Director Christine Michaud, is just one piece of the ever-working machine that is the Durham Public Library. Between summer reading initiatives, daily events and an expanding building, the library can only function if all hands are on deck. And an outside donation of $2,500 certainly doesn’t hurt.
The donation came from Charles Cumello, president and CEO of Essex Financial. According to Michaud, the donation wasn’t out of character for Cumello. He is a “big supporter” of the library, she said.
“He’s very involved with the community of Middlesex County,” said Michaud. “He comes to me and asks, ‘You need anything?’”
The money from the donation went towards providing more resources for the children’s section of the library. Michaud said the donation was provided about 6 months ago and that its benefits can now be seen.
Additions to the children’s section included a table and chairs, dinosaurs to play with, and display endcaps for bookshelves.
“It’s funny, some of our previous donations have gone into things like Lego robot kits and iPads and things like that which are a little more fun,” said Michaud. “But the endcaps really do help the mission. The more books they take, the more books they read, the more fun they have. As much fun as Lego robots are, you can’t just have Lego robots.”
Michaud says that the toys the library has actually contribute to learning. “I came in the other day and the kids were gone but there were blocks set up and the dinosaurs were in opposing forts and clearly some storytelling had been happening,” she said. “Even if it doesn’t look like that, it really does contribute to early literacy skills.”
Explaining his decision to support the children’s section of the library, Cumello said, “I raised two kids in Durham. When they were little, we spent a lot of time at the library. When I was little I spent a lot of time at the library. So it all sort of lines up.”
Cumello’s philanthropy extends beyond the Durham Public Library. He also supports the Connecticut Food Bank.
“The library’s a first-rate operation,” he said. “I like to see how happy it makes the kids.”