Columns, I Heard it Through the Jeudevine

Library Offers Eclipse Walk, Free Viewing Glasses and Board Tours Addition

photo by Vanessa Fournier
The new 2,600-square-foot addition of the Jeudevine Memorial Library expansion project in Hardwick is seen from the West Church Street side. Roof trusses were set last week by ReArch Company Inc., general contractor for the expansion project.

HARDWICK – Welcome to “I Heard it Through the Jeudevine,” a monthly report aimed at keeping readers up to date with the latest information about the people, the books and events that combine to make the library a vital center for learning, information and fun.

Of course, the event dominating much of conversations just now, and soon to dominate the sky above, is the solar eclipse taking place on the afternoon of Monday, April 8. Our area will experience just over three minutes of “total eclipse” between 3:25 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The library has a supply of special glasses to allow for safe viewing of the eclipse, which can be picked up in advance of the event.

Library staff will host viewing the event in the Memorial Park (catty-corner to the library) between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., where a display will explain how an eclipse occurs, a model will be set up for people to walk through and ice cream will be served.

Beyond heavenly happenings, the board and library staff are deeply engaged in the ongoing construction of the new addition. ReArch, the construction company, held a walk-through last week enabling the board to step carefully among the plywood walls, gaze up at the newly installed trusses and dream of the building to be.

The southern (largest) projection of the addition will hold a beautiful space for children and young adults. Beneath them will be a large meeting room for community gatherings and presentations. A mild winter has allowed for fairly steady progress on the construction. Roof sheathing has begun this week.

The Jeudevine Board reluctantly bid farewell to Chairperson Jodi Lew-Smith, whose term of office expired in March. The library owes her an enormous debt of gratitude for the time and effort she has devoted (and the frustration she endured) in seeing this project through the challenges of COVID-inflation and endless red tape. Another Board member, Milo Tandy, also stepped down, so there are two new members to introduce to the community: Abrah Griggs is a native Vermonter. She grew up in Brookfield, home to the well-known floating bridge. She is an artist and self-employed graphic designer. She focuses on book layout and has illustrated children’s books. Her work can be seen on the banners that adorn the lamp posts along Main Street. She has lived in Hardwick since 2018, the longest she has lived in one town. As the daughter of a librarian, she understands the important role a library serves in a community. Specific to Jeudevine, she is very excited about the potential of the community space in the new addition.

Lauren Honican grew up in Seattle, Wash., and attended Middlebury College. For many years she traveled to the Northeast Kingdom to enjoy its outdoor spaces on her skis or her bicycle. She and her fiance, Myles, moved to Hardwick in 2020. She joins the board quite familiar with new construction as she and Myles are building a home. A passionate cross-country skier, Lauren’s work in communications for a cross-country ski travel company allows her a regular connection to that world. Libraries have always been among her favorite community spaces. Fittingly, her family’s first visit to the Northeast Kingdom was inspired by a book, Wallace Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety.”

The Jeudevine will continue to benefit from the work of Jodi Lew-Smith as she is helping revive the Friends of the Jeudevine Library group, a separate nonprofit entity whose mission is to support the work of the library. The group had been dormant in recent years while all eyes were focused on planning and fundraising for the addition. An initial meeting of “friends” was held in March with 15 people in attendance. The group’s current vision is to assist with programming, with landscaping around the finished addition, and with grant-writing and fundraising. They will participate in the celebration of the eclipse by providing the ice cream at the Jeudevine’s Memorial Park eclipse event. The next meeting of “Friends” will take place at the library on Tuesday, April 16, at 5:15 p.m. All are welcome.

Brendan Buckley

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