Welcome to the Griffiths House

1 year ago

Recently our Library Board of Trustees purchased the Griffiths House, an historic home located at 228 State St. It is situated beside our library and abuts the library property. 

The original purpose of the acquisition was to ensure future space for growth, expand the library gardens and grounds, and to encourage literary and cultural events in an intimate and elegant location. The home is turn-key in nearly every aspect, requiring little to no renovation to begin using the beautiful space. To have such an exciting project that our trustees and staff can work toward is a tremendously exciting project. And so we began. 

The Griffiths House, named for the Griffiths family which for a few generations called it home, is primarily used to encourage Maine authors and illustrators to visit our community and provide programs at the library. We consider it a “writers and illustrators” house. We know that Presque Isle residents read and possess writing aspirations. Our thriving library is evidence of that. We want this home to bring authors and illustrators to us and help encourage citizens to write their own stories as well. We do have a story to tell. It’s a story of beautiful views, good people, unique rural lifestyles and dramatic weather events. Who better to tell our story than our own citizens and those that visit with writing skills that can describe our beautiful community of people? 

 Within the home are several built-in shelves. Our intention for those shelves is to house a special collection of Maine books and other publications. Effort to create a Maine collection that contains books published in Maine is underway. This will take some time but with diligence, donations, and effort, we believe the Griffiths House will be a clearinghouse for local and state authors. Library card holders and members can check out these materials just as one checks out a book from the library. There is a special connection for a reader and writer when geography, place names, stories, characters, and flora and fauna all feel a little like home. 

Seasonal author and artisan events are planned. After experiencing successes through an art walk showcasing a large collection of art our library curated through the years, a few authors book talks, a literary garden tea held in our new garden space, and a journaling workshop, our community is responding positively and with excitement. Plans are underway for monthly art walks showcasing Maine illustrators and book covers, author programs and events, book clubs, and other cultural and literary events. Future summits, conferences, mystery dinners, and workshops are all possibilities. 

 While this concept is somewhat in its infancy and we are learning best practices, we do believe we have embarked on something unique, with potential to encourage Maine writers and illustrators to come to our community. By offering a comfortable, homey space, we exchange respite for knowledge. As an added benefit, library patrons and our constituents, both young and not young, can access authors and artists to learn how to reach their own writing goals or simply enjoy the company of one who writes. 

 Our challenges are the usual ones when an organization begins something new. Accessibility is a challenge that is chief among them but we are working toward a plan for correction. Time, funding, capacity are some others but we’ve already seen several citizens generously offer their time and expertise, for which we couldn’t be more grateful. It is both encouraging and verifies this project is worth the effort and potentially a dynamic way to bring authors and our citizens together. 

 We know that community partnerships are critical for the sustainability of the new endeavor and we look forward to meaningful partners from all sectors of our community. For those interested in learning more, please contact us. We are eager to learn how best to reach our goals for the Griffiths House through the literary community and for Maine authors and illustrators to learn of its creation. 

We look forward to sharing this home with each of you and to enhance the cultural and literary activities available to us all. 

Sonja Eyler is librarian at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle. She can be reached at 764-2571 or via email at pimelibrarian@gmail.com.