Paradise describes librarian job as ‘paradise’

DURING HER FAREWELL PARTY on Sunday, Casco Public Library Director Carolyn Paradise poses with her dog Millie. Paradise is resigning from her position at the library and moving to Rhode Island to help her working daughter and son-in-law with their infant, Paradise’s new grandson. (De Busk Photo)

DURING HER FAREWELL PARTY on Sunday, Casco Public Library Director Carolyn Paradise poses with her dog Millie. Paradise is resigning from her position at the library and moving to Rhode Island to help her working daughter and son-in-law with their infant, Paradise’s new grandson. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer
CASCO — As a young girl Carolyn Paradise adored the words in books — words that could transport her to fantasy lands or teach her how famous people lived.
“I have always loved library books. I used to read a lot. It was my escape. I have four brothers,” she said.
“Libraries have always been havens for me and I can still recall the layout, the smell and the energy of every one I’ve been in. In Florida, there was even a pet-lending library,” said Paradise, who grew up in the south.
For the past 18 years, her office has been a library.
Her second family has been the staff and volunteers and board of directors of the Casco Public Library. And, the residents who walk through the doors of library in the village — they, too, have become like family.
“Eighteen and a half years — it’s hard to believe. I’ve watched a lot of kids grow up,” Paradise said during her farewell party at the library on Sunday.
“A lot of these people I have been through moving experiences with — losing children, going through health issues. I have gotten to know them really well. When you intertwine your life with theirs, it becomes something very special,” she said.
After almost two decades, Paradise is resigning from her job and moving to Rhode Island to assist her working daughter and son-in-law with their new infant, Paradise’s new grandson, Benedetto Lucius Zarlenga. He was born in September.
It will cost the family less to rent a garret apartment above their home for Paradise than for them to pay for daycare expenses. Also, her daughter has a very demanding job. Plus, she’ll get to spend time with her grandson.
“It would be better for me a few years down the road, but that’s all right — we’re going to make it work,” she said.
“It’s a decision made out of love, not logic,” she said.
On Sunday, many well-wishers complimented Paradise on the job she had done, and said how much they would miss her.
She stressed that running a library isn’t a one-person act. Dozens of local residents work behind the scenes, sit on the board of directors, take an active part in fundraising or volunteer for a few hours a week.
“I am just the person the public sees,” she said.
“The main thing is there have been people here who have been here longer me when I came on,” she said.
She listed Janet VerPlank, Ron Hawkes, and Curt Murley, who took care of updates to the library’s technology including setting up the circulation system.
“Susannah Swihart had been with this library for many, many years,” she said.
“There is a core of people so faithful and so devoted to the library,” she said.
When Paradise initially applied as the children’s librarian — the job she held before becoming the director in 2002, she already had three degrees in English, art and psychology, as well as a Masters’ Degree in Expressive Art Therapies from Leslie College in Cambridge. She also had a love of books.
“I have loved books since I was little — books and art,” she said, saying how the library encompasses both. Art comes to life in children’s books as fascinating illustrations, she said.
“The joy is part of the job. I love introducing people to new books, new authors and new characters. Now, that has moved into the video format,” she said.
“I like helping people find the book they’re looking for — whether it’s a title or a genre, or health information,” she said.
The library is not only located in the community but it is also involved with the community, she said.
“We interact with the community every day. I feel like we have the fingers on the pulse,” she said.
“For some people, it’s the reader advisory. For others it’s a connection to the Internet: researching on the web or checking their e-mails,” she said.
“We like to concentrate on what people need as opposed to making money. It’s hard to focus on fundraising, if we don’t give what the community what they really want from us,” Paradise said.
She was exciting for the offerings that bring like-minded people together.
The library has a book club and a writers’ group, to name a few.
Then, there is the excitement of new inventory for the library.
“New books, of course, are one of my favorite things. It is like Christmas — opening a box of new books,” Paradise said.
To see a video of a song about books from the Nashville Public Library, go to the library’s web page,  HYPERLINK "http://www.casco.lib.me.us" www.casco.lib.me.us, and click on the right-hand side, “Read our November Newsletter.” Also, there is a Q&A with Paradise at the top of the library’s newsletter.

Please follow and like us: