National Library Week - Find the Library at Your Place
How does a public library function when it is closed to the public? This is a question that libraries around the world have been facing in the last several weeks. For years librarians have worked hard to convince people that the library exists beyond its physical walls and now our reckoning has come. Help us celebrate National Library Week next week by participating in one or more of the activities below. This year’s theme, “Find Your Place at the Library,” was selected months ago but with some clever flipping of text, the American Library Association has updated it to “Find the Library at Your Place.” For more details about any of the following, please visit warrenlibrary.com.
Week-long challenge: During the week of April 19, sign up for a library account if you don’t already have one. All patrons that sign up between April 19 and April 25 will be entered to receive a prize!
Monday April 20 - Using items around your house, recreate a book cover, post a selfie tagging the Warren Library on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or email it to me and I’ll share it.
Tuesday, April 21, 7pm - “Any book” book club virtual meeting
Wednesday, April 22, 10am - Attend virtual storytime with Amanda!
Thursday, April 23 - Take Action for Libraries Day. Take a few minutes to think about why the library is important to you. Then put those thoughts in words, a photo, a drawing, an email, however you’d like to capture them. Share your words and art by emailing me or posting on social media with the hashtag #thankyoulibraries. In these uncertain times libraries are already feeling the constraints of budget tightening, please help us show that libraries matter.
Friday, April 24 - Harry Potter Trivia Night. Virtual trivia night via Zoom. Registration required.
As much as we try to meet the challenge of serving our public outside of our library space, it isn’t the same. We miss the chance encounters, the book reviews from patrons, and seeing your faces. When it’s safe to reopen, we’ll be waiting for you with big smiles and open arms and hearts. Stay well.
Census in the Time of Coronavirus
By now, most households should have received their invitation from the US Census Bureau to fill out the Census2020 form. This year the Census Bureau is asking respondents to fill the form out online using the Census ID in their mailing. If you do not have internet access, you may call in your response using the toll-free number on the invitation. The form is also mobile device-friendly so you can also complete it on your phone!
Why is it important that every Vermonter be counted? In fiscal year 2016, the state of Vermont received over 2.4 BILLION dollars through 55 federal programs guided by 2010 census data. That works out to be about $4000 per Vermont resident. So for every person living in Vermont that doesn’t get counted, we stand to lose $4000 in federal funds that cover things like Medicaid, the National School Lunch Program, WIC, special education, and much more. So open that census invitation (after whatever time period you feel is safe to handle your mail!) and take 10 minutes to complete it! I think it’s safe to say most of us have an extra 10 minutes on our hands these days.
Speaking of keeping ourselves busy - the Fifth Annual Peeps® Diorama Contest is going virtual this year and we’ve really loosened up the rules. Form a team or work on your own to create a book or literary-themed diorama using Peeps®. No shoebox? No hot glue gun? No problem! This year we'll have a special award for the most creative use of materials. We'll even entertain alternatives to the Peeps® themselves if your personal Peeps® supply chain has broken down. Want to include your family and friends outside the valley? Invite them to join in the fun! Email at least 3 photos of your diorama to email@example.com by 5:00 pm April 3. Online voting will be open to the public from April 4-April 11. On April 12, we will announce the winners! Complete rules (rules? Like many households right now, there are few rules.) and entry form can be found on our website www.warrenlibrary.com.
I hope you are finding comfort in reading something other than the news right now. If you are interested in using an ebook service from the library, call and leave a message or email me and I’ll get back to you. Stay well.
Calculating a library's worth
In my library column last May I talked about the library “return on investment” tool that library users can use to calculate how much value they get from their library. At the time I plugged in total numbers of books circulated, magazines borrowed, programs attended, etc. and found that it only took 5 months for Warren taxpayers to get back what they put into the library via town funds. Looking at 2019 as a whole, the value of services provided by the library is almost three times the amount that Warren taxpayers will be asked to fund in the town budget at town meeting day. In 2019, over 13,000 physical items were checked out and almost 3,000 digital audiobooks and ebooks were downloaded. Included in those physical items are passes to some favorite attractions in Vermont as well as games, toys, and DVDs. But not included in the calculation is access to a whole host of free online classes and databases that are available to all Vermont residents through their public libraries. With a library account and a little bit of guidance getting started, one can take a free class on how to use Quickbooks, access New York Times articles, or study for a plumber’s licensing exam. That’s a lot of extra value!
February is Black History Month and in recognition, here are some recent additions to the library that highlight black achievements and experiences:
A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross. Most of us learned history as told through the lens of the victors but Berry and Gross give us 400 years of American history through the stories of black women and the sexism and racism they fought.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Giving us a glimpse into the black experience in Great Britain, Girl, Woman, Other tells the interweaving stories of generations of black women in England. Class, race, education, gender identity, immigration, emotional abuse, the clash of the generations, it’s all here and written beautifully.
And for younger readers, The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and illustrator Kadir Nelson is a visual and poetic tribute to black achievement and struggle. Included are figures from the civil rights movement, literature, music, sports, current events, and more. Alexander’s poetry sings alongside Nelson’s portraits.
Sometimes a book gets ordered and we are stumped as to where to put it: Is it a book primarily for adults? Kids? Teens? Who exactly is the audience? And where will it get noticed in the library? The following are three such books that were added to the library collection in the last year that Youth Services Librarian, Amanda Gates, and I think are great choices to bridge the generations. All three books feature some illustrations that provide visual interest and short chapters perfect for reading aloud together in small portions. And the first two could be the perfect way to introduce some of those scary life topics that we shy away from. Maybe you’ve resolved to read more with your older kids in the New Year? If so, give these books a try.
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty. In her latest book, Doughty, a funeral director and YouTube personality, tackles questions that she has taken from kids about death, dying, and burial. “Can I be buried in the same grave as my hamster?” Simple answer: assuming your hamster friend is already deceased, it depends on where you live. “Can we give Grandma a Viking Funeral?” After debunking the flaming boat Viking funeral myth, Doughty explains funeral pyres and just how much fuel is needed for a, um, “successful” one - 40 cubit feet of wood! - and just how impractical that would be. Doughty does suggest a plausible alternative: a “witness cremation” in which you can watch your loved one enter the retort (cremation machine). While Doughty uses humor throughout, she takes each question seriously and answers completely and frankly - and with 17 pages of cited sources at the back of the book, authoritatively.
How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery. Noted author and naturalist Sy Montgomery shares her lifetime of living and connecting with a variety of animals. From her first dog (a terrier named Molly of whom she writes: “Many girls worship their older sisters. I was no exception. But my older sister was a dog...”) to the pair of tree kangaroos that saved her from her darkest moments (content warning here - Montgomery is very upfront about her suicidal thoughts after the death of two of her animals). Beautifully written and perfect for animal lovers.
Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti. Like Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs, Does It Fart? is funny, informative, and ever so slightly irreverent (Okay, maybe not “slightly.”) While it can serve as a quick reference guide for the pressing fart-or-not question, the short entries include loads of science and fun illustrations beckon you to read beyond the quick yes-or-no answer. Did you know that not a single bird species farts?
