2016-11-10 / Front Page

Library Honored

By Erich T. Doerr


The Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce honored the Les Cheneaux Community Library, an affiliate of the Superior District Library, as its 2016 Organization of the Year. Librarian and library manager Jane French (left) accepted the award and is pictured here with Friends of the Les Cheneaux Community Library President Jessica Maze, whose group operates the library. The Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce honored the Les Cheneaux Community Library, an affiliate of the Superior District Library, as its 2016 Organization of the Year. Librarian and library manager Jane French (left) accepted the award and is pictured here with Friends of the Les Cheneaux Community Library President Jessica Maze, whose group operates the library. The Les Cheneaux Community Library in Cedarville was named as the Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce’s Organization of the Year Wednesday, November 2, during its annual dinner. The Hodeck Street institution first opened in 2003 after an anonymous donor helped start the project.

“I just want to say thank you,” Les Cheneaux librarian and library manger Jane French said as she accepted the award. “We wouldn’t be here without all of you.”

The library was one of three 2016 nominees for organization of the year. The other two were the Les Cheneaux Watershed Council and the Les Cheneaux Snowmobile Club. This is the first time the library has received this honor. The plaque presented at the ceremony will hang at the library.


The annual Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce dinner and awards ceremony Wednesday, November 2, in the Hessel School House offered a chance for many community residents to come together and enjoy camaraderie in a historic setting. Here (from left) Hessel’s Cathy and Pat Schuster and Cedarville’s Diane Patrick, Mike Patrick, and Marti Hart are seated together and pause from their conservations for a picture as they await the start of the dinner. The annual Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce dinner and awards ceremony Wednesday, November 2, in the Hessel School House offered a chance for many community residents to come together and enjoy camaraderie in a historic setting. Here (from left) Hessel’s Cathy and Pat Schuster and Cedarville’s Diane Patrick, Mike Patrick, and Marti Hart are seated together and pause from their conservations for a picture as they await the start of the dinner. Today many see the library as a highlight of the islands area and hub of local activities. The library is privately owned and operated by the Friends of the Les Cheneaux Community Library. The organization handles all of its upkeep and utilities.


Pammi Harrison of Cedarville’s Cattails Cove restaurant served a variety of drinks including wine, iced tea, beer, and lemonade during the social hour at the annual Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce dinner and awards ceremony in the Hessel School House. She enjoys the Les Cheneaux community spirit and said she was glad to help. Pammi Harrison of Cedarville’s Cattails Cove restaurant served a variety of drinks including wine, iced tea, beer, and lemonade during the social hour at the annual Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce dinner and awards ceremony in the Hessel School House. She enjoys the Les Cheneaux community spirit and said she was glad to help. Ms. French said she feels blessed and lucky to be part of both the library and the Les Cheneaux community. She has been with the library for eight years, spending the last six as its manager. She was very humbled by the award as she wasn’t told before Wednesday’s dinner they would be receiving it. The community, including the library’s staff and volunteers, has done much to take a small idea and bring it to life.

“People are really proud of that library, as they should be,” Ms. French said. “They’ve done an amazing thing to build something like that in a small community.”

The idea for the library was first proposed in 1997 shortly after the formation of the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation, with the new group heading up the project. At the time, the area had the small Clark Township Library at the community center. The library idea came up when an anonymous local family offered the foundation $100,000 to help stimulate the group’s growth and get the library project going with just two stipulations: the new library needed to be privately owned and it needed to be placed close enough to the water that residents of the islands coming into Cedarville would not need a car to reach it. Deals were made to help the project along, including enlisting architects to help the project who were already working in the area on an expansion at the school.

The library project helped the community foundation grow as it drove forward the fundraising efforts for the new building. All of the money used to build the library came from private individuals and businesses; there were a few large donors, while others gave the small amounts they could.

“It was very inspiring to be part of a project like that,” Friends of the Library President Jessica Maze said. “It says a lot about what the community values.”

The community foundation manages the Les Cheneaux Community Library and Cultural Resource Center Endowment Fund to fund the library’s operations. The group is working to raise the fund up to $1,000,000 to allow the library to be maintained in perpetuity just through the interest the fund raises. The bulk of the money in the fund, much of it from the community donations, will never be touched. The anonymous family continues to contribute $25,000 a year to the library as part its ongoing pledge to eventually give the library $1 million. All of the members of the Friends of the Library group are volunteers.

“Volunteerism is what makes it work,” Mrs. Maze said.

Use of the library is steady throughout the year, although it is busier in the summer because of the high number of seasonal residents. About 200 to 300 people visit it every week. During the five-days around the Fourth of July, that number jumped to 930 people. Ms. French said the library has regular patrons who come by throughout the year. The library’s use remains high away from the regular tourist season, thanks to the large number of community events it stages in slower periods.

The library has several events coming up in the immediate future. It will have a Veterans Day open house Friday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with refreshments. Saturday, November 12, will see a computer deconstruction program where several old computers will be dismantled before participants can build new art from their parts. A display of gingerbread houses made by local children will be featured from Thursday, November 10, through Thursday, December 8. There will also be a number of family movies played at the library throughout the holiday season.

The library offered a two-hour book giveaway trick or treat program for Halloween Monday, October 31, with most of the books for the program being purchased by the Friends group. There were 86 children and 60 adults who visited the library during the event.

Mrs. Maze was the library’s first manager and filled that role for about two years. She is pleased with Ms. French’s work in the position, complimenting her consistent engagement with the community.

Return to top

THe library has been a GREAT

THe library has been a GREAT resource for me for years. Everything from copies,large print books.... just all they do THANKS

Click here for digital edition
2016-11-10 digital edition