West Tisbury: Outdoor library services

— Kyra Steck

What could be better than being ensconced on my sofa, a.k.a. my writing and reading spot? A window is open to a soft breeze blowing on my cheek. Fresh coffee and my Oxford English Dictionary sit on the windowsill. My handsome orange cat, Nelson, is asleep between my knees, as the laptop takes up his usual spot on my lap. There is a cozy comforter (what a perfect name to describe this truly comforting object) across my knees, and beneath Nelson. A pitcher holds fragrant flowers on the coffee table to my left, and the room is filled with art, my own and pieces by several friends.

The wind is blowing through the trees outside, and rain is predicted for later today and all through tomorrow. It has been blustery for most of the past week, though still warm for mid-October. Leaves continue to blow past my windows and fall in deepening piles, obscuring our lawn, and catching in the low branches of shrubbery where the woods begin.

I love this place that has been my home for 36 years now. It’s hardly pristine. Mike and I are aging, and not as eager for heavy garden or house chores. I am fed up with gardening, or should I call it what it has become, providing a smorgasbord for rabbits and deer, and a playground for our spirited puppy, Abby. Abby likes to dig. She somehow finds things that turn up tossed around and spread across her fenced play yard. A perfect pair of new socks turned up there yesterday, no longer perfect, but perfectly chewed into strips and scraps of blue fabric that caught the sunlight. The decorative pots of blooming geraniums by the fence have had their flowers chewed off by deer, like much of the rest of what used to be a pretty kitchen garden. I am growing flowerless stems of many varieties.

Inside, there are lovely antiques and comfortable places to sit. There are also piles of newspapers and magazines and books, the detritus of a carpenter’s day, and my art supplies. Always. Mike says I am like the famous Collyer brothers, whose bookcases and piles collapsed under the weight of their contents. It’s not true, but I allow him the pleasure of overstating.

The library has held outdoor service the past few Saturdays, arranging tables of books and other materials in a corner of the parking lot. I finally went there last week, and was pleased to find quite a varied display for children and young adults, and adult fiction and nonfiction in many categories. I came home with a book with gorgeous photographs of craftspeople, their studios and their work, one about home decor, and two new murder mysteries. Director Alexandra Pratt and Laura Hearn were minding the checkout stations. Alexandra said that she and her staff are working on protocols and systems for reopening the library building. Until then, she plans to continue Saturdays outdoors as long as the weather holds.

One of the many offerings from our library is the Virtual Art Gallery. This month’s exhibition is “8 Women, 4 Seasons, 1 Show,” viewable online at wtlibraryvirtualgallery.org. The artists are Dale Julier, Ruth Kirchmeier, Winonah Madison, Diana Rice, Judith Drew Schubert, Lizzy Schule, Liz Taft, and Katy Upson. It is a beautiful collection of landscape and still life paintings representing the changing seasons.

Take a look at the library’s website for other programs and online catalogues of materials. It is westtisburylibrary.org.

The Howes House Writing Group will be resuming in-person meetings beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21, and will continue weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 2 to 4 pm. Because of social-distancing requirements, the number of participants will have to be limited, and masks will be required. Please contact Ilmarinen Vogel at 774-563-5688 or ilmarinengvogel@gmail.com to register.

Don’t forget to make sure you are registered to vote and planning to vote. Check with Town Clerk Tara Whiting-Wells either in person, by phone at 508-696-0148, or online at

townclerk@westtisbury-ma.gov. Tara is also at the Public Safety Building through Oct. 30 for early voting. Her hours there are weekdays 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, and weekends 9 am to 11 am. There are two dropboxes at Town Hall for early ballots.

Don’t forget to vote.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.