Swan’s Island Library burns to the ground

Today’s Bangor (Maine) Daily News has the stunning news that the Swan’s Island Library in Maine has burned to the ground.

(Photo: Donna Wiegle – Bangor Daily News 25 July 2008)

The library was hit by lighting, caught fire and burned.

Click here to read the complete story.

The library held over 10,000 books and “artifacts from the island’s historical museum, including genealogy records and hundreds of historic photographs, all of which are destroyed.”

One of my neighbor’s is from Swan’s Island, Maine and I have been working with her on tracing her family history.

We found almost 6,000 articles in GenealogyBank about Swan’s Island – including this note from the Biloxi (MS) Daily Herald published 17 October 1905.

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Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

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5 thoughts on “Swan’s Island Library burns to the ground

  1. That is so sad! I hate to see any libraries burn, but I especially hate it when there’s a loss of historical research materials.

  2. That is terribly sad. It looks like it was once a gorgeous building.

    I guess this makes digital preservation all the more necessary as time goes on.

  3. This is just tragic. I feel for all the families searching there and pray that the missing records are merely a bump in their research and don’t become brick walls they can’t scale.

  4. I’m just trying to learn here if anything in this library had been photographed or microfilmed for posterity. This fire is most tragic if no one was far-sight enough to see to it that the records were duplicated and preserved in an electronic format. This is a very sad day indeed when all information was lost needlessly if digitization might have been used as a backup of historical information. That’s a hard lesson for all of us to learn, including myself.

  5. It’s a tragedy for the whole island! It was a beautiful place, a restored old school building, and everyone one the island had contributed labour and materiel for its renovation and maintenance and services for many years, as well as money – it was not tax supported. And it served both the year-round population and summer residents with many programs. To just scold them at this time for maybe having not saved genealogy records seems unfeeling and incredibly selfish!

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