Library Director Kelcy Arciga of Bethel is due with her first child on Jan. 16. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — At the Bethel Library there is excitement in the air as Director Kelcy Arciga gets ready to have her first child, a boy, due on January 16.

Arciga will take time off but when she returns to work the library’s newest patron will be in tow.

Several fairy godmothers, who double as library staff, are excited too. Betsey Raymond, Lee Hughes, Nancy Stowell White, Suzanne Givhan, and Eileen Broderick are all part time staffers at Bethel Library. “We can’t wait to meet the new baby,” said Stowell White.

Jessica Jolly, a library volunteer, hosted a baby shower for Arciga, where Kelcy and her husband Alan received baby books, clothing, bibs, and a quilt that is being sewn. “We are all so thrilled,” said Jolly.

At a shower hosted by her friends they received, “Goodnight Moon” in both Spanish and English. Arciga and her husband plan to raise their baby as bilingual.

What’s happening


Arciga credits Jolly with helping to barcode the entire library last year and with creating and researching the knitting needle catalogue at the library. Another volunteer, Mary Davis, scans unused books that are sent and sold at Better World Books.

Cadence Lee and Amelia Graves, both age 12, volunteer for a few hours each week, too.

In July the library joined Maine InfoNet Library System (MILS) which connects Bethel to thirty other libraries across the state. “It just means there are thousands more books available to us,” said Arciga. Patrons may sign up by calling the library, visiting in person or going online.

Arciga has grown the Bethel “Library of Things.” Patrons can borrow a guitar: gaming kits for chess and checkers and one for cribbage;  memory kits; and a knitting needles’ catalogue.


Arciga has brought multiple guest speakers to the library in her short time at the helm. “It has been 15 months, being pregnant I count everything in months,” she said.


“It is a learning experience every day to figure out what the best way to serve the community is … I am willing to try almost anything, especially if it is free. Trying to figure out what interests the community, what will bring people to the library,” said Arciga.

Of the many programs, two rock-based presentations led in interest, she said.

About 25 people filled the small first floor of the library to hear a talk by an archeologist and author.

The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum followed with a well-attended story time talk. Patrons held and touched samples of the moon and mars under the sun and moon mural on the second floor. The mural was painted last summer by Telstar Freshmen Academy students.

Young visitors

Arciga’s friend Kenzie Richard is the school librarian at Crescent Park.


This fall, Richard walked six separate groups of fourth and fifth graders from school to the library. Said Arciga, “we opened especially for them to come … sometimes it was their first time visiting this library.”

She said when the children arrived she pointed them toward the popular graphic novels – they plan to add more to the library collection.

“Explore. Have at it,”  said Arciga, directing them to the second floor, too, where there are lots of games and puzzles.

Arciga said Richard reported back that they’d “had a ball” and asked when they could return.

Other children came back with their families, “that’s been heartwarming to see,” said Arciga.

The library received a grant from the Stephen King Foundation for $5,000 to add books to its children’s non-fiction collection. Arciga said she contacted a curriculum coordinator for Oxford County to know what topics would be of interest. “There is so much more out there for children’s non-fiction …  it is way more exciting than it used to be. Everything used to be a drab encyclopedia,” she said.

The library, established in 1879, is two-thirds funded by community donations and one-third town funded. Because it is a non-profit it is able to do most of its own fundraising [and not rely on a Friends of the Library group as public libraries must do].

It has about 10 library trustees that help to manage an endowment that gets re-invested and used as needed. Arciga said she would be interested in doing a capital campaign to grow the endowment. “The larger [the endowment] is, the more sustainable the library is and I want the library to be here. That’s the whole point.”

Of the pending arrival of Baby Arciga, “one or two [staffers] have joked that he’ll be the library mascot. Sounds like my dream, to grow up in a library. I hope that’s part of what he gets to experience,” said Arciga.

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