This month I celebrate 10 years of writing blogs for the Long Island Community Library – it’s been a joy and a privilege, and allows me an opportunity to blog about subjects near and dear to my heart, including our island library, books, and reading.
The posts are a variety – some just share information, and some are more thoughtful and original. We love having guest bloggers, such as when Lorinda Valls wrote about a trip to Monroeville, Alabama, home of Harper Lee, and Nancy Jordan wrote about the theme of “death of a husband” in literature.
At one point I began an annual blog in January about favorite or notable books that I enjoyed reading in the previous year. An occasional series I started was about authors on the bay, including Dr. Chuck Radis and Kim MacIsaac on Peaks Island, Stephen English and Anne Weber on Great Diamond Island, and our own Charlie Adams.
Various topics caught my interest over the past 10 years, such as books about coffee and tea, and books about Scotland, Ireland, Australia, The West, and Daphne DuMaurier’s Cornwall. Other topics related to literature included books and films about game wardens, pandemics, gardening, world religion, cats, poetry, bicycling, travel, knitting, pilgrimages, war, autism, food (memoirs), mobile librarians, orphans, booksellers, and porches. Even “Famous men’s wives and lovers in literature” found its way into the blog. I explored topics related to books: Little Free Libraries, book clubs in Portland, Maine authors and poets (Ben Ames Williams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Richard Blanco, E.B. White), seed libraries, Goodreads, and a few blogs about accessing books during Covid, when we were sadly without our usual access to favorite libraries and bookstores.
I wrote about island libraries in Casco Bay (Chebeague, Cliff, Peaks, the Diamond Islands) and beyond (Matinicus). I wrote about libraries in Portland that can be walked to from the ferry, and libraries I encountered on my vacations, including in the Adirondacks and Nova Scotia. I profiled our own library’s programs, including our major fundraiser: Art and Soul.
I was able to highlight our exhibits in the small meeting room case, including exhibits about rocks, birds, Long Islanders (publication of the Long Island Civic Association), the history of our island library, the history of photography, Portland pottery, record albums, the Bunny Hop, Anne Kilham cards, Beanie babies, first ladies, fans and valentines, cookbooks, and plates of barns. At Christmas we often had special holiday exhibits about cookie cutters, snowmen, Santa’s Village, Christmas ornaments and decorations, Advent calendars, a ceramic nativity set, often highlighting items made by or collected by islanders.
Some of my more esoteric topics include “Which is better, the book or the movie?,” revisiting classic books, and common themes in books.
Curt Murley set up the WordPress site for blogging in May of 2012, and contributed the first blog about the library used books table – a few days later was my first blog about films that take place in Paris. I’m not exactly sure how it came about that I volunteered to write the blogs. I seem to recall Maggie Carle, in our library board meeting when we first talked about writing blogs for the library website, saying how difficult it is to keep blogs going – so I’m very pleased that I’ve been inspired to write about something every month for the past ten years. Many thanks to the faithful few who actually read these blogs – I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!