MAY 09, 2021

Name:  Carol Swiech

Friend Since: 2017

Occupation: Retired from a 30-year career in higher education administration at the University of New Hampshire

Residence: Edgartown

Why do you like libraries?  

I have loved libraries all my life. My mother was a librarian first for Merck, and later at a private high school and finally as a trustee of her local county library. I loved collaborating with the librarians I worked with at UNH and even though it was an academic library, they also had some great non-academic materials. I was a steady patron. Libraries have always been a comfort zone for me.

Why do like Edgartown Public Library in particular?  

The staff couldn’t be more welcoming and helpful. They are great. My favorite story about the library happened several years ago - the Library was still in the Carnegie Building. I wanted a particular book for a friend, not even for myself. The staff requested the book through CLAMS, but it didn’t come for many days. A staff member finally went out and bought the book herself and donated it to the Library so my friend could read it on vacation.   

The space is bright and airy and it is so much more than books. It is music, film, children’s activities, even cooking classes. The Library collaborates on programming with other non-profits on the island to bring things like nutrition programs, tax prep help, and mediation training to the community.

Why did you decide to become a “Friend”? 

I believe free access to meaningful information is critical to an informed society and especially to this island where it is easy to feel isolated at times.

Is there anything more that you’d like to see the Library add to its programming?

I really can’t think of anything but if I do, I know the staff always welcomes suggestions.

If the Library could host any author past or present for a talk, who would you have them choose, and why?

My daughter says Jane Austen because she brought a woman’s perspective to a man’s world at a time when women were mostly expected to be silent.

We would both like to meet Helene Cooper. In her memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, she described her early life growing up in Liberia in a time of revolution, and her later life as a refugee in the US, and her time in our education system which ultimately led to her Pulitzer prize- winning career as a journalist. She gave a raw and emotional view of her life in Liberia and her life as an immigrant. I got the book recommendation from one the of the UNH librarians and then gave it to my daughter. She has copies to her friends across the country.

What is the first thing you will do once the pandemic is over and it is safe to resume normal life?  

Visit my friends and family – and browse the Edgartown Library stacks!



Snow Mounted Highway, oil on canvas, 25 by 30 inches. By John F. Carlson (1875-1945), American painter. From the Simpson Collection.
Edgartown Free Public Library
26 West Tisbury Road, Edgartown, MA 02539
Hours: Monday 10-5; Tuesday and Wednesday 10-8, Thursday through Saturday 10-5; closed Sunday.
Phone: 508-627-4221 and 508-627-1373