Jak Miller began working at the Hopkinton Public Library last June, becoming the young adult librarian in November. Since then, Miller has been so enamored with the library that she volunteered to run this month’s Boston Marathon to raise money for her relatively new workplace.
“This is where my daughter attends all these programs for young children, and it gives her an opportunity to socialize and start on her journey of reading,” Miller said. “I wanted to give back to something that affects everyone in the community, not just small parts.”
Libraries were no exception in experiencing the impact of the pandemic. However, Miller believes libraries have changed for the better.
“Libraries used to be a place to meet, but now they have started helping the community in a very different way — providing copying service, internet access, access to materials when people could not come in and get books, relying on librarians for references, getting factual information regarding the news because there was so much going on at the time,” Miller said. “Seeing how fast libraries transformed just drove home how much of the reason they are needed.”
Beth Mezitt, president of Friends of the Hopkinton Public Library, especially supported Miller running for the library.
“Delightful person,” Mezitt said of Miller. “She’s young, she’s full of energy and ideas for the kids, and I think with her background she’s going to be very helpful to teenagers.”
Mezitt also reiterated Miller’s assertion about the importance of the library for everyone in the community.
“At the library, our group is doing a special English language learners Conversation Circle. We’ve had a group of people coming who want to practice English and they’re from all over the world — Brazil, China, Egypt,” Mezitt said. “We’re very proud of the library’s efforts to respond to the shift in population in Hopkinton. We’ve got so many more people from other countries, and it’s been a joy to learn about them, to have displays in the lobby demonstrating special events or customs from different cultures.”
Friends of the Hopkinton Public Library additionally offers adventure passes, a program that provides community members with free or discounted passes to cultural enrichment opportunities such as museums, art galleries, Audubon sites and other outdoor events.
Miller also emphasized how the Hopkinton Public Library offers unique resources for young adults.
“We have a very diverse collection of materials especially for this age group, from graphic novels to manga to all of the interesting nonfiction pieces you wouldn’t find in other libraries,” she said.
Another distinctive feature of the library is its frequent visits from therapy dogs. Miller remembers a particularly heartwarming moment between her daughter and a therapy dog named Gracie.
“When my daughter was very little there was this one day when she basically was just lying on top of Gracie, and Gracie just looked up as if to say, ‘I don’t care, this is just what I do.’ ”
Even though Miller has run 152 marathon-distance events, she isn’t running with any competitive goals in mind.
“My goal is to finish but do it in a way that I can talk to other runners and motivate other runners,” she said. “Ultimately I’m running because I know how integral the library is to the lives of so many people in Hopkinton.”
Miller’s donation page can be found at gofund.me/76f84363. For more information about Friends of the Hopkinton Public Library, visit hopkintonlibraryfriends.org.