The motto on the Hopkinton Public Library Foundation website reads: “Honor our past, build our future.”
That sentiment is appropriately demonstrated by Hopkinton resident Colleen Reilly, whose first job was stacking books at her high school library after class. “It was always just a relaxing, peaceful time,” Reilly shares. “And I love to read, it’s one of my favorite things to do!”
Later, as a student at Northeastern University, Reilly would go to Boylston Street to cheer for the Boston Marathon runners at the finish line.
“It was an emotional time for me, watching their pride and their hard work,” she remembers. “You can see the grit, trying to get to that 26.2 miles. It’s a lot of work! And I always said, ‘One day, that’s going to be me.’ ”
In 2022, indeed it will be her. Reilly will participate in the Boston Marathon and raise funds for the Hopkinton Public Library Foundation.
Reilly started running 15 years ago when a group of her co-workers at Children’s Hospital signed up for a half-marathon and she decided to join them. “That was the first race I had ever run in, and it kind of took off from there,” she says.
She’s since completed five half-marathons and says her motivation comes in part as a result of her profession. As a physical therapist, she notes, “I appreciate being able to move my body, because I work with people who have a hard time with that. So I think I have always appreciated the gift that I can move, I can run, I can do it, and that’s part of why I love to run.
“The other part is that exercise has always been my stress relief — I’d go to the gym, I used to run with my little ones in the stroller, and it’s just always been my outlet.”
Meanwhile, reading had remained another favorite outlet. Reilly fondly recalls taking her children to story time at the library when they were younger and says that she, her husband, their two sons (seventh- and fifth-graders) and one daughter (a third-grader) still are regular patrons.
“It’s just a calming, peaceful place … especially right now, with everything people have gone through with COVID. … It’s just a nice escape to go into the library and find a good book,” Reilly observes.
So when she had the opportunity to fulfill her one-day dream of running in the Boston Marathon, supporting the Hopkinton Public Library Foundation (HPLF) seemed a natural choice.
In honor of its 10-year anniversary, the HPLF is committing $10,000 to launch a Library of Things at Hopkinton Public Library — technology, instruments, games and other items to be available for loan.
According to the HPLF website (hopkintonpubliclibraryfoundation.org), the project “aims to provide the physical tools needed to support lifelong learning and creativity, and provide new ways for kids and adults to interact and explore,” as well as “enhance the library’s mission to inspire exploration, discovery and engagement” in the community.
“It will provide opportunities for more people to try different things,” Reilly says. “I think what they’re trying to do is a great idea. So I figured, why not take running and reading — my two favorite things — and raise money for the library?”
Reilly’s family will be in attendance as she runs to contribute to their library’s future. And as she’d determined back when she was a college student, she now will be among those cheered at the finish.