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Around The Grange
North Stonington Grange: Caring About the Community

By Sasha Goldstein, New London Day (5/26/11)

  MAY 26, 2011 --

Amy Kennedy doesn't live in North Stonington, but the town's Grange committee honored her with the 2011 Community Citizen Award on May 13.

The longtime Wheeler Library director said she was very surprised, and honored, to receive the award at the group's monthly meeting. Kennedy, who lives in Groton-Long Point, will have served 20 years as the library's director on July 1.

"It's nice that it came at a significant time for me," Kennedy said from her office, complete with a newly-installed wall, behind the circulation desk last week. "The meeting and presentation was fun, and made me really happy."

Grange lecturer Sue Pianka said the group's members nominate people not associated with the Grange but "who we feel has contributed greatly to our town in one way or another."

Pianka said Kennedy was an easy choice this year.

"She is being honored for all she has done to make the library a truly focal point of our town," Pianka said. "Even though it is technically a private library, the programs and resources available there make the library a focal point for the community, and that's especially amazing now with our town still so 'divided' since the devastating floods of last spring took out the central bridge on Main Street."

Kennedy, modest despite her achievements, said she's enjoyed every moment of her time at Wheeler.

"The role of the public librarian has evolved to keep up with changes," she said. "The library has changed from a repository for books to more of a community center. I love that we're serving every person in the community."

Wheeler offers programs for kids, adults and everything in between, Kennedy said.

And the recognition comes at a crucial time. With budgets tight, the Grange offered to donate money raised during fundraising events for the year. Kennedy said the money will help the library complete short and long-term projects, from roof repair to accomplishing its goal of increasing the library's endowment.

The Grange already presented her with a check of $100 during the presentation, Kennedy said.

Marsha Lockaby said she's worked at the library 12 years, and known Kennedy for even longer. The award, Lockaby said, went to the right person.

"She's kept the place running, even with the flood last year, she handled that," Lockaby said. "She works on a shoe-string budget but she makes do and does the best she can with what she's given."

Kennedy, ever-modest, shrugs off the praise. She's a librarian because she likes it.

"It's a profession I was born to do," Kennedy said, smiling.

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