After more than a quarter-century, the door has opened a little wider for necessary improvements to Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell, and public libraries across Maine. Let’s walk through that door, and see what we can accomplish. Our treasured library buildings need safety and accessibility upgrades.

Congress has until mid-December to finish bills for fiscal year 2023, including a Senate appropriations bill that includes $20 million in federal funding for library buildings. If approved by the House, we would see the first federal funding to modernize libraries since 1996.

As a librarian, a Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library board member and legislative chair for the Maine Library Association, I believe this funding would make a meaningful difference in our libraries.

It’s time to show support for these venerable institutions that serve such a vital function.

Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library is the heart of community life in our rural village and is frequently visited by residents of surrounding towns who don’t have libraries of their own. Many rely on our Wi-Fi for homework, college and job applications, and communication with family and friends. Much of Lovell lacks high-speed internet, and the Hobbs Library offers wireless connectivity 24 hours a day.

What’s more, the library is a beacon of truth and reliability. People come to Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library because they trust us to help them find the accurate information they seek.


Our library, like many in Maine, was built more than 100 years ago. The building maintains a lot of its 1908 historic charm, but deferred maintenance is the norm.

Right now we’re dealing with an air handler and an HVAC system that don’t work well, and bathrooms that don’t work as expected. There are also accessibility issues that we can’t address because of the lack of funds, such as adding an automatic door opener for people with disabilities.

Safety and accessibility are top priorities, but making these upgrades is beyond our means. While we’re thankful for the modest funding that the town of Lovell can provide, it’s incredibly challenging to raise the money needed for larger scale building issues. One of our aspirational goals is to create a greener, more efficient building, but this is cost prohibitive.

Nonetheless, our library staff is committed to offering a wide range of programming for everyone. We have a mahjong group that meets weekly, tai chi, and tech help. Recently we started up weekly story time again, much to the delight of our youngest neighbors.

Beyond books, you can also borrow a telescope, a mobile hot spot, a laptop, a pass to the Portland Museum of Art, Lego sets and snowshoes, just to name a few. And, of course, you can also search dozens of databases to access thousands of magazines, newspapers and reference materials.

Our public libraries serve an important role, but they need our attention. Like our building’s namesake, Charlotte Hobbs, who dedicated herself to creating the best library possible for the people of Lovell, we too have an opportunity to create a lasting legacy.

An investment in our public libraries opens the door to opportunity for residents of all ages to learn, explore and prosper.

When Congress negotiates the final appropriations bill this fall, we hope that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree, will support funding to modernize the more than 250 public libraries in Maine.

Savannah Sessions of Lovell is a board member of Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library and legislative chair of the Maine Library Association.

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