What's Cooking at the Library
One of the most popular programs at the Warren Library is our Cookbook Club. Meeting about 6 times a year, a group gathers at the library with dishes made from a particular cookbook or cookbook author. When we met in November people were asked to bring any dish made from an Ina Garten recipe. This was by far one of our most successful evenings, culinarily speaking, and we talked about how we could easily have several more evenings with Ina’s recipes. What is obvious is that there are people in our valley that love to cook and share that love with each other and our conversations around the table are as enticing and fun as the food that we eat. So in celebration of food and gathering with friends new and old, below is a list of cookbooks that I’ve added to our collection recently. You just may see one featured at an upcoming Cookbook Club!
Sababa: Fresh Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman. Market-fresh ingredients, simple preparation, and an easy-going attitude permeate Sababa. I’ve got my eye on the recipes for Sour Lime and Pomegranate Chicken Wings and Tahini Blondies.
Salt & Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen by Alissa Timoshkina will have you savoring warm, winter foods like Potato & Caviar Soup and then dreaming of spring with the recipe for Fern Stir-fry, using fresh fiddleheads. Narrative passages describing the cultural significance of the ingredients and recipes give this book more depth. There’s a list of resources in the back of the book for those adventurous types who want to try their hand at Bird Cherry Cake - made with bird cherry flour - or one of the other recipes that uses specialty ingredients.
Skillet Love: From Steak to Cake: More Than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan by Anne Byrn. The cast iron skillets in my house get heavy use for making Dutch Baby oven pancakes but this cookbook has me dreaming of expanding that repertoire. Buttermilk Pork Chops sounds ridiculously quick, easy, and delicious; the Challah Wreath is beautiful and such a fun use for the pan; and if you’ve never tried to make a Dutch Baby, there’s a recipe (with variations!) for that. Byrn’s southern roots show through in a number of the recipes with How to Fry Okra Like a Southerner, Nashville Hot Chicken, and The Best Shrimp and Grits as just a few examples.
Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated. This classic cooking “bible” has been expanded to include 600 (!) new recipes and some modernization to the familiar ones. Reflecting our changing cooking habits, information on fermentation, sous vide, and pressure cooking is included, as well as a broader selection of vegan and vegetarian offerings and international fare.
Keeping busy during stick season with events and new non-fiction!
Lots of things happening at the library to help beat the stick season blues! Tonight, the Warren Library is the place to be for Halloween fun! We’ll be serving up the warmth with hot cider and a fire in the fire pit, weather permitting. The library will be open from 5-7pm if friends and families need a warm, dry place to meet and gather.
This Sunday we’ll be celebrating International Games at Your Library Week with Magic: The Gathering starting at 2pm and more tabletop games (Catan, Pandemic, Carcassonne, and more) starting at 3pm.
Last Wednesday, we held our first Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program class. This low-impact physical activity program is proven to reduce pain and decrease stiffness and will be held on Wednesdays from 2-3pm. My thanks to Anna Colavito at the Central Vermont Council on Aging for getting this class off the ground. Free and open to all abilities.
For more information on any of these programs, please call (496-3913) or stop by the library or visit our website warrenlibrary.com.
Spotlight on new non-fiction:
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. A collection of stories based on over 500 oral histories taken over the last 17 years by Graff, other journalists, and historians. The way Graff has stitched these stories together brings that day back vividly and the “oral history” format flows in a way that makes it very compelling to read. For those who prefer audiobooks, it is available to download from Overdrive and uses a cast of 45 people and includes an interview with Graff.
For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity by Liz Plank. At its core, the premise of For the Love of Men is that while we can shatter stereotypes for women and girls (and have made strides to do so), until we also change society’s expectations and definition of “masculinity,” we won’t reach true gender parity. Toxic masculinity is toxic not just to women but also to men. Lots of research included but plenty of anecdotes to make it readable. Plank’s look at gender roles and toxic masculinity will get you thinking and hopefully start important conversations no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum.
Vanishing Fleece: Adventures in American Wool by Clara Parkes. Fiber lovers will enjoy following Parkes’ journey as she purchases a 676 pound bale of wool and follows it from shearing to skein. This behind-the-scenes look at the yarn industry will satisfy anyone who has looked down on their needles and wonders how that yarn came to be. A perfect companion to visiting our local Mad River Fiber Mill!
Fall Flurry of Books
The book releases are coming fast and furious these days. Some highlights of recent books to hit our shelves:
Against the Wind by Jim Tilley. High school sweethearts Lynn and Ralph reconnect decades later as one is fighting against a wind farm development and the other is a corporate lawyer who has made a career of defending the wind power industry. With some of the story set in Quebec, separist sentiments are thread in as well. Lynn and her husband are also raising their transgendered grandson, a budding engineer. The story of their relationships intertwined with the politics of wind farms, raising a transgendered child, and the separatist movement in Quebec makes for quite a story.
Bomber’s Moon by Archer Mayor. The 30th Joe Gunther book is sure to please Mayor fans. Joe Gunther, of the fictitious Vermont Bureau of Investigation, is back to investigate the murder of a drug-dealer but, as with others in the series, things are far more complicated the farther you get into the book. In addition to the usual suspects, Mayor introduces some newer characters - private investigator Sally Kravitz and newspaper reporter Rachel Reiling - to add some freshness to the series.
Gallows Court by Martin Edwards. Acclaimed British crime writer Edwards is new to the Warren Library shelves. His work evokes the Golden Age of Detection (Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers) but in Gallows Court the story is a bit darker and grittier. Crime desk reporter Jacob Flint who pursues an interview with amateur sleuth Rachel Savernake, a wealthy judge’s daughter. As the bodies pile up, Jacob begins to question how innocent Rachel is. Period mystery lovers - this one’s for you!
Some programming highlights:
On Wednesday, October 16 at 6:30pm, we welcome author Mary Dingee Fillmore for her talk Anne Frank’s Neighbors: What Did They Do? Fillmore will examine the choices made by the Dutch people during the Holocaust: Why did some people ignore the situation while others felt compelled to resist? What can we learn from them as we face the humanitarian crises of our time? This talk is a Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau event hosted by the Warren Public Library.
Through a partnership with the library, the Senior Medicare Patrol of the Community of Vermont Elders (COVE) will be at the MRV Senior Center, Evergreen Place, on Thursday, October 17 at 12:30pm to give their presentation on Medicare Facts and Fraud. Learn how to keep yourself from becoming a victim of Medicare fraud.
End of Summer 2019
Library Card Sign-Up Month
September is Library Card Sign-up Month and we hope if you aren’t already a library account holder that you will visit us and open one. Occasionally I encounter someone who asks “Libraries? People still use those?” and my answer is a resounding YES! But Marie, you might say, I have a Kindle and an Audible subscription. BUT if you read even just 10 physical books a year, the library can save you $200. And an Audible subscription costs almost as much per year. Use the library pass for a trip to the ECHO museum for another $24 in savings for a family of 4. And what about our awesome selection of board games, jigsaw puzzles, and toys? (These might particularly appeal to the grandparents out there that have grandchildren visit them and are looking for a few activities around the house.) Add in our DVD collection (unlike Netflix, we don’t randomly stop offering a movie) and pretty soon you are looking at a savings of $500 per year just by making a regular visit to your library! With our digital collection through Overdrive, Freading, and RB Digital, you don’t even need to come to the library once you have your account - although it’s such a warm and inviting space, why wouldn’t you? So I challenge you to stop by the library, open an account, and create a new library habit!
