Category Archives: Libraries

Island reading in the time of Coronavirus

If you’re a book lover  this is the prime time to be living on an island. Although our library is closed, there are still a myriad of opportunities for folks who love the written word. First of all, most of us have a “Tsundoko” – it’s a Japanese term, which refers to the stack of books on a bedside table waiting to be read. When that runs out, we can delve into our libraries to reread old favorites. Then, we borrow books from friends (social distancing, of course).

For those who don’t mind reading books on a device, you can download books through a variety of sources, including the Long Island Community Library e-books and audiobooks – see Long Island Community Library website for more information.

Beyond reading books, for those who have access to a computer, there is a whole world out there for literary experiences, as businesses and organizations in the business of the written word are expanding their offerings to the online community.

For example, here in Maine, you can attend poetry readings online such as this one at Longfellow Books’ website, which offers a poetry reading by Scott WithiamLongfellow Books is also willing to mail books.

For the writers in our midst, there are online classes available through the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance

Maine Women Writers Collection offers a fun Instagram as well as a Quarantine Book List by Maine women writers.  Greater Portland Landmarks also offers their suggested book list

That’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more out there. (Anyone have any favorites?)

So, there’s no excuse, in these days of quarantine, to not be able to expand your universe beyond the walls of your home – especially through books!

Harbingers of spring: birds from the collections of Long Islanders

While many of us have patches of snow in our yards, and the winter wind can still bring a chill, it feels like spring is around the corner, with longer days, and occasional mild temperatures. Some folks claim to see the beginning of crocuses, and some of us have heard birdsong. In honor of spring, our latest exhibit, in the small glass case in the island library, celebrates our love of birds.

Thanks to the generosity of Nancy Berges, Florence Brown, Ann Caliandro, Henry Donovan, Penny Murley, Meredith Sweet, and Marion Ulmer, we can all enjoy seeing up-close representations of our feathered friends. Types of birds include goldfinch, bluebird, bald eagle, chickadee, penguin, seagull, orion, robin, Baltimore oriole, cardinal, crow, sandpiper, Alaska Thunderbird, hummingbird, blue jay, puffin, and duck. The birds come in all sorts of materials: clay, glass, plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, and fiber. We even have an image of a bird painted on a mushroom! One can see a snow globe and a “rocking crow.” We have a (stone) egg with nest, a birdhouse, postcards, feather (turkey and hawk), and beautiful informational cards.

Books from the LICL collection give examples of the types of books in the library collection (see 598 section for more bird books). And more birds can be found all over the library – in the new Blue Butterfield exhibit, and in a display case in the school. Once you open your eyes, birds are everywhere!

A special treat in this exhibit are pottery birds made by Lucy Donovan, a Christmas tree ornament made by Gail Wood, and a bird house made by David and Sally LeBreque.

Please come see our wonderful birds the next time you visit the island and library.

Open during library hours

 

Mobile librarians in fiction

There seems to be spate of novels recently about mobile librarians – that is, librarians not in the traditional “brick and mortar” library. Of course, this is nothing new – years ago Masha Hamilton wrote “The camel bookmobile,” about a bookmobile in Kenya. I recently read, “The library at the edge of the world,” by Felicity Hayes-McCoy, which is about an Irish librarian who drives a bookmobile, from time to time.

Closer to home, and more recently, one can find both “Giver of stars,” by JoJo Moyes and “The book woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson, novels centered on the Kentucky Pack Horse library service.  

In researching this blog, I came across Mary Lemist Titcomb (May 16, 1852–June 5, 1932), a librarian who developed an early American bookmobile and helped establish a county library system in Washington County, Maryland. A recent book about her, “Library on wheels : Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s first bookmobile” by Sharlee Glenn, tells more of her story. We have Mary Lemist Titcomb to thank for this wonderful concept of bringing books to the people!


October is National Family History Month

Did you know that October is National Family History Month? Well, in Australia it is! I’d like to take advantage of that fact to remind you that Ancestry.com (AncestryLibrary) is available for free at the Long Island Community Library, using one of the library computers or the Wifi: Ancestry Library Edition Resources. This is a great way to get started on your family history, or try to find that elusive family member (perhaps the black sheep) in your family tree. Genealogy was prominent this summer on Long Island, with the wonderful exhibit that the Long Island Historical Society put on about the Murphy family. Cheryl Nickerson Nutter did a fabulous program about her research for the exhibit, as well as pointing out some great resources. Stay tuned for more genealogy programs in the future!

Gaylord, a source for archival materials, offers “My family history kit” to get you started on housing your family treasures. The Gaylord Archival® My Family History Kit includes all the materials needed to start collecting and recording family history and genealogy. Use the 15-generation pedigree chart to plot your family tree. A helpful brochure provides a starting place for genealogical research and questions to ask in oral history interviews. File folders, envelopes and polypropylene sleeves provide safe storage and organization for photographs and important documents, such as letters and certificates.

As far as my own personal family history, no, I’m not related to anyone on the island. But my mother reminded me that this month both sets of my grandparents were married 100 years ago! Coincidentally, they were married one day a part – my paternal grandparents (Morton and Pansy Noble, see below) in Cleveland, Ohio (at the Old Stone Church) and my maternal grandparents (William and Anna Goudberg) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And here I am today, working at the Maine Historical Society, and encouraging you to research your family stories.

