Library Column – Mt. Vernon & Vienna Newsletters

October 2022 news:

Maine author E.B. White on libraries and books: “It’s a place to go if you want to sit and think. But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts…A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered.”

Winter isn’t here yet, but will arrive soon enough. Remember to check our Facebook page on bad weather days, or call the library during our usual hours, before you venture out on snowy roads, to see if we are open.

As autumn and winter holidays approach, remember we have various baking pans to lend, to help you make festive cakes or other baked goods for family and visitors!

We have various brochures and pamphlets on the windowsill along the hallway between the main room and the media & children’s area. There is information on government social services, aging issues, the state’s refurbished computer program, Medicare, Efficiency Maine, and more. Take a look and feel free to take a brochure with you.

The Story Walk will continue through October, at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area. We have gotten such wonderful messages and comments from families who have walked the trails and read the book (this year, it is The Wildlife Tree, by local authors and farmers, the Emerys). One family recently visited the walk, and let us know that one of their young children decided to read the story aloud to the rest of them as they wandered the trail. We are so thankful for the volunteers who help us put this together, and to Kennebec Land Trust for welcoming this annual activity.

Just a reminder about the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program that helps with financial support for internet access for households that meet certain poverty guidelines. You can learn about the program, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting their website at . Or you can call 1-877-384-2575. It is a support that could help your household stay connected to family, friends, services, telehealth, and information that can keep you comfortable here in your own community.


Afternoon With an Author – come hear David Wilson (Maine author who has recently moved to Vienna!) talk about his new book, Two Seasons (we have it in our collection), along with some time for conversation and a book signing. His book is full of great storytelling, all about a small town in northern Maine and its unique residents! Books will be available for purchase. This author visit will be on Saturday, October 22, 4:00PM at the Mt. Vernon Community Center. Join us for a good talk.

We are hoping to have Dale Potter Clark come talk about her new novel, Escape From Bunker Hill, later this fall. We are working out available dates and will let you know when it is happening as soon as we know time and place!

We are planning children’s activities around holidays and into the winter, we hope to do some story times or possibly a few Take&Make kits. Our first storytime will be at 10AM on Wednesday, October 26, with Bobbie Jo Weeks, right before Halloween! We’ll put our plans on our Facebook page as soon as we settle on times and dates.

Remember, the library trustees are still working with forger Perry Johnson on gathering names to honor local folks, for Perry to inscribe onto metal leaves ($15 for small leaves, $20 for large leaves – checks made out to the George Smith Memorial Fund) to place on the memorial tree near the library driveway. This is such a beautiful project, and we are happy to see it grow. It has already become a resting spot where various birds have occasionally perched for a while, which is fun to see, and it adds a bit of peace to this creative work of art.

I just finished Gabrielle Zevin’s novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow – such good writing. We also have Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, another great read. What are you reading as the foliage changes and you add the last canned, frozen, or dried garden harvests to your pantry?

September library news:

“The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community.”

Paula Poundstone

We still recommend that we all wear masks while in the library, especially as school starts again and people are returning from various trips. We do try to keep a supply of masks on the counter right inside the main entrance. It is one small thing we can do to keep each other healthy.

Let us know of any updates to your phone, email, or address when you come into the library, so we know how to contact you & let you know when your reserve or interlibrary loan book has arrived for you!

Many thanks to Peter Roderick for addressing a few tech issues for us, and for updating our public computers so that our online catalog is accessible! If anyone else can volunteer to help with various tech needs that come up from time to time, please let us know!

Perry is working on inscribing more metal leaves to go on the memorial tree near the library driveway. Come in and let us know if you want to add a loved one to this wonderful work of art!


1. On September 17, 4PM, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, we are hosting an improv theater show created by the Marti Stevens Interactive Improvisational Theater group. Their productions use humor and great interactions to present many themes from our current lives, through safe, artistic expression. Please join us!

2. We are hoping to put together a talk by Vienna author David Wilson, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 22, at 1pm, here at the library. We will confirm the date soon. David is the author of Two Seasons and Peanut Butter Memoirs. He is a Maine native, and you can learn more by visiting his author’s website (Ma’s Diner Author’s Site), or his website: Stay tuned!

Some websites to visit:

1. We often recommend the various resources available through PBS Kids. Did you know they include a page for learning games? Check them out at There are science games where you can build your own habitat or play sports with dinosaurs, and you can delve into social studies, the alphabet, food, math, and more!

2. A Maine website for those who guide & teach children in outdoor and environmental learning is Teach Me Outside is a good source for homeschoolers, teachers, and scout leaders.

I’ve been reading Sally Rooney’s latest novel, Beautiful World Where Are You?  What are you reading as the leaves start changing and you attend to the late harvest of your garden?


August news from the library:

“To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.” Cicero

The summer is flying by! It has been so heartening to see our community members and summer friends coming in and out of the library. Enjoy the rest of the season!

Stories from the Metroplex: On Sunday, August 7th, 3PM, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, we will host community story telling. We haven’t done it in a couple of years, so we hope you have some new stories to tell your neighbors and friends – stories about the pandemic, or about how you came to this amazing community, something from your childhood, any piece of your history you’d like to share. Refreshments will be served.

The Story Walk will still be set up along the trails at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area through the rest of the summer. This year’s book is The Wildlife Tree, by local author Peter Emery and illustrator Deborah Emery. Come enjoy a lovely family walk and read as you go. Thanks, as always, to Kennebec Land Trust for their care of this beautiful outdoor space in our community.

The Library Trustees will be welcoming a new piece of artwork to the landscape at the Library in the upcoming weeks. The Board commissioned Perry Johnson, II, proprietor of FoeHammer Forge Works, to design and construct a memorial tree to add to the garden landscape. Beautiful metal leaves with engraved loved one’s names will be available to purchase, to honor those you love. Proceeds from the sale of leaves will go to the George Smith Memorial Fund at the library for the continued upkeep of the gardens. The pricing for the engraved metal leaves is $20.00 each for the large size leaf, $15.00 each for the small size leaf. A sample of the leaves may be seen at the library during regular open hours.  Orders and payment may be given to the librarian in attendance. Each leaf will then be added to the tree by FoeHammer Forge Works to grow a very special and beautiful Memorial Tree.

We are so thankful for all the help we received each week from the parents and kids who participated in our summer reading programs. They helped stack chairs and tables, brought all of our craft supplies back and forth (including a heavy bin of Legos!), and were so supportive of our efforts. What a fun group of people! Many thanks to Tara Marble for her presentations – and the kids always love whatever projects Alice puts together!

Currently, we are looking for a few people who could be Tech Instruction volunteers. We are working with the Broadband committee’s digital inclusion efforts as they develop their plans, and it would be so good to connect folks of all ages with a few volunteers who could instruct people about use of cell phones, email, google docs or Word, or other basic skills. Call the library at 293-2565 and leave a message, or email us at It might take a while to turn our ideas into action, and it would be great to know of people who might be able to help us get started on connecting community members to the larger world of information and communication.

The district school librarian has put together a list of Maranacook Black Bear Book Awards for area students to enjoy throughout the upcoming school year. She has shared the list with us, and we’ve purchased them and they are currently stacked on the mantel in the children’s room. We hope you enjoy this collection, it covers a wide variety of topics, both fiction and nonfiction. I especially love Max Greenfield’s I Don’t Want to Read This Book – it is quite amusing!

Online Resource: a good resource for families is the Raising Readers website. You can visit it at . They have all sorts of wonderful book lists, and they also offer printable downloads for various early literacy activities and ideas for parents to try with their kids.

Currently I am paging through a lot of books of poetry, to prepare for the Community Poetry Reading on Saturday, July 30 (3pm) at MVCC. Otherwise, I have just started Susan B. Inches’ book, Advocating for the Environment. I will pass it along to the library when I have finished. What are you reading as you check your tomato plants each day, put up raspberry or blueberry jam, and stack firewood?

July 2022  What’s happening here at the library this month:

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Jacqueline Kennedy

We are grateful to Peter & Deborah Emery for presenting their picture book, The Wildlife Tree, at our opening of this year’s Story Walk at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area this past weekend. We also want to thank the Kennebec Land Trust for managing the land and welcoming us each year for the Story Walk. The trails they have created are simply beautiful, and provide a nice walk for so many of us. The Story Walk will be at the Ezra Smith area for the summer – bring your family or visitors for a relaxing walk among the trees while you read the story by great local author (Peter) and illustrator (Deborah).

A note from our wonderful Library Trustees: Library Trustees & staff will be welcoming a new piece of artwork to the landscape at the Library in the upcoming weeks. The Board commissioned Perry Johnson, II, proprietor of FoeHammer Forge Works in Mt. Vernon, to design and construct a memorial tree to add to the garden landscape. The metal leaves for the tree will be available to purchase and will be engraved with the name (which you will provide) of a loved one. Proceeds from the sale of leaves will go to the George Smith Memorial Fund at the library for the continued upkeep of the gardens. The pricing for the engraved metal leaves is $20.00 each for the large size leaf, $15.00 each for the small size leaf. A sample of the leaves may be seen at the library during regular open hours.  Orders and payment may be given to the librarian in attendance. Each leaf will then be added to the tree by FoeHammer Forge Works to grow a very special and beautiful Memorial Tree.

Summer programming:

Registration for our children’s summer reading program starts on Wednesday, June 29 at 3:30pm, here at the library. The theme this year is “Oceans of Possibilities”! During registration, our young patrons can do some coloring on a 6-foot ocean banner, and can work with Legos and recyclables to create an ocean creature or theme. Each participant who pledges to read at least 4 hours over the summer will be given a grab bag, pencil, and reading chart with stickers. When they have reached their reading goal of 4 hours or more and hand in their reading chart, they can receive a certificate for a Gifford’s ice cream cone!

Ocean related activities will be held on Wednesdays at 3:30pm throughout July.

July 6: Tara Marble, a 4-H leader with the Cooperative Extension Service, will provide an activity about aquaculture. Kids can create their own fish pond and a water filter to clean the fish farm water. This will be a messy & fun experience!

July 13: Alice will read an ocean-related story, and we’ll have materials on hand to make a seascape or tide pool art project, using shells, sand, sea glass, and other ocean treasures.

July 20: Tara will be back to teach about ocean density. Children will be pirates exploring the ocean layers and create their own ocean cup that will represent these layers. There will be a related story, to help solve pirate problems!

July 27: Alice will read us a story and guide children in making two types of suncatchers, to help catch the summer’s rays of light!

The summer reading programs are free and open to a wide range of ages. We invite preschool and elementary school children to participate. There will be refreshments. We plan to meet outside (under tents, if it rains). Email us at or call us at 293-2565 for more information.

General and adult programming:

Book Sale! We have so many books and other materials to offer for sale, but we still wanted to keep our book sale from being too large of an event, so – we will host a week-long booksale during our usual open hours throughout the week of July 11, here at the library, in the Clayton Dolloff room in the second floor of the older part of the building. Please come browse & buy during the hours of: Monday 3-6, Wednesday 9-12 and 3-7, and Saturday 10-3. Donations will be $1.00/bag of books – quite a deal! Come in and stock up for camp, or to prepare for end of summer and the following seasons. We’ll be happy to see you!

Community Poetry Reading: After several years’ hiatus, we will be back to sharing poetry with each other, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, at 3:00PM on Saturday, July 30th. Bring a favorite poem or two to read to us, or even try reading one of your own poems. It will be great to come together again. We’ll have some refreshments, of course.

Stories from the Metroplex: On Sunday, August 7th, 3PM, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, we will host community story telling. We haven’t done it in a couple of years, so we hope you have some new stories to tell your neighbors and friends – stories about the pandemic, or about how you came to this amazing community, something from your childhood, any piece of your history you’d like to share. Refreshments will be served.

Some online resources having to do with marine life (to follow our oceans of possibilities theme):

1. From the American Museum of Natural History’s Ology site – you can explore marine biology, and plenty of other fascinating topics, too.

2. NOAA has a site on marine science for kids. Visit it here:

3. And this site is also oriented towards children:

I am currently reading Heather Cox Richardson’s nonfiction book, How the South Won the Civil War. What are you reading as you wait to pick peas and put up some strawberry jam?

June, 2022  What’s happening at the library:

“The health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.” Carl Sagan

We still recommend that people wear masks while in the library, just so we can help protect some of our elder and youngest patrons. We have some masks on our desk, if you forgot your own.

We couldn’t keep the library going, with all of the programming, patron interactions, management of the collections, and information & education we try to provide, without our wonderful volunteers. Currently, we are looking for a few people who could be Tech Instruction volunteers. We are working with the Broadband committee’s digital inclusion efforts as they develop their plans, and it would be so good to connect folks of all ages with a few volunteers who could instruct people about use of cell phones, email, google docs or Word, or other basic skills. Call the library at 293-2565 and leave a message, or email us at It might take a while to turn our ideas into action, and it would be great to know of people who might be able to help us get started on connecting community members to the larger world of information and communication.

Tax Help: Our wonderful local AARP Tax Guru, David Fuller, is willing to help any elders in the community file their Maine income tax for 2021, if they haven’t already done so, in order to qualify for the latest $850 in COVID relief funds. Please call and leave a message at the library, or email us, and we’ll set up an appointment with David!

Booksale at the library! $1.00/ bag of books, the week of July 11 during our usual open hours (Monday 3-6, Wednesday 9-12 and 3-7, and Saturday 10-3). Here’s a chance to stock up on beach reads to get you through the summer. We have a wide range of fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and DVDs.

Meanwhile, if you hope to donate books to the library, please remember that we can only use clean books in great shape, no musty smells or broken spines. Nonfiction should be fairly recent, and we can’t accept nonfiction series like Time/Life books or encyclopedias. Thanks for your understanding!

Fern Walk, Saturday, June 11, at 3PM: Last year, our Fern Walk with Deb Stahler turned into a Fern Talk in the library, due to rather constant rains. This year, we are hoping for a Fern Walk, starting on the boardwalk at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Land (on Pond Rd, beyond Blake Hill Rd, as you leave the village). Deb is a Maine Master Naturalist, and will talk with us about some of the many varieties of beautiful ferns that grow in the woods and along the edge of our roads & yards. There are many kinds of ferns close to the board walk! Rain date, just in case: Sunday, June 12, 3PM.

Summer Reading Program: Oceans of Possibilities is the theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program here at the library. We hope to gather outside under some new tents we purchased, for weekly story time and related crafts. Sign up will begin on Wednesday, June 29 at 3:30pm, when children can design and put together ocean creations out of legos or work on coloring a huge Oceans of Possibilities banner! We will meet weekly at 3:30 at least through July. Projects are open-ended and should appeal to a wide variety of ages. Plans are still in progress, but some of the craft ideas include making suncatchers, sea glass art, drip jelly fish, puffer fish, and tidal pool sea scapes. We are also looking forward to 4-H hosting some STEM-related activities for us!

We are hoping to re-create some of our usual adult programs this summer – the annual Community Poetry Reading, and also Stories From the Metroplex. We aren’t sure yet whether those will be held at the Community Center, or under the canopies we set up at the library, or possibly on Zoom. We’ll get information out as soon as we can. Please check our Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library) or our website ( as we move towards summer, for further information.

For you to explore:

We currently have a display of gardening books for all ages, in the main room. Come take a look and find some inspiration and information. We will change displays occasionally, depending on season and interests. We hope you will enjoy them!

New York Public Library always provides so many amazing exhibitions. One of their subjects from earlier this year is: Intersects: Where Arthropods and Homo Sapiens Meet, curated by Peter Kuper. If you go to you can access coloring book pages, fascinating information, and there are clips of audio recordings related to insects, including poetry, environment, butterflies, bees, ants, and more.

In keeping with this summer’s theme of Oceans of Possibilities, there is a cool webpage that shows you what creatures live at various depths of the sea, as you simply scroll down. It is called The Deep Sea, at Neal.Fun. Find it here:

I am reading an epistolary novel (one of my favorite genres) called The Lost Manuscript, by Cathy Bonidan. We don’t have it at the library yet, but I hope we can rectify that situation! What are you reading, as the dragonflies return and the bees flit from flower to flower?

May, 2022:

“My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”

Peter Golkin

We do still encourage library visitors to wear a mask while in the building. We serve people with various chronic health challenges, and we like to protect all of our patrons as much as possible. We have some masks available if you forget your own.

Many thanks to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for bringing their expertise and support to local cyclists here and at Readfield. Last year, they did a repair workshop, and this year, it was all about doing a spring tune-up. We hope to see them again next year!

The Career Center of Maine counselor, Marc Libby, will continue at our library on Wednesdays – but the hours have changed, as of April 27. Now he will be with us from 3-5 in the afternoon. That might help young folks who are just getting out of school, and are looking for a bit of help with negotiating the initial steps of finding employment. You can make an appointment to come talk with Marc by calling his number: 1-207-707-0228, or you can simply stop by and talk with him. Come for a visit, and learn how to start a career or change to a new career.

Alice has put together some new Take & Make kits for May, and we’ll have them at the library. If you want one for your child, please let us know, or come in and grab one. The theme for this month is butterflies!

