BAR HARBOR — When Mae “Miss Mae” Corrion was hired at the Jesup Memorial Library 25 years ago, the card catalog was the only way to look up books and the library had only five employees. Now, as she finishes her last month behind the desk in the children’s room, she is amazed at the changes that have happened during her tenure and is ready to start her new adventure as a retiree in Florida.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the families and kids over the years and I am going to miss them. The one thing I hope I have accomplished over anything else is to create a positive love for libraries that will stay with children for the rest of their lives,” Corrion said.
Abby Morrow, who previously worked at the Ellsworth Public Library, will be starting as the new youth services librarian at the end of May, and Corrion is excited to see what the future will bring to the Jesup. “I am leaving knowing that the library will continue to be even bigger and better, and that the children’s room will be in good hands,” she said.
Corrion started at the Jesup in 1997 as a circulation assistant. A month into the job, then Director Nancy Howland asked her to become the assistant director. She assumed the role of the youth services librarian in 2001.
Some of the kids that came to her story times have returned with their own kids, and some parents, now as grandparents, have returned as well. Corrion is most proud of the connections she has formed in the community.
“I started doing weekly story times with Kids Corner and then that led to book talks and monthly kindergarten story times at Conners Emerson,” she said.
In addition to weekly preschool story times at the library, Corrion started doing more programs for kids. She held dozens of programs for kids during the summer, built around the summer reading theme, bringing in animals, mad scientists, storytellers, community members, musicians and more.
She started doing a monthly PJ story time on Wednesday nights as well as themed Saturday story times. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she started recording weekly story times to post online so little ones could still have some normalcy and she created take home “story times” in a bag so kids could do story times in their own homes. Along with Cas Dowden, she filmed monthly “Cooking with Cas” videos that paired a story with a kid-friendly cooking demonstration.
Corrion’s impact at the Jesup stretches beyond the children’s room. She was one of the founding members of the March on Mount Desert Street, a progressive dinner that became a staple in the winter. Corrion worked closely with the library’s Young Readers Committee to bring a Scholastic Book Fair to the school, and she helped staff their booth at the ball field during the Fourth of July, which funded a “Books for Babies” program at the Mount Desert Island Hospital that provides new books to each baby born at the hospital. In the past few years, she started delivering books to people who could not come into the library.
Jesup Director Matt DeLaney said, “It has been pretty amazing to see the outpouring of appreciation, memories and support for Mae over the last few months. Mae has made a lasting impression on many families in this town, and it is bittersweet to say farewell. Like others new to the community, I feel very lucky to have spent nearly a year learning from Mae before she hangs up her hat.”
Corrion has become a community fixture and she wants to ensure that what she started continues for years to come. In her final months, she came up with an idea to start a fund that would specifically be earmarked for youth programming.
“The whole time I have been here, we have always wanted to do more children’s programming, especially for older kids, but we didn’t have the space or funding to do it. This will ensure that we can continue to offer top tier children’s programming that otherwise we might not be able to offer,” she said.
The library’s goal is to raise $25,000 for the fund, allowing future youth services librarians to plan and deliver opportunities for kids of all ages. With community support, $1,500 has already raised. To support Corrion’s special fund, donation online at www.jesuplibrary.org or in person, indicating that the donation is for the Youth Programming Reserve Fund.
To celebrate Corrion’s last day at the library, the Jesup is having “Mae Day” on Saturday, May 21. Patrons can come any time during the day to wish her well and share their own stories and memories.
A special reception will be held that night from 5:30-7 p.m. and is open to everyone. The library is collecting stories and photos from community members ahead of the event. To send memories to share, email [email protected].