 

 

Symbols of love and 19th century gentility: Fans, valentines, and heirlooms from the Angell, Arnold and Dyer family of Rhode Island

(from the collections of Meredith Dyer Sweet)


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, and during the time of year when we can use some extra beauty and grace in our lives, we present to you an exhibit of fans from the collections of Meredith Sweet, as well as some family valentines and items that were used by the genteel citizens of Rhode Island, such as calling cards.

Fans were used as early as 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt, and Chinese ladies used fans 3000 years ago. In the 17th century China was exporting fans to Europe, where the fans served many purposes, including offering “fan flirtation rules,” as a way of coping with the restricting social etiquette. For example, resting the fan on the right cheek meant “yes,” and resting it on the left cheek meant “no.” The fans in this collection are made of silk, cloth, and paper, and some have ivory handles and tassels. One fan is made in Japan, and another is an 1893 calendar fan. Floral designs can be seen, as well as an elegant black and gold fan.

The valentines range from 19th century to early 20th century, including valentine postcards and moveable valentines. Family valentines are represented (Meredith and her brother Jerry sent cards, and there is a card “sent to Arthur by Aunt Emily when he was a little boy”), as well as valentines sent between friends (Meredith exchanged valentines with Long Island’s Gail Wood). One charming valentine contains this verse: “Hustle! Mr. Bachelor get yourself a wife, there’s nothing in this world thus half so sweet, you’re wasting half your life.”

Finally, in the exhibit can be seen a pair of delicate black hand mitts, which allowed a woman to do handwork, as well as show off flashy rings. A calling card which belonged to “Mrs. William O. Dyer” is clasped in a metal hand clip – another way to showcase how polite society handled visitors in the 19th century.

For more information on the history and language of fans, see:
http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/fanlanguage.html
And valentines at the Maine Historical Society:
https://www.mainememory.net/sitebuilder/site/229/page/488/display?use_mmn=1
Calling card etiquette can be found here:
https://hobancards.com/calling-cards-and-visiting-cards-brief-history
Significance of gloves:
http://www.fashionintime.org/history-gloves-significance/

Long Island Community Library
The exhibit is open during library hours
in the small meeting room glass case

“Away in the manger” : ceramic nativity set by David Singo

Just in time for Advent, we present to you a new exhibit showcasing a ceramic nativity set made by David Singo in 1980.

And just in time for St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6) we include a ceramic Santa, also made by Dave in 1980.

Long Island Community Library
Small meeting room glass case
The exhibit is open during library hours

Knit for Your Neighbors – Sit n’ Knit

How’s this for a great idea?
Yesterday, at the Portland Public Library, they had a gathering of knitters, to kick off an initiative to knit items to keep people warm, such as hats, mittens, and scarves. So, gather those items you have already made, and drop them off at the Reference Desk at PPL, or make this an inspiration to gather up your needles or hooks and knit and crochet to keep our neighbors warm! (just in time for this brisk weather we’re having)

After I stopped in to PPL to check out the activities, I stopped in a downtown store to buy a candle, on my way to the ferry – the woman behind the checkout desk was knitting hand warmers, so I told her all about the PPL initiative, and gave her the hat knitting pattern I had picked up at the sit ‘n knit. She was very excited!

I love when libraries and knitting intersect* – well done, Meg Gray, the Science and Technology Librarian at PPL, who organized the activity and initiative.

For more information:

https://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/knit-for-your-neighbors-sit-n-knit/

And about collecting the items:

https://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/knit-for-your-neighbors-collection-site/

*Just a reminder that at our own Long Island Community Library, we have a group of knitters that gather on Thursday afternoons – no doubt they are knitting up items such as these for various charities. If you are a knitter (or crafter, in general), I’m sure they would love to have you join in!

Art and Soul July 21 2018

The Long Island Community Library is in the midst of preparing for this year’s library fundraiser: Art and Soul. Yesterday a group of us sorted books into categories in one of the classrooms – categories include gardening, travel, cookbooks and food, biographies, history, children’s books, puzzles, and self-help books. Baskets are being created for raffling off. Annie is working away on gathering delicious food items to sell. Jeanne is hanging some beautiful artwork for the silent auction. So, mark your calendars! and come support your favorite island library.

Comic artists: exhibit at Portland Public Library this month

There is a fabulous comic exhibit at the Portland Public Library this month, up for a few more days – if you have a chance stop by! Here is more information about it:

June 1 – 23, 2018:
30×30: Comic Artists
Held in conjunction with the Maine Comic Arts Festival
Portland Public Library and Casablanca Comics celebrate the comic arts in our June 2018 exhibit, 30”x30”. Artists’ panels will be enlarged to an exaggerated size to amplify the expression and detail of each unique work, creating the experience of a giant comic strip throughout the Lewis Gallery. Though the works are non-sequential, each artist has submitted their comic book vision of a library scene—a visual love letter to libraries everywhere. 30”x30” premiers in conjunction with the Maine Comic Arts Festival (MeCAF) at Portland Public Library, a day-long celebration of comics arts and creators (held June 2nd)

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.