Around the Island

Year in Review: The little library that could: 10 years, 207 great conversations

Library Board Treasurer William Martens and Library Director Terry Lucas

Over the next several days, leading to the New Year, the Reporter will be posting our annual Year In Review series of important stories from 2018.

In September the Shelter Island Library celebrated a decade of Friday Night Dialogues, a program offering Islanders access to a rich variety of notable authors, artists and experts from all walks of life.

On January 16, 2009, a lecture series funded by donations in memory of Betsy Jacobson began, quietly and without much fanfare — just as Ms. Jacobson, who passed away in 2007, would have wanted it. Island resident, economist and Brookings Institution scholar Martin Mayer enthralled an SRO crowd as he spoke about the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bailout proposals.

The next month, Pat Mundus, daughter of Montauk’s Frank Mundus, spoke to another packed house about her career at sea and her love and restoration of classic sailing vessels.

It looked like the Shelter Island Library was onto something. Supported by the Board of Trustees and then director Denise DiPaolo, an advertising logo was created and donated by graphic designer Sam Leibowitz, speakers were recruited and the “Betsy Jacobson Friday Night Dialogues,” later changed to the “Shelter Island Library Friday Night Dialogues,” was born.

Now, 10 years later, the library and the community that has both supplied the personalities and come to listen to them celebrated the milestone at a special cocktail reception and fundraiser at the Ram’s Head Inn on Friday (of course!) September 7.

The special guest speaker for the occasion was National Public Radio science correspondent Robert Krulwich, co-host of the program Radio Lab. In addition to NPR, Mr. Krulwich worked for ABC, CBS and Pacifica, and has done assignment pieces for Nightline, World News Tonight, PBS’ Frontline, NOVA and Now with Bill Moyers. New York Magazine has written that he’s “the man who simplifies without being simple,” and TV Guide has hailed Mr. Krulwich as “the most inventive reporter in television.”