“I want to have something for everyone, even if they don’t know it yet,” Ruth Eveland says. “I want to stimulate, educate, help people find each other and do good work, entertain and amuse, and provide That Place where everyone wants to stop by regularly just to see what’s going on and where everyone is comfortable. I want to work with great folks and make exciting things happen. I truly believe that libraries make the world a better place and I want to do that work.”
She joined the Jesup as a member just five days after moving to Bar Harbor with her family in October of 1993. “Almost every community values its public library and thinks it is wonderful. The Jesup has a particularly vital image in our town – the building, the collection, the activities, and particularly the friendly and helpful staff are all sources of pride.”
Ruth’s love affair with libraries began long before moving to Bar Harbor, however. She started working in libraries in the second grade to get out of class; she read to kindergarteners and shelved books. Everyone always told her that she’d be a librarian. But she wasn’t so sure. When she graduated from college she worked at “an unbelievably frustrating job analyzing advertising effectiveness.” Four months in she decided to go to library school.
“One of my first instructors was a public library director, serving in an adjunct faculty position, and he had a vision of What Public Library Service Should Be. I bought every word he said. The skies above opened and the light came down and I knew exactly what I wanted to do: be the director of a community library and help it be the most vibrant place in town.”
After six other library jobs, she became director of the Jesup in December 2009. In 2016, she was named the Maine Outstanding Librarian for her work in the state of Maine and she also won the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Cadillac Award for her work in the town of Bar Harbor.