PRIZE-WINNING Local Author, Roger Wall, To Speak at SKENE on July 13, 1:00 PM

Roger Wall of Pine Hill comes to the Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns on Saturday, July 13, at 1:00 PM to read from and talk about his award-winning debut novel, During-The-Event. The event is free and all are welcome.

Already being compared to such works as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Wall’s book sets a classic coming-of-age story in a dystopian but all too credible future.

For any writer who makes a living as an editor and journalist, publishing your first novel is a momentous occasion. But for local writer Roger Wall, who saw his first novel published this past year, the momentous occasion hit the absolute jackpot, as his book entitled During-the-Event, was awarded the annual Fiction Prize by Permafrost magazine. The publication, based out of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, is proud to be known as “the farthest north literary journal in the United States.”

The book places a classic coming-of-age story in a dystopian but all too credible future.  What Publisher’s Weekly describes as “Wall’s vivid, powerful vision of the future” is a climate-ravaged United States in which automaton-like citizens are herded into “habitable production zones,” while a few lone escapees must eke out an invisible survivalist’s existence in the wilderness that is left.  

The book’s protagonist, the young D.E., “raised” by his grandfather to roam the wilderness and remain free, has only known that survivalist existence—till his grandfather’s death forces him to plot a new and often bewildering path, to look within himself, to search the past, and to make connections for a future in what is suddenly a strange new world. A journey through a nightmare of loneliness to self-discovery, it is little wonder that During-the-Event has been compared to such works as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

For a first novel, that’s heady stuff.

Editor/journalist and now novelist Wall and his wife, Jan Jaffe, are longtime residents of Pine Hill. Wall is an accomplished hiker and climber, a member of the Catskill 3500 Club, a passionate skier and cyclist, and a gardening volunteer at Mohonk Preserve. He is an active participant in the life of the Pine Hill community.

Saturday, May 18 at 1 PM at Skene

Local History Talk by
Marylou Stapleton

Skene Memorial Library on Main Street in Fleischmanns is proud to sponsor a Local History Talk on May 18 at 1 PM.

Lifelong Big Indian resident Marylou Stapleton will tell us tales of life in the Catskills starting in the 1940’s when her mother Laura Aley first settled in these mountains.

Marylou has just published “Laurels by Laura,” full of fascinating stories recounted by her mother. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Program is free and all are welcome. For more information call Skene Library @254-4581.

Saturday 1pm April 27 at Skene Library

John Kincheloe will read from his new book, Heroes for Hire, a Tall Tale of the Catskills

John Kincheloe

A longtime Halcottville resident, John tells the story of the summer of 1969, his introduction to the Catskills and to our mountain way-of-life. Seems he and his twin brother, George, accepted the offer of George’s Harvard residence-hall advisor, grad student Andy Van Benschoten, to work as hay-hands for Andy’s father on the family’s New Kingston dairy farm. Andy would be off to Europe.

The boys miss New Kingston on their first pass through, quizzically asking each other, “Was that a town we just drove through?” Turns out, New Kingston, Rollie and Faye Van Benschoten’s multi-generational farm, nearby Margaretville, and the rolling Catskills became among the most important places in these young men’s lives.

Heroes for Hire is a rollicking good story and a re-introduction to the way things were when Delaware County had more cows than people and the rhythms of farm and village were the rhythms of the seasons. Locals will recognize the characters and the hard-work of the farm. Readers will enjoy the frolic and sheer fun of being young. It’s the rock-n-roll summer of ’69 so, of course, Woodstock plays a role, and since these hay-hand brothers quickly become locals, the trip to Yasgar’s farm is all back-road.

John Marshal Kincheloe teaches high school social studies at Stamford Central School. He’s the drummer for the popular regional band, Blues Maneuver. All John’s family is musical. His daughter, Arleigh, and son, Jackson, will appear at the Mountain Jam Music Festival this June at Bethel Woods, site of the original Woodstock. Their band, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, with a national reputation and following, will perform the festivals’ first evening.

Heroes for Hire, a Tall Tale of the Catskills is available at local stores, and, soon, will be available on Amazon.

Calling All Gardeners! Seed Swap!

It’s Spring, and time to think about planting your garden!

