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by Anne Berleant
On Saturday, August 5, the Brooksville library is opening its doors, and those of a few neighbors, to share its 60th anniversary with Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book, One Morning in Maine, which also turns 60 this year.
McCloskey summered in South Brooksville as a child, and One Morning in Maine focuses on daily life in the town from the perspective of Sal, who is based on McCloskey’s daughter of the same name.
The old Condon garage, featured in the book, will showcase vintage cars and boats, “and the old sign will be up,” said library board trustee Poly Bishop, who is organizing the event.
Ice cream will be served at the old post office, formerly the Condon’s Store, and at the Condon home up the hill from the garage, Jane McCloskey will sign copies of her recently published book, Robert McCloskey, A Private Life in Words and Pictures. Old photos of the store and garage and “a little bit of life at the beginning of the 20th century” will be on display in the house, Bishop said.
In addition, a show by local artists will hang in the barn at Condon’s house, and “wandering musicians” will stroll the village streets, where the events take place “all within 50 feet of each other,” Bishop said.
The 60th anniversary party serves as the library’s annual summer fundraiser, and “will help a great deal to contribute to the budget,” Bishop said, adding that the library’s yearly budget is about 10 times what the town contributes.
One contribution the town did make, at this year’s town meeting, was an allocation of $25,000 toward a library expansion project estimated to cost around $200,000.
“Basically, we’re out of space,” said Harry Madson, chairman of the library board of trustees. “We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people, kids and internet use.”
Library use by children is up 60 percent, said Madson, including an after-school reading program where 6- to 10-year-olds work one-on-one with adults. Internet use is up 280 percent, with the library providing 24 hour a day access outside the building.
The expansion plan will add 900 square feet of space—60 percent more room than the building currently has—by removing the deck and turning the area into interior space.
Madson said that the selectmen have seen the plans and are “very much in favor, and support [them].”
A meeting for contractors to review the plans is scheduled for Wednesday, August 1. The hope is for exterior construction work to begin in late August or early September. Interior work will happen “as funds become available,” Madson said.
The library has raised $53,000, including the town’s $25,000 allocation, toward the project and has applied for over $100,000 in grants. It plans to raise the remainder through donations.
The 60th anniversary fundraiser runs from 2 to 5 p.m., and its “major focus is to raise money for the ongoing funds for the library,” said Madson.