Friday, January 16, 2015


I have a special place in my heart for our island library & museum.  First of all I am a voracious reader and secondly I served on the Library board for 5 years at one point. Because our library is owned by the island and not in the public system, we do not have the usual "junk" but wonderful books.  Our librarians are all volunteers, including the head librarian.  I wish I was a child again to read all the children's books - I have been known to take some out...

The origins of the library go back to the late 1950s when Mabel Crawford worked at the Shaw Store. Mabel loved books and wanted to share them with others, so she dedicated a shelf at the store to books that people could borrow.

When Gwen and Don Yansen sold the store, the books moved to the home of Mabel's brother, Frank Fowler, and his wife, Elsie. Frank built book cases and Elsie served as librarian. But people didn't feel free using a private home as a library and decided a separate building was needed.

The Shaw Island and Historical Society was incorporated in 1966. In the summer of 1967, several islanders, including Babs and Malcolm Cameron and Zora Gross bought one-acre parcels kitty-corner from the school and donated the land to the society. Malcolm Cameron, an architect, donated his services to design the library and Zora donated the log cabin, part of which had been the island's post office, which became the museum. Henry Hoffman and his uncle, Loyal Hoffman, finished the work in the summer of 1970 and the library and museum were formally opened Aug. 22, 1970. More on Henry in another blog.

The first addition to the library--the children's library--was opened in 1985. The back building, which provides work and storage space for the library and historical society volunteers and is linked to the main library by a breezeway, was completed in 2003. All three projects were undertaken by longtime Shaw Islander Skip Bold.

Museum- with reefnet boat replica
Currently: The library and museum have about 2,000 visitors each year. They check out approximately 1,200 books and an equal number of videos. The library also has a selection of magazines and local newspapers, a copier and a computer with internet access available to all members.

The Shaw Island Library and Historical Society generates all its operating funds from donations and relies heavily on volunteers in order to provide its services, making it one of the last such organizations in the state. Since we have so many avid readers on the island many of the books are donated by them. So there is some high quality literature by authors from across the globe.

Yearly the Library invites a renowned speaker. This past summer we had Bryan Payton, author of "The Wind is Not a River". We have teas, poetry readings and other fun events, including an annual book sale and ice cream social.  Books and ice cream?  doesn't get any better!

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