There’s a new collection of books at the John Jermain Memorial Library — a collection from the personal library of the late Shana R. Conron, a friend to many in Sag Harbor, a lover of books and a supporter of JJML until her death last December.
But this new collection won’t be found inside the walls of the library. Instead, it’s been installed as the starting point of JJML’s new “Little Free Library.” It’s a miniature library box that was recently planted in the community reading garden, which works on a “take a book, give a book” exchange system.
On Saturday, Sag Harbor residents, friends of Ms. Conron and supporters of the John Jermain Memorial Library gathered to dedicate the Little Free Library in her memory.
“We’re here to honor our dear friend Shana, who loved the budding of spring, stimulating conversation and books, books, books,” said Alison Bond, the vice president of JJML’s Board of Trustees.
Ms. Conron died in December of 2018 at the age of 79. She worked as an attorney with corporate, investment and international expertise, and moved to Sag Harbor in 2004 following her retirement. She was active in many organizations and served on the boards of the YWCA, the United Way, the World Affairs Council and the Business Roundtable. In Sag Harbor and on Shelter Island, she was an active volunteer with JJML, the Sag Harbor Tree Fund and the Perlman Music Program. She was a master gardener, and loved French literature and language after having lived in France for a time. She also started a weekly gathering of Sag Harbor friends for food, drinks and good conversation called the Long Beach Sunset Club.
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The Little Free Library at JJML is one of hundreds and hundreds of miniature book boxes across the United States, installed with the help of an official nonprofit organization of the same name that is dedicated to increasing access to books and boosting the love of reading.
Susan Blumenkrantz, a JJML librarian, cut the ribbon on the Little Free Library. She recalled how Ms. Conron, a member of one of JJML’s book clubs, “brought a lot of intelligence and thoughtfulness to our discussions.”
Catherine Creedon, the director of the library, said in an email that Ms. Conron was an early supporter of the library’s capital campaign for its renovation and expansion. Ms. Conron “built community,” Ms. Creedon said.
“She showed me with her actions and stamina what it meant to move forward in service to an idea, with the absolute conviction that certain things are worth doing, no matter the effort or the time involved,” Ms. Creedon said. “In fact, I have a collection of the scarves she wore while practicing law in international corporations, and can’t tell you the number of times I’ve pulled one of those scarves out of the drawer when my day’s activities require my best ‘game.’”
During the dedication, and a reception under blooming cherry blossoms at a nearby private residence afterward, friends reflected on Ms. Conron’s life and love of books. Bob Weinstein said “our lives were made richer” by knowing her. He also said she “was amazing about putting people together,” for instance by starting a Perlman Music Program concert series at Peconic Landing.
“There’s no better tribute for our friend,” said Mr. Weinstein, a host for many years in the “One for the Books” fundraising campaign. “The fact that the Little Free Library is filled with her books is a wonderful way to start.
“It speaks to the larger sense of community in the village and there’s something sweet about that,” Mr. Weinstein later added.