Once upon a time, my friend Dale Scott was the children’s librarian at John Jermain. I occasionally see her handwriting on some random file, and always feel a sudden lurching of joy and recognition. This morning she sent me an email describing a conceptual library somewhere in the colder regions of Norway, created by the artist Katie Paterson. Today, that “library” consists of a forest of 1,000 trees and a fair amount of hope and intention. The trees, planted in 2014, will be felled in 2114 and used to make books of the 100 manuscripts donated to the project, one per year. Every ten years the trustees charged with overseeing the forest will be replaced by a new group of stewards of the project, which “centers on a philosophy that is central to both forestry and urban planning: that individuals and communities create things today that will ultimately benefit future generations.”
I held on to the idea of those thousand trees as I tried to process the news that three of our library’s cherished supporters have died in the last few weeks:
Susan Fisher Haag, an artist, designer and founder of juice DESIGN, was an adventurous reader, and somehow always both generous and astute in the “reviews” she would share with us when returning a stack of books.
Robert Loomis, who, I am sure, edited a number of those books during his more than 50 years at Random House. His work there made many of the titles on our shelves, and by extension our community, richer, more elegant, quietly better.
And Cheryl Bedini, owner of Java Nation. Cheryl was a passionate advocate for our community, especially the school, where she was the long-term force behind the annual Multicultural Night, and the library where she shared, with equal enthusiasm, ideas and coffee.
While we were collectively grieving the loss of these JJML patrons, Wonda Miller, Assistant Director, began a new community initiative called Local Spotlight–a series of interviews capturing the voices of Sag Harbor. Her first interview with Lisa Field, owner of the Sag Harbor Variety Store and President of the Chamber of Commerce, was the highlight of an otherwise challenging week. When asked if there had been any “silver linings” during these difficult days, Lisa said yes, her adult daughters were back home, and all up and down Main Street people were slower, and more grateful just to be.
We will be posting these interviews to our YouTube channel, but you can watch next week’s event live at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday by registering here. These videos are just part of our ongoing collection for the Sag Harbor COVID-19 Archive. Please contact us if you have a story to tell, or if you would like to contribute information, photographs, menus or other ephemera to the archive.
Like those small trees in Norway, our memories will become the library of the future.
Catherine Creedon, Director firstname.lastname@example.org