Town Column : Tisbury
A public library used to be where you could borrow a book, paying a few cents for each day you kept it. Chris Baer says the earliest public library in town was probably in the tavern on Beach Road. Books were available from many different businesses over the years.
By 1850 the town school had a library of 200 books. In 1879 the Ladies' Library League was formed. They offered books for public use with a weekly charge. Four years later their 483 volumes were lost in the disaster of the great fire of 1883. In May of 1884 new rooms were fitted for their use over the office of Dr. Winthrop Butler and the drug store. Ten years later 2,500 books, about half from the Library League and half from the private library of the late Rev. D. W. Stevens, were given to the town for a new public library. This continued operating upstairs over the doctor's office.
Then in 1909 Mrs. Pauline McArthur, a daughter of the late Judge Arnoux, announced her intention of donating the Arnoux house for a free public library. After her parents died, she gave the house and land, on Main Street at the corner of Greenwood, to the town.
Allan Davey Sr. grew up in the house next door to the library. He has a photograph of the Arnoux house when it was the free public library. Some others in town remember that the children's section was upstairs. Also in Allan's photo was a memorial tablet "to the citizens of Tisbury who served in the World War" from 1917 to 1919. That memorial is now at the Legion Field behind the fire station. The house was used as a library until about 1965 when the current library was built on the site.
But you could still rent books in town. In 1928 Mrs. Aleta Tilton had a dry goods store on Main Street and offered books at the rate of two cents per day.
Congratulations to the folks at our Vineyard Haven Library. It is one of 256 "star" libraries (out of over 7,000) in the Library Journal's new national rating of public libraries. The rating is based on library visits, circulation, program attendance, and public Internet computer usage. Only 11 libraries in Massachusetts were selected, including West Tisbury.
Of course, our library has some terrific programs. Next Saturday there is a class where you learn how to use the CLAMS "OverDrive" service to download audio books and music. One lucky person will win an MP3 player. That is the portable device used to listen to digital audio files. You can check out one of the five MP3 players available for loan to see how they work.
While we are on the topic of the library, there are some special events coming up. Sunday at 2 pm is a PG-13 movie musical about teens exploring New York. More movies for children are scheduled for Friday the 13th for ages eight and up and on the 18th for ages four and up. All movies are served with popcorn. Knitters of all ages gather, without the benefits of popcorn, on Saturdays from 2 to 3 pm. Watch The Martha's Vineyard Times calendar of events for more of what makes your library so popular and so special.
Ali Berlow invites you to enjoy a special community dinner every Wednesday at Zephrus. Chef Robert Lionette has partnered with the Island Grown Initiative to serve locally grown dinners on a weekly basis. Of every order, 20 percent will be donated to Island Grown Initiative. She sent me some enticing menus, which you will have to check out for yourself.
Best wishes to Elisha Smith and his bride, the former Denise Lagasse, who will celebrate their anniversary on Saturday.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Jessica Beigbeder. Wish the best on Saturday to Susan Goldstein. Perhaps she will be partying at Zephrus. Monday belongs to Ed Larkosh. Happy birthday on Tuesday to Katie Kennedy. Wednesday is a special day for Polly McDowell.
Heard on Main Street: Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.