Holly Hancock closes book on BPL career

 ALLISON GRIFFIN, left, the new Librarian at the Bridgton Public Library, enjoys a laugh with retiring Librarian Holly Hancock and Beth Cossey, at Saturday’s farewell celebration for Hancock at the library. Both Griffin and Hancock live in Casco, and when Cossey asked Griffin where she lives, Hancock said, “All the best librarians come from Casco.

ALLISON GRIFFIN, left, the new Librarian at the Bridgton Public Library, enjoys a laugh with retiring Librarian Holly Hancock and Beth Cossey, at Saturday’s farewell celebration for Hancock at the library. Both Griffin and Hancock live in Casco, and when Cossey asked Griffin where she lives, Hancock said, “All the best librarians come from Casco."

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The Bridgton Library said goodbye Saturday to retiring librarian Holly Hancock, and welcomed new Librarian Allison Griffin, who began work this week.

Hancock said she decided to retire after eight and a half years to spend more time helping with her twin grandchildren and focusing on her civic responsibilities in her hometown of Casco. Hancock is in her second year as a Casco Selectman, and has been the Assistant Chief of Casco Fire and Rescue since 1991.

“It’s time, I think,” Hancock said. “I have been here for eight and a half years and I feel it’s time for someone else to look at what we’ve done, and work to improve on it.”

Before coming to Bridgton, Hancock served as the Director of the Casco Public Library from 1996 to 2002.

A year ago, her son Geof Hancock and wife Gina took over the former Frank’s Farm on Quaker Ridge Road, renaming it the Hancock Family Farm. Hancock said she looks forward to helping them meet the demands of the farming life by looking after her twin grandchildren Adeline and Emilia, 5½. Then, too, being a selectman comes with demands of its own that will keep her on her toes.

“I have lots of responsibilities in Casco, and I need to give them my attention,” she said.

At Saturday’s public gathering, Hancock introduced patrons to Griffin, who also hails from Casco. Griffin is a known quantity to the library’s staff, having worked at the Bridgton Library in 2012 and 2013 as both the Interim Youth Services Librarian and the Information Resource Specialist.

“I love it here,” Griffin said. “I know the staff and I know the people.” Griffin plans to build on existing services and programs, in particular by adding some computer classes in the fall, and more programs for adults.

Hancock said opportunities for interactive instruction in learning to use library resource services such as the Marvel database have opened up with the addition of a big-screen TV in a room downstairs.

“We do one-on-one instruction now, but with the screen we’ll be able to offer instruction in a group setting,” Hancock said.

Both said they were very pleased by the boost to this year’s library budget. With the closing of the North Bridgton Library, $9,000 formerly used for that purpose has been transferred to the Bridgton Library. Hancock said the cost of books, utilities, “anything we need to run a library,” is going up, so the added funds will help the library continue to stay strong in its mission.

Hancock said her biggest reward during her time in Bridgton “is the relationship I have had with the library trustees and the friends in the community.” Working together, Hancock oversaw such projects as the creation of an aesthetically-pleasing Courtyard on Main Street, redesigning the interior space to better meet patrons’ needs, and renovation and enlargement of the parking lot.

Griffin has an impressive resume, with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences. Her previous job was as a Library Media Specialist for the SAD 51 School Department in Cumberland, a position she held after leaving the Bridgton Library as an Information Resource Specialist in August of 2013.

Prior to working for SAD 51, Griffin served for 12 years as the District Library Director and Library Media Specialist for the Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond.

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