Meet the Commissioner: Beth Edmonds

Beth Edmonds

Beth Edmonds, Chairperson of the Maine Library Commission

Governor Baldacci appointed Beth Edmonds to the Maine Library Commission last fall.  She was quickly elected to the post of vice-chair. Beth is no stranger to the state capitol as she served for four terms as the Senator from District 10 (Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell, and Pownal).  In 2004 she was elected and confirmed by her peers as President of the Maine Senate. Beth is a strong advocate on issues relating to libraries and the cultural agencies. She is the first Maine librarian and the second woman ever to preside over the Maine Senate!

Life Before Maine

Beth is from Keene Valley in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. “As a child I spent many a wonderful hour in the Keene Valley Library with Mrs. Isham, our librarian,” she recalls. As a student at Clark University she worked at the library. She graduated from Clark University in 1972. After graduation, she married Dan Nickerson. The couple moved to Freeport in 1978.

Civic Engagement

Besides serving in a leadership capacity in the Maine Senate, Beth has been actively engaged in the work of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and has been an activist for the Equal Rights Amendment.

In her home community of Freeport, Beth is the Director of the Freeport Community Library where she has been employed since 1982. For many years she served as the children’s librarian and developed a real love of children’s literature. In October 2005 she was appointed director of a newly renovated facility.

Love of Reading

When asked to share the books she loves, Beth said that the list was just too long—spoken like a true bibliophile! The ones that stand out today are the Phillip Pullman’s series, His Dark Materials; Owl Moon by children’s author Jane Yolen; and Michel Farber’s well crafted, historical fiction set in London in 1875 entitled The Crimson Petal and the White. Beth also enjoys the Laurie R. King series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.