Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 28, 2017
Rich Boulet named 2017 Outstanding Librarian
Blue Hill Library Director honored by Maine Library Association
by Anne Berleant
Working the front line and behind the scenes at Blue Hill Public Library for 15 years, Director Rich Boulet was recognized for his service to the community by the Maine Library Association. Boulet was named 2017 Outstanding Librarian, after staff, past and current board members and citizens nominated him for the annual award. He shares the honor with Joyce Rumery, Dean of Libraries at Fogler Library, University of Maine.
“The pool of nominees this year was extremely strong, and the committee felt that these two librarians equally exemplified everything the Outstanding Librarian Award represents,” said committee chairman Marcele Peres.
Boulet began his directorship in 2002, after the 2001 expansion, following two years as director at Southwest Harbor Public Library. He took that position straight out of McGill University, where he received his master’s degree in library and information studies.
“I wanted to be able to do ethical work, and my goal was to work in a small town in Maine,” he said.
A stint as a long-term substitute in the library of his alma mater, Winslow High School, steered him towards the field. “I really enjoyed the work and I asked my boss, ‘How do I get your job?’”
In the last 15 years, Boulet has continued the path of his predecessor, Marcia Schatz, and the Friends of the Library in growing library programs that serve the community in different ways, whether hosting the monthly play-reading group or installing a generator so the library can serve as a warming center during winter power outages.
“He’s impressive in so many directions,” Board Vice President Sarah Pebworth said. “There’s so many examples of things he’s done that are great for the library, community and Hancock County.”
Boulet has previously worked in the Montreal Jewish Public Library, and two University of Maine libraries, Fogler in Orono, and Katz in Augusta. He said he was pleased at receiving the award—“It was a very pleasant surprise”—and appreciative of those who nominated him.
“He’s got a really great sense of community,” said staff member Sheri Sweet, who started at the library a few months prior to Boulet. “He’s passionate about the library and what we all do.”
Boulet, who had plans to join the Peace Corps but somehow ended up in library school, said he likes how libraries make people happy.
“Anyone can come in the door, you give them something for free and they leave happy.”