Around the Island

Library has full slate for all ages: Activities to brighten 12th month

While the Thanksgiving Holiday rightfully dominates everyone’s attention this week — with the added challenges of gathering safely or Zooming with family — it should not be forgotten that December is just around the corner.

The Shelter Island Public Library always tees up plenty of activities and presentations to fill up the calendar, and you’ll want to add these to your own. (And as a reminder, you can pick up the new 2021 calendar courtesy of the Reporter, at the library.)

For children and families, start the month off with the Holiday Extravaganza Celebration. Pick up a special “Take and Make” kit to decorate your own tree cookie ornament starting Dec. 1; then join on Facebook on Dec. 5 at 11 a.m. to listen to Miss Mollie read “Santa Claus is Coming To New York City.”

And keep an eye out because there might be a very special surprise visitor, too.

Puffy paint for preschoolers ages 2-5: Pick up your kit Dec. 1-5 and make your very own microwave puffy paint at home. The painting technique is a great motor skill building activity for your little one.

On Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. adults are invited to visit The Gardens of Downton Abbey.

Looking for a fix of Lady Mary or Mr. Carson? Come to the grounds of Highclere Castle, the setting of the BBC series. The Highclere Gardens owe much of their inspiration to Capability Brown, the famous 18th-century landscape designer. This presentation will visit the Secret Garden, the White Garden, and the Monks Garden as well as the follies.

East End Hospice will hold its annual Tree of Lights Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 2:30 p.m.

Gather on the front lawn of the library for a Tree of Lights Ceremony. This socially distanced occasion will honor the memory of friends and family members with special tributes, spoken remembrances, and music. Ornaments are placed on a tree in memory of loved ones. Call the EEH development office at 631-288-7080 with any questions or to request an ornament.

The Shelter Island Book Club will be discussing “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 4:30 p.m. In 1950, London is still reeling from World War II, and Margery Benson is trying to get through life, surviving on scraps. One day, she reaches her breaking point, abandoning her job to set out on an expedition to the other side of the world in search of her childhood obsession — the golden beetle of New Caledonia. When she advertises for an assistant to accompany her, the woman she ends up with is the last person she had in mind. Fun-loving Enid Pretty seems to attract trouble wherever she goes. But together they find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all expectations.

For information or to register for programs, visit