Summer Reading Program: This year, the theme for libraries is “Oceans of Possibilities”. Alice has been planning our summer story times and activities, and it looks like we might get a visit or two from Tara Marble (who did the rocket program with us a couple of years ago, out on Leighton’s field). We’ll get information about the programs into the next newsletter, and onto our Facebook page and our website as the summer draws near.

We hope to come back to our annual (well, not the past couple of years) Community Poetry Reading and the Stories From the Metroplex events this summer. We’ll work on possible dates, and let you know what develops.

Websites for young families:

We always like to remind folks of various PBS online resources. They have games & videos for homeschoolers, parents, & teachers on their site at And, there are all kinds of videos & lessons about social studies, language arts, science & math, the arts, and even world languages & engineering at You can browse by subject or by grade level.

Spring & summer are the seasons when we most often see rainbows at the end of a storm. If you or the children you know are curious about rainbows, here are a couple of websites to visit:

Easy Geography For Kids:

Science Kids:

I am just starting Kirstin Harmel’s The Book of Lost Names – more historical fiction centered around WW2. What are you reading as you plant the garden, spend time hiking, or maybe resting by a lake?

April, 2022:

“A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it…It’s a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world.” Neil Gaiman

Remember, besides our in-library services and resources (books, audios, videos, a small collection of baking items, an Efficiency Maine monitor, games & puzzles, public access computers and printer), we also provide access to reading materials across the state via interlibrary loan, and your library card also lets you use the statewide Downloadable books library, and Hoopla, a streaming service for ebooks, music, magazines, and videos for folks of all ages. We can still provide curbside service for those who can’t come into the library yet, just call or email us, and we’ll get a bag of materials ready for you.

Some basic “housekeeping” – if you have any changes for your address, email, or phone in the past few years, please let us know so we can update our records at the library!

April Take&Makes: The theme for this month’s Take&Make kits for children will be Easter! Call or email us, or send us a private message on our Facebook page, and let us know how many kits your household would like. The kits will be ready for pickup before April 16, at the library. Alice will get a story video up on our Facebook page, too!

Career Center consultant Marc Libby has been coming to the library on Wednesday mornings, 10AM-12Noon for the past couple of weeks, and will continue through the first couple of Wednesdays in April. Please feel free to stop in the library on Wednesday mornings between 10-12 to ask about ideas like writing cover letters, doing job searches, or other questions about taking the next steps towards employment. You can also call Marc to set up an appointment, at 207-707-0228. You can look at the Career Center website here:

The bicycle maintenance workshop we hosted with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine last summer was quite a hit, and their helpful tips were so appreciated. They have already been planning another summer of workshops, and will do a follow-up maintenance program at our library on May 2, from 2:30-4:30 (and then they will hop over to Readfield library from 5-7pm). They hope to focus a bit on post-winter tune up tips. We’ll post further information on our Facebook page later in the month!

It is the time of year when we each become more aware of, and involved in, our local environment as all the aspects of life wake up and start moving about. Remember we have lots of adult and children’s books on gardening, bird identification, and other aspects of learning about our ecosystems (tree identification, vernal pools, amphibians, and more). You can also look at various websites to learn more about the life all around us:

1. The Cornell lab (birds):

2. PBS (frogs):

3. Northwood Frog Call Phenology (audio infographic of frog calls):

4. Trees (for kids):

5. Two gardening websites, with plenty of resources and expertise:

** Mofga:

** Cooperative Extension:

April is National Poetry Month! We have lots of poetry in our 811 section, and here are two sites to search for some of your favorites:

Academy of American Poets:

Poetry Foundation:

A few of the most popular adult titles at our library during March:

Other People’s Houses, by Waxman; The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti, by Probst; Oh William!, by Strout; Quicksilver, by Koontz; Honor, by Umrigar; The School of Essential Ingredients, by Bauermeister; The Lowering Days, by Brown (Maine); Wish You Were Here, by Picoult.

I am reading The Maid, by Nita Prose – a murder mystery involving a hotel maid and her coworkers. What are you reading/listening to/watching as we wait for the music of the peepers?

Library news, March 2022:

“Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

We still offer “curbside” service for anyone who wants something to read but must remain isolated. Just call or email us and we’ll try to assemble an assortment of books, and we’ll arrange pick up (outside the door, in the parking area) with you during hours when we are open.

Alice will record another story on video, to post on our Facebook page in March and she will put together a Take&Make on a theme related to the story for our young patrons. Please let us know if you would like a Take&Make for any of your kids! You can message us on our Facebook page, email us at , leave a message on our phone (293-2565), or just sign up at the library. We’ll let you know when the kits are ready to be picked up.

