Pat Little, Woodstock’s new librarian. Julie Reiff

WOODSTOCK — Pat Little, Woodstock’s newly appointed librarian, has quite a long life experience in an around books. Her mom was an assistant librarian, and Pat grew up volunteering and doing story hour for kids. Books have always been an important part of her life.

She went on to become a physical therapist, but had an opportunity to travel to Kenya to distribute books in 2005. She went as part of a library team to set up school libraries – with her two daughters (13 and 15 at the time) – helped them sort and shelve their new books while trying to understand each other’s language. There was no Dewey Decimal system, just color-coded dots.

She went back in 2009 for a more immersive experience, also helping this time with curriculum and explaining the value of early literacy to parents.

In the U.S., she created the Hand-to-Hand book van.

She did it herself, explained library board president Susan Staples, who was clearly impressed. “She purchased a panel van and took it on the road. She went to yard sales, library sales, sought lots of donations, and put together quite the collection. She drove the van to parks or schools for book giveaways, where she invited kids to pick a book for free. The most important thing,” Staples said, “was that it was the kids’ choice to make! Quite an experience.” She ran it for six years and donated more than 5,000 books.

For someone who isn’t really a librarian by training, “she’s really a librarian in her soul. A strong voice for everyone,” said Staples. “She came to us. We were looking to hire after our [librarian] of more than 25 years retired. Perfect match fell into our lap!”


Little moved to Dixfield from Connecticut last fall and began working in the library this July. She loves the outdoors, hiking, Maine life, and has a little free library outside her house, which is quite popular and gets regular use.

She loves the close-knit community where everybody knows everyone and sees the library as a place that brings people together. Although the town has no senior center, she sees the library as a fabulous space that can serve like a community center for all kinds of events. Her primary goal is to increase number of activities at the library and increase use of the space.

The library

The building itself was built in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior has retained all of its original woodwork and finish, with a central librarian’s desk and reading room on one side, stacks on the other, and a more modern wing on the back.

“I want to continue to make the library here a connection point for people,” Little said. “Of course I want to grow the book collection, but it’s also a place where you can come to learn about other things in our community. Maybe we’ll have a program once a month – Audubon or music. I want to offer other ways for people to be involved in the library not just borrowing books.”

Little sees the library as that place to find other community resources or to get involved themselves, teaching a craft or starting an interest group like knitting.


She hopes to put out a community survey soon – a “help-us-help-you kind of survey,” she said. “We hope to get some good feedback from all age groups.”

She is also working to reorganize the collection.

“There’s a regular group of people using the library who are comfortable with where things are,” Little said, “but right now there is no catalog, no database.” She has noticed that many patrons still read authors that were popular decades ago… “one who is reading all the Zane Greys.” There are plenty of books by Victoria Holt and Agatha Christie, and small-town series like Jan Karon’s Mitford books, that still get checked out. “There are so many more hidden treasures here! They just need to be made more visible,” Little added.

She’d also like to bring more children and middle school kids into library.

“We have a great children’s space,” said Little, who is also a puppeteer and crafter and hopes to use those skills here. And she’d like to create an “expertise” lending library, where people with special knowledge might make themselves and their skills available for an hour or two at the library for anyone who’s interested.

“There’s so much I want to do,” said Little. “I’ve shifted priorities three times already. I would love to see this place bloom.”

She wants to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer and get more involved with the library. To learn more, she recommends people follow the library on social media:

The library’s new hours are Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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