic well-being of the area.

“Not only has the library team under Sarah Sugden’s leadership enhanced the library’s functionality, appearance and handicapped accessibility, it has also expanded its scope of work to include programs designed to aid our unemployed to get them back to work,” she said.

The 49th annual awards dinner will be Wednesday, March 28, at the Waterville Elks Banquet & Conference Center on Industrial Street.

Sugden said it is a tremendous honor to be selected for the award, and “the Library Board of Trustees and the staff are extremely grateful.”

One exciting part of the library is the Business & Career Center, Sugden said. Led by Tammy Rabideau it offers resources and computers to support job seeking, career development and entrepreneurial research. It hosts job fairs and brings in employment specialists to help get people back to work.

Describing the library as supporting people from womb to tomb, she said the Children’s Room is where young ones can develop a love of reading and learning. There are “crafternoons,” rhyme time and story-time sessions.

For teenagers, the library offers movie and game nights and homework help opportunities, in addition to a teen librarian. An advisory board of teens is working to improve services for the age group.

The library continues to develop programs for adults, Sugden said, such as book discussion groups, film screenings, lectures and events with other local organizations.

During the library’s renovation — to build a new entrance, install a new elevator and heating and air conditioning systems, plus new floors and lights — workers discovered a cache of historic documents and photographs in storage.

The library is cataloging and digitizing the images as part of the Waterville History Project. The images will be available online with the Maine Memory Network, she said.

Library services for Waterville residents are free; there is a fee for non-residents.

Cards may also be used at Colby, Unity and Thomas colleges, Kennebec Valley Community College, MaineGeneral’s libraries, Gardiner Public Library and Lithgow Public Library in Augusta.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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