Local yoga instructor Ann Parker will present a session on Yoga for Bone Health on Saturday, March 19, at 9AM, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center. for us. There will be a limit of 12 people, so please call us at the library or email us, to let us know you would like to attend. Ann teaches yoga at Maine General, and is great at instruction for gentle yoga and movement that helps us all stay more nimble and balanced as we age. Ann tell us that yoga can be an effective tool in improving and maintaining bone health as we age. We’ll vary traditional postures for individual ability whether you’re new to yoga or experienced. This low-impact weight-bearing practice emphasizes safe movement for those with bone density loss as well as those wishing to prevent it. Learn the risk factors for osteoporosis and how our choices can contribute to stronger, healthier bones. Please note, getting down to and up from the floor at least once will be an option if you would like to bring a yoga mat.

Please wear clothing that will allow you to stretch and move comfortably. Non-slip footwear such as sneakers are a safe alternative to bare feet if you’d prefer to keep shoes on. This will be a free introductory class. All are welcome.

Last summer we had someone from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine come to do a bike repair workshop with local folks. It was a popular event. The Coalition has offered to follow up with another workshop this year. We are planning it for May 2nd, up in the library parking lot. We will have more information soon. Meanwhile, put it on your calendar! Those Coalition folks are so knowledgeable and helpful.

Our Tax Help days at the library are fully scheduled now. Please give us a call if you still are looking for help, or try the resources listed below. For those of you coming in, we do require masks when you are in the building. We are so thankful to our wonderful AARP volunteers David & Christine for their hard work and commitment to this service. Other organizations that provide Tax Help volunteers are the Cohen Center in Hallowell (phone number is 626-7777), and the Muskie Center in Waterville (873-4745). United Way of Tri-County in Farmington also offers assistance (778-5048).

A good site for all sorts of social service assistance and information is 211. Their website is . You can also just dial 211, or 1-866-811-5695.

Their email is

The online streaming service we subscribe to, Hoopla, has now added various popular magazines to the many types of materials you can borrow from them and read online. Go to their website and see what’s new!

We have a growing supply of board games and jigsaw puzzles to lend. Come see what might be of interest, and you can take one home for a couple of weeks. Games and puzzles provide such good, engaging entertainment for us during the winter months! Meanwhile, many of us around the Metroplex have started playing the online game Wordle. A new five-letter word is posted each day, and you get six chances to come up with the correct word. It is not competitive, just a fun, quiet way to challenge yourself. Here’s the link if you want to try it:

Some online resources to help with basic needs:

Burn permits are now accepted online through the Maine Forest Service. You can get information on when burn permits are allowed, and there is a link to getting the burn permit here:

At home Covid tests can still be requested through the US Postal Service, here:

And there is information from the US government website about the tests at this site:

If you need to use a computer or need a bit of help navigating these sites, please come in to see us when we are open, and we will be glad to help you get set up!

What I’m reading: I just finished Talk Radio, a new book by Ham Martin – a Maine author I’ve never read before, and the latest Louise Erdrich novel, The Sentence – one of the main characters is a ghost, and it is set in a bookstore. Currently I’m enjoying a middle-grade novel, When the World Turned Upside Down, by K. Ibura. It is about a group of kids contending with the start of the pandemic, and how they keep connections and learn more about themselves and the issues they face. What are you reading or watching or listening to, to get through the cold winter?

In the Library, January 2022:

“Hyacinth loved the library. Walking through those heavy wooden doors and breathing in the smell of books always gave her a feeling of possibility, as if the whole world were waiting for her to discover it.” Karina Yan Glasen, The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish

Our Usual Reminder During the Winter Months:  On days when we are open (Monday afternoons, Wednesday mornings and afternoons, Saturdays), we pay attention to possible bad weather and difficult traveling conditions.  If there is snow or ice coming our way, please keep checking our library Facebook page, or call us during our regular hours — before you get in your car to drive here — to see if we are open, or perhaps closing early!  Stay safe, everyone.

