In June, Buck Memorial Library threw itself a party. Bucksport’s library had reason to celebrate having steadfastly stayed open since the same time last year through the COVID-19 pandemic’s ups and downs. Party-goers of all ages savored chocolate cake, sipped lemonade and shared stories in one of the heart pinewood-paneled rooms in the gothic-revival stone building on Main Steet.
Built in 1887, Buck Memorial Library was spearheaded by Charlotte Spoffard Buck and her daughter Emmeline Buck. Mother and daughter sought to fulfill her late husband Richard Pike Buck’s intent to establish a library in the Penobscot Bay port town. Richard Pike Buck was the grandson of Bucksport’s namesake and founder Jonathan Buck. Built with Blue Hill granite and lined brick, the library was finished inside with heart pine that came from South Carolina plantations belonging to Jonathan Buck’s descendants. The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Originally from Orland, Rebecca Knobloch has been coming to the small library all her life. Now a library volunteer, she can remember when past librarian Esther Terrill checked out books from her desk wedged in the entryway.
“She ran a tight ship,” Knobloch said. “She had a good sense of humor.”
For more than a year now, Lisa Ladd has served as Buck Memorial’s librarian with the help of volunteers. Before and since the library’s reopening, Ladd and crew and been busily creating a children’s and young adult reader’s section. Children can join the Wednesday story hour or participate in the national summer reading program (Theme: “Oceans of Possibilities”). “Full S.T.E.A.M Thursdays” allow children to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math activities. Book bingo challenges are available for all age groups.
“There are little kids now every week that are coming in and they’re looking for their friends,” Ladd said.
In addition, the library has updated and diversified its book collection for all ages. The interlibrary loan program is now available enabling patrons to borrow actual books from other libraries and access e- and audio books from the Cloud Library. The Bucksprouts Seed Library was established to share and providing free seeds for the public to plant. Vermont’s High Mowing Seeds and Blue Hill’s Mainescape also donated seeds.
“What I consistently hear from families in town is that there is just not enough programming,” Ladd says. “And so, we’re trying to fill that gap.”
Ladd and the library’s board are working to engage the community. They are collaborating with Bucksport’s REACH School, a private alternative school, to help with story hour. They also have issued new library cards to members numbering 1,015.
Ladd is also working with the senior center to make sure that older people have access to library books, even if they can’t out to get them.
“I’ve had people tell me that they had their first kiss in this library,” the librarian said.
Ladd wants the library to be a welcoming place for the community.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better job, because I feel so supported by the board and by the committee community,” she said at the well attended June party. “And it shows. I mean, everybody’s here. Everybody’s having fun.”
The Buck Memorial Library is located at 47 Main St. For more info, call 469-2650, email [email protected] and visit bucklibrary.org.