RUMFORD — Luke Sorensen has had a fascination with the state of Maine since he was in elementary school in Iowa. When he was asked to study a state, he always chose Maine, he said.

Now, nearly 20 years later, he has his first, full-time job since receiving his master’s degree: Rumford Public Library director.

“I always wanted to go to Maine,” the 26-year-old said.

He got his first chance when he was researching undergraduate colleges and visited The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor about six years ago.

He’s not sure why he has this fascination with the state, but maybe it has to do with the coast. From Iowa, it’s hundreds of miles to the ocean. He’s also a history buff and New England is steeped in history. He also likes snow.

“I’ve been blown away by all the mountains, trees and rivers,” he said.

Sorensen was chosen from a pool of 19 applicants for the position held by Karl Aromaa for 28 years. Aromaa retired in July.

Sorensen’s first day on the job was Aug. 2.

He received his master’s degree in library and information studies from McGill University in Montreal in April. Prior to that, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies, with minors in photography and women’s studies from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

He chose to go into library work because of his experience researching papers for his undergraduate degree.

“I spent a lot of time searching for information,” he said. “I learned that I wanted to help other people with it.”

Besides his broad education, Sorensen brings a cultural understanding derived from serving as an archivist at the Jewish Public Library Archives in Montreal, and from several overseas trips to Japan, where he studied Buddhism and Shinto.

He also spent time in Guatemala, where he served with Librarians Without Borders where he and a 12-member team helped set up a library in Quetzaltenango.

For the first three weeks on the job, he is getting to know the staff, the layout of the library, and the strengths and needs of the century-old Carnegie library.

In the short term, he wants to get everything figured out at the Rumford library, as well as get to know the community and what they need and want.

“The library is integral to the community. It’s doing a great job,” he said, adding that the staff and the community were very welcoming and helpful as he moved to the area.

In the long term, he wants to ensure that the historic building is up to code and in good condition. He wants to maintain its historic value, he said.

He’s also working with a smaller budget and fewer employees. Because of budget cuts, only the four full-time staff remain; the four part-time people were laid off.

That curtailment could affect the traditional number of hours the library is open when fall arrives. Plans are to open the library on Saturdays, he said. Meetings with the Board of Trustees and staff will include discussions on how to do that. It may involve changing the schedule, reworking the smaller budget so that a part-time person could be hired or some other solution, he said.

It’s still too early for him to make plans for any changes, but he said he would like to find more ways to attract young adults to the library, and he wants to reconfigure some of the shelving.

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