Everyone on this planet is separated by only six other people, but you have to find the right six people to make the connection.
On Saturday, I drove to Tenants Harbor to drop off paintings at the Jackson Memorial Library for Plein Air Painters of Maine’s annual show. I knew, vaguely, that the library had moved, but I didn’t anticipate any trouble finding the new one. Tenants Harbor is tiny.
Luise van Keuren gave me a tour of the new library building. It is spacious, contemporary, light-filled and painted in soft, restful tones. The Town of St. George numbered 2,591 people at the last census. They’ve built a library that any swank New York suburb would be proud of.
St. George is comprised of five villages: Spruce Head, Clark Island, Tenants Harbor, Martinsville, and Port Clyde. It has a consolidated K-8 school in Tenants Harbor, attended by about 200 kids. After they finish grade eight, kids can choose to go to one of five regional high schools. This is the Maine way.
|Anchor, by Carol L. Douglas|
Media studies are pushing libraries out of public schools everywhere in the country. In Tenants Harbor, the public library is picking up the slack. Kids walk down a snow-filled forest path that connects their school with the Jackson Library. They get their library periods and after-school programs there.
In foreign aid, local, fast and nimble aid projects have been popular for several decades, via things like small-scale aid projects and micro-credit. In our own country, we gravitate toward one-size-fits-all solutions. Luckily, libraries are still, by and large, locally controlled and funded. If we apportioned them using the same, vicious cost/benefit approach we take for most things, Tenants Harbor wouldn’t even have a library. But for now, Maine loves her libraries and it shows.
It was time to leave, but my husband was deep in conversation with the library’s director, Deb Armer. Turns out she once lived around the corner from us in Brighton, NY, where her husband had also gone to high school. Go Barons!
|I also included this palm tree, because I'm sick of the snow. Well, I was visiting Cali Veilleux, and she's from Spruce Head, so there is a Maine theme, right?|
“There are three people at this library with some connection to Brighton,” she told us. In New York terms, Brighton is a tiny pin prick on the map, with a population of 37,000. It is well-represented here in our little corner of Maine.
Alene Kennedy at the library created a lovely poster for the show, which I’ve reproduced above. I plan to be at the opening. I can’t wait to see what my painter friends have been up to. We only paint together some of the time, after all.
The opening is Friday, April 7, from 6-8 PM. Just go down Route 131 past the General Store, the Post Office, and the Town Hall, and it will be on your right. If you cross the creek, you’ve gone too far. See you there!