Tax Help Days: Our Tax Gurus David and Christine are starting preparations for our annual Tax Help Days for Mt Vernon and Vienna residents. David says people can start calling for appointments as of January 5th. We will schedule our appointments on days when we aren’t open, so we don’t have too many people in the building. The dates scheduled are March 1, March 15, and March 29. If necessary, David can set up another day in April. We require masks when you are in the building, and when you call to make an appointment we will ask for your phone number and address, so we can send you the required paperwork and instructions, and so we can call you if we need to reschedule due to weather. We are so thankful to our wonderful AARP volunteers David & Christine for their hard work and commitment to this service.

Patron records: Please let us know of any changes to your phone number, address, or email so we can keep our records current and know how to reach you when we have materials reserved for you or want to reach you about other services. Thanks!

Alice will continue to make some story videos each month through the winter, based on a new theme each month, and will also devise some more Take&Makes to keep our young patrons interested in new (small) projects. Let us know if you want to sign up for those Take&Make kits. We’ll post the videos on our Facebook page!

February Frolix: Interested in some outdoor winter activities like sledding, skating, or snowshoeing? Would you like to try some gentle chair yoga? How about a book signing by a local artist who illustrated a children’s book that came out this year (The Deer Man)? The local Aging In Place Committee is working with us to sponsor various events throughout the month of February, for folks of all ages. We are also thinking of small Take&Make bags of crossword puzzles, Sudoku games, maybe some coloring pages, and possibly a Maine trivia page, for folks to work on at home. We are considering more activities. There will be a schedule of events coming out soon, and you will be able to contact the library to sign up for activities. We weren’t able to do the Frolix last year due to COVID, but we are planning safe, physically distant activities for this year, and hope that we can reach people of all ages who would like to participate. We will pull it together, due to the efforts of the committee, the library, the Community Center, and lots of volunteers!

I am reading two novels right now: Robert Dugoni’s The World Played Chess, which features some veterans from the Viet Nam War as well as a young person just trying to put together the next steps in his own life, and Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri – a quiet book about living an ordinary life, community relationships, and a woman trying to find her role in it all. What are you reading, as the cold strengthens and we see the slow return of light?

In the Library, December 2021:

“When my father first took me to Ennis Library I went down among the shelves and felt company, not only the company of the writers, but the readers too, because they had lifted and opened and read these books. The books were worn by hands and eyes and minds…and I just loved it, the whole strange sense of being aboard a readership.” Niall Williams, History of the Rain

Book sale: Right now, we can’t accept more book donations, our sale shelves are overflowing. Our book sale continues, we have so much fiction and nonfiction to browse and buy. The winter holiday gatherings always provide a chance to do book exchanges – come grab a stack and share with friends, neighbors, and family!

Tax Help! Our Tax Gurus, David and Christine, are preparing to offer their annual tax help days. They will offer appointments at the library on Tuesdays, when we aren’t open to patrons, so we can keep the building from being too crowded and folks can stay physically distant in order to protect health. Right now, David hopes the dates for appointments will be March 1st, March 15th, and March 29th. Appointments at the library are meant to serve primarily Mt. Vernon and Vienna residents. We hope to be ready to accept phone calls requesting appointments after January 4th. We will update any new information on our Facebook page and our website, if plans change.

‘Tis the season: this month, Alice will do a holiday story video for our Facebook page and she will devise more Take&Makes to hand out. Let us know if you want some for your children. You can leave a message on our Facebook page, email us at, leave a phone message at 293-2565, or just sign up next time you come in. And, as we do each year, we are starting to put some winter holiday books out on the children’s table. Come in and grab a couple for some cozy family reading time. Jan Brett is always a popular author for holiday and winter themes!

Many of our patrons have signed up for Hoopla, the online streaming service we subscribe to so patrons can watch or listen to some free videos, music, ebooks, and more each month This month, they are offering a few Hallmark Christmas movies, and have some children’s activities to explore. Let us know if you need help signing up for this service. You simply need your email and the barcode number from your library card (we can also give you that number if you have misplaced your card).

The night sky is so beautiful during winter months. There are a few astronomy sites for young patrons to explore, which might help expand their wonder and awe and curiosity. The sites feature either constellations or planets:

I have just started reading Colm Toibin’s The Magician. It is historical fiction featuring Thomas Mann as the main character. Toibin’s writing is so engaging. We have a few more of his novels, if you get drawn in (once I return it). What are you reading during winter’s long evenings?