Cookbook Club will meet on Wednesday, September 25 at 6pm. This month, choose a favorite Moosewood Restaurant/Mollie Katzen recipe to make and share. The library has a few Moosewood cookbooks on reserve if you need help selecting a recipe. Please pre-register by calling or stopping by the library. Participation limited to 12 people.
On Friday, September 13 our Free Play Friday program for elementary school students resumes. This year there is a slight change to our program: children ages 8 and under are welcome but we ask that parents/guardians pre-register with Youth Services Librarian Amanda Gates by email or phone (496-3913, firstname.lastname@example.org); ages 9 and up can just drop in. The younger kids will be expected to attend the program under supervision until a parent/guardian picks them up. Program runs from 2:45-4pm and includes a snack. Activities range from lego to perler bead creations and baking to board games. Free.
If you are one of the valley’s homeschoolers who did not return to school this week, please note that our programs for homeschoolers will be starting again in September. Email or call Amanda if you are interested in joining in.
And for the adults out there who may be feeling nostalgic for their school days, I’ve refreshed our collection of classics - remember those books you were supposed to read? We have beautiful new copies of Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Brave New World, 1984, Jane Eyre, The Grapes of Wrath, and more!
New Summer Releases
The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead. The Nickel Academy, a reform school in Florida teeming with cruelty and sadistic abuse, is the backdrop to tell the story of two boys during the Civil Rights Movement. Elwood is an idealist trying to embody Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message while his friend Turner, a pragmatist, tries to guide Elwood just through survival. Based on the real-life horrors of the Dozier School for boys. (We have this as a book and audiobook on CD.)
The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali. Roya and Bahman are two Tehrani teenagers who fall in love and plan a life together but amid the political turmoil and Irani coup in 1953, Bahman disappears. Decades filled with marriages and families pass until Roya reconnects with Bahman. A beautifully-told story filled with Irani history and culture.
Labyrinth by Catherine Coulter. The newest in the popular FBI Thriller series. Agents Sherlock and Savich are back for another thrilling, action-packed case. The mysteries start piling up in the first pages when Sherlock suffers from amnesia due to a mysterious car accident during which a pedestrian hits her car but then disappears into the streets of D.C.
And for those kiddies preparing to go back to school - it’s less than a month away, folks! - we have Mo Willems’ new book The Pigeon Has to Go to School! Pigeon is back and he is here to help get kids through any of those first day jitters as only Pigeon can do: “Why does the alphabet have so many letters?!” “What will the other birds think of me?” “What’s up with those heavy backpacks?” Seriously, Pigeon, I’d love to know that last one myself.
And lastly, A Better Man, the latest in the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny releases on August 27. Call the library to place a hold on either the book or audiobook on CD. RB Digital users can also log onto their accounts and place a hold for the digital audiobook there.
Bring on the summer reads!
The weather may not agree but school is out and the summer book releases have started coming in so it must be summer! Time to grab a book and find a sunny spot if you can.
Books that I guarantee will be returned to the library with sand in them:
Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank. Benton Frank transports us to South Carolina Lowcountry for some southern heat in this story of 30-year-old Holly, her overbearing mother (the “Queen Bee” in the title), over-the-top sister, a widower neighbor, his young sons, and an actual queen bee and beehive. Factual bee information adds an extra dimension to the humor and warmth of this family story.
Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand. Hilderbrand’s first foray into historical fiction transports us to 1969, reminding us just how historic a time it was. The Vietnam War, Apollo 11 lunar mission, civil rights protests, and a certain car accident in Chappaquiddick all intersect with the Levin family on Nantucket.
Books that are on a lot of “Most anticipated” and ”Best of Summer” lists:
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn. Patsy is a Jamaican woman who gets what she sees as the opportunity of a lifetime - a visa to the United States. The decision to leave her daughter behind to forge a new life for herself, as well as issues of class, race, and sexual identity will provide for plenty of book club discussion points.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Written as a letter from an adult son to his illiterate mother, Vuong writes frankly about abuse, the immigrant experience, first love, sexuality, and loss in a raw, heart-wrenching debut novel.
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett. A dark story of family dysfunction that can sometimes be funny, grotesque, weird, complicated, or a combination of all of the above. Jessa finds herself running the family taxidermy business after her father kills himself. She’s also in love with her brother’s wife who ditches the family. And her mother is processing her grief through lewd taxidermy art. This one won’t be for everyone.
On July 4, we will be set up outside the library for our book giveaway. Lots of books for adults and kids (including audiobooks!) will be available for the taking. Be sure to stop by and say hi!
May 2019 - Part 2
Return On Investment
No matter what the weather is doing, we are declaring it summer by starting our summer hours! These expanded hours start next Tuesday. In addition to the regular, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday hours, we add Tuesdays from 10-2. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesdays!
Inspired by some discussions at the Vermont Library Association conference last week, I took a look at the Warren Library’s “return on investment.” While public libraries provide intangibles that are difficult to assess a value to such as creating a sense of community and our existence as an open space with no expectations on people to purchase anything, there are some ways that we can assign a very concrete value to our services. Using a tool that was created by the Massachusetts Library Association, I plugged in our total numbers so far this year: circulation of physical materials, digital items, program attendance, interlibrary loan requests, computer usage, etc. I am thrilled to report that in the first five months of the year Warren taxpayers have already exceeded their return on investment! Your public library is one of the safest investments for taxpayers and I urge you to visit us (or the Joslin or Moretown Memorial Libraries). You might be surprised by how much we have to offer!
One resource that we have that many people are surprised to hear about is our museum and attraction pass program. Those “in the know” take advantage of our ECHO pass (discounted admission for up to 4 guests), but we also have passes for all Vermont State Historic Sites (free admission for up to 8 people in one vehicle), day use at Vermont State Parks (free admission for up to 8 people in one vehicle), Vermont History Museum (free family admission to either their Montpelier or Barre locations), Shelburne Farms (free admission for up to 2 adults and their children under age 18 to the walking trails and children’s farmyard), and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (free admission for 2 adults and their children/grandchildren). That’s a lot of FREE for library patrons! Pick up a Vermont Libraries Passport, an attraction pass, and make a plan to explore our state this summer.
Record Peeps Diorama participation!
On Friday over 35 people (peeple!) gathered at the library for our “Read it and Peep!” Peeps® Diorama celebration. Among the snacks served were rice crispy treats using Peeps® made by Youth Services Librarian Amanda Gates and our Free-Play Friday afterschool crew. We held a raffle with small prizes for participants and smiles and applause were abundant as raffle names were pulled and the Peeple’s Choice Awards were announced. (See companion article for winners.) This event has grown tremendously in the four years that we have run it and I’d like to thank Amanda for embracing it and making it better than I imagined when I started it four years ago. And thanks to the Free-Play Friday afterschool kids for teaching us how to make edible slime with Peeps®!
