the Greenhorns AGRARIAN LIBRARY 

ABOUT THE LIBRARY

The Greenhorns Agrarian Library is a membership-based research library, open to the public during the summer, and by appointment. The collection centers and archives agrarian material culture, and includes books from many disciplines.

The library is housed in an historic Odd Fellows Hall built in 1896 once listed as Critically endangered by Maine Preservation. As our center of operations, we have named this building Reversing Hall, in honor of the tidal falls at the end of our peninsula.

The Reversing Falls boil at mid-tide with 13 acres of whitewater, surging, swirling and vortexing, a great place for eagles and seals, and of course the sub tidal seaweeds. The Passamaquoddy word Kapskuk, gives us the name for Cobscook Bay—our beloved home—in the northeasternmost corner of the USA, adjoining Passamaquoddy Bay (and homeland) and the Bay of Fundy.

The Agrarian Library and study area is housed on the bottom floor with an ample reading room, sofa, tables, lamps, kitchen, high speed wifi, outhouse and printer/scanner.

On the top floor we host our summer workshops, trainings, dance parties, and film screenings using the beautiful red velvet sofas leftover from the Odd Fellows who ceased their use of the hall in 2007.

This hall has seen much activity over the years, and we look forward to bringing more events for the local community during winter months as we get our heating organized!

In 2022 look out for the “Hall to Hall” tour of civic architecture in Downeast Maine, connecting and celebrating the social history of these beautiful buildings. The “Hall to Hall” tour will consist of a printed brochure, and a series of pop-up exhibits. This follows in our habit of touring exhibition projects, like the 2017 project “Grange Future,” which traced the politics, songs, economic legacy, and cultural fabric of the Grange Movement in the United States; or the 2019 OUR LAND: Acequia Commons; or the 2020 Earthlife exhibition.

Mission

The Greenhorns Agrarian Library contains approximately 9,000 catalogged volumes. The project aims to enable historical exploration and contemporary cultural production. As such, the library safeguards agricultural materials and provides tools for land-based and self-directed learning. As a system for circulating materials—books, ideas, conversations, and projects—the library provides the opportunity for unconventional learning paths.

We hope you will feel welcome to visit and join us in this collective project of making a future together.

                                                               Reversing Hall mid-cataloging, June 2020 (photo credit: Rachel Darke Photography)

More about the books

The library includes a significant collection from Ag-Access, a wonderful publisher of alternative agriculture, agroforestry, and low-input / appropriate technology titles, some of which we also sell. We have the entire USDA collection, various periodicals and donations from friends and allies – (big thanks to Nicole Vitello for a complete bound set of “ Growing for Market.”) We have also been gifted collections of “The Natural Farmer,” “Home Power”, “Mother Earth News”, and “Small Farmers Journal,” among others.

Many of the books are out of copyright — and thus a source of imagery for our ongoing literary journal called The New Farmer's Almanac.

We focus on topics of interest to beginning farmers: agroecology, geography, land studies, history of settlement, trade history, marine ecology, organic horticulture and practical farm books of all kinds, herbalism/wildcrafting/foraging, cook-books, regional and provincial histories, rural fiction and non-fiction, agriculturally themed children’s books, agrarian political economy, American rural history, seaweed and marine studies, female protagonist fiction, female author non-fiction, liberation theology, land reform, science/speculative fiction, atlases and exploration, water politics, architecture/DIY. We have a lot of books, as well as a large collection of documentary films on agricultural topics.

New arrivals to the library

New arrivals to the library rejoice! Lydia and Celia have been hard at work cataloging, shelving, and systems-making with the 15-year-old aggregated collection of agrarian literature. The books are precious gems of bundled knowledge, and we're in the process of discerning the best method for their shared use. We're learning from other alternative libraries, and are in conversation with the Balsam Consortium about Maine's rural library networks and pathways for lending and integration. Used books are getting ordered and shelved left and right; from marine classics (Between Pacific Tides) to histories of Indigenous peoples' resistance to land incursion (As Long as the Grass Grows) to restoration studies (The Once and Future Forest) to accounts of climatic anti-Blackness (In the Wake: on Blackness and Being). Please do send us your reading lists, your epistemological wanderings, and your grandmothers. Our ears are perked up for volunteers, librarians in training, and dusty book collections looking to be involved. Stay tuned and stay curious -- become a member!

We also accept donations of books, magazines, news papers, and movies of agrarian significance. All donations are tax deductible.

 office(at)greenhorns.org

Next Steps

We're learning from other alternative libraries, and are in conversation with the Balsam Consortium about Maine's rural library networks and pathways for lending and integration.

We are seeking support to hire a part-time librarian so that we can have consistent open-hours for the library, and can set up memberships and the possibility for “checking out” books. For the moment we welcome visitors to browse and read, but not to remove books from the building.

We welcome your suggestions, reading lists, your epistemological wanderings. Our ears are perked up for volunteers, librarians in training, and dusty book collections looking to be involved.

We gladly accept donations of books, magazines, newspapers, and movies of agrarian significance.

All donations are tax deductible. Please do not hesitate to make an appointment to come visit the library, you can exit through the giftshop — which includes certified organic wild blueberries by the 25 pound box, as well, a significant portion of our literary projects are also for sale there.

Questions? Write us at [email protected]