Julia Brennan, a Shelter Island homeowner for 30 years, spends time year round here working for the Reporter, where she covers the Village of Dering Harbor, contributes feature stories and proofreads the paper. She and her husband, Eddie, were married here in 1989 and plan to retire full-time to their Silver Beach home. They raised their two sons, Ned and Billy, in Sea Cliff, New York, spending summers, school breaks and long weekends on the Island.
The sixth of nine children, Julia is a native of Irvington, New York, a small Hudson River village about 20 miles north of New York City. In her family, a significant rite of passage was getting a first library card. To us, she said, it not only instilled a enthusiasm and respect for libraries, books, and reading, but it also meant that adults outside our own family trusted us to take care of an item of value, to make good use of it and return it on time so others could enjoy it too. It was a simple step that, for Julia, began a lifetime of civic engagement.
Julia’s long record of community involvement began in Sea Cliff with two, three-year terms as an elected school board trustee and more than a decade of service with a non-profit arts education foundation. She also served on the board of the Sea Cliff Landmarks Association, coordinating a bi-annual house tour to raise funds to preserve the many landmarked buildings in the village.
A graduate of New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Julia worked early in her career at weekly papers — starting at the Block Island Times — and then daily newspapers. Before her sons were born, she spent three years with The Associated Press covering news of regional, national and international interest in the state of New Jersey.
Since 2004, she has also worked part-time in a program she developed to teach middle school and high school students in districts around Long Island how to costume their school theatrical productions. She looks forward to applying her skills to the continued development of the Shelter Island Public Library.