Last Monday I welcomed newly appointed State Librarian Jason Broughton for a tour of our library. As part of Governor Scott’s Capitol for a Day initiative, Jason travels to libraries around the state to coordinate with Governor Scott’s visits. In addition to showing off our beautiful space, bragging about our 3D printer, and highlighting the collaborative work with our sister libraries in the valley, I insisted that Jason take the time to view our Peeps® Dioramas and cast a ballot. If you are inspired to do your own tour of Vermont libraries, this summer the Vermont Library Association is bringing back the Passport to Vermont Libraries program. Participants pick up a passport from their local library and travel around the state trying to visit as many libraries as possible from June to September and get their passports stamped as they go. More details will be available later this month but you can start your planning now!
Some audiobooks on CD that will be arriving on our shelves soon that make the miles in your car go by faster:
The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough. The Revolutionary War is over and the British have ceded the territory that will become Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan to the newly created United States. McCullough brings the story to life as white settlers stake their claim while observing the tenets of freedom of religion, free universal education, and the prohibition of slavery.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The slower pace of audio narration is just right for this atmospheric novel set in the South Carolina swamp. Grab a sweet tea to sip as you get pulled into this coming-of-age story of resilience turned who-done-it mystery.
We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet. Perfect listen for those who can’t get enough of women’s experiences during World War II and its repercussions. Good choice for fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls.
Call the library if you would like a hold placed on any of these titles before they come in!
Finding their way home
It’s always exciting when a wayward library material finds its way back home. Last week one of our books arrived in our weekly courier delivery with a sticky note attached that read: “Someone from Delta found this on the airplane.” A few things had to happen leading up to this return: the book fell out of a patron’s bag, a Delta employee found it, another employee (?) got it back to a Vermont library, and that library packaged it up for a return to Warren. Then this week I received a call from Sally’s Second Act in Middlesex. One of our library materials ended up there and an observant employee took the time to notice it belonged to a library and called us to let us know they had it. Mistakes happen - books fall out of bags or are left behind, people bundle items up and library materials get lost in the shuffle - but most of the time materials end up back at the library. As someone commented on our social media post with the first story: “People are good.” We couldn’t agree more.
Books that have recently arrived and haven’t managed to lose their way yet:
101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg. Just in time for Earth Day, Kellogg has suggestions for reducing your environmental impact whether you are ready to make a small change in your habits or go big.
Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik. The radical hag in question is 81 year old Haze, a long-time columnist for a local paper. When Haze falls ill, the newspaper editor decides to re-run her old columns and the more colorful responses to them. Feel-good book with great small-town appeal.
The River by Peter Heller. College friends Wynn and Jack are barely started on a canoe trip of a lifetime on the Maskwa River in northern Canada when they learn a wildfire is in their path. That’s just the beginning of a trip gone awry. Beautiful descriptions of the landscape are throughout this suspenseful survival story.
We invite you to a Peeps® diorama maker day on Friday, April 19 at the library from 2-4pm. We will have Peeps®, shoeboxes, and other materials; you bring the literary inspiration. Of course, if you are having trouble with inspiration, feel free to browse our shelves! Dioramas must be submitted at the library between Saturday, April 20 - Wednesday, April 24 with display and voting between April 26 and May 3.
On May 2 at 7pm, we will be showing the short documentary film The Story of Vermont's Quiet Digital Revolution from Canadian filmmaker Peter Strauss. The film follows the stories of several Front Porch Forum members, each from different walks of life, and asks how does participation on their local forums transform them and their communities. Local Emily Virzi from von Trapp Farmstead Cheese is one of the Vermonters featured in the film. Discussion to follow screening.
Keep the Library Love Flowing into March
As I mentioned in my last column, we’ve been celebrating Love Your Library month and the responses have warmed our hearts during these cold, snowy, windy days. Patrons of all ages have participated, sharing thoughts about why they love their library, such as: “my audiobook nerd needs are always met,” “my salary doesn’t support my reading habits,” “thair are allot of games!” and “it has a good childrens place!!!!!!!!!!!” We love and share the enthusiasm for reading, programs, games, and yes, as one young patron said, "great trucks."
In March we have several events on the calendar to keep that enthusiasm and warmth going. On Wednesday, March 13 author Matthew Dickerson will share some of his experiences, photos, and videos from his times at Glacier, Katmai, Lake Clark, and Acadia National Parks, as documented in his newest book "The Voices of Rivers.” An avid fly fisherman, Matthew served as the artist-in-residence at Glacier National Park in 2017 and Lake Clark National Park in 2018.
For Cookbook Club we’ll celebrate sugaring season by cooking recipes from Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Using Pure Maple Syrup by Katie Webster. We even received a donation of Warren-made maple syrup if you need any for your recipe! Cookbook Club is meeting on Thursday, March 14 at 6pm. Please stop by the library to peruse the book, decide on a recipe, and sign up. Limited to 12.
I’m thrilled to announce that the Warren Arts Commission has generously sponsored another Family Contradance. The dance will be on Saturday, March 23 from 6-9pm and features the band Red Dog Riley with Don Stratton, caller. As anyone who attended the dance in January can tell you, it is a ton of fun for all ages and will definitely warm you up!
New on the bookshelves this week:
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. A twist on the traditional Cold War spy novel that centers around a young, black, female intelligence officer in the FBI and her work in Burkina Faso - not the usual Eastern Bloc scenario one expects! A warning to readers who prefer linear timelines, this jumps back and forth throughout the 1960’s-1990’s.
The Lost Man by Jane Harper. A man is found dead in the Australian Outback and his hermit-like brother sets out to find out how he ended up there. Highly praised for its beautiful and evocative descriptions of the landscape and setting.
All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey by Betsy Mason and Greg Miller. Maps have been used throughout history to communicate data visually. From a 2013 North Dakota fracking map to a 1927 map showing Chicago’s gangs, this large-format book contains maps that cover science, history, economics, and much more (e.g. hand-painted ski trail maps and Death Star plans). It would be hard not to find at least one map in this book that didn’t draw you in and want to read more.
Vermont Humanities Council Reading & Discussion Series Returns!
It’s time again for the annual MRV Vermont Humanities Council Reading and Discussion Group series. This year we will be taking “A Hard Look at America” with Pulitzer-winning reporting. The books in this series dig deep, revealing facts and stories that continue to be relevant years after they were brought to the surface. The first book we will discuss is Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson. This discussion will be held on Thursday, February 21 at 6:30pm at the Warren Library and led by scholar Jim Schley. Multiple copies of the books for the entire series are available at the Warren and Moretown Libraries, and at the Joslin when it reopens later this month. Remember Joslin patrons - your account is good at any of the MRV libraries so stop by and visit us!
Some recent additions to our collection:
Snow Sanctuary by local author Lee Hall Delfausse. Set in the 1970’s ski race scene, Snow Sanctuary tells the story of a young, elite female athlete that is sure to appeal to our community’s many ski enthusiasts.
