By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – “When I saw your name on the list for getting the award, I thought this was long overdue,” remarked State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury) Jan. 10 as he congratulated Shrewsbury Library Director Ellen Dolan and this year’s Harry S. Cutting Jr. Award recipient. The award was presented by Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) at their annual breakfast hosted by Saint John’s High School.
“You have set such an incredibly high standard,” said State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), noting how Dolan responded to a failed library campaign with a comeback successful debt exclusion to expand the library which is now a beacon for the community.
Moore and Kane presented Dolan with citations from the legislature. She was selected for this prestigious award because of her outstanding commitment, service and contributions to the community.
The award caps the Marlborough native’s 35-year career as a librarian. She is also a 2010 winner of the Carnegie Corporation/New York Times Foundation “I Love My Librarian Award.”
Executive Director Christine Mowry addressed the remarkable contributions Dolan has made Shrewsbury.
“Ellen, you exemplify leadership, partnership and innovation from the massive expansion of the library to coordinating community-wide collaborations including every town department and agency,” Mowry noted. “You have made an impact on our community and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working with you.”
Selectman Beth Casavant and former library trustee said that Dolan’s biography didn’t do her justice.
“It reads: Ellen Dolan, director of the Shrewsbury library, manages a staff of over 40 employees, a busy multimillion-dollar public facility, as well as an overall budget of close to $2 million in municipal grant and trust funds,” Casavant read. “Just as a library is the heart of our community, Ellen Dolan is the heart of our library.”
She also said that this award comes at the perfect time to thank Dolan her for her service as she is set to retire on April 3 of this year.
Dolan humbly accepted her award and was given a standing ovation.
“I am extremely grateful and I deeply believe in the value of service. I believe in the idea of contributing to the common good,” Dolan stated.
She credited her father, Gerald Dolan, for shaping her moral compass. She shared stories of him providing service in quiet, direct and humble ways.
“My father was the finest person that I’ve ever known and I was just lucky enough to be his daughter,” she shared.