Category Archives: Libraries

Tribute to Connie Brayley

Last month we lost a beloved former island librarian, Connie Brayley. For many years Connie was our Library Director, and one could often find her behind the desk on Saturday mornings. She and her husband Warren (“Dout”) were on the board for many years, assisting in any way that they could, from technical support to Art and Soul, the island’s big summer fundraiser. They were both involved in creating our island’s current library, serving on the planning committee. When Connie retired the library board named the new library’s circulation desk for her. Connie was a real lover of books, and was part of the island’s classic book group for years, including a subsidiary book group we started of classic women writers. She will be dearly missed by all of us on Long Island, and especially her fellow library and book lovers.

“A friendly, cozy spot” : 30 years of the Long Island (Community) Library

As early as 1931 efforts were made to create a library on Long Island. A letter in the Long Island Historical Society archives is evidence of this. On February 10, 1931, Postmaster Everett E. Clarke wrote a letter to Mrs. Fred Demarest regarding a donation of books for a library on Long Island. Everett wrote: “We have a nice library started here and are collecting books for it by asking our friends to look around and see if they can’t find one more book they can share for our library.”

There was a small lending library in the home of Derrick and Charlotte Gibbens (where our current library director, Paula Johnson, lives) in Harbor de Grace in the 1970s. Portland Public Library would later send books to the school that could be borrowed. But it wasn’t until the 1980s that a real effort was made to create a library for the islanders. At first Alan Bernstein offered the Long Island Civic Association a 100-square foot lot at the northwest corner of Ocean and Beach for a possible library site. But by March 1988 when LICA president Francis Murphy announced in the LICA newsletter, “We have been successful, with cooperation from the City of Portland, in receiving an allocation of $2,700 of current Community Development funds for developing an island library and community center in our school building,” a committee had already been hard at work.
The committee members were:
James Dodwell and Nancy Jordan, co-chairs
Bobbie Blaisdell
Joan Hutchinson
Karen Zywiec
Kathi Lovell
Maggie Carle
Jacquie [Lunt] King

That summer an open house was held, to celebrate the new space, including fundraising for more books. Christine Caliandro established the Ernest Caliandro Memorial Fund, in memory of her husband, whose monies were used to purchase a Maine and regional collection. Bobbie Blaisdell was primarily responsible for the content of this Maine collection: she combed second hand book stores to find all the old Maine classics that we now have. Jacqui Lunt asked Portland merchants to donate office supplies, including Loring, Short and Harmon, and another business donated four colorful little chairs for the children’s corner, and a carpet. Linda Greene painted all the walls and the floor. And many folks processed the early book donations. The new space was lovely and inviting.

By December of 1988 Nancy Jordan was inviting everyone to enjoy the new library in the Long Island Civic Association newsletter. “Looking for a friendly, cozy spot to spend a winter Wednesday evening? Try the new library!” She goes on to say that “we now have approximately 2500 books ready to read… Fifteen busy volunteers are keeping the library open 4 times a week, plus providing a weekly story hour for 2 age groups and Saturday matinees. … 63 of us have library cards and we are circulating 35 books a week, not counting magazines and paperbacks. Two island organizations are using the library for monthly meetings.”

By 1989 computers became available for public use and a book discussion group was started. However, by 2001 the space so happily begun in 1988 was inadequate and plans started to build a new library/school addition. And the rest is history!

A small exhibit about the history of the library can be seen in the Long Island Community Library’s small glass class. It includes photographs, photocopies of items from the Long Island Historical Society, and excerpts from the Long Island Civic Association’s newsletters, which celebrates 30 years in the current building, where our beautiful library now stands.
Open during library hours

Tea and libraries

I just came across this – how exciting to combine two of my favorite things: tea and libraries ! (for a good cause)

Friend —

We are excited to partner with Arbor Teas, a family-owned organic tea company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan to create a new way of supporting libraries in the United States. You can now purchase tea for yourself, friends, family, and for your staff at your office through Arbor Teas and they will donate 10% of each purchase if you use the coupon code EveryLibrary at checkout. That means you can give the gift of tea AND give American communities the gift of literacy and learning through libraries.
Buy your teas from Arbor Teas this Holiday Season and use the coupon code EVERYLIBRARY to support libraries in the United States.
“Our primary focus is delivering the highest quality organic teas as sustainably as possible, but underpinning this is a passion to use our success to do good and give back,” said Aubrey Lopatin, co-founder at Arbor Teas. “That’s why Arbor Teas is excited to become a sustaining contributor to EveryLibrary’s efforts to rally communities in support of libraries facing funding challenges.”
Arbor Teas first partnered with the library community to support the Ann Arbor District Library’s Summer Game 2017, a points-based program that rewards reading and library use. EveryLibrary and Arbor Teas view this promotion as the beginning of an ongoing partnership which may include other charitable programs in the future.
Individuals looking to support this new partnership can shop online at for certified organic teas as well as teaware, gifts and tea-infused sweets. At checkout, enter EveryLibrary as the coupon code, which will remain active indefinitely as a means to generate ongoing funding for library campaigns. One-time and sustaining donations can also be made directly to EveryLibrary at:

More information is available at:

San Juan Happy Tummies Library Trip

So, here’s a good cause – we are so blessed on Long Island to have a beautiful library – doesn’t everyone deserve a library in their neighborhood? Julie Williams, the Librarian at Willard School in Sanford, Maine, is heading to Guatemala in June, and one of her goals is to build a library. Julie would love to have some support from folks in Maine for this wonderful project. Barbara and Dave Ramey are Long Islanders who spend the winters in Guatemala, and bring back great stories about their time there. Here is a great way for us to connect with Barbara and Dave, as well as support a good cause.

