Foreign film night: “A Separation”


“A Separation”

(From Iran, 2011)

2011 Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Language Film.

Set in contemporary Iran, a family struggles with the decision to improve the life of their daughter by leaving the country, or staying to care for a grandfather with Alzheimer’s.            (English Subtitles)

Wednesday, September 19, Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.

FREE   (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world)

Winter Weekend 2013: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Something to look forward to this winter…

On the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, the Maine Humanities Council is delighted to announce our first Dickens novel for Winter Weekend. Great Expectations, one of Dickens’s mature novels, is replete with his trademark colorful characters and biting criticism of society. This bildungsroman is a powerful and dramatic story from Dickens at his prime.

Winter Weekend is a humanities experience that, though lectures and discussions, unites historians, writers, artists, public intellectuals, and others to help us understand each year’s book in its rich historical and cultural context.

Winter Weekend 2013 will take place March 8 and 9 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. The $225 registration fee includes a copy of the book, background readings, a reception, dinner, lunch, and coffee. CEUs are available for teachers. Limited scholarships are available for college and high school students. The program starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and continues until mid-afternoon on Saturday.

To register, visit

The Red Dory – A Long Island Book

The Red Dory –  a Long Island Book

by Chris McDuffie

It is not only the new books in our library which are interesting. I signed out The Red Dory by Hazel Wilson recently because I knew its author had spent a lot of time in her family’s cottage next to ours in Beach Cove, the one now owned by her grand nephew Greg Brown. Hazel Wilson published about 20 books, mostly for young readers, and The Red Dory was her first, published in 1939. It presents the summer adventures of a boy, Donald, living with his grandparents on Long Island.

In this book Wilson changed the name of Long Island to Pine Island, but there is no doubt as to the real location when she talks of Harbor de Grace where Donald lives, catching a lobster thief off the Stepping Stones, and taking summer people fishing off Outer Green Island.

Pasted in the back of the library’s copy there is a note from Hazel Wilson to a Mrs. Hewey which says, “The old captain in the book is partly modelled after Captain Ben Woodbury, whom I knew as a child. None of the happenings are really true, but his character was kind and dignified as I made Captain Eben in my book.”

The “happenings” (like the day a swordfish takes Donald and his red dory for a “Nantucket sleigh ride”) are things she may have made up to appeal to her young readers, but the book is so rich in details about the lean circumstances of a fishing family on Long Island in the 1930s that I think anyone who loves Long Island, as Hazel Wilson did, will find this a fascinating read.

There’s another Hazel Wilson book at the library, Island Summer, and again it is set on Pine Island (Long Island to those of us in the know). That’s going to be my next read.

Wednesday foreign film night: “Le Havre”


 (2011 Finland/France)

An elderly shoeshine man stands up to officials pursuing an immigrant child in this contemporary fable. English Subtitles.



Library Learning Center, 7:30 p.m.

FREE   (Wednesday night series of movies from around the world.)

The Maine Garden Journal

For those of you who missed the talk at the beginning of this summer’s Long Island garden tour by Lisa Colburn, you will have another opportunity upcoming, at Portland Public Library’s Local Author’s Lecture Series on Friday, August 31st, at noon. Lisa’s book is subtitled: Insider  secrets  from  Maine  people  who  love  to  put  their  hands  in  the  dirt.

For more information on Lisa and her book, check out her website:


Foreign film night begins again!

Our foreign film night series begins again tomorrow night (Wednesday August 8) at the Library Learning Center with:

“The Women on the 6th Floor”  (2010 France).

A French businessman’s life is turned upside down when he discovers the world of Spanish maids living in his family’s building.  Comedy set in 1960’s Paris.  (English subtitles.)

Come join us at 7:30 p.m. This series is free and highlights movies from around the world.

In addition, we’ll have a bonus short feature to show beforehand: “Sandwich.” This short (12 min.) film is a story of mystery, suspense, and comedy. Filmed on Long Island, Maine, (although a British project), it stars the well-known Long Island actors, Bob Jordan, Emil Berges, and Philip Hale.

