Their numbers include people from around the world as well as Buchans and the neighbouring communities of Buchans Junction and Millertown.
On Aug. 3 some of them met for a dual purpose. They were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the public library in Buchans and to witness the unveiling of “Crummey’s Corner”, named for Buchans born author Michael Crummey.
Mayor Derm Corbett spoke about the remarkable group of Buchaneers who give their support to the facility, one of whom is Michael Crummey. Although Michael wasn’t able to attend the event, one of his greatest fans – his mom, Mazie Crummey was.
When the provincial government proposed to close 54 libraries in 2016-17, Michael Crummey didn’t stay silent. He speaks highly of the Buchans library, its librarian and the role it played in his life.
The Mayor reiterated the importance of the local library.
“This is a great day to celebrate and be proud of what we have,” he said. “It’s a day to celebrate our library’s rich past, acknowledge its rich present and look forward to a very productive future in our community and also to stand determined as a community that that won’t change; that our library service is as valuable as any on the island, as rich and varied as any on the island and we intend to have a library long into the future.”
He noted Crummey’s conviction in standing up for the library. He said Michael, like his father, Art Crummey had a very strong voice when he felt passionate enough about something.
“He (Michael) doesn’t step out every day and voice his opinion on anything, but I guarantee you that his words were welcome, very welcome for the people of this town at a time when we were totally frustrated and when we felt we weren’t being heard by politicians,” Corbett said. “He stepped in and spoke about how this facility and librarians like Diane Burton had affected his career choice and his decision to become a writer.
“About how this was a little haven in a small town that he felt he was always welcome, where there was a wealth of knowledge — these were very, very encouraging words for the people who sat around a table …so we will be forever grateful to Michael for that.”
Buchans Public Library Board (BPLB) chair Don Squires echoed the praise for Crummey and his donation of the monetary portion of the 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for his novel Sweetland to the library.
With those funds the BPLB created Crummey’s Corner, a physical reminder at the library of his generosity. It is also a place of contemplation to encourage others “to reach for the stars.”
“We do not know if this public gesture by such a high profile person saved our library, but I am certain that it didn’t escape the attention of those in a position to make such a decision,” Squires said.
Crummey’s mother, Mazie, was in attendance to unveil Crummey’s Corner
“When Michael made the donation he had no idea what they were going to do with the money and he really didn’t care,” she said. “He just wanted to do that for the library, to pay back for what the library had done for him.”
Mazie read from some of her son’s poetic writings to celebrate the occasion.
“I don’t know what you are supposed to say at a dedication like this, but Michael is quite happy with this. I only wish he had come to do it, but second best — here I go,” as she pulled the cover from the sign that was met with applause from those gathered.