February 1, 2023

Deep River Library Is an Ideal Place to Read a Book or a Newspaper, Even with Reports of Ghosts on the Premises

Deep River Library building at 150 Main Street, Deep River

The Deep River Library is a typical small town library. Occupying the entire first floor of 150 Main Street in Deep River, it offers a lot of quiet time to read without distractions. In addition to the many favorite books on its shelves, the 6,000 square foot library has 42,500 items, including e-books, DVD’s, magazines and newspapers and audio books.

Also, if a patron cannot find a wanted item on the library’s shelves, it can usually be found through the inter-library loan.

The Director of the Deep River Library is Ann Paietta, who has held this post since 1999, some 13 years. In her experience in lending out books, she says, “I have found that most people still want a book in their hands.” “It is difficult to flip through the pages of an e-book,” she observes.

Long serving Library Director, Ann Paietta

Library’s Annual Budget Is $140,000 a Year

The Deep River Library has a modest budget of $140,000 a year. Also, the Friends of the Library, who have a one room headquarters upstairs, raise monies to get free passes for patrons to attend local attractions, and for other special programs.

Paietta is the only full time employee at the library, and she is assisted by a part time staff of six. Also, some 4,400 Deep River residents hold Deep River library cards, as do 2,700 residents from the neighboring town of Chester.

Assistant Librarian Susan Oehl, who binds the battered books of the library

The library is open Monday and Wednesday from 1pm to 8pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 6pm; and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm. During July and August hours on Saturday are 10am to 2pm. It is not open on Sundays.

Many Special Programs at the Library

The Deep River Library hosts many special programs throughout the year. For those interested in attending these programs, it might be helpful to record dates and times in a personal calendar.

Here are the library’s programs with their days and times:

  • Tuesday Friends, ages 3 and up, every Tuesday at 2pm
  • Parent/Infant Group, parents and caregivers with their babies and children up to 24 months, every Thursday at 11am
  • Knitting Club, knitting items for charity (beginners welcome), every Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Daytime Book Discussion, on third Wednesdays of each month at 1pm
  • Movies and a Pizza, on third Mondays of each month at 5:30pm
  • Foreign Films, on first Fridays of each month at 7:30pm. (Many of   the films have subtitles, and films have been in French, Spanish, Lebanese and Hebrew)
  • Shakespeare Club, on the second and fourth Mondays of each month (Paietta says, “It’s fun. They read the parts of the plays out loud.”)

The following two programs are only held during the school year.

  • Mother and Daughter Book Group, last Monday of each month at 5pm
  • Comic Book Club, every Thursday at 3:30pm

Again, to keep track of the days and times of these programs, it would be a good idea to put them in a personal calendar.

Teddy Bear Picnic Coming Up

In addition to these programs, Deep River Library’s grand, annual “Teddy Bear Picnic” is coming up on Tuesday, August 21. The picnic begins at 11am and is held at the Gazebo at Deep River Landing. Children with their parents are invited to picnic.

Also, the picnic is a “BYOB” affair. That does not mean “Bring Your Own Bottle,” but rather, “Bring Your Own Bear.” Twenty or more children and adults are expected to attend the event, which will include a simple lunch at no charge. Deep River resident Linda Hall is running the show.

In addition to its regular programs, the library hosts guest speakers and local authors, such as Jane Manning, who recently wrote a children’s book entitled “Millie Fierce.”

Presently, favorite new books at the library are, “The Chaperone” and “Gone Girl.” “Gone Girl” is about a woman’s murder, and it is very popular,” the director says.

Among the library’s regular patrons, “A lot of men come into the library just to read,” the library director says.

Also, non-English speaking people are coming into the Deep River Library. Most are Spanish speakers, Paietta says. For those library visitors who want to strengthen their English, literacy volunteers, regularly tutor at the library.

One thing that you will not find at the library is copies of the New York Times. Paietta says, “You cannot have everything,” and also, “It is expensive,” referring to the subscription price of the Boston Edition of the Times.” However, the library does subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, although not to the Financial Times.

Both the New York Times and the Financial Times are available at the neighboring library in Essex.

Historic “New Era” Newspapers at Library

One hidden gem at the Deep River Library is that it has on microfilm back copies of the “New Era,” a local newspaper that was published from 18 47 to 1977. Only the Connecticut State Library has a similar copy of this historic publication. The “New Era” newspaper covered events in Old Saybrook and surrounding towns. “Some horrible things happened back then,” says Paietta, referring to some of the local news stories that she has read in the “New Era.”

As for the Town of Deep River’s support for the library, Paietta says that Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith is “very supportive of the library.”

Ghosts at the Deep River Library

Library Director Paietta says that in past years, as many as 30 times, people have reported evidence of ghosts on the premises of the Deep River Library.

Portrait of Robert Spencer, one of the library’s ghosts?

Although she personally will not commit herself, as to whether she believes that there are spirits roaming around the library during the night time hours, she does say, “Some people have said that they have seen evidence of the presence of the ghost of Robert Spencer, whose private home the library building used to be.” Spencer died in 1910.

Also, the smell of Spencer’s cigars and cigarette’s has been reported, as has the smell of the lavender soap used by his second wife. In addition,  there have been spooky sightings of a woman coming down the stairs, and other “weird things happening,” the director says.

Although there was a time, when she allowed night time visitors into the library searching for ghosts, she says that now, “I have kind of stopped it.”

“They used to stay all night, “she says of the once allowed, ghost seekers. Summing it up, “People believe what they want to,” she says. As for the ghosts, “The kids love it.”