monthly conversation experiment #10

Beth Peck of Narrowsburg, NY

Posted 3/24/21

The passing of Dorothee Holmstrup of Pompton Plains, NJ and Beach Lake, PA at the age of 101 prompts admiration of her important contribution to the formation of Tusten-Cochecton Library.

Dottie …

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monthly conversation experiment #10

Beth Peck of Narrowsburg, NY

Posted

The passing of Dorothee Holmstrup of Pompton Plains, NJ and Beach Lake, PA at the age of 101 prompts admiration of her important contribution to the formation of Tusten-Cochecton Library.

Dottie was librarian for many years at Ridgewood Elementary School District in New Jersey. She had grown up in the Narrowsburg area but later moved to the city. For years, she spent summers and weekends at her home on the Pennsylvania side of the Narrowsburg Bridge, enjoying golfing and bridge and community activities.

 When she learned in 1987 that her long-time friend and neighbor, Grace Johansen, had formed a group effort to have a library in Narrowsburg, Dottie jumped in with both feet. Since this involved getting books, as a starter, Dottie arranged to have excess books from her library donated here. She and Chris would arrive each trip with a trunk and back seat filled with children’s books, which were most needed, as donations of adult books poured in from many sources. Residents donated books and Jeffersonville, Callicoon, Eldred and Monticello Libraries shared some of their multiple copies.

Bud and Ella Stranahan volunteered use of their barn to store the books. As the weather got cold, hats and gloves were worn by those who took on the task of sorting the books. Dottie would arrive with her encouragement and her Dewey Decimal book. The resulting index cards were later typed at gatherings in various kitchens around town.

Meanwhile, Grace and her group had connected with Ramapo Catskill Library System in Middletown, which oversees libraries in the Mid-Hudson System. With their help, a space was rented; it now houses the book store on Main Street. With shelves lent by the system and a layout plan, designed by a local architect, to make the most use of the small space, the Tusten-Cochecton Reading Center opened in January 1989. Becoming recognized as a reading center was a necessary first step in the process of becoming a permanently chartered library through the New York State Educational System.

It seems amazing that a New Jersey resident with a summer home in Pennsylvania played such a large part in helping create a library in New York State. Dottie’s expertise and guidance were so crucial to the project. She continued to lend her assistance and took great interest in watching the library evolve into the thriving entity it is today.

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