August 25, 2019
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Former reality TV stars help Millinocket with a temporary home for its library

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
"American Loggers" fan Joe Bartlett of Lee shakes hands with Eldon Pelletier (right) after Bartlett and friend Helen Cole (center) of Lee finished their lunch at Pelletier Loggers Family Restaurant Bar and Grill in 2010.

The stars of the former “American Loggers” reality television show are giving Millinocket’s public library a hand during its six- to eight-month renovation starting next month.

The Pelletier family is allowing the Millinocket Memorial Library to move into its former Pelletier Loggers Family Restaurant Bar and Grill at 57 Penobscot Ave. while the library undergoes its planned $1.7 million renovation. The move is due to start at the end of May, with the library reopening in its temporary location on June 10, officials said.

The Pelletiers starred in the Discovery Channel show, which ran from 2009-11 and chronicled the large Franco-American family’s challenges running a logging business in the unforgiving northern Maine woods. The restaurant closed in August 2015, with owner Eldon Pelletier citing a lack of traffic downtown as the primary reason.

Courtesy of the Millinocket Memorial Library
Courtesy of the Millinocket Memorial Library
Drawings show what the new Millinocket Memorial Library will look like once its renovations are finished.

Repurposed as Turn The Page Bookstore and Wine Bar in 2017, that business closed about 1 ½ years later, and the building remains for sale.

The Pelletier family is doing the library “a huge favor” by donating the space for free, said Matt DeLaney, the library’s director.

The library will offer almost all of its services at the former restaurant. That includes wireless internet service, public computers, printing, scanning and faxing, plus access to some of its book collection and the same hours of operation — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday and Wednesday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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“It’s a great location for us, especially in the summertime. It is a building that people are interested in, especially with the huge truck on the side of it,” DeLaney said Tuesday.

Instead of serving alcohol, the former restaurant bar will serve as the library’s computer station, he said.

Courtesy of the Millinocket Memorial Library
Courtesy of the Millinocket Memorial Library
Drawings show what the new Millinocket Memorial Library will look like once its renovations are finished.

Jessica Masse, vice president of the library’s board of directors, said that the library has raised about $1.24 million for the renovations through grants, community fundraisers and donations.

They hope to raise more to pay for the first phase of renovations. That will include a new south entrance, children’s and teens’ reading spaces, two small meeting rooms and a large, state-of-the-art conference room for community groups and library patrons, DeLaney said.

Masse credited DeLaney with providing the board with considerable direction, and motivation, to dare to raise so much money. He also has helped greatly with the library’s redesign itself, she said.

“He has been really phenomenal in terms of creating a new vision for a library,” Masse said.

A New York native, Delaney moved to town almost three years ago after participating in the 2016 Millinocket Marathon and Half, an event created to help the town recover from the massive economic damage done by the closure of its mill in 2008.

Watch: Our Katahdin ready to get to work promoting Millinocket



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