WATERVILLE — Award-winning Waterville Library Director Sarah Sugden announced Wednesday that she will leave her job Nov. 2 to become director of the Brown County Library system based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Sugden, director for nearly 14 years, oversaw major transformations at the city library, including the first successful capital campaign that last year garnered a national award for outstanding community service.

Sugden, 44, not only was responsible for overseeing an expansion and renovation of the library and earning it state and national recognition, but she also elevated its profile in the community.

In Waterville, Sugden oversees an annual budget of about $667,000, $475,500 of which comes from the city. The library receives about 100,000 visitors a year and has a collection of 75,000 items.

As director of the Brown County Library system, she will oversee a system serving 260,000 residents with a $7.4 million annual operating budget, nine locations and a bookmobile outreach service.

Sugden said Wednesday that she is leaving to pursue new professional opportunities and continue her work learning how public libraries can serve people and communities best.

“The Waterville Public Library has left an indelible mark in my heart,” she said in a statement. “I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had here. It has been an honor to have served since 2005 as the Waterville Public Library director, adding my efforts to the library’s growth and prosperity. It has been my great fortune to be present for some of the library’s biggest challenges and greatest successes. I will always love the Waterville Public Library.”

City Manager Michael Roy said Wednesday he was sorry to hear Sugden was leaving, “but we’re much better off than when she came here.” Roy said that whenever people talk about the renaissance going on in the city, the library is always one of those things included — and that is a direct reflection of Sugden’s efforts.

“She will be very hard to replace,” Roy said. “Whoever does so has big shoes to fill. She has certainly made her mark here.”

Sugden’s annual salary is $68,000.

Cindy Jacobs, president of the library’s board of trustees, said library officials are deeply grateful for the many positive influences Sugden has had in the city during her time as director.

“Sarah has elevated our library to one of the very best in the nation,” Jacobs said. “While Sarah will be greatly missed, this new position in Wisconsin is a perfect next career move for her. Just as she has been here in Waterville, Sarah will continue to be an extraordinary asset wherever she is.”

In 2014, Sugden was given the “I Love My Librarian” award for Outstanding Public Service by the Carnegie Corp., The New York Times and the American Library Association. Under her leadership, the library garnered the 2017 National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Service. It is the nation’s highest honor available to a library.

A Waterville native, Sugden graduated from Dartmouth College and earned her master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College. Before being hired at the Waterville library, she worked in libraries in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Phoenix, Arizona.

The Waterville library’s associate director, Tammy Rabideau, will serve as interim director when Sugden leaves. Jabobs said the library is fortunate because Sugden will leave it in strong shape and in Rabideau’s competent hands.

“Tammy has been invaluable in working with Sarah over the last eight years,” Jacobs said. “We are confident that she is ready and well equipped to take on the director’s duties for the library.”

Sugden said she has never been more excited for the library as it moves forward.

“The Waterville Library team, headed by the dynamic, seasoned leadership of Tammy Rabideau, will continue to be a national leader in offering excellent, innovative, and compassionate library services,” she said. “I am thrilled to see what the Waterville Public Library does next.”

A graduate of Skidmore College, Rabideau received a master’s degree in library and information science from the State University of New York, Albany. She worked in major academic library systems at the University of Michigan, Swarthmore College and the Georgia Institute of Technology before being hired at the Waterville library in 2010.

Rabideau created the library’s Business, Career, & Creativity Center and has been a key liaison in creating the library’s strong collaborative network facilitating many innovative programs for the Waterville community, according to officials. She also has worked closely with businesses and business-related organizations such as Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and the Central Maine Growth Council on innovative employment-related programs. Rabideau is a member of the board of directors of Waterville Creates! and co-founded PechaKucha Night Waterville.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.