Ron Brown

Ron Brown -- Library Trustee

Ron BrownFor Ron Brown, agreeing to be trustee of the Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library was the next logical step in an orderly progression from a book-oriented family, to a degree in English, a career as a technical writer, and then moving to a small town and wanting a place to volunteer.

Ron and Jan Brown moved from Pepperell, Mass., to Weeping Willow Farm in Wilton in 1988. Their home dates to the 1770s.

Ron Brown House Plaque“Finding a nice old farm in New Hampshire was a nice incentive,” he said. “I spent 40 years working as a tech writer, from aerospace to factory automation -- lots of years with software companies.”

Ron grew up on the central Maine coast. “My parents were avid readers. I’ve been around libraries in one form or another all my life.”

He earned his degree in English at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and his masters’ at William and Mary College in Virginia. “When I graduated and started working, every tech business had its own library.”

Ron and Jan met in Germany on a train – the real life storybook event. “We were both there on the study-abroad program. She was a math major, and I was English, so we didn’t have any classes together.” They have been married for 46 years.

When they moved to the farm, they decided they would raise some kind of animals. “We like animals and looked around at various breeds. I was at the Sandwich Fair in 1992 and met people who raised llamas. We fixed up the barn and had our first animals two years later.”

“They were a nice distraction from work. Llamas are interesting animals,” he said. “They’re smart. Somebody called them ‘cats in horse suits. They’re aloof.” They do spit, he said, “but properly socialized it’s usually at each other, squabbling over something.” At the high point, they had about a dozen, mothers with babies. “We still have two old ladies.”

He began at the library as an aide at the circulation desk. “I had been looking around for a volunteer activity and met then-Children's' Librarian Carol Magnusson. They wanted somebody at the library.”

In 1990, he said, “I got a call from a trustee asking if I was interested in being on the board.” He was, and has been there ever since.

Wilton LibraryThe library was a gift of the Hon. David A. Gregg and was dedicated in 1908. Considered “one of the most beautiful libraries in the state,” it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, a campaign was begun to restore the building for its 100th anniversary. The original goal was met, but work has continued in various ways since. Most recently, the grounds were landscaped into more usable spaces.

Ron said of that work, “The project on paper is never what it turns out to be. We found some interesting things under the ground.”

The trustees “are a working board,” he said. “This past year (of COVID) has taught us so much about how the library interacts with the public. Through curb-side service, people got their books. And now that it’s open again, they’re coming back.”

In addition to all that, Ron has two other hobbies – music and cooking. “I began cooking because Jan was working in Boston and getting home late. It made sense for me to do the cooking – and I never got to give it up.” He occasionally posts interesting dishes on Facebook.

He also plays the piano – “but not so much with stiffening hands.” His musical interests include jazz, blues, Celtic, and Brazilian.

He added, “The library is sort of my second home. We have been so lucky there in terms of directors, three over the past 30 years. There is stability.”

"I also like to read. I know where the library keeps the books.”

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