Did you receive an Instant PotⓇ (or other electric pressure cooker) for Christmas but still haven’t used it? In Instant PotⓇ Obsession: The Ultimate Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Cooking Everything Fast, author Janet A. Zimmerman covers a lot of the basics (hard-boiled eggs, steel-cut oats, yogurt, risotto) and includes cooking time charts which are very useful as you adapt your cooking. This cookbook should get that pressure cooker out of the box and in regular rotation in your meal prep.
For those of you with upcoming travel plans (or, like me, just dreaming): a reminder that in addition to our physical collection of travel books, Warren patrons have access to Freading, an online resource of downloadable ebooks including all of the Lonely Planet travel guides. Call or stop by the library to learn how to download a book.
Please note that the screening and discussion of Bess O’Brien’s documentary The Hungry Heart was postponed until Wednesday, February 13. Still at 6pm, still at the Big Pic. Fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate with us this time. Please join us for this important community discussion on the opioid epidemic in Vermont and even closer to home.
And finally, February is Love Your Library month and we want to hear from you! Throughout the month, patrons are encouraged to share what they love about the Warren Library or libraries in general on paper hearts that will be displayed in the library. Come share the love!
Piles of programs and drifts of books
While the new books continue to drift, the number of events we are offering is also piling up this winter!
This past weekend, the Warren Town Hall was the setting for a fabulous and fun contradance. The upper floor of the Town Hall was built with a sprung floor made just for dancing and the 60+ people who showed up on Saturday used it well! There were smiles all around as we lined up, promenaded, and swung our partners. This event was organized by Jen Higgins, Dayna Lisaius, and the Warren Library and generously funded by the Warren Arts Commission. There is interest in hosting a series of these dances - especially during the winter months - but funding them is not easy. If you or an organization that you work for might be interested in sponsoring a dance, please contact me at email@example.com or 496-3913.
Looking for a reason to avoid the holiday crowds on the mountain? On Saturday, January 19 at 10am, origami artist Miya Cline will be at the library for an origami class. All ages are welcome but we do ask that kids under 8 bring an adult helper with them. To learn more about Miya and her art, visit thepapercraneorigami.com.
On Tuesday, January 29 at 6pm, we will explore the opioid epidemic and how it is manifesting in the valley with a screening of Bess O’Brien’s documentary The Hungry Heart and a facilitated discussion at the Big Picture Theater. Working with Capstone Community Action, the Vermont Department of Health, and others, the MRV Libraries hope this is just the start to a very important conversation in our community. This event is free and open to all, and light refreshments will be provided. Drinks and heavier fare will be available for purchase from the cafe. Our thanks to the Big Picture for hosting the film and discussion.
And those drifts of books? Some favorite characters have returned in the last several weeks: Mma Ramotswe and the rest of the crew from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in The Colors of All the Cattle; Armand Gamache and his neighbors in Three Pines in Louise Penny’s Kingdom of the Blind (available as paper book and as audio CD); Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s Look Alive Twenty Five; and Jack Reacher in Past Tense by Lee Child just to name a few. Other noteworthy additions: 2018 Man Booker Prize winner Milkman by Anna Burns and Becoming by Michelle Obama (available as paper and as audio CD).
We hope to give you plenty of reasons to visit us in the new year!
Still thinking about creating homemade gifts? It’s not too late! Here are some resources that we have at the library to make a handmade holiday possible:
One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet by Leigh Radford is full of patterns for small projects including leg warmers, fingerless mitts, bath puffs, whimsical knitted cupcakes, and more.
DIY T-Shirt Crafts: From Braided Bracelets to Floor Pillows, 50 Unexpected Ways to Recycle Your Old T-Shirts by Adrianne Surian has step-by-step photo instructions on several fun projects - many of which are no-sew. Great ways to reuse and recycle the those t-shirts.
New to the collection is Pure Skin Care: Nourishing Recipes for Vibrant Skin & Natural Beauty by Stephanie L. Toures. Toures includes a variety of recipes for scrubs, butters, and masks as well as an ingredient dictionary. Pamper someone in your life with something nourishing for their skin.
Just looking to put the perfect finishing touches on a gift? Take a look at Furoshiki: The Art of Wrapping with Fabric by Kumiko Nakayama-Geraerts. Furoshiki can be made to be strictly decorative or can be made with a sturdier fabric to be used for carrying, turning your gift wrap into an additional gift!
For that foodie in your life that you’d like to wow, how about presenting them with a creation from Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves by Karen Solomon? Try Sweet Mango Pickle from India, Spicy Blackened Sichuan Pickled Peppers from China, or get a head start on next year with Preserved Steamed Lemons which takes 6 months to put up!
For a truly unique gift, stop by the library to design and print a custom cookie cutter. The website www.cookiecaster.com lets you draw a design and download it as an stl file for our 3D printer. Call the library first to make sure a librarian is around to help you with your printing.
Speaking of cookies - on Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30pm, join us for a cookie and recipe swap! Bring 2 dozen cookies and a copy of the recipe that you used. Every participant will go home with a platter of cookies! Any leftover cookies will be donated to the senior Christmas dinner at Evergreen Place the following day.
Make plans now to kick off the New Year by joining us at a Family Contradance on Saturday, January 5 from 6-9pm upstairs at the Town Hall. Pete’s Posse will be joined by Luke Donforth, caller. Come to dance or just listen! This event is sponsored by the Warren Arts Commission and is FREE!
Why Are There Drag Queens in My Library? - by Amanda Gates, Youth Services Librarian
On Saturday, November 17 at 3:00 pm, the Warren Public Library will host Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) featuring Vermont-based drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne. While it’s new to the Mad River Valley, DQSH is a national program created by Michelle Tea and Radar Productions in San Francisco. Libraries in Vermont that have hosted DQSH include Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville, Kellogg Hubbard in Montpelier, and the Richmond Free Library in Richmond.
People wonder what happens at DQSH. While some people associate drag performances solely with the bawdy humor of a cabaret, drag is a form of performance art that existed long before Shakespeare employed it in his plays. Drag queens are artists who create glamorous, playful characters for any audience as the situation demands. At this family-friendly event, fabulous drag queens read children’s stories focused on themes of diversity, inclusion, social justice, and creative expression. They may also sing songs and lead a simple craft such as paper crowns or fairy wands. Participants of all ages -- both the young and the young at heart -- are welcome to join in.
People often also wonder why a library might host this type of program. Many of us are familiar with the role that books can play in offering “mirrors and windows” to young readers. A mirror is a literary work that reflects a reader’s own culture, values, and experiences. Seeing themselves represented in stories supports youngsters’ identity development. In contrast, windows in literature offer readers a glimpse into the lives of others. Well, library programs -- as well as books -- offer mirrors and windows to patrons. In its role as a mirror, DQSH meets the diversity, equity, and inclusion standards outlined by the American Library Association (ALA) which state that “socially excluded, marginalized and underrepresented people, not just the mainstream majority, should be able to see themselves reflected in the resources and programs that libraries offer.” Seeing positive representations of people who break gender stereotypes may be especially affirming for LGBTQ youth, who face higher than average risk of bullying, depression, and suicide. As a window, DQSH provides a model of inclusion, empathy, and respect for others. Children who interact with many types of people become adults who successfully meet the challenges of living in a diverse world.