In the Library, November 2021:

Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better. Sidney Sheldon

We have so many books for sale upstairs in the Clayton Dollof room and in the hallway upstairs, please feel free to come browse and grab a few. $1 for hardcover and trade paperback, and 50 cents for mass market paperbacks. Load up a bag or two and keep some on your To Be Read pile or give them as possible holiday gifts for folks. We do ask that you not drop off book donations outside the building while we aren’t there. We’ve had to toss a number of boxes or bags of books because they were ruined by weather. We will accept fiction that is in good shape, and nonfiction in good shape and that isn’t too outdated.

While supply chains from various publishers and book warehouses are still faltering, it can be challenging to keep our new book shelves stocked. But – we did get in an order this week, of both children’s and adult materials, so please feel free to come in and take a look!

Once again some of our wonderful trustees and volunteers came to clear up George’s garden space for the winter and plant some bulbs. Can’t wait to see what pops up in the spring!

Alice did a video of a Halloween story and we posted it on our Facebook page, please feel free to go click on it and watch! She plans on doing a few more winter holiday-related story videos in November and December, we hope you enjoy them. Along with each of the videos, she will also put together some Take&Make packets for kids, related to the theme of the story she reads. Please come in and sign up your kids for the packets, or call (293-2565) or email( us if your family would like to come pick up some packets when we have them ready.

We are always looking at programming ideas for children or adults, as long as we can put them together safely regarding COVID concerns. We’re looking at possible ideas for later this winter, and of course for next summer. If you have ideas for any programs you would like, please let us know, we love working with our patrons to provide services.

We always try to have some seasonal books displayed on the table in the children’s room. Obviously we are just finishing up with autumn and Halloween books. Next we’ll start putting out some books about Thanksgiving – come take a look!

It is fun to see what books are popular with our readers. Within the last month and a half, those adult titles that circulated frequently were Stay Hidden (Doiron), Dead by Dawn (Doiron), Other People’s Houses (Waxman), The Madness of Crowds (Louise Penny), One Square Inch of Silence: one man’s search for natural silence (Hempton), and Ordinary Grace (Krueger). Popular books among our younger readers were: Memory Jars (Brosgol), A House for Hermit Crab (Carle), Banana Fox and the Secret Sour Society (Graphic Novel by Kochaika), and various Halloween books. Graphic novels have become very popular among our middle reader and young adult patrons

If you have a child or student who is interested in learning about baking (cakes!) and food science, here is a nice site to explore for putting together a few lessons or activities to do together:

And, now that winter approaches and we might want some cozy indoor activities to do, there are websites for adults that let you play sudoku, word searches, and card games. You might try:

From AARP:

I am just starting So Many Beginnings, by Bethany C. Morrow – a remix of Little Women. What are you reading as you bring in the firewood and finish the last harvest from the garden?

Library News, October 2021:

“One thing that is good about librarians is they listen to what you need and want and think of a way to help you… Maybe they do not have the book you requested because their library is nothing but leftovers. Or maybe what you requested is wrong == people often are, even…people who read – but it is okay because librarians have witchlike librarian magic to pick the right book for you.”

Laurie Frankel, One Two Three

People have been using George’s memorial garden (and George’s porch) for a comfortable spot while they use our wifi, or to take a few minutes to pause and breathe. The little garden is yet another magical place at the edge of the library, created by committed, hard working volunteers and staff. Many thanks to you all for making this happen! And, thanks to Charlene for the wonderful autumn arrangements by the main entrance, and for clearing out the porch!

Our Storywalk@ will end later this month. Take a nice walk through the trails at the Ezra Smith Conservation Area off of Pond Road, and enjoy reading the lovely picture book Alice chose for this summer – Amy MacDonald’s Little Beaver and the Echo. We are so grateful that Kennebec Land Trust is always willing to collaborate with local communities in order to make activities like a story walk happen. .


We haven’t done any story times on Facebook for a while. We are thinking of reading a Halloween story during the last week of this month (exact date to be determined) online. We will also offer Take & Makes during that week. Please sign up (email, phone, in person) for your kids to get a Take & Make, so we know how many to prepare. We’ll have stories and Take & Makes during Thanksgiving and Christmas season, too. We’ll let you know dates as we go along. Please check our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on timing.

We are also wondering about adult programming on Zoom. Some people say they are “zoomed out”, others are glad not to have to drive to events or programs, so they can just participate from home. What are your thoughts? Let us know if you are interested in participating in zoom programs, and we would love to hear your suggestions on topics that would be of interest. We’d love to share ideas with you!

Contact us for Take & Makes, or for ideas about zoom programs, at:


or leave us a private message on our Dr. Shaw Memorial Library page on Facebook