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Longtime Calais Librarian To Retire - Apr. 30, 2013

CALAIS, Maine - (WQDY NEWS)- Calais' longtime librarian will retire at the end of June.

E. Marilyn Sotirelis has been with Calais Free Library for 34 years -- 29 of them as Director.



Kathleen Staples and Marilyn Sotirelis-WQDY NEWS PHOTO 

"I started here part-time. I was working at the Calais Elementary School part-time and when the opening came at the Calais Free Library I applied and I got that job and I was able to do both, part-time," Sotirelis told WQDY NEWS.

She has seen a lot of changes over the years.

"The Internet has definitely had a huge impact but I think what libraries in general have been very good at is embracing the Internet rather than saying that's a foe or enemy of ours, we use it to our advantage. We have, of course, our online circulation, online catalog, we have databases through the Maine State Library and we even have a program that we pay a small amount for each year and people can download either audio or e-book format," she said.

Sotirelis and the Calais Free Library received some national notoriety about ten years ago -- regarding the Patriot Act.

"I have a strong history and I was taught by Helen Oliver when I first started here that privacy is of the utmost importance for all of our library patrons -- and that's a child right through the adult. Not just me but all of the staff at the library -- now and we've always been extremely strong on the right to privacy for our patrons. We never discuss, even amongst ourselves what any patron is reading," Sotirelis said.

"It's nobody else's business."

Thanks to a series of stories by Diana Graettinger, then the Calais reporter for the Bangor Daily News, Sotirelis and the Calais Free Library were propelled into the national spotlight.

"Diana Graettinger, yes she was the driving force behind that for sure," Sotirelis recalled. "She even won an award through the Maine State Library for the journalist of the year, doing the most for public libraries that year."

WQDY NEWS PHOTO

So after all these years what does Marilyn Sotirelis have planned after she retires?

Nothing.

"I don't have a plan. I don't have anything in place," she said.

"But I feel strongly that something will come up, I really do. I'm not worried about that at all. Something I enjoy doing will be out there for me."

It's very obvious, she's enjoyed being at the Calais Free Library.

"I still love it," Sotirelis said.

"I love walking in the door every single morning that I come here and I want to retire while I still do."

STORY/PICTURES: Tom McLaughlin WQDY-WALZ news@wqdy.fm