In sum, DQSH serves a weighty purpose in upholding the library’s commitment to providing a welcoming space for diverse voices and perspectives. The event itself promises to be playful, creative, and fun. Learn more about DQSH at the national website dragqueenstoryhour.org. Learn more about our performers at Nightpagne.com.
New books are piling up like the leaves outside!
Though written for young adults Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s new graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction is just as a compelling and gripping read for adults. Krosoczka’s mother, a heroin addict, drifted in and out of his life and by age 3, she was in prison and he moved in with his grandparents to be raised by them full time. He tells the story as he knew it as a child and only reveals more truths about his mother as he learns them. Interspersed throughout the pages of cartoons, Krosoczka uses his own childhood drawings, photos, mementos, and even a scrap of pineapple wallpaper from the kitchen in his grandparents’ house. From a young age, Krosoczka finds solace in creating art and these visual details do so much to bring his story to life. While certainly a heavy topic, there are funny moments (Grandma Shirley can swear with the best of them!) among the many poignant ones.
Susan Orlean uses the investigation into a devastating fire at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 as the central story of her book The Library Book but the book is much more than that as it explores the broader importance of all libraries in our society.
Known for his mastery of narrative non-fiction, Nathaniel Philbrick is back with more from the American Revolution in In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown (available at the library as both a book and an audiobook).
In Unsheltered, Barbara Kingsolver tells the stories of two families living in one house, 150 years apart. She explores politics, social issues, and science through each of these families and leaves the reader asking if we are much different today as we were in 1870.
For fans of Stuart Woods and thrillers we have the latest installment in the Stone Barrington series, Desperate Measures.
Jane Sherron De Hart’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life is a new comprehensive biography of RBG. Particularly timely given the interest in the Supreme Court these days.
Yotam Ottolenghi is back with Ottolenghi Simple. Inside the front cover, “SIMPLE” is defined as S (Short on Time); I (ingredients 10 or fewer); M (Make ahead); P (Pantry-led); L (Lazy-day dishes); E (Easier than you think). This will definitely go on the list for a future cookbook club. What is a cookbook club? It's like a regular bookclub but the book that we discuss is a cookbook and every participant is asked to bring a dish made from the same cookbook. The culinary curious are invited to cookbook club on Thursday, November 1 at 6pm. We will be cooking from Food52's Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. Please stop by the library to peruse the book, decide on a recipe, and sign up! Registration is required and participation will be limited to 12. Last month we had the “soft opening” of cookbook club and our small group had a fun and delicious time
Fall into some new books!
The Fall is the busiest season for new books and there are plenty of exciting new releases that you’ll find at the library this month.
The highly anticipated next installment in Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling) Cormoran Strike series Lethal White comes out next week. Not much has been divulged about this book ahead of the release date but the library has the first three in the series if you are interested in getting caught up!
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin draws upon her 50 years of research and scholarship in Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Goodwin revisits subjects of her previous works - Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson - focusing the lens on their leadership through crisis and exploring how a person develops the traits of a leader.
Wayétu Moore’s debut novel She Would Be King retells the founding of Liberia using elements of the supernatural against the backdrop of the brutality of slavery. As with Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, the story spans the ocean and follows the threads of several characters in Africa and the African diaspora. History woven with myth and magical realism.
By popular demand we are adding Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan to the collection as well as Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House. The library is fortunate to have the support of the Friends of the Warren Library for many things but the ability to order books at the request of patrons is one of the greatest. And if you’ve ever checked out an audiobook, a magazine, or a new release DVD, you have also benefited from their generosity. The Friends are in the midst of their annual appeal and I hope you will consider supporting them. Donations may be dropped off at or mailed to the library or made online under the Friends tab at the library website www.warrenlibrary.com.
During the East Warren Community Market community party this Friday we will be cutting the ribbon on the new tiny library at the East Warren Schoolhouse. Last year we solicited nominations and voted on locations and the overwhelming majority selected the East Warren Schoolhouse as the Warren winner. My thanks to the Rootswork board and John Barkhausen for agreeing to the location and installing it on the porch this summer. We hope this new “branch” of the library will provide locals and visitors with a quick stop to pick up a book anytime of day or night. The ribbon cutting will take place at approximately 5:30pm so stop by for good food, great music, even better community, and now - a book!
In an effort to better serve the residents of the Mad River Valley, the Warren Library will extend its summer Tuesday hours (10-2) until at least the end of November. The Joslin Library has found it necessary to change their hours during construction and our Tuesday hours will insure that there are at least two MRV libraries open everyday (excluding Sunday). Patrons are reminded that internet access, computers, and printing is available at all three MRV libraries and your account at one is good at all!
Science Fiction Summer
Without intending to, my summer reads have leaned toward science fiction by young women writers. One alternate history and the other speculative fiction and both worth a look at:
Mem by Bethany Morrow. Set in an alternate early 1900s Montreal, Mem explores the question of what we would be without our past traumas and “bad” memories. A scientist has developed a technique for removing memories from a person where the memories take the shape of the human they came from or their “Source.” These “extractions” live in a vault and, in theory, this frees the Source from the unpleasantness and messiness of trauma. (It should be noted that this is an expensive procedure and is reserved only for the upper classes - which is a whole other layer of discussion.) The extractions wander about the vault in their zombie-like states reliving the traumas (or even just merely unpleasant memories) of their sources - except Dolores Extract #1. She has the ability to form her own memories, thoughts, and feelings and has even given herself the name Elsie. What are we without our memories and previous experiences - good, bad, and ugly? What do we miss if we remove the unpleasantness of life from our history? Not a very long book but it packs in a lot of thought-provoking material nonetheless.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It’s a post-apocalyptic world in which a flood has covered most of the earth and the Navajo reservation in the Southwestern United States has returned to Dinétah, the traditional homeland of the Navajo. Where floods have destroyed some areas, drought is hitting Dinétah and resources are scarce. This is the backdrop as Maggie, a somewhat supernatural monster-hunter, travels the former reservation in her search for evil, facing witchcraft and meeting that trickster Coyote along the way. Overall, it’s a fast-paced, engaging read with paranormal elements, Navajo culture, and a strong, indigenous female protagonist. Last week, Roanhorse won two awards at the 2018 Hugo Awards (for Science Fiction and Fantasy writing): best short story and the John W. Campbell Jr. Award for Best New Writer. As Trail of Lightning is the first installment in the expected The Sixth World trilogy, I look forward to the rest of the series!
In my ears, I have been thoroughly enjoying the sounds of Jayne Entwhistle reading Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. Entwhistle is a favorite narrator among audiobook listeners and she does 11-year old protagonist Flavia justice. I’m a little late to the Flavia fan club (I’m only on book 5 of the so-far 9-book series) but I adore the spunky, chemistry-obsessed genius sleuth from Bishop’s Lacey, England. While we don’t have any of the physical books at our library, I have been getting them all through RB Digital and Overdrive/Libby. I’m happy to walk patrons through these free audiobook and ebook services. Just give me a call or stop by the library.
