These days, people value the opportunity to connect with writers on a personal level. They like meeting their favorite authors and take great pleasure in hearing from them directly at author talks, book signings and one-on-one live interviews.

In Maine, few institutions have presented author talks with more consistency and intentionality than the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library in Kennebunkport, which wraps up the 11th year of its Pasco Lecture Series at 2 p.m. Sunday, when Katherine Hall Page discusses her latest Faith Fairchild mystery, “The Body in the Casket.”

The talk also gives the library a chance to show off its new Mothers Wing addition, named in honor of all the mothers who have used the library over the years. The $1.5 million, 5,000-square-foot addition opened in October. Among its features is a community room that can seat 125 people, providing the lecture series with a new home.

In most previous instances, authors delivered their talks in the front room of the library’s original brick building, which dates to the early 1800s. Those talks were intimate and charming, and library director Mary-Lou Boucouvalas intends to replicate that warmth in the new community space.

“We’re going to do our best to set the room up so it’s a living-room feel,” she said. “We don’t want to lose that intimate feel.”

The success of the lecture series necessitates the move to the new room. It outgrew its space. Early on, 20 to 30 people might show up, but since 2011 when Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo delivered a talk, interest in the series has steadily grown. The series has hosted many of Maine’s best-known and deeply loved authors: Lois Lowry, David McCullough, Monica Wood, Lily King, Elizabeth Peavey and many others. It also has hosted a few visual artists, including the late DeWitt Hardy, as well as musicians and an occasional gardener.

The series has succeeded, said former library board member Joshua Bodwell, because it pays its speakers and compensates them for their mileage. It has a good reputation among writers, who speak positively about it among their peers, he said. “We try to make them feel honored,” he said.

In addition, the Graves library has a sponsor for the series, giving it stability and year-to-year consistency.

“We’re small but mighty,” Boucouvalas said, “and we’re very lucky to be in the community we are. We have great support.”

Sunday’s lecture by Page is an example of the library’s attempt to remain timely and relevant. The author’s new mystery comes out in early December, and her talk in Kennebunkport is among the first she will give about the book. “We really try to keep our finger right on who is coming out with something that people are going to be interested in,” Boucouvalas said.


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