A Booklovers’ Bench in Camden, Maine

Alison Morris - August 4, 2008

Last weekend I once again had the delight of visiting Melissa Sweet’s home and studio in Rockport, Maine. This time my friend Jenn Dowell and I made the trip up on the occasion of Melissa’s wonderful (and wonderfully inexpensive – everything $100 or less!) studio sale. In addition to coming home with some lovely pieces of art for myself and others, I came home with photos of a bench that was well worth blogging about.

First, here’s a shot of the studio sale tents decked out in bright, Sweet fashion. (I took the photo below at the end of the day, when the crowd was a LOT thinner than it had been at the start!)

Next to Rockport is the town of Camden, Maine, where Jenn and I headed for some lunch then took a stroll up to the Camden Public Library. The library is perched on a corner with the town’s picturesque main drag on one side, and a harbor-facing park on the other. Behind it is the BEAUTIFUL outdoor Ampitheatre, in which (by complete, crazy coincidence!) illustrator Noah Z. Jones‘ sister was about to start her wedding when Jenn and I happened to be walking by! (We didn’t know that’s whose wedding we were seeing until we mentioned the wedding to Melissa later and she gave us the scoop. I had planned to call Noah to see if we could cross paths but now I see he wouldn’t have been free anyway!)

To the left of what you see above, between the library’s lower, side entrance and the Ampitheatre is a small, circular space filled with beautiful plantings that comprise the library’s Children’s Garden. Bordering that space is a fantastic bench with supports cut in the shape of books "whose titles represent contributions Maine authors and illustrators have made to literature."

Here’s how the garden and bench appear as you first spot them from the harbor-facing street or as you exit the library’s lower level, which is home to the majority of its collection and fun children’s space, complete with child-sized lighthouse and child-sized dinghy.

The shot below was taken looking the opposite way, while standing in the middle of the garden. See the lovely curve of that bench?

Here it wends its way beneath the library’s windows.

And here are a few of the books above which you can perch and admire the passing pedestrians, the beautiful native flowers like lupine (made famous by Miss Rumphius), and the bench itself! I’m assuming the title-less books that precede E.B. White’s tomes were left blank so that there’s room for future authors’ names to be added…?

There is one "non-book" item that also has a place in the bench’s carvings: a cat who sleeps (I hope!) atop The Cat Who Went to Heaven.

I can’t think of many more lovely sleeping spots than in this seaside library garden!

2 thoughts on “A Booklovers’ Bench in Camden, Maine

  1. Kathi Appelt

    What a wonderful bench! I hope they’ll soon add the titles of wonderful new Maine author Carrie Jones to those blank titles. Her new novel GIRL HERO is out today. And I love Melissa Sweet’s work, so it’s a joy to see these photos, including those of her studio that you posted last year. KA


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