Free-Play Fridays will start after school next Friday.
September 12, 6:30pm: Vermont Holocaust Memorial speakers Miriam Rosenbloom and Heidi Fishman will share stories and discuss the importance of studying Holocaust history as a means of promoting tolerance and respect for all. For more information on the Vermont Holocaust Memorial and Miriam and Heidi, please visit: https://www.holocaustmemorial-vt.org/
Cornerstone of Democracy
Have you heard of VT Kids’ Good Citizen Challenge this summer? Vermont kids age 17 and under are encouraged to learn about citizenship through a series of civics challenges. Each activity is assigned a number of points and vary from answering basic research questions (“What is Vermont’s state motto?”) to creative projects (Draw a comic strip explaining the three branches of government) to local news awareness (Find a copy of your local paper and read three stories. Hint for you kids out there: The Valley Reporter is your local paper!). Kid or not, if you are interested in the challenge, the library is here to help! We have passes for free admission to the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier and to all of the Vermont State Historic Sites (visits to those earn 10 points each); we can help with downloading a scorecard and any of the digital/online challenges; and this librarian would be thrilled to help you learn the words and music to The Star-Spangled Banner, This Land is Your Land, or America the Beautiful! Once you reach 251 points, you submit your scorecard to VT Kids for an invitation to a reception at the state house. An informed citizenry is essential to our democracy and public libraries are essential to an informed citizenry. To quote the American Library Association: “[Libraries] are the cornerstone of democracy.” Visit your local “cornerstone of democracy” this summer to participate and expand your knowledge!
Some new releases for your summer reading pleasure:
Calypso by David Sedaris (print and audiobook, read by author). Sedaris perfectly combines poignancy and humor in this new collection of essays.
Stay Hidden by Paul Doiron. Maine game warden Mike Bowditch returns to investigate a death on a small island off the coast. The investigation hits a dead end when ballistics tests prove the deer hunter accused of the murder innocent and then goes off the rails entirely when the supposed victim arrives on the island!
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley (audiobook). A look at a modern family (wife, two ex-husbands - one of whom is gay - and a teenage daughter) in a heart-warming, fun read.
Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper (print and audiobook, read by author). A political thriller set in 1950s D.C. written by CNN’s chief Washington correspondent. Secret societies, backroom deals, and real-life figures combine to make for a fast-paced, exciting read.
Vermont artist, author, naturalist, and craftsman Nick Neddo will be here July 7 at 11am for a hands-on workshop on the ancient process of crafting natural materials into paint. Participants will make paint from stones and have time to experiment with it. Younger participants bring an adult helper. Free.
Summer Learning - And Fun - at the Library by Amanda Gates, Youth Services Librarian
This week kicks off the Mad River Libraries’ 2018 Summer Learning Program, Libraries Rock! Over the next six weeks, the Moretown, Joslin, and Warren public libraries will be bringing an exciting array of fun, free programs for the whole family. In fact, nearly all public libraries across the nation are abuzz as they each prepare to put their own spin on Libraries Rock!
Traditionally, library summer programs have been a way to combat “summer slide,” the learning loss experienced by children who do not engage in educational activities over the summer. According to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the academic achievement of children who experience summer slide will be fully two years behind that of their peers by the end of sixth grade. Like other libraries, one way that we’ve addressed this issue is through reading logs. Children who use the logs to track their summer reading can follow their own interests while developing reading habits. Graphic novels, magazines, comics, and audiobooks are all fair game for reading logs and help reluctant readers get in the action. Of course, some children do it for the free ice cream we give for turning in a completed log, and that’s OK, too. Recently, reading logs have evolved as we’ve recognized multiple ways of learning that don’t involve books. Stop by one of the Mad River libraries and ask for one of our Bingo-card learning logs to see the variety of literary, musical, and hands-on activities your child can check off while working towards that ice cream.
Speaking of hands-on activities, remember those fun and free programs offered by the Mad River Libraries? While you’re picking up a learning log, you might also check out our Libraries Rock! brochure and calendar of summer learning programs. Personally, I’m most excited by the musical events fitting this year’s theme -- though I have space to mention only a few here. On June 27, 9:00 am (grades 3-6) and 11:15 (K-2) at the Moretown Library, participants at Sound & Nature will learn about the role of sound in nature and make their own instruments from natural materials. On June 30th, 3:00 pm, at the Warren Library, Saragail Benjamin will get us all storytelling and drumming together. Later this summer, a musical petting zoo will give everyone a chance to try an instrument before hitting the food trucks at the Round Up by the river (July 18, 3:30-500 pm, Bridge Street). Not all events are musical, however. From meeting raptors to building a marble run or probing Blueberry Lake, these programs offer opportunities for learning about natural science, engineering, and visual art. Most importantly, though, they’re just plain fun.
When the Librarian Learns, the Whole Community Benefits
This week marks a year since we introduced free, public 3D printing to the valley. Yes, most of our prints have been trinkets and novelty items that kids come in to print, but I am a firm believer that it is through play that we learn. There is an occasional functional print - for example we recently had a patron print a replacement cap to a blender lid! Most memorable is the small business owner who walked through the door, having all but given up on a project. With persistence and patience, we printed her a part that worked and her project could move forward again. Another great memory was the young patron who designed a tag for her dog when he went through a wandering phase. My thanks again to the Mad River Valley Rotary for supporting this community resource. And thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Warren Library I will be attending a one-day 3D printing boot camp this summer. My hope is to come away with a better ability to help patrons with original designs because I also firmly believe that when the librarian learns, the whole community benefits.
Speaking of learning, while we were closed I found myself engrossed in a book that made me truly appreciate education and access to learning.Tara Westover’s Educated is a captivating memoir of a woman who grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho. She clawed her way out of mental and physical abuse and away from the deprivation and neglect of her family. From her father’s paranoia and recklessness to her mother’s invalidation of Tara’s experiences and memories, it is not always easy to read but her persistence and resiliency amazed me.
The novel Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur brings us back to August 2011. Tropical Storm Irene has wreaked her havoc in Vermont and twenty-something Vale, living far away in New Orleans, gets the call that her heroin addict mother has gone missing during the storm. Vale returns to her small town in Vermont and as her family story unfolds, we get chapters from three generations of women in Vale’s family. Constantly switching between these characters separated by decades made it a little difficult to follow at times, especially in the beginning, but once I got a foothold, it improved. A family tree in the book could have helped here but would also have revealed a family secret that is eventually spilled in the story. And like Bill McKibben’s recent “fable” Radio Free Vermont, there is a strong (sometimes heavy-handed) theme of environmentalism.
