A Vacation with Plenty of Libraries

By Sonia Smith

At the beginning of summer I went on a road trip from Montreal to the coast of Maine. Along the way I had the opportunity to visit some interesting libraries.

The first stop in our trip was the city of Sherbrooke, Quebec. Here we visited the great public library Bibliothèque Éva-Senécal. This beautiful library was built in 1990 and is named after the writer Éva-Senécal, who worked for Sherbrooke’s newspaper, La Tribune, for many years. An interesting collection at this library is their board games section. Patrons can borrow up to three games at the time and there is a wide variety for all ages. The staff counts each piece of the game when it is borrowed, and again when the game is returned (that’s a lot of work!) (http://www.bibliotheque.ville.sherbrooke.qc.ca/es/faces/homeInBook.xhtml)

Bibliothèque Éva-Senécal, Sherbrooke, QC

One of the nicest tourist attractions in Sherbrooke are thematic external murals located around downtown, thus becoming an outdoor art gallery. Two blocks north from the library, we found this amazing mural named: Heart, Culture and Pedagogy, measuring 39 feet wide by 42 feet high. This great bookcase represents characters and books from the Eastern Townships region. (For more information about this mural see: http://www.murirs.qc.ca/en/gallery/the-murals/?fiche=1302)

 

Heart, Culture and Pedagogy, Mural in Sherbrooke, QC.

The next library that we visited was the Camden Public Library, located on the hill just above the head of the harbor in Camden, Maine. With magnificent views of the sea from the reading room, this place really invites you to pick up a book and relax. You can also enjoy two beautiful gardens. Adjoining the Children’s Room, there is a one-of-a-kind garden perfect for sitting and sharing a book with a child. The other garden is the Jean S. Picker Memorial Garden, an integral part of the library grounds. The garden features a marine theme with beautiful flowers native to Maine.

Camden Public Library, Camden ME

Camden Public Library, Camden ME

 

Another very interesting library was the public library at Kennebunkport, Maine, named the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library. This library is still housed in the 1813 original red brick building built as the Kennebunk Bank in Arundel. What grabbed my attention here was the Children’s Room. The walls are decorated with beautiful murals of classic rhymes and fairy tales painted in 1930 by Louis Norton. This collection of painted murals is the only one of its kind in the entire country (www.graveslibrary.org)

Children’s Room, Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library

 

Children’s Room, Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library

 

Children’s Room, Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library

Our next stop was the small town of Ogunquit, Maine. There we found an old, beautiful library called Ogunquit Memorial Library. Built in the 1800’s, the architecture is very interesting. If you want to show your kids what was a card catalogue, this is the place to bring them (before it disappears…)

 

Ogunquit Memorial Library, Ogunquit ME

 

The last library that we visited on our trip was the Portsmouth Public Library Central Library in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This new library is beautiful. It is the first municipal building in New Hampshire and among the first public buildings in New England to be certified with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. (http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/library/)

 

Portsmouth Public Library Central Library, New Hampshire, ME

 

Portsmouth Public Library Central Library, New Hampshire, ME

 

With wonderful weather, beautiful places, delicious food and interesting libraries, who needs more to enjoy a vacation?