KENNEBUNKPORT — Mary-Lou Boucouvalas, director of Kennebunkport’s Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library, was named the Outstanding Librarian of the Year by the Maine Library Association at its annual conference on May 22.

In nominating Boucouvalas, the library’s noard of trustees stated there could be no more fitting time to honor her than now because this year marks her 25th anniversary with the library, having started as children’s librarian in 1998 and becoming Director six years later.

Mary-Lou Boucouvalas, director of Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library in Kennebunkport, was named the Outstanding Librarian of the Year by the Maine Library Association Courtesy photo

According to a news release from the board, “Mary-Lou is the spirit of the quintessential librarian whose leadership has grown a small-town library into a beloved and integral community cultural institution.”

The Maine Library Association created the award in 1993 to highlight professional achievement and service to the Maine library community. Among other qualities, nominees were considered based on their outstanding record of service to their library and profession, development of services which enrich the community, and promotion of community or institutional support for the library.

Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie A. Smith, in a letter of support, wrote, “Although our library is not a town department, but rather a separate nonprofit organization, one would never know this based upon the teamwork and collaboration exhibited by Mary-Lou. The Graves Library is integral to the functioning of our departments, whether it is a joint effort by the library and our Public Health Department to bring the first Death Café series to the Kennebunks, a reading program for youth in our Parks and Recreation summer camp, community conversations on climate change with our Planning Department, or assisting our new nonprofit affordable housing board with meeting and archive space.”


In addition to her more than two decades of professional dedication and accomplishments, the board cited her personal touch as her most important attribute, calling her, “the heart and soul of the library. No matter how busy she is, she always makes time to answer a question, suggest a book, or simply lend an ear or a hug.

“People stop in just to say hello to her. She brings books to shut-ins, creates special volunteer tasks for residents with dementia or disabilities, welcomes every visitor like part of the family, and knows most members by name. She even performs weddings.”

When asked what she likes most about her job in a recent interview for the library’s YouTube channel, Boucouvalas said she “loves to make someone’s day as they walk through the door.”

Maine’s 2023 Outstanding Librarian of the Year has been doing just that for 25 years and counting, and the town is greatly enriched by her spirit and commitment.

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