Today marks the end of our third week away from our building, and I am struck by the ways this community, even while sheltering in place, has committed to social connection over social isolation. Many patrons have emailed to thank us for their new cards, for accurate information, and for our online programs. Many have written to ask about our staff. And many, many patrons have shared poems for these unprecedented days.
I’ve always found solace in the compressed elegance of poetry. Just before we reopened in July of 2016, when the books were on the shelves but the paint was still wet, I walked the sunlit stacks with the architect. We were on the upper level, near where all the literature is shelved. He turned to me and exclaimed, “Oh, the poetry of empty spaces.” I thought he meant the books, then quickly realized he meant the building he had designed. We were both right in our own way.
I have received poems celebrating solitude, and poems about the shared language of generosity. I have been scribbling the words of others on the backs of envelopes, thinking that maybe this is the time to write a few poems of my own. Will you join me and send the poems our way? We’ll add them to our Covid-19 Archive. Do you need help starting? Pick up your pens, Sag Harbor: In honor of National Poetry Month, the Poetry Foundation Library is publishing daily prompts for children, teens, and adults.
The end of this week also marks the original dates for our events in celebration of the Joe Pintauro Papers. Joe’s bequest to JJML Local History and Special Collections, which includes letters, manuscripts and photographs, is a testament to his belief in the power of public libraries. Joe would want us to remember that in these challenging days there is the potential not just for loss, but for a life of connection and beauty. We will reschedule these events for September; in the meantime, as Joe wrote in The Magic Box, cherish this life, all “the wonder and the pain of it, the unspeakable worthwhileness of every second of it.”
Catherine Creedon, Director firstname.lastname@example.org