Lee Wells Retires as Director at William A. Bachelder Library

It's time to celebrate her accomplishments.

By Janet Moore
Lee Wells chops wood as one of her “leisure” activities.

As of November first, Lee Wells will officially retire from her post at the William A. Bachelder Library, and we will certainly miss her. However, this is the time to celebrate her tenure as library director in East Andover at WABL. You’ve heard of the WABL Walkers, I know, which is a Monday and Wednesday walk that begins and ends at WABL, with routes varying from Chase Hill and Emery Roads to the Rail Trail, depending on the presence of ice, bugs, and views. Lee started the program and will probably be continuing in the months to come.

But that’s physical exercise – what about the library’s primary purpose: to share information and explore reading materials? Lee has been intent on cultivating as many readers as possible, from oldest to youngest and everyone in between. Story time on Tuesday mornings has continued with a number of willing storytellers and Lee herself sharing books with preschool children as they share their exuberance with her and choose books to bring home. The library book club has enticed older readers with a wide variety of titles, and the discussions once a month include strong opinions as well as thoughtful insights and personal revelations. Think about “Lessons in Chemistry” to imagine all the anecdotes and emotions spilled.

Lee has been a gentle force in the community in terms of outreach, advocating for programs that the libraries have co-sponsored; efforts in recycling and alternative energy to name two. I count among the recycling efforts the ongoing sharing of tools, let’s say, from the puller bear pro to an awe-inspiring telescope. Author talks, including Andover’s own Amy Makechnie, have featured among the library’s programs. Who can forget the blind Black Lab, whose owner held the Bachelder audience rapt with stories of adaptation and discovery?

Just as important has been Lee’s cheery greeting and welcome attitude to library visitors. People really like coming in the door, even older kids! The trustees have enjoyed Lee’s organizational skills and her efforts to participate fully in the library’s growth and upkeep, again, all reports and suggestions delivered with a smile and a firm grasp of what’s going on. All of these attributes will now be directed toward the home front as she anticipates cheerful times of travel, a new puppy, and work on the house and property. As she is grateful for having been surrounded by books and the wonderful Andover community, we too are grateful and wish her all the best in the endeavors to come.

With no hesitation the trustees and the Select Board have voted to retain Michaela Hoover and change her to full time status as director of both the Andover and Bachelder libraries. She’s thrilled, we’re thrilled, and the patrons are thrilled, too! Already at the Andover Library she has raised patron visits and circulation to record numbers with programs “up the wazoo,” as we used to say in the old days. Giant board games and a silent reading/discussion group simply represent the ends of the spectrum when it comes to her focus on community outreach. So…get ready, Andoverites, she’s coming to a library near you!