Becoming the director of the Provincetown Library is, for Amy Raff, “literally, a life-dream come true!” It wasn’t her first try: she’d applied in the past for the position, but the timing wasn’t right. Now it seems like she’s more ready for Provincetown—and Provincetown is ready for her.
Raff grew up in “a funky art town in the Hudson Valley.” She studied at the University of Oregon, “about as far away as I could get from home while still being in the continental United States,” she says, laughing. She came back east via graduate school in Idaho and became the director of “a tiny library in Milton, New York,” before going on to work for ten years as assistant director—and five years as director—of the library in Woodstock, New York.
“I grew up coming to Cape Cod for vacations,” Rapp remembers, so it felt like home, coming back. Why is this her dream job? “There’s the magic of Provincetown,” she answers. “You feel the vibe as soon as you pass the boundary. Who wouldn’t love it here? You live on the beach surrounded by water! Plus, it’s an amazing library.”
Raff started her new job in February, possibly not seeing the Outer Cape at its best, at least in terms of weather. Town Manager David Panagore asked Raff how she felt about the winter here. “I enjoyed it!” she exclaims. “Give me more of it!” Raff loves the gray horizons, the quiet, the solitude, the slower ticking of time. “I haven’t really experienced the summer here yet,” she says cautiously. “But I’m sure it will be great!”
“I’m still watching and learning,” Raff says. “I’m seeing how it works. The library here is structured differently from what I’m used to, so navigating that, getting comfortable. In a sense, it’s two different jobs: the winter library community and the summer people.” That’s not so very different from Woodstock, actually. “They’re both artist communities with strong personalities and a depth of belonging,” she explains. “It’s really just about navigating personalities and keeping focus. Librarianship is a service profession, it’s a force for good in the community. Anything I can do to sustain it is what I want to be doing. There’s a coffee hour Fridays at the library, come see me, bring me issues and ideas. That’s what I’m there for!”