Center of community

The Jesup Library in Bar Harbor was figuratively a beehive of bookish activity Saturday during the institution’s 46th annual used book sale. Scores of volunteers, and the library’s dedicated staff, had been working for weeks to prepare for the event and to welcome crowds of bibliophiles looking for bargains when the doors opened at 9 a.m.

Over the past few years, the Jesup’s place in the intellectual and social life of the community has grown dramatically as it has welcomed more and more readers, as well as users for the digital access services offered.

Frequent appearances by authors, artists, photographers, scholars, musical performers and others have brightened many an evening or afternoon. Children’s programming has become one of the library’s most popular offerings.

As library Chairman Ron Beard pointed out prior to a recent program, in the last year alone, more than 5,000 people have attended events at the Jesup.

When it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Jesup, with its extensive library of reading materials, like its counterparts in other Mount Desert Island communities, was seen as a vital player in efforts to meet the need for literacy and culture in the community. As the library moves ahead with its capital campaign to expand its offerings and services, and provide additional space for all the things it now does so well, that need is driving the effort forward.

The Jesup’s mission statement explains that it “nourishes minds, enhances lives, and builds community.” Bar Harbor, indeed all of Mount Desert Island, would not be the same place were there no Jesup Library.

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