To the Editor: Safe haven

To the Editor: 

Imagine a world without books. That’s hard to do, right? In Bar Harbor, we are so lucky to have the Jesup Memorial Library. They can provide any book you would like! 

As a new Mainer and mother of three, I can’t even begin to tell you how important the Jesup is to our family. When I had a baby far away from my family and friends, the Jesup’s Baby Story Time was a way to connect with other moms and dads on the island. When we moved back to Maine with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old, the Jesup became a fun and safe space to play and learn English. I will never forget how my child proudly sang, “With a no-no here and a no-no there” in the “Old McDonald” song, as the horse sound in English neigh sounds just like the Dutch word “nee,” which means “no.” 

As for me, I can now proudly say that I am a published author – something I always wanted – and got started when I had enough courage to join Jesup’s writing group called Write On. I won’t lie – it was intimidating at first to read my work to other people. But their feedback and words of encouragement and constructive criticism gave that much-needed umph to just go for it, and now my book is available at Sherman’s (and of course at the Jesup to borrow). 

The Jesup library is a safe place for kids to hang out after school, meet a tutor, do their homework, pick up a new book to read. I have attended many interesting talks and met the most interesting people. I can’t imagine my life here on the island without the Jesup in it. 

The only little downside I have ever found at the Jesup is that there simply isn’t enough space. The bathrooms were hard to access with little kids, down the steep stairs, and I always feel sorry for the people of the Jesup during events when they have to move so many books and furniture items out of the way to accommodate a speaker. 

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Jesup can meet their fundraising goals this year and actually expand? In times like this, a nation recovering from a pandemic and a big, scary world out there, let our Jesup be the safe haven in Bar Harbor. A place where new moms can meet other new moms during Baby Story Time (even if they are from far, far away), a place where new Maine kids can learn the language through play and stories (even if they misinterpret certain words), a place where new Mainers can feel like a local and join the many activities the Jesup offers and a place where you can get books to escape the world around you for a bit. 

They have my support and I hope they have yours. More information on their fundraising efforts can be found on their website,, and remember, just as a book is written letter by letter, a library is built dollar by dollar. Every little bit will eventually be that best-selling novel! 

Edith Schriever 

Bar Harbor  



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