|Signing books at the Guilford Memorial Library author event|
Today, April 13, is the last day of National Library Week, and at one o’clock I will be giving a library sponsored talk at Cundy’s Harbor Community Hall because Karen Schneider, the director of Cundy’s Harbor Library, invited me, and then scheduled and promoted the event. What an appropriate way to spend the last day of library week! Since launching my maritime novel, Daughters of Long Reach, I have traveled around Maine visiting dozens of libraries. Each library, from Guilford to Wiscasset, from Orrington to Winslow, has reflected the spirit of their community, and they have all impressed me with their efforts to foster curiosity, inform, share art, create community, support literacy, encourage empathy and help young and old alike continue to find books that enrich their lives.
|A sailboat in the children's room of the Patten. Imagine!|
|The Patten's new teen and tween space|
As a former high school teacher, I have to spotlight the new teen and tween space. After a twenty-year hiatus from building, the library board decided to remodel a corner of its non-fiction stacks for teen and tween use at a cost of $330,000 dollars. The nautical-themed space has raised seating in the style of a crow’s nest and offers a birds-eye view of the Kennebec River. At the ground level, there are stacks of YA literature, charging stations, and easy access to audio and video equipment. The new corner is altogether modern, vibrant and adolescent friendly.
|Dahlov Ipcar's mural adds whimsy to the children's room|
The children’s room is an answer to a grandmother’s prayer. Surrounded by Dahlov Ipcar’s tigers, lions and zebras, it’s the perfect spot for storytime. As an added bonus, there’s a sunlit alcove that boasts a sailboat and allows children to follow their imagination to Java, Jamaica or Boothbay. In the summer, there are ice cream socials by the gazebo, and in the fall and winter there are craft parties upstairs in the auditorium. Whatever the weather, parents and children can learn, play and explore at the Patten.
|The elegant reading room at the Patten|
There’s also a quiet place where adults can read and work; it is surrounded by history, like the paintings depicting the burning of The Old South Church in 1854. And above the reading room, there’s a balcony that adds a little mystery to the ambiance. Why is it there? What’s behind the balcony doors? Searching for answers, I found Samantha Ricker, the director of development, and she happily gave me a tour. I followed her up the winding stairs of the nineteenth-century tower and discovered the truth: It’s a time capsule. When I entered the upstairs room, I felt like I had stepped through Alice’s looking glass. Samantha hopes that the library will someday raise enough money to renovate the space and once again open it up to the public.
|The mysterious second floor of the Patten's fairy-tale tower|
To that end, I wish all the library’s fund-raising efforts are successful. Since National Library Week is ending, I would like to ask for an extension. (One week is not enough.) On April 27, the Patten Free Library is hosting “A Night at the Patten.” Tickets are on sale now. They’re available online and at the library. If you live in or around Bath, I encourage you to buy a ticket and support our future; if you live elsewhere, visit your local library or check their event calendar and participate. You've probably guessed that I’m a child of the sixties, so you won’t be surprised when I leave you with a slogan from that decade: A brain is a terrible thing to waste. I believe libraries do a lot to save our brains, and they deserve our support. See you at the library!