Isabel Taylor is a very private person. To mark her centennial birthday she didn’t want a big fuss, and presents were really unnecessary, according to her daughter Elaine Libby. So instead the family decided to collect money for the Windham Public Library’s children’s room.
“I bought 60 books,” said children’s librarian Laurel Parker. “I’ve never had a donation like this before for the children’s room. A donation in honor of one single person.”
“She has always been interested in kids and reading. She used to tutor reading in the summer for kids,” said Elaine.
Isabel taught school for 30 years in Windham, spending time at both the former Arlington School and at Manchester School. She still lives in Windham near her daughter Elaine and her husband Dick, and her son John Taylor and his wife Carol. She has two more daughters who live in Massachusetts, Barbara Taylor and Alberta Peavey.
For her birthday party, which was held mid-July, Mike Timmons, one of her former fifth grade students, spoke.
“She still tells stories about students…good and bad…like Buzzy Cooper, the Olsen’s and Mike Timmons,” said Carol, her daughter-in-law.
Elaine said that Isabel has been a great mother. She loved reading to her children when they were small. “She enjoys reading and doing crossword puzzles and she always read all the time,” Elaine said. Now she reads more by listening to audiobooks.
Parker, at the library, purchased hardcover books that she already had on her list. She found a list of books from Global Voices at the State Library that named books from other countries that were brought to the United States.
“It’s so important to expand their minds,” said Parker. Each book will have a special plaque inside to commemorate Isabel. Parker delivered the books to Isabel to show her what the library purchased with her birthday money. She read Isabel every title. Isabel was especially interested in the books about ecology and birds. Parker left the books there for the family to enjoy before they were returned to the library on Wednesday.
The donations were done mostly by word of mouth by the family, but anyone who would like to donate in honor of Isabel Taylor’s 100th birthday, can send a check made out to Friends of the Windham Public Library, 217 Windham Center Road, Windham, Maine 04062.