Abbot Public Library Foundation holds inaugural gala

The Abbot Public Library Foundation’s role is to serve as the fundraising arm of the library by soliciting and acquiring gifts, grants, endowments, bequests, and pledges from individuals and organizations for capital improvements and programs. 

On Friday, the foundation played its role to perfection by netting more than $175,000 toward the $2 million APL project campaign at the Abbot Public Library Foundation’s (APLF) Inaugural Gala, held at the Thompson Estate on Broadmere Way. The $2 million will provide technology enhancements and infrastructure upgrades that were approved when the town voted to pass the override to revitalize the library in 2021.

The APLF works in partnership with, but is separate from, the Abbot Public Library Board of Trustees. Board member Deb Payson serves as the liaison between the two.

Foundation President EuRim Chun took the podium to celebrate the 17th-century town on its way to getting a 21st-century library. However, she reminded the attendees that the bright future the library now has was once much dimmer. In 2021, the foundation raised $1 million in private funds toward the $9.5 million library renovation override, solely to prove the library was worth saving. 

“The successful override that many of you supported was for survival,” Chun said. “It was to prevent the library doors from permanently closing… But tonight, folks, you are all part of the vision.”

While the foundation was created primarily to rebuild the library, APLF Vice President Meryl Thompson emphasized that it won’t be going anywhere after its first goal is reached.

“If they need a roof in 2053, how are we going to fix that?” Thompson asked rhetorically. “The foundation is here to stay.”

Library Director Kimberly Grad thanked those who have contributed to the renovation project thus far, including the foundation, Board of Trustees, construction workers, and Marblehead residents. She helped everyone visualize what the new library experience will be like and the amenities it is slated to offer.

“When you walk into your new library for the first time, you’ll be welcomed into a comfortable and bright space with all the technology you would expect,” Grad said. “This would include strong Wi-Fi, video-conferencing capabilities, new public computers, self-checkout stations on iPads, and digital bulletin boards.”

Grad took a minute to highlight the new maker space, which is a personal favorite addition of hers.

“Imagine a hybrid-learning lab and project studio with a sound booth that is for school-age kids, teens, and adults,” Grad explained. “It will offer classes and programs in digital photography, website development, coding for 3D printing, sewing, button making, sticker creation, and jewelry making. The list goes on and on, but that’s just a little sample.”

She also envisions the library having podcasting and video-production equipment in the future. She said the ceiling is high with the establishment of the foundation.

Town resident Gene Arnould led the charge for the Fund a Need bidding. He started asking for donations as high $10,000, and gradually lowered to $100 as guests showed their generosity once more before the night was over. The $175,000 that the gala closed with will help in delivering the promised state-of-the-art library to 235 Pleasant St. The foundation celebrated its productive night by closing out the evening with the firing of a miniature cannon off the coast.

For more information and to help the foundation reach its $2 million goal, visit