Mantinicus Island (Population: 51) Gets a Tiny Public Library

(Photo: Eva Murray)

A hobby of my youth was to drive around to small towns and explore little public libraries. It was always fun to see what treasures could be found in these isolated little archives often run by a single librarian who had to get creative with limited resources. I saw many small town libraries this way, but never visited one on an island, such as this one.

Mantinicus Island is a community off the coast of Maine. The 51 people who live there are quite isolated, as they lack a high school or a doctor, among many other amenities of modern life. But they do, now, have a public library. It's housed inside an 8 by 20 foot utility shed. Eva Murray, a resident of the island, writes about this cute little library in the Penobscot Bay Pilot. When complete, the library will offer educational extension services that are otherwise inaccessible:

We hope to have our nascent library recognized by the Maine School and Library Network, and to eventually have our Internet through them. This was in fact the initial impetus for the whole library project. Last year Matinicus had no school-aged children on the island. In June of 2015, despite firm assertion on the part of our Superintendent of Schools that there would be enrolled students the following year (and indeed, there now are,) MSLN disconnected service to our school. Reconnection was, for some reason, an exceedingly drawn-out and laborious process. The connection provided by MSLN is much more than household subscriber Internet; it supports the school's Tandberg videoconferencing unit, useful for meetings such as fisheries and energy-related informational workshops organized by the Island Institute, University of Maine courses for professional development and adult continuing education, special services or counseling that may be required by community members including students, and routine inter-connectivity among all of Maine's one-room island schools. This level of service would not be affordable without MSLN.

-via Jessamyn West

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