Sen. George Mitchell is the chair of an advisory committee to support a capital campaign at the Jesup Memorial Library. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Sen. Mitchell to chair Jesup honorary committee



BAR HARBOR — Sen. George Mitchell will serve as the chair of the Jesup Memorial Library’s honorary committee, created to provide oversight and guidance in support of the library’s Next Chapter Capital Campaign.

The library has called the campaign “a bold vision for the Jesup as a 21st-century library, in which the historic library will be preserved alongside a contemporary addition created to complement and expand the library’s space, collections, broad programming and community events.”

Mitchell is a Maine native who graduated from Bowdoin College and has a home on Mount Desert Island. He has earned many awards and honors for his work in the United States and across the globe, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. government. Mitchell served as a Maine senator for 15 years, including six years as the Senate majority leader. He was voted “the most respected member” of the Senate for six consecutive years. After retiring from Congress, he was appointed special advisor to the president of the United States on Ireland.

Joining Mitchell on the committee are Richard Cough, president of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association; Ronald Epp, historian, professor of philosophy and author of “Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr;” David Hackett Fischer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Brandeis University professor emeritus and author of “Champlain’s Dream;” Jack Gantos, a Newbery Medal-winning children’s book author whose books include the Rotten Ralph and Joey Pigza series as well as books for middle grade and young adult readers; Steve Katona, former College of the Atlantic President and current managing director of the Ocean Health Index; Christina Baker Kline, the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of “Orphan Train” and the recently published “A Piece of the World”; Susie Lerner, artist, community organizer and former College of the Atlantic professor; Kenneth Paigen, the former director of The Jackson Laboratory and current professor and executive research fellow there; Beverly Paigen, former professor at The Jackson Laboratory; Kim Stanley Robinson, a bestselling author called one of the greatest living science fiction authors, whose latest book is “New York 2140”; and Roxana Robinson, the author of nine award-winning books including “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life,” which was a New York Times Most Notable Books of the Year.

“As a child with a Saturday-morning library ritual,” said Kline, “I never quite believed it possible — and still find it hard to believe — that in a library, you can pluck a book from a shelf and take it home with you. Libraries are the heart of my childhood, and the Jesup is the heart of Bar Harbor. I look so forward to seeing, and being a part of, its next chapter.”

Epp said, “I was drawn to the strategic vision of the Jesup because it charted directions that remain true to the convictions articulated by George B. Dorr in 1910 when he wrote on behalf of the new library directors: Bar Harbor’s library above all should ‘serve as an awakening suggestion of the higher life of thought and feeling.’”

Ron Beard, chair of the library’s board of directors, said, “Members of the honorary committee — community leaders, writers, artists, scientists and authors, whether they live among us or visit us — see the great value of community libraries and of the Jesup in particular. They believe in libraries as places that expand knowledge and improve civic discourse, as places where all are welcome, where all can improve their lives through learning. By supporting our Next Chapter Capital Campaign, they are helping assure the Jesup as a vital presence on Mount Desert Island for the next century, providing inspiration and encouragement, just as George Dorr and Maria Jesup did with their investment in the creation of our library dedicated 106 years ago.”

Contact library Director Ruth Eveland at 288-4245 or [email protected]