Little library finds many ways to support itself
In the six years since reopening in a new location (but in the same building), Hanover’s little library has become a community center, according to volunteer Peg Susbury.
In addition to the obvious offerings - books and other media - it’s a one-stop destination for a crafts corner shop, coffee, bottle redemption and even fishing worms.
The Gardner Roberts Memorial Library has enjoyed a rebirth since the days when it was tucked into a tiny lot, squeezed up against the house next door, on the Howard Pond Road.
The library, built in 1884, was moved in 2007 to the Town Office property on Route 2.
Run by volunteers, the library is only open three days a week - but patrons and volunteers pack a lot of activity into those time slots.
Much of it relates to checking out books, of course, but there are also social and fundraising events.
As former volunteer librarian Barbara Stearns Gross said at the 2007 library dedication, the atmosphere at the library as far back as the 1950s has always been more casual than the stereotypical silence.
“We didn’t believe in being quiet in the library,” she said.
That tradition continues today.
On Tuesday afternoons, for example, local women gather around the table in the center of the room for coffee, socializing and crafts work.
The crafts made there (and at home) are displayed in a corner and are sold to help pay library expenses.
The ‘corner’ was started last year after volunteers continued to get requests for them following sales at the annual Fall Festival fundraiser, Susbury said.
“It’s been quite successful and we are able to make special orders of many items, for babies, children, adults, home decorations and holiday-specific decorations, for example,” she said.
On Wednesdays there’s the “Dollar Book Bakery” bake sale, where everything is a dollar - except for the baked beans, which go for $2 a pint. “We also offer coffee," said Susbury.
Then there are the more unusual fundraising activities.
People can drop off their redeemable bottles, which Bob Susbury returns and then gives the proceeds to the library.
“We get about $40 a month for that,” said Peg.
More recently - since the closing of nearby Gordie Howe’s Store - the library has begun offering refrigerated fishing worms for sale.
This year’s annual Fall Festival is also coming right up, taking place Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with craft, book and bake sales, lunch, and raffles (including a quilt made by the Library Bees group).
Peg said the library volunteers and board are grateful for the support they receive.
“We may have a small corps of volunteers, but when we are in need, the community opens its heart and is at our doorstep,” she said. “How lucky we are.”