The film was written, directed, filmed, produced, and financed by young, award-winning Callum Hale Thomson of the Hale family, long-time summer residents.  The film has just been accepted for entry in a Chicago film festival this October.  Come and see a fine film and great acting!  FREE at the Long Island Learning Center at 7:30 p.m., before “The Women on the 6th floor.”

Expansion project records – documenting our history

10 years ago our library was in the midst of a major expansion project, which allowed us to move our tiny library collection from the cramped and dark basement area of the school, into a glorious new space full of light and color. Thanks to the hard work of the building committee, ably led by our current library director, Nancy Jordan, this space, which not only includes a library, but also an art gallery, meeting space, multi-purpose room, meeting room, and computer room, is now open 7 days a week. Architect Frank Oliva designed our beautiful new building, which was completed in 2004. spring on Long Island 9

Nancy Jordan recently donated the records of the project to the Long Island Historical Society, and they are now processed and available for researchers. This collection (1.5 linear ft.) is an excellent documentation of a construction project, and includes correspondence, documents, invoices, newspaper clippings, photographs, and minutes. Major parts of the collection are regarding not only the construction, but the fundraising and grants applied for. It’s truly evidence of what can be done with a lot of determination and fortitude.

One man’s trash…

Where do you find your books? I’m not techy enough to go the download route, or Kindle or Nook. I tend to use more traditional means – the “brick and mortar” bookstore (although my husband prefers Amazon), especially the local bookstore (as opposed to chains). Of course I mostly acquire books through the library: our own Long Island library, the Portland Public Library (one block from where I work), or other libraries in downtown Portland: Maine Charitable Mechanics Association and the Maine Irish Heritage Center library.

But my favorite place to acquire books is at used book sales, either ongoing sales, such as the one we have at the Long Island Community Library, or a room at the Portland Public Library that is set up for book sales, or annual events, such as Art & Soul, or the Friends of the Portland Public Library sale (this year held at Catherine McAuley High School). Here you can find great bargains, and bring home armloads of books for not much cash. I’ve also been successful finding cheap books at yard sales. I’ve even had good luck with books on the side of the road or left at the ferry landing in banana boxes. My house is evidence of these great finds – now to just find the time to read them!

So, all of you out there in blog land (I know there’s a few): where do you find the best treasures?

Maine Irish Heritage Center library

Another great Portland special library to visit is the Maine Irish Heritage Center library, on the corner of Gray and State Streets. Housed in the old St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, the library just opened in May of 2009. Under the tutelage and guidance of volunteer librarian Susan Flaherty, this library has grown into a wonderful resource of Irish literature, and boasts subjects such as religion, travel, history, and language. They even have Irish music cassettes, movies, knitting patterns, and just about anything else Irish you can imagine. Members are allowed to check out items, for a period of one month. Often on the Tuesday afternoons that the library is open, you can enter in through the front door of the church, which allows you to wander in through the beautiful sanctuary before entering into the library itself, which also has wonderful atmosphere, with high ceilings and a large wooden sacramental dresser now used for storing library materials.

This summer there is also, at the center, an exhibit of the photographs of our fellow Casco Bay Islander – Bill Finney of Great Diamond Island. His images, often of landscapes, are breathtaking.

For more information:

Maine Irish Heritage Center Library, 34 Gray Street (corner of State),, 207-780-0118, Tuesdays 4-6


Okay, who here likes pastries? Well, after “sampling” two of the offerings in our library, both in film and book format, I decided that I like eating pastries more than making them.

In the documentary film, “Kings of Pastry,” French pastry chefs compete for the coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France award. The amazing sculptures they create are true artistry (although you wouldn’t be tempted to take a bite), and you will be on the edge of your seat as they carry the delicate and fragile looking concoctions from room to room. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

In Dalia Jurgensen’s “Spiced: a pastry chef’s true stories of trials by fire, after-hours exploits, and what really goes on in the kitchen,” you will also mostly realize what a lot of hard work it is to be a pastry chef. This somewhat racy memoir will leave you a bit tired and breathless.

So, at the end of the day, I’ll stick to my day job, and leave the pastry making to the experts. And as I reach for a napolean I will appreciate what it takes to make these confections, and relish every bite.


A small library on an island on the coast of Maine