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Where Every Story Matters

Volunteering at Abbott Library

Sunapee — John Wilson and Melinda Flater, at first glance, don’t seem to have much in common.

Wilson is a retired World War II veteran who has lived in Georges Mills with his wife for 23 years. Flater, a young woman from Sunapee, keeps busy with a part-time job, a family and graduate classes in library sciences at Clarion University.

Where and when would these two disparate lives happen to cross paths?

Turns out they meet at Abbott Library, where Flater is chair of the Abbott Library Foundation and Wilson is the nonprofit’s treasurer, in addition to serving as treasurer for the library board of trustees.

Founded in December 2011, the Abbott Library Foundation’s first goal, Flater said in an email, was to raise $1.325 million toward the purchase of a new library. “Immediately moving into a capital campaign has been harder than I ever thought it would be, (but) the victories along the way also have been sweeter than I ever imagined,” Flater said.

One of those victories was the recent approval by Sunapee voters of a $975,000 warrant article to help finance the construction of a new 8,000 square-foot library. The vote was razor thin, winning the required 60 percent majority by a mere 12 votes. Still, it was a welcome confirmation, Wilson said in an email, of the hard work of a “dedicated group of volunteers.”

Both Wilson and Flater had high praise for everyone who serves on the foundation. There is “no dissension, no egos to soothe” in the group, Wilson said, “just good old hard work.”

Flater described a camaraderie built on a foundation of respect and affection. “As much as I have put into this project,” Flater said, “I have been repaid tenfold with relationships that will continue to enrich my life long after the last brick for the new library is laid.”

In her fundraising efforts, Flater said she has heard a lot of stories from a lot of people about why they love libraries. “Every person’s story matters,” Flater said. “Their stories serve to motivate me.”

Editor’s Note: Anyone interested in volunteering at Abbott Library should contact Mary Danko at 603-763-5513.

Diane Taylor can be reached at 603-727-3221 or