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Presque Isle, Maine 04769
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E-mail: turnermemoriallibrary@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Beulah Akeley the Second Librarian at the Turner Library

The second librarian at the Turner Library was Beulah Barton Akeley. By all accounts, she was a most remarkable woman. She served as librarian here from 1928-1945. She was born in Tobique, New Brunswick and was the daugher of Joseph E. and Mary Elizabeth Goodiel Barton. She was the subject of a Reader's Digest article, The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met, written by Cornelia Stratton Parker in 1945. She was also the subject of a Boston Sunday Post article written in 1945 which appeared with the headline, Typical Maine Mother Raised 18 Children.

At the age of 19 she married a potato farmer named George Akeley. He had four children and was a 36 year old widower. They had a total of 18 children (she gave birth to 13, adopted one, and raised George's 4 children). She had been a teacher and then accepted the position as Town Librarian for Presque Isle. She was known as an avid reader. She was very interested in getting the library books off the shelves and into the hands of readers. Her library was described as light and gay and cheerful and people were encouraged to use the library and feel welcomed there and at ease. She decorated the library with flowers and comfortable chairs in which to sit and read. Her library was one to be used and she wanted to allow everyone greater access to the contents of the library. When many librarians were locking books away and guarding their collections, Beulah was opening the doors and windows of the library and encouraging everyone to come in and use the items in the library.

We have many articles, photos and stories about Beulah Akley and her contributions continue to this day. The library is bright and cheerful and everyone is encouraged to come in and feel at home. It is their library and they should all feel at ease here.

Beulah died in 1956 but her many contributions to the library, the community, and to her church will be remembered. A photo of Beulah owned by the Presque Isle Historical Society can be found on Maine Memory Network and you can also send a free e-postcard from Vintage Maine Images/A Maine Historical Society site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

- Thomas