Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library

Memory Lane
Tue, 05/03/2022 - 8:45am

What brings back memories? What gives us a look at the past? What brings us joy? What can connect us to our family, fellow friends and neighbors? Photos!

At the end of January Joanna Breen, director of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, asked me if I would take on the task of placing library photos in an album or scrapbook. Thinking that would not be a big deal I said yes.

She handed me a plastic bin full of photos, three photo albums and two scrapbooks. As I removed the photos from the bin I realized that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary quickie task, because there were hundreds of photos spanning years of library activities!

I began by trying to place the photos into categories starting with the adult activities and photos of the library itself, staff and volunteers. That wasn’t too bad. I was able to kind of figure out what the activity was and who most of the people in them were-but not always.

Then I went to the activities that were generated from many of the activities in the children’s library and by CLICK, (Creative, Lively, Imaginative, Creative Kids) created by Program Director Diane Dorbin and followed by Barbara House. I covered a very large table in my sewing room with the photos in categories covering “Between the Stacks” images, children’s field trips, theater productions, teen activities, Windjammer parades and Wee Matey activities, the creation of the Children’s Garden with Sue Mello and all the children’s activities that involved, and on and on. At times the project just seemed overwhelming.

I began labeling the people in the photos and what the photo depicted but I was stymied because I didn’t know exactly what some of the photos were about or all the children’s names. So, I called in the troops. Mary Pinkham came to my home and spent two hours with me going through photos and helping to identify them. But I still had quite a few unidentified activities and children. I called on more helpers, Diane Dorbin, Sue Mello and Barbara House. I made phone calls to some parents to verify names and spelling, I looked up some on the internet.

I began putting the pictures in the albums and then thought I’d look through the scrapbooks (should have done that right in the beginning) and discovered overlaps of the photos now in albums and the events in the scrapbooks, that had been put together by Dorbin and House. Photos needed to be removed from the albums and added to the corresponding event in the scrapbook. To do that the scrapbooks had to come apart, pages added for the additional photos. Another scrapbook had to be acquired because more pages were needed. That was when I wanted to tear my hair out!

I finally finished and was taking the albums and scrapbooks back to the library when I stopped at Leslie Bird’s house. She is now on the library board. She wanted to see the albums and looking at them was able to identify her children and other children in the photos. So back home to type the names and add them to the pictures. The albums and scrapbooks are finally done...but not done.

Here’s where you in the community can help. The albums and scrapbooks will be displayed in the Great Room this month for folks to come in and reminisce, to remember fun times with their children at the library, book discussions, and many family activities. One such child, Rhiannon Ramsey-Brimsberg, who recently has been acknowledged in the Register for receiving The Iain Macleoid Young Composers Award, is frequently in the library photos. One wonders if her participation in the library theater productions was one activity that led her to performance art! Many of the photos have not been seen by participants and parents. We invite you to stop in at the library and peruse the albums. Maybe even take a picture of a photo to keep for your family's memories.

Looking at these photos was quite a trip. The photos illustrate the important role the library plays in the life of the community now and in the past.

Upcoming events: Author talk: Sandra Neily, Saturday, May 14, Noon-2 p.m.