For more information go to Julie’s GoFundMe site:


Art & Soul 2016

We are pleased to announce that the Long Island Community Library’s 2016 fundraiser, Art & Soul, was a great success, thanks to all our generous library users and fans, who bought books, raffle tickets for baskets, artwork, and food. Special thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen, from schlepping books upstairs, to making baskets, to contributing art, to baking desserts. All was so appreciated! We made over $10,000, which will go so far in supporting the library. Thank you!

Art & Soul 2016 art auction

Art & Soul 2016 book sale Art & Soul 2016 food Art & Soul 2016 raffle basket

Bunny Hop Tales: Tales from the Bunny Hop Road

Bunny HopBunnies are a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, as well as of spring. Here on Long Island bunnies abound on the Bunny Hop Road. This is our tribute to the Bunny Hop Road, through photographs of some of our favorite bunnies, along with bunnies from the collections of Ann Caliandro, Penny Murley, and Meredith Sweet, and bunnies featured in books from the Long Island Community Library.

We welcome your stories about the Bunny Hop Road!

Curated by Erin Love and Nancy Noble

Long Island Community Library, Winter-Spring 2016

Coffeehouse Library Project

PPL outreach 3Several of us islanders like to wait for the ferry in places other than the ferry terminal, including Portland’s numerous watering holes and cafes. But what if you have no reading materials while drinking your cappuccino? Thanks to the Coffeehouse Library Project, an outreach of the Portland Public Library, great books are at your fingertips, with no due dates or fees – just return the books when you are done! This is where I found the wonderful “Under the wild and starry sky” by Nancy Horan, about Fanny Stevenson, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. Brilliant!

PPL outreach 2

So, next time you are killing time, waiting for the ferry, settle in to a great cup of coffee or tea … and a book!

For more information see: outreach 1


Cambridge Book Bike

bike on beach

I just heard, from a librarian friend, about a great program in Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Book Bike. Librarians ride around on bikes loaded with books and park in a designated park at a designated time to give kids free books. Their logo is:

Delivering books and a love of reading in Cambridge, ma.


All children in Cambridge will have access to quality literature to build home libraries for enjoyment and learning outside of the academic year.


  • The Book Bike supports healthy bodies and healthy minds by visiting many of the Cambridge parks that participate in the Summer Food Program.
  • Meeting families in the park for stories and activities, the Book Bike models that reading is fun!
  • The program empowers children of all ages to choose their own free book, selected by literacy professionals to encourage reading in summer months.  Books include a wide variety of titles, topics and languages.
  • The Book Bike connects families to other programs that support summer reading in Cambridge including the local public library.

What can be better – to combine exercise (at least for the librarians) and book reading, as well as being in a park on a beautiful sunny day. (And food and snacks provided)

For more information:


Tribute to travel books

Not books about traveling, but books to read while traveling! This is my tribute to, and observations about, books to read while traveling. Not one for a Nook or Kindle, I prefer the old fashioned paper copies(which don’t require batteries). I travel most days by boat (some call it commuting) and I carry two books to dip into per voyage – a non-fiction and a fiction book. Preferably paperbacks, for the weight factor. Sometimes this isn’t possible, give that public libraries, where I get many of my books, tend to avoid paperbacks, as they don’t hold up as well as hardcovers. If a hardcover is needed for one book, hopefully the second book is a paperback.

Connie reading

And then there are airplane books. I’ve learned over the years that the best books to bring while flying are not only light in weight, but light in reading – that is, ones you don’t have to think too much about. So when you’re stuck in an airport because of a layover or flight delay, you have a book that absorbs you and provides an escape from the tedium. As well as when you’re on a long flight, you need a great read to really take you away.


While traveling it’s also good to have books that are not library books nor belong to someone else – in other words, books that you don’t have to worry about if you lose or damage them. Or, if you don’t like them, you can leave them somewhere along the way, such as at your relative’s house or in the back pocket of the seat in front of you. That will lighten your load during your travels (or allow you room to pick up more books).

Finally, for the many people who vacation/travel end up on beaches (lucky us Long Islanders who can visit the beach much of the year), there are beach books. These are also books you don’t want to have to worry about if they get damaged or sandy, as well as being lightweight as you stretch out on your beach blanket.

beach reading

And then there are the contents of books that you bring on travels, but that’s another topic for another time.

See you on the ferry!

Maker Fair at PPL- April 25

Student art show 5

Portland’s Maker Fair | April 25, 2015 | Portland Public Library


WHEN: Saturday, April 25 | 11:00am-4:00pm

WHERE: Main Library and Monument Square


Makers@PPL offers a day of hands-on workshops

and exhibits in five themes: creative arts, food & drink,

entrepreneurship, local history, and science & tech-

nology—highlighting the importance of the STEM

subjects (science, technology, engineering, math).

These workshops and presentations not only teach,

but are fun and engaging.



robots, flying airplanes, 3D printing, bee keeping, cheese tastings,

calligraphy, bike repair, table saw trainings, map making,

screenprinting, and much, much more.


One big family-friendly day of making new things and trying new skills…

Mark your calendars and join in the fun!






Free and open to the public. No registration required.

For more information, visit

or call 871-1700 x 284.


Portland Public Library | 5 Monument Square, Portland | 207.871.1700 |