The Pembroke Library is celebrating its fifth anniversary this summer with a series of musical performances, art exhibits, kids’ art camps and other events, culminating with a public anniversary party from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the library, with music, refreshments, tours and door prizes to mark this important day.
The library began in 2001 as the dream of a few Pembroke residents.
This core group discussed the possibility of creating a library for residents and formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to opening, operating and maintaining the first public library in town.
The former Grange Hall, erected circa 1860, was donated to the Pembroke Library Association and fundraising efforts began to secure the grand, but crumbling, structure and begin renovations.
Grants from the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation, the Libra Foundation and others made it possible to provide matching funds for a Community Development Block Grant to complete construction.
After three years, the building was ready and the people of Pembroke and surrounding areas, along with families of former residents, donated thousands of books to get the library started.
A dedicated group of volunteers, led by early backer and board member Erleen Christiansen, spent an entire fall, winter and spring sorting, cataloging and shelving books.
This brave band of enthusiastic workers not only sorted and culled books but also learned the new electronic cataloging system.
In early summer 2006, the library opened with a collection of more than 7,000 volumes. Since then, the library has become a focal point for area music and art programs.
Music groups entertain in the main library and artists display their works for patrons and visitors to view. Poets have performed their compositions to rapt audiences and children’s authors have entertained youngsters.
Area groups, such as The Downeast Bookies Book Club, St. Croix Valley International Garden Club, the Downeast Border Riders, Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow System,
the Ironworks Quilters, Pembroke Planning Board, Troop 136 Boy Scouts, and the
Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra Board have found the library a welcoming place to meet.
The library also serves as a training site for the National Able Network, which prepares older citizens to get back into the job market.
Four computers are available to patrons and Wi-Fi is available at the library with a circulation list that has grown to more than 9,000 volumes, with many new children’s books on order.
The all-volunteer staff is happy to help with inter-library loan requests, searches for books on certain subjects, photocopying, faxing and notary work.
The library helps local high school students fulfill their community service requirements by training them in the circulation and cataloging system, having them serve as patrons and be part of the day-to-day running of the library; a situation mutually beneficial to both parties.
The library’s board of directors are President Fred Gralenski, Vice President Pauline Cantwell, Treasurer John Bloemendaal and Secretary Kim DeVaney serving with Jean Carlson, Ann Moody, Bill DeVaney, Mary Leonard, Katherine Evans and Debbie Jamieson, who are planning for a Community Room on the library’s second floor with the help of the building trades department at Washington County Community College.
Electrical wiring was installed during the college’s spring semester and the insulation and walls will be going in during the fall semester, a partnership initiated by Bloemendaal.
Funds are being raised for plumbing, furnishing and handicap accessibility to complete this project. It is the hope of board members that the sixth anniversary will be celebrated in the new Community Room.
For information, call 726-4745 or 726-5837.
Library hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays; 3-8 p.m. Wednesdays; 3-5 p.m. Thursdays; 3-6 p.m. Fridays; and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.
New patrons, new board members and new volunteers are always welcome.