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Friends: Why I Give

Nan Jefferys

Friend Since: 2020
Occupation: Founder and Principal, Jefferys Consultants in Healthcare Philanthropy
Residence: Lexington MA

Why do you like libraries?

They feel so safe. I love being surrounded by all that knowledge in one place. It’s like, if humanity can create libraries, maybe we’ll all be OK.

Why do you like Edgartown Public Library in particular?

I like working from there. It is beautiful, spacious, and quiet. A great place to do some serious thinking and writing.

Why did you decide to become a “Friend”?

I saw the brochure at the main desk one day describing the Friends as a bunch of people who make charitable gifts to the Library to support its considerably broad and relevant programing. Making a gift was a no-brainer. Why did I need to be asked?

Is there anything more that you’d like to see the Library add to its programming?

It’s already extensive. But I would like to see more stuff that would support things like the 1619 Project and help to create a deeper dialogue around issues of race in America.

If the Library could host any author past or present for a talk, whom would you have them choose, and why?

Lillian Hellman. As a young woman and young feminist, she was one of my great heroes. She was a woman of letters who had achieved critical and commercial success in an era when writing/playwriting was more of an old boys’ club. She was like the writer’s version of Georgia O’Keefe. Also, I took a long walk with her once along Zacks’ Cliff back in the day. I pretended not to know who she was, and she pretended not to know that I knew who she was. We talked about time and tides. And bluefish. It was wonderful.

What is the first thing you will do once the pandemic is over and it is safe to resume normal life?

Swim! I’m a life-long, year-round lap swimmer, and because of the pandemic I’ve been outside of a pool -most unhappily- for the longest stretch in my life. Hug people, probably indiscriminately. And make a long overdue visit to the Vineyard, and the Edgartown Public Library!


Carol Swiech

Friend Since: 2017
Occupation: Retired from a 30-year career in higher education administration at the University of New Hampshire
Residence: Edgartown

Why do you like libraries?

I have loved libraries all my life. My mother was a librarian first for Merck, and later at a private high school and finally as a trustee of her local county library. I loved collaborating with the librarians I worked with at UNH and even though it was an academic library, they also had some great non-academic materials. I was a steady patron. Libraries have always been a comfort zone for me.

Why do like Edgartown Public Library in particular?

The staff couldn’t be more welcoming and helpful. They are great. My favorite story about the library happened several years ago - the Library was still in the Carnegie Building. I wanted a particular book for a friend, not even for myself. The staff requested the book through CLAMS, but it didn’t come for many days. A staff member finally went out and bought the book herself and donated it to the Library so my friend could read it on vacation.

The space is bright and airy and it is so much more than books. It is music, film, children’s activities, even cooking classes. The Library collaborates on programming with other non-profits on the island to bring things like nutrition programs, tax prep help, and mediation training to the community.

Why did you decide to become a “Friend”?

I believe free access to meaningful information is critical to an informed society and especially to this island where it is easy to feel isolated at times.

Is there anything more that you’d like to see the Library add to its programming?

I really can’t think of anything - but if I do, I know the staff always welcomes suggestions.

If the Library could host any author past or present for a talk, who would you have them choose, and why?

My daughter says Jane Austen because she brought a woman’s perspective to a man’s world at a time when women were mostly expected to be silent.

We would both like to meet Helene Cooper. In her memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, she described her early life growing up in Liberia in a time of revolution, and her later life as a refugee in the US, and her time in our education system which ultimately led to her Pulitzer prize- winning career as a journalist. She gave a raw and emotional view of her life in Liberia and her life as an immigrant. I got the book recommendation from one the of the UNH librarians and then gave it to my daughter. She has copies to her friends across the country.

What is the first thing you will do once the pandemic is over and it is safe to resume normal life?

Visit my friends and family – and browse the Edgartown Library stacks!


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