Activity Abounds at Akin

awn O’Creene was among several members of the Great Hollow Photographers Club who came to take pictures of Akin Free Library’s exhibits last month.

Sitting atop Quaker Hill, the Akin Free Library is a long-standing, honored fixture in the community. In addition to being on the Register of National Historic Places, Akin houses the Pawling Historical Society Museum, the Olive Gunnison Natural History Museum, and a collection of volumes by local authors. Recently, the library has begun expanding its cultural footprint in the Pawling community and has attracted a diverse array of activity, with even more exciting things to come.

Beginning in February, Akin partnered with the Great Hollow Photographers Club in an effort to photograph and enhance the catalog of the library’s extensive collection of bird and animal taxidermy, found downstairs in the Gunnison Museum. Members of the photography club came to the library to put their skills to use and aid in updating of some of the museum’s displays and labels. “We wanted to come in and give Akin a lot of good shots,” said club member Dawn O’Creene. “Our club has a lot of great members, and we wanted to help give a spotlight to what’s going on here.”

Last month, The New York State Council on the Arts, together with the Preservation League of New York State and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area announced recipients throughout the state for grant funding through the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program. The TAG program was established in 2012 to benefit institutions of such as arts centers, historic sites, theaters, and other cultural non-profits. In Dutchess County, Akin was the recipient of $3,000 in TAG funds.

Once a month, the Akin Library opens its doors to local musicians for “Shakin’ at the Akin.” Held on the first Sunday of every month from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the jam sessions are open to public, free of charge. The program has attracted all manner of performers, with guests encouraged to bring their acoustical instruments and vocal talents to make music in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

On Saturday, February 23, Akin hosted a meeting between members of the Pawling community and newly elected State Senator Peter Harckham. The meeting served as a discussion regarding several issues, including New York’s state aide formula and its effect of the Pawling Central School District and residents’ school taxes. The event was attended by several concerned residents, as well as representatives from the Pawling Town Board and Board of Education.

In an effort to expand the collection of works from local authors, the library wants to hear from local writers. The collection is not limited to contemporary authors, and aims to explore the written word throughout the area’s rich history. Anyone who wishes to contribute literature to the collection or schedule an author talk should contact Library Director Matthew Hogan at

Next month, Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will appear at Akin on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. and offer a program for adult seekers. Selections for the event will include some of Aesop’s fables, parables of Jesus, and Jataka Tales from the previous lives of Gautama Buddha. Kruk, who has appeared on the BBC, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Today Show, has presented at The Akin Free Library twice, including a program last year about broken hearts and love stories. Tickets to the April 6 program cost $15 and can be purchased at the door or by visiting online. On Saturday, April 27, Alan Patterson of Great Hollow Nature Preserve will give a presentation about birdcalls, followed by a hike at a local park where attendants can try their skills.