Formed in 1834 as a private, membership organization, the Nantucket Atheneum has had nine librarians in its storied history, beginning with famous astronomer Maria Mitchell. Nantucket’s Great Fire of 1846 destroyed the former building and virtually all of the library’s collections. The Atheneum was rebuilt on the same site in 1847 and became a free public library in 1900. A significant renovation of the Atheneum building took place in 1996, including the addition of the Weezie Library for Children. Since becoming a free, public library, the Nantucket Atheneum has served our island community, promoting reading and education through books, educational activities, talks and lectures, concerts, and as a place to gather and learn together.
Summer is a brief magical window when new Atheneum members and friends can celebrate and support the mission of our island’s public library. With the majority of Atheneum funding provided from donations, the leadership decided to bring their major fundraiser home to India Street in a fun and exciting way. Weekend at the Library is the type of event that reflects the diversity of ages and interests that make up our community. During the three-day “Weekend” July 20, 21, and 22, there is something for everyone: Thought Leader Thursday, Family Fun Friday, and Singer Songwriter Saturday.
Staff describes the event as tying together threads that are the Atheneum itself: “it’s work and mission as a public library and gathering place, transforming lives with resources and experiences that support lifelong learning for all. All year long we are serving our community and growing multiple forms of literacies with educational presentations, fun in the Weezie Library and through the performing arts. We really want Weekend at the Library to showcase that. “The Atheneum has a long history of hosting lectures and conversations with the great minds of the day, scientists, journalists, philosophers, from Frederick Douglass who advanced new ways of seeing social constructs to David M. Rubenstein who is a great American philanthropist championing multiple educational institutions and access to historical record.”
While tickets are sold out to the Thursday Weekend at the Atheneum events featuring David Rubenstein, tickets are still available for the Friday Family Fun afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, designed for parents to converse over cocktails and light bites while their children partake of crafts, story times, STEM activities, dance and yoga. Tickets to this event are $50 at NantucketAtheneum.org;
Singer Songwriter Saturday brings Grammy Award winning musician Lori McKenna to the Atheneum for two intimate concerts and a summer garden party with festive food and drink. As a performer, McKenna is loved for her immense musical talent, as well as for her expert storytelling skills and talent as a lyricist. Atheneum leadership feels that she is the perfect fit to entertain and inspire island audiences during Weekend at the Library. Tickets to one of her two concerts and to the garden party are $150 at NantucketAtheneum.org.
To explore the Nantucket Atheneum and all it offers, stop by the stately historic building at 1 India Street and visit them online at NantucketAtheneum.org. At press time, a few Weekend at the Library sponsorships were still available.