Fall 2012
The Larchmont Public Library needs your support! At the
Friends’ board meeting in September, treasurer David Willey
reported the dark financial news: our mid-year fundraising
efforts this year fell below half of last year's figures. Am I
worried. Not at all, because the Friends have supported our
library continuously since our organization was founded, and
because I know our members will respond. You may not re-
alize that we spend very little to promote membership, pre-
ferring to put virtually every dollar we receive into valuable
programs for the library and our community. Yet our sole
source of revenues is membership donations, so we depend
on you to renew your membership each year by making a
contribution to the Friends. Also, we’d like you to encour-
age your neighbors and friends who may not know about our
activities to become Friends, as well.
Our primary mission is to support the library and its func-
tions, and that is exactly what we do. At each of our five
yearly board meetings we ask Library Director Laura Eckley
to tell us what she and her staff need most -- and what is be-
yond the reach of their budget -- to run the library. We listen
and then we vote to support as many of those programs as
our funds allow. Notable among recent programs supported
are the new circulation desk, restoration of the two large
WPA-era murals soon to return to the reading rooms (see the
Director’s column for more news on that), new landscaping
and the addition to the library's free museum pass program of
the very recently re-opened Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Mu-
seum and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center (find de-
tailed information on page 3 ). All of these worthwhile li-
brary efforts would not exist without our support!
Your donation to the Friends will also enable us to continue
to offer our longstanding series of Sunday afternoon pro-
grams that engage, entertain, inform and enrich our commu-
nity -- all free and open to the public. No, you do not have to
be a member of the Friends to get off the sofa and join in the
fun, but you’ll certainly feel better when you are a contribut-
ing Friend! How do you place a value on the experience of
sharing with your neighbors in the appreciation of books,
music, drama and current events over a glass of wine and
conversation. It's priceless!
Please donate to a good cause: support the Friends! Now!
If you’ve visited the library this fall then you know that something is
missing! The library’s two historic paintings, which have hung over
the fireplaces in the front reading rooms since 1940, have been taken
down for long overdue cleaning and restoration. These two iconic
paintings, Larchmont Manor House and Larchmont Yacht Club, were
painted in 1939 by landscape mural artist Thomas Donnelly as a WPA
project. The first of the two paintings depicts one of the oldest homes
in Larchmont, which was built by Peter Jay. The second painting,
Larchmont Yacht Club, shows two sailors setting sail on a glorious
summer day.
The planning for this exciting project began last spring when the
Friends of the Library agreed to fund an evaluation of the paintings to
determine their condition and subsequently to create a plan for their
restoration. Upon its completion, the evaluation compared our beauti-
ful paintings to windows that had not been washed in 50 years! Over
time, oil paintings tend to deteriorate as they are constantly exposed to
dust, heat and other elements. In the case of the Yacht Club painting, a
test cleaning spot revealed a much brighter and more detailed painting
than we had imagined -- hiding under a heavy layer of grime.
Once the scope of work required to clean and restore the paintings was
determined, we applied for a conservation grant from The Greater
Hudson Heritage Network. In August, we were thrilled to learn that
our grant application had been approved. Additional funding for the
work came from the current owners of the Manor House -- Dr. and
Mrs. Carl Olsson, the Larchmont Yacht Club, and the Friends of the
Larchmont Public Library. The entire restoration project used only gift
and grant monies.
The paintings were carefully taken down and shipped to Skaneateles,
NY where Susan Blakney, Chief Conservator of West Lake Conserva-
tors, Ltd, has been overseeing their cleaning and restoration. Our two
paintings are scheduled to return to the library in late November and
will be hung again in their former locations.
The paintings capture a day in the life of Larchmont. We know our
patrons are proud of their community and its heritage, and the Thomas
Donnelly WPA paintings are a part of our community history. For gen-
erations patrons have visited the library, recognized the paintings and
felt right at home as they sit in our reading rooms enjoying the paint-
ings and the library’s homelike atmosphere. I am sure they will con-
tinue to delight our library’s visitors for years to come and I hope you
will take the time to visit the library and admire the Donnelly paintings
once they have been rehung