Former First Lady Laura Bush helps re-open historic door

Kennebunkport, August 19, 2016 — Former First Lady Laura Bush joined with Mary-Lou Boucouvalas, executive director of the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library in Kennebunkport, and George Emery, chair of the Library’s Mothers Wing Capital Campaign, to formally re-open the historic front door of the Library on Friday, August 19.

IMG_7949_smallThe door was closed in 1988 when renovations to the existing Library were completed and a new side entrance was introduced.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the June launch of the $1 million capital campaign to raise funds to expand and update the Library. The front door will become the primary entrance to the Library when the building project begins.

The Mothers Wing Capital Campaign, named in honor of all mothers who have utilized the Library’s services over the past century to encourage children to read, is raising funds to add a new wing to the existing Library to provide much needed space for collections and programs, install an elevator for enhanced handicapped access, and update the Library’s aged infrastructure.

“I’m a former librarian so you might guess that libraries have a very special place in my heart,” said Mrs. Bush in her remarks at the opening. “Libraries are the souls of communities. We meet here to socialize, discover new adventures, learn and relax, and to teach our children and grandchildren the value and joy of learning.

“In this digital age, some may feel that libraries are losing their place in our community; but I believe that we need public libraries now more than ever. And I’m happy that the Graves Library is serving more patrons now than ever. Libraries are vital resources; one of the few public places available to interact with your neighbors and to enjoy the very best of your community and the world of reading.”

GravesLibraryRendering-web“The Graves Library has served as an educational, social, and cultural center of our town for over a century; yet it has been over 30 years since the Library has sought community support for a Capital Campaign,” added Emery. “Increased use has brought challenges in finding space to meet our growing needs. In addition, the Library is a 19th century building that requires major updating. The Mothers Wing Capital Campaign addresses these needs, including adding an elevator and replacing the Library’s aging heating and air conditioning systems.

“We have worked closely with an architect who specializes in historic structures to ensure that we preserve the character of this classic building while providing Library users with an expanded and fully updated facility.”

The Library, which is listed on the National Historic Register, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in its current location. If you would like to donate to the Mothers Wing Capital Campaign, click here.