Dedication of
The Bruce McMillan Corner

The opening of the newly expanded and renovated Springvale Public Library was celebrated October 28th with the dedication of the L.Orlo Williams Room. He was the benefactor of the Springvale Public Library's million dollar expansion. It was followed minutes later with the dedication of The Bruce McMillan Corner in the children's room where nine of the original hand-colored photo-illustrations from Grandfather's Trolley are on permanent display. They are arranged in sequential order, a visual display of the story.
Meet Bruce McMillan Day
October 9, 2003
Marlene Parent, head librarian, greeted everyone.
"It's a great pleasure and an honor to dedicate this space as The Bruce McMillan Corner that will house all of Bruce's books as well as biographical material about Bruce. Bruce has been a library advocate and a library supporter from the time, about twenty-five years ago, when he moved to Shapleigh.
Springvale Library became his library. He became our pet author from the time when he was a struggling author until today, an internationally known author of forty-two highly honored children's books.
For example when we said we were opening a new children's room Bruce immediately came on the scene and said, "Oh, I'll give you some of my original art." Not only offered the art, had it framed and delivered. And this is the original art from Grandfather's Trolley. I think we're the library that has the most Bruce McMillan original art. And we're thrilled. I mean he constantly compliments us.

Joanne Vermette who was our children's librarian for twenty-five years was Bruce's librarian. And she'd like to say a few words about what it was like watching Bruce grow into an accomplished author."

Joanne Vermette gave Bruce a hug and whispered to him, "She made me," and Bruce said aloud for all to hear, "Oh, she made you." (Laughter)

Joanne spoke.

"When Bruce first started coming to the library he was struggling. And he used to come in with his battered brown briefcase. And he'd sit around and toss ideas around, and struggle to finish a book and then he'd take off for New York. I don't know how he got there but it wasn't by plane. And then you'd pound the beat, pound the pavement, didn't you, in New York trying to sell your books. And he graduated from that to better transportation to the point where they were asking him ahead of time, do you have anything new ready for us? And like Marlene said, he became known all over the country and all over the world. But he never forgot us. Always gave multiple copies to us when he had a book. And he always gave us time for programs when he was getting a really nice amount for programs, weren't you? (Laughter)

And one day he said to me - this was after a long time, maybe eighteen-twenty years, when we knew each other quite well - and he said, "Are there any of my books that you don't like as well as the others?" And I said, "Well, do you want me to be truthful? There's one I can't stand?" (Laughter)

And I said, "It's (Making) Sneakers." I said, "How you ever got into making a book like that after all these beautiful books," and she swept her hand across the books in The Bruce McMillan Corner. When I retired he gave me a copy of that book. (Laughter) He wrote on the inside, "Just so you won't forget this book."

But you were wonderful to Springvale Library, and you're still doing it all the time. And we're very lucky to have had you all these years. You never forgot us, even though you've gotten famous and well-known." Bruce with a smile said, "Yeah right." (Laughter) Joanne concluded, "Thank you, Bruce."

Marlene Parent said, "Our sign-age is not in yet, but that will be designated The Bruce McMillan Corner. And, if you know any students doing papers on Bruce send them right over here because we'll have the material for you to research. And thank you Bruce. We love you," and gave Bruce a hug.

Bruce said, "I'm really touched.
Ah, if you go to my web site you'll even see that I've put up that Joanne said this is my worst book.

When I was teaching my class yesterday at UNH - I do a one-day seminar class for aspiring authors - and I said to them, "One of the things don't do - please - do not do this if you're a beginning author" - although I did not say to do as I say and not as I do - "do not go in and bug your children's librarian and ask them to read your unpublished book because they're not going to be able to say this is terrible." Of course they don't know the relationship I have with Joanne. (Laughter)

I was a patron, I came in about twenty-five, twenty-six years ago, and I didn't have a book out yet. I was an aspiring author. And I found friends. And one of the nice things I saw was the consistency, continuous to this day, of the staff, the warm staff here, that has made this library a gold mine. And now to be able to come back and see my work here it's really thrilling.

I'd just like to say that we all have our personal beliefs, religious, whatever. My personal belief is when we die - how we live on - my personal philosophy came from when my father passed on. I ran into somebody years later, like five-ten years later, and they were thrilled to meet me. "Oh, you're Bruce McMillan." And I get that sometimes because I'm an author and people connect me with my books. No, it was because this particular person had taken my father's photography class and had appreciated it so much and all that he'd given.

I believe that we live on by how we touch other people during our lives. It might be a good deed like helping someone across the street or whatever. The good things hopefully live on. And the fact that L. Orlo Williams gave this library is one way of him living on. And so I feel that he is still alive and living on, and will continue to live on by the good things. That's how I'm trying to live my life. I'm really touched to be here and thrilled to be in this room.

Serendipity is a wonderful thing. The colors in this room are pure wonderful coincidences because the colors of the trolley are yellow and red. I was thrilled when I walked in here. I went, "Whoa, this is great." One of the things I did do for longevity, I made sure that they used ultraviolet glass and non-reflecting glass. So, the pictures aren't quite as vibrant, unless you took them out. But they should last. And I made sure that we framed them so that you could see that they're hand-colored.

Just to close, when I was thinking about hand coloring this book I would come in to the library and always chat. At that time our librarian was the late Edwina Hewey. She even came up with the title for one of my books. I said that I couldn't come up with a title. It's a book about verbs and it's a book about kittens. She said, "What about Kitten Can..." I said, "Oh my gosh, that's great." I went home and called my editor. She said that works. And if you read that book, Edwina's name is in the book. I didn't so the sequel though, "Doggy Do..." (Laughter)

Anyhow. The hand coloring of this. So I was coming in and I was thinking about doing this book. And I mentioned it to Edwina. She brought in and gave me her hand coloring oils for Edwina used to do this. And she showed me a little bit of how she'd used to do it. I'd never hand colored before. You can get so much information at your library.

I'm really touched. Thank you. (Applause)

In the Corner

Marlene Parent - Bruce McMillan - Karen Eger
Head Librarian - Author - Children's Librarian

Meet Bruce McMillan Day
October 9, 2003

The photos of the speeches with people in them, except for the last one, were made from captures of a video made for Bruce by Dawn Brown, a staff librarian. The last photo was made from a video capture made by Marlene's daughter-in-law.
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