Karen Schneider, director of the Cundy’s Harbor Library in Harpswell, retired after nearly four years in the position. Courtesy photo

HARPSWELL — When Karen Schneider took the helm at Harpswell’s Cundy’s Harbor Library nearly four years ago she thought it’d be a “quiet little job,” but it turned out to be anything but quiet.

“I had no idea how much goes into being a librarian,” said Schneider. “You have to be ready for anything because you never know who will walk in the door.”

She said the library has experienced a boom over the past few years, which she credits to the litany of community events she developed after taking on the position. Those events ranged from author talks to ice cream socials and story time for children.

“I saw part of my job as listening to what the community needs and wants and trying to provide that,” said Schneider.

The modest library sprouted inside a house, and, according to Scheider, “If you put four people in there talking it seems really full.”

“We have one of the most beautiful views in Harpswell,” said Schneider. “We’re the little library with the big view.”

Schneider’s first experience with the library was when she went in to hold a reading of “The Adventures of Skiff, the Harbormaster’s Cat,” a book she co-authored that is set in Cundy’s Harbor. She said she could see there was a need for a librarian and thought she fit the mold.

Schneider said she soon discovered the library’s role as an indispensable gathering place for the community.

“Sometimes in the winter people would come in and I might be the only face they’d see that day, so they might just need to talk or a hug or something warm to drink,” said Schneider. “Having a place to go and keep warm in the winter is really important.”

Schneider said her favorite thing about working in the library was the people.

“The friendships I developed and the people I met were my favorite part,” she said. “It makes you realize how small this area is.”

Schneider recalled one afternoon when a couple from Holland came into the library. They had been sailing through the area and decided to dock their boat and walk down the road and stumbled upon the library. She said they had packed a lunch and ended up staying and talking to her all afternoon.

Schneider said she’ll never forget when author Elizabeth Berg spoke at the library. Berg penned several bestselling novels including “The Story of Arthur Truluv,” “Open House” and “Talk Before Sleep.”

“I just reached out and asked (Berg) and she said yes,” said Schneider. “Even though it was nerve-wracking to put together, it was the highlight of my career.”

She said another highlight was when she was an extra in the movie “Blow the Man Down,” which was filmed in Cundy’s Harbor, and the library was used by the cast and crew as a warming station and a place for actors to change.

“That brought some excitement to the library,” said Schneider. “It points out that libraries are used for a lot of things.”

Beyond being a librarian, Schneider is a freelance cooking writer for the Forecaster and writes a daily column for the Sun Journal, which she said she plans to continue.

“I’m really looking forward to being a free-range human and having lots of new adventures,” said Schneider. “We all have to live our own story.”

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