We now have all of the 2018-2019 Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Red Clover nominee books on our shelves! There are great titles for a variety of our young readers. Sports enthusiasts might like Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Patina, the second in the Track series by Jason Reynolds. Fans of silly books (like me!) will love the poetry book I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris with illustrations by Lane Smith. I was genuinely laughing out loud by the dedication page. Dog lovers will be inspired by Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern. Chester, a trained service dog who doesn’t pass his certification test and is desperate to prove his worth, narrates this beautiful story of his relationship with his new person, Gus, a non-verbal boy on the autism spectrum. From the Red Clover picture book nominees, nature lovers will be drawn to the latest in Kate Messner’s Over and Under series: Over and Under the Pond. As a mother and child paddle in their canoe, there is so much activity going on underneath and above them! Below minnows swim, caddisfly larvae build their cases, and tadpoles change into frogs while red-winged blackbirds build nests, herons hunt, and painted turtles sun themselves above. Messner includes more detailed information on pond life and ecosystems in the “Author’s Note,” “About the Animals” section, and suggestions for “Further Reading.”
Upcoming later this month, Meredith Whitney, Forest Pest Education Coordinator from UVM Extension will be here to talk about the Emerald Ash Borer on May 30 at 7pm. (Meredith will also be at the Moretown School on May 17 at 6:30pm if you can’t make the Warren date.) And starting in June we will begin our summer hours by adding Tuesdays 10-2 to our schedule.
"My encouragement to you is to go tomorrow to the library." -Maya Angelou
Next week libraries around the country will celebrate National Library Week with the theme “Libraries Lead.” Where has the library led you? To a favorite book or author? Onto the internet? A new language? A new career path? Libraries are so much more than buildings filled with books. We are gateways to information, technology centers, places of literacy promotion, creative spaces, destinations and starting points. Most of all I hope you find our space warm, friendly, welcoming, and FUN!
Speaking of fun - the Third Annual Peeps Diorama Contest is underway and the dioramas are on display! The books represented range from Jan Brett’s The Mitten to Tom Brady’s The TB12 Method with everything in between. Voting for the Peeple’s Choice Award is through Thursday, April 12 so please stop by to vote for your favorite! Online votes will also be accepted on the Warren Library Facebook and Instagram accounts for those of you unable to stop in when we are open. That being said, we are giving you plenty of opportunities to stop by in the next week: Tuesday, April 10 we are hosting the last of the MRV Libraries series with Rob Williams on Fake News and How to Spot It. If you’ve missed the first sessions, they are available to watch or stream via MRV-TV. On Thursday, April 12 at 6:30pm we are holding the final Vermont Humanities Council book discussion. At this last meeting we will discuss Blanche Cleans Up by Barbara Neely and the discussion will be facilitated by Rachael Cohen. Copies of the book are available at the Joslin and Warren Libraries.
And for the kids, our regular programming includes storytime on Wednesdays at 10:30am and afterschool drop-in with legos, crafts, and snacks on Friday afternoons. And at 3pm this Saturday join Youth Services Librarian Amanda for a special school-age storytime. Listen to Jack and Annie's adventures in Magic Treehouse #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark followed by fun dinosaur-themed crafts and activities which help kids visualize and extend the reading. Recommended for families with children ages 5-8.
If the programs won’t draw you in, perhaps our new materials will. New on the shelves in March: Children’s DVDs Coco, Wonder, and The Lego Ninjago Movie. Children’s middle grade book The Wild Robot Escapes, Peter Brown’s follow up to his wildly popular The Wild Robot. Adult fiction favorite Detective Inspector Lynley is back in Elizabeth George’s The Punishment She Deserves as is Commissario Brunetti in Donna Leon’s The Temptation of Forgiveness. Sci-Fi fans may be interested in Gunpowder Moon by David Pedreira, a thriller about an ex-Marine investigating the first lunar murder in 2072. A combination of hard science fiction and a solid suspense/mystery.
A reminder about our upcoming closure: We will be closed April 16-21 for floor refinishing, reopening on Monday, April 23 . Anyone who has ever been around wood and a sander knows what we have in our future so please help us out and take out a LOT of books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. before April 16. The fewer books on the shelves, the less book dusting we have to do when we reopen. And if anyone is interested in volunteering to put the library back together, please call or email me (496-3913, firstname.lastname@example.org).
With that in mind and in honor of National Library Week AND National Poetry Month, I leave you with a quote from Maya Angelou: “My encouragement to you is to go tomorrow to the library.”
Thank you voters!
On March 6, 1900 Warren voters approved Article 6 to “elect a Board of Library Trustees and instruct such Board to make an application to the State Library Commissioners” and according to the minutes, it was “voted under Article 7…to appropriate $25 annually for the maintenance of said library.” I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters gathered for town meeting on March 6, 2018 for their ongoing support by approving the town budget - and I’m especially thankful that more than $25 is allocated to the library! I would also like to welcome Ellen Kucera as a new library trustee. The library by-laws state that the trustees “oversee library operations, ensure adequate library funding, and plan for suitable growth and development appropriate to the needs of the community.” Thank you to all of the trustees for their dedication to this important asset to our town.
If the Olympics (and now the Paralympics) did not provide enough inspiring sports stories for you, the new book One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together by Amy Bass surely will. In the early 2000s, Lewiston, Maine found itself on the receiving end of a large migration of Somali and Bantu refugees (by 2011 there were approximately 6000 Somali and Bantu refugees living in Lewiston, a town of about 36,000). And the high school soccer team found themselves desperate for a championship. One Goal tells the story of the on- and off-field struggles of the players, the town leaders, the schools, and the community as they grapple with this demographic shift. Racism, misconceptions, memories of refugee camps, and one coach’s decades-long dream of a state championship are woven together to create a compelling and inspiring narrative. Though written for adults, I would highly recommend this to middle schoolers and up. Soccer players will particularly appreciate the excitement of play-off games and play-by-plays.
For those dreaming of the sights and smells of your gardens, the new book Niki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Mix: 224 New Plants to Shake Up Your Garden and Add Variety, Flavor, and Fun has plenty offer as you plan your rows and beds. Laid out with plenty of photos and a helpful “Like This? Try This!” structure make this a fun thumb-through.
Also, new this week is Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant. Log into your catalog account or call the library to place a hold. For our audiobook lovers, the CD version is on order and should be landing soon.
Does the snow outside have you dreaming of traveling to warmer weather (it’s okay to admit you aren’t embracing the snow!)? Our online, downloadable book service Freading has the entire catalog of Lonely Planet travel guides. You can install the free Freading app onto your smartphone or tablet or use Freading by browsing on your desktop or laptop. All you need is your library account number to log in and you can start downloading and dreaming! Just about any destination you can think of is available.
Upcoming events in Warren: The 3rd annual Peeps® diorama contest “Read It and Peep!” Dioramas are due by April 4 and voting for the Peeple’s Choice Award will take place at the library between April 4-12. For complete details and rules, please visit the library website or call.
On Saturday, April 7, Youth Services Librarian Amanda Gates will host the first of a new series of Magic Treehouse storytimes. Ideal for both seasoned Magic Treehouse enthusiasts and first-timers, the storytime engages children ages 5-8 in reading through listening to Jack and Annie’s adventures. Fun activities help children visualize and extend the text. The first book is Magic Treehouse #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark. 3:00-3:45.
Also, a note to plan ahead: the library is scheduled to be closed the week of April 15 for floor refinishing.
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