Skene Library is now hosting Transition Catskills 5th Annual Seed Swap at Delaware County Public Libraries with an assortment of heirloom vegetable seeds. Discover good old standards as well as rare or unusual varieties.

Don’t let your extra seeds go to waste!
We encourage all gardeners to bring their extra seeds to Skene Memorial Library, browse seeds donated by fellow gardeners, and pick up something new to grow in your garden.

Got some gardening tips to share or have questions about growing seeds, bring them to the library as well.

We Need You to Take Action Now to Protect Our Libraries

Greetings Members of the NY Library Community,

Governor Cuomo released his FY2018-19 Executive Budget proposal & accompanying legislation. This signals the start of state budget negotiations. Though the Governor proposed an additional 3% in education funding in this year’s budget, he CUT STATE LIBRARY AID by 4%. Our libraries are critical to the state’s educational infrastructure. We need YOU to TAKE ACTION NOW and write to your elected officials that State Library Aid must be treated fairly in this year’s final budget – State Library Aid MUST increase in proportion to any increase in overall education funding.

TAKE ACTION NOW! With less than 30 seconds of your time, you can send a letter to your elected officials and legislative leaders. Without your voice, library funding faces a 4% CUT in this year’s budget.

From the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal:

Library Aid – $91.6M (-4% CUT)
The proposed funding is $4M less than what was in last year’s enacted state budget. This proposed CUT fails to acknowledge the crucial role libraries serve in our communities, and the contributions they make to our state’s education system. Libraries ARE Education! State Education Law requires that Library Aid should be $102.6M for FY2018-19. Libraries should be fully funded under the law. Absent of that, library aid must at least increase each year in parity with increases in education funding.

Library Construction Aid – $14M ($10M CUT)
As you know, the State Library Construction Aid program received a $10M increase in last year’s enacted budget.  Governor Cuomo has proposed eliminating that additional funding.  The State Division of Library Development estimates that library renovation and construction needs are $1.7B statewide. Over 48% of public libraries in NYS are 60+ years old, and an additional 33% are 30+ years old. Investment in the Library Construction Aid program must be increased to address aging infrastructure, energy inefficient buildings and the evolving ways people use libraries.

NOW is the time for YOU to SPEAK UP and let your legislators know that state library aid MUST be treated fairly and equitably in this year’s state budget!

As always, NYLA is relying on everyone to take action, and contact your elected officials through NYLA’s online advocacy tools, encourage your colleagues and patrons to participate in these actions.  Encourage everyone to “Get on the List” NYLA has developed, and visit for updates. When engaging with your elected officials, it is important that you discuss the great work you and your library are doing, and to also stay on message by using the talking points we have on our website. For those of you on social media, we have posted a set of tweets that we encourage you to use, and tweet at your local Assemblyman and Senator.

LIBRARY ADVOCACY DAY is Wednesday, February 28, 2018! Come to Albany and make your voice heard!

Skene Memorial Library – A Proud History

Sometime around 1894, summer resident Mrs. Alexander Skene  first proposed the idea of the creation of a Library for Griffin Corners.  (As known physician Dr. Alexander Skene had a summer home east of Griffin Corners, and enjoyed their time in the Catskills immensely.   It took several years, but plans progressed, and a Board for a Library Association (one type of Library then quite popular in New York State–not municipally -President.  Other prominent citizens such as DeWitt Griffin, Mrs. T. C. Banker, and Mrs. George H. Lasher were on the board.    Plans progressed slowly.

In July 1900, Dr. Skene died,  but Mrs. Skene continued to pursue the goal of creating a library, now to be named in his memory.   Funds were raised, including a $5,000 donation from famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie.   (Carnegie endowed many libraries all over the country, but this was special to him–he and Alexander Skene had been boyhood friends.)

The cornerstone for the building was laid in November 1901, and Griffin Corners finally had its library.   Skene Memorial Library is unusual for it is one of the few area libraries built AS a library.   As people and conditions changed, the Association Library structure no longer was working here, and in 1930 the building was turned over to the Village of Fleischmanns, and Skene became a Municipal Library.

In 2001, in honor of its centennial,  Skene Library was placed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places. A special Postal Cancellation was held to observe the centennial.

Skene Library in Pictures

Skene Library History in Pictures

images courtesy of the Greater Fleischmanns Museum of Memories