Island library

Thanks to Susan Cavenagh for the following account of the construction of the Birch Island Library.

Bob  Cavenagh - Beware retirement and free time!

We bought our cottage on Birch Island in 2002, and after my husband Bob finished redesigning much of it, he worked on a few small boats – one of his longtime vices. At some point, he began building bookshelves in the cottage and filling them with the massive pile of books we had acquired over the past 40+ years.  Eventually he ran out of space for more shelves, and often began looking contemplative.

I think his contemplation ran something like this:  “we’re tripping over our books; the island has many walking paths; I have enough boats. I will build a library near the path. People will come.”

So  – a year or so later, with input from BIRPOA, and the help of many friends who assisted with access to land, construction, materials (an old dock serves as the library’s front porch),  numerous books, and much encouragement, the Birch Island Branch Library is officially open.

Shinglers Michael Hirsh, John McNally and
Stephanie Thompson

The structure is 6’x8′, built to last, with a large window and door scavenged from parts of our cottage, green shingles, and some tentative landscaping.  Inside there is a small sign-out desk (I convinced him to forgo library cards – this is cottage country after all), and 100+ feet of shelving lined with books.  People come and go – they bring books and sign out books. As he said to someone recently, we have created a monster!

One of our friends is now asking for espresso…I guess that will be my job.

Susan Cavenagh
Birch Island/Sand Lake

Bob the Builder adds:

The library is entirely the work of volunteers and donors—feel free to be either.

Donations welcome!

There is still plenty of work to go—more windows, trim, landscaping, etc.  And the library is actively seeking thoughtful donations of books, games, puzzles, CDs, DVDs and videotapes.  If you have some to donate, bring them to the library, marked with your names and we will log them in. Or, paste in a bookplate yourself, and shelve the materials—all help is wonderful.

Bob Glover, Chris Patterson, and Herb Simpson laid the foundation.  Jae Shaw designed those bookplates.  She, husband Andy, and Michael Butler were all co-builders.  Michael Hirsh, John McNally, and Stephanie Thompson did the shingling.  Ry Weisiger, Jae, Ceyhan Lennon, Andy Greiner, Susan Cavenagh, the Laudermilchs and others pitched in earnestly with labor and donations. Carol Williams seeded the library’s mystery collection with many virtually new books from top authors.
You will find the library on the western end of the main trail adjacent to #57.

Sand Lake, on the Rideau Canal Elgin, Ontario