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.
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
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
Tonight we’re starting another summer book group at our island library, thanks to the generosity of Jean Murley, the daughter of Curt and Penny Murley, island residents. Jean is an Associate Professor of English at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. Last year she led a wonderful study of “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption” by Jennifer Thompson Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo.
Jean is back again to lead another book group – this time a novel: Mohsin Hamid’s “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”
We are pleased to announce that our winter exhibit is installed – we are showcasing Christmas ornaments and decorations made by Long Islanders, past and present. The exhibit is in the library’s small glass case, and can be viewed during library hours. Come on down and see sheep, butterflies, a snowflake, snowmen, pinecones, Christmas trees, and other wonderful ornaments and decorations, made by our talented islanders.
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!
Remember the vinyl records of many years ago? A few of us still have them kicking around, unable to let go of them, for nostalgia’s sake. Amazingly, vinyl is making a comeback. A younger generation is discovering them, which goes to show one should never give up on old technologies.
The Long Island Community Library has a small exhibit in the glass case between the library and small meeting room which showcases a sampling of vinyl records owned and loved by Long Islanders, as well as examples of other types of technology that came about afterwards, some of which we’ll probably never see a resurgence of. There is a notebook that we would love to have you tell your stories of favorite records.
This exhibit is open during library hours.
Announcing a new exhibit at the Long Island Community Library (glass case between the main room of the library and the small meeting room)
The Maine Photo Project, a statewide collaboration among museums, galleries, historical societies, and other nonprofit cultural organizations across Maine, celebrates the 150th anniversary of photography.
This exhibit reflects the history of photography through the collections of the Long Island Historical Society, as well as private collections. From daguerreotypes to digital photography, Long Island has long been photographed – people, places, homes, ferries. The exhibit is supplemented with antique cameras from private collections and books from the collections of the Long Island Community Library.
Open during library hours – see the library website for hours: http://library.long-island.lib.me.us/
Well, it may not officially be winter on the calendar, but on Long Island winter has arrived, with snow on Thanksgiving. So, to celebrate the season, we have a lovely winter exhibit of snowmen, collected over the years by Penny Murley. Stop by the small exhibit case, between the library and small meeting room, and say hello to this wonderful collection of snowmen.
My husband, daughter, and I enjoyed a wonderful boat cruise aboard the Blue Nun motoring around Casco Bay last Tuesday evening courtesy of Steve and Chris McDuffie. They generously donated the trip as a raffle fundraiser for the Long Island Library and my husband won the prize. Steve asked us where we wanted to go and since we had never seen Portland Head and Two Lights from “the other side,” we decided to boat down the coast to Cape Elizabeth.
The weather was perfect with a warm breeze and clear skies. Chris surprised us with some delicious snacks and my husband was able to snap several beautiful photographs of the area. As I took in the surrounding landscape and wildlife with binoculars, my daughter quizzed Chris on the local history and happenings of the islands.
On the return leg of the trip, we spotted the new Nova Star ferry coming in to dock at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Pier and a friendly harbor seal poked his head up to check us out. Steve took us around the back side of Peaks Island and with one last look at Fort Gorges, we got back to Portland just in time to take in a lovely sunset. We all had a marvelous time. Thank you to the McDuffies for making a two-hour boat ride such a memorable occasion.
Deborah Clark, Raymond, ME (with photographs by Craig Clark)
As the new consultant for the Southern Maine Library District, I have been visiting all the public libraries in Cumberland, York, and southern Oxford Counties. The Art & Soul Festival provided the perfect opportunity for me to tour the Long Island Community Library, meet the staff and trustees, as well as learn a little about island living. I was so impressed by the efforts of those I met (Library Director Nancy Jordan, trustees Nancy Noble, Patty Temple, and Connie Brayley, and organizer Mary McAleney) and by the strong community support for the library event.
I especially liked the “Bling Room” with fun costume jewelry for sale and bought a nice patriotic pin. My husband and I browsed the book sale and art auction offerings and while I was speaking with library staff, my husband was persuaded by student volunteers to buy some raffle tickets. We couldn’t stay for the drawings as we needed to catch our ferry back to Portland and were shocked to hear later that he had won one of the gift baskets! Thanks everyone for the great visit to the island.
Deborah A. Clark,
Maine State Library