Film Screening – October 10th, 2PM

Skene Memorial Library
is pleased to host a film screening of
Eva Zelig’s documentary film

An Unknown Country
Sat., Oct. 10 at 2pm

An Unknown Country tells the story of European Jews who escaped Nazi persecution to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador, a South American country barely known at the time. The film follows the exiles’ perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in what was for them an exotic, unfamiliar land.  For more info please visit her website

Skene Library Presents Program on Health Insurance Choices for Seniors

On Saturday, September 26 at 2 PM, Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns will present a program on Health Insurance Choices for Seniors.   Presenting this important topic will be Donna Martino, from the Delaware County Office of the Aging.   With ‘Open Season’ approaching, all Medicare enrollees are faced with a mass of plans to choose from.  Ways to evaluate what works best for each individual will be discussed. The presentation will also be of benefit to those approaching Medicare eligibility and who are wondering how to navigate the broad spectrum of offerings.

There is no charge for this program.   For more information, call Skene Library at 845-254-4581.

Fundraising Appeal and Questionionaire

Dear Neighbor,

What role should a local library play in the so-called Digital Age?

Like libraries across the country, we at Skene are wrestling with that question.

Certainly, our purpose remains what it always has been—to be a repository of knowledge and information, of the legacy of the past and of contemporary creativity, of the tools needed to succeed in our democracy, of the books and periodicals and music and movies that provide pleasure and ignite the imagination. That hasn’t changed since the first public library opened in Boston in 1852 with an inscription over the door proclaiming “Free to All.”

What is changing, however, is the form in which so many of those treasures may now be accessed, and that in turn is changing the way people interact with all these treasures. Like so many small-town libraries, the Skene today must try to meet user needs that run the gamut from physical books and DVDs to e-books and research through digital platforms. In short, we’re encountering a new model of library use, and we believe we must make sure that the new model and the old reinforce one another. The enclosed questionnaire is our way of asking for your help as we plan how to do that.

We know we can count on you to give the questions your thoughtful consideration. We hope to tally the results and report what we’ve learned by summer’s end.

In the meantime, we want to remind you of our summer hours—10am-3pm Monday through Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday—and of our summer programs for children. This year, the programs will include forays into hands-on arts and crafts and jewelry-making, as well as into natural history and the environment—all presented by experts in their respective fields who know how to make kids love their subjects as much as they do.

In addition, we are beginning now to plan “grown-up” programs for the fall.

And as we tend to do at this time of year, we also ask for your financial support. Like so many public institutions, we of course face budget pressures that your contribution may help alleviate. But above all, we’d like to think of your donation as your affirmation that the Skene Library has a vital role to play in our community. Please help us fulfill that role by returning both the questionnaire and your tax-deductible contribution, payable to Skene Memorial LibraryPlease click here to download the contribution form and the questionnaire.

With thanks in advance,

The trustees of the Skene

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


Movie at Skene – May 2nd- The Living History Tour of Clovesville Cemetery

The Historical Society of Middletown’s video of The Living History Tour of Clovesville Cemetery (done in 2013) will be shown at Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns at 2pm.  The film was made in the Clovesville Cemetery near Fleischmanns, and reenactors portray a number of the people buried there.  Admission is free.  For more information call Skene Library at 254-4581.

Rails to the Catskills – a Tobe Carey video

Rails to the Catskills

The showing of Tobe Carey’s new film, Rails to the Catskills, brought a capacity crowd to Skene on Saturday June 21.    This film had received its premiere just a few weeks ago, and folks were eager to see it.  Afterwards, Tobe spoke about the film, and took questions from the audience.  He had copies for sale, and VERY GENEROUSLY donated a portion of his sales to Skene.  He also donated a copy to Skene, so it is available for patrons to check out.  This is a terrific addition to Skene’s extensive Catskills History collection.

Click here to see a YouTube trailer of the film: