Reopening Celebration of Peaks Island Library & Community Center Today

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Sally DeLuca, Director of the City’s Parks, Recreation & Facilities,  with Sarah Campbell, Executive Director of the Portland Public Library System This Afternoon at the Celebration on Peaks Island.

Some Who Attended the Reopening Listening to Speakers on a Stairway Above Them.

Bill Hall, Derek Richner and His Wife, Mary ?, Former Peaks Residents. (Apologies Mary, Can’t Read my Writing.) They Currently live in Woolwich.

Desire Carter and Her Son, Thomas, 5. They Spend Summers on Peaks and the Rest of the Year in North Carolina.

Frank Butler and Holly Fischer at the Celebration Today.  Butler said his Father Was Born in Portland.  He Grew up in Schnectedy, NY where His Father was with GE.  (They Are Not Related.)

The atmosphere was so festive as current residents of Peaks Island and former residents reunited this afternoon for a celebration of major proportions on Peaks Island.  About 200 people attended the grand reopening of the Peaks Island Library – not only has it been beautifully renovated, but the Library has a new name to celebrate: the Kennedy-Carter Community Center & Branch Library.

Kevin Carter told  the story of his deep connections to Peaks Island and why it means so much – once even getting teary eyed and emotional at the memory of his late mother.  The Carter family was the major contributor to the renovation project.

The Library has been looking for a new space or to expand for the past eighteen or so years.  But it all finally came together about four years ago.  For the last ten months, the Library has been closed while the work was being done. The elementary school found space to house the temporary library until it could be reopened.

Bill Zimmerman, responsible for fundraising, said that almost everyone on Peaks had contributed to this project.  The renovation came in on budget.  Enough money was raised to create a small endowment fund for the Library.

On May 24, 1980, the community celebrated the opening of the first and only branch of the Portland Public Library on any of the Casco Bay Islands according to a history currently being written by Lynda Sudlon.  According to her history, there were several earlier attempts to found a library.  But the 1980 was one that succeeded.  Peaks Island has long been a haven for creative and innovative people – artists and authors, photographers and performers.  At one time, it was the “Coney Island” of the northeast.  It had amusements of all kinds.  At one time it was also a refugee for Civil War soldiers and others wishing to escape the bubub of city life.  According to Lynda’s history, Peaks  has gone through phases of quick growth and prosperity and stretches of neglect from the city of Portland, despite several unsuccessful efforts to withdraw from Portland.  It is Lynda’s intention to finish this history and make it available for purchase.

The celebration was nicely catered with cake and ice cream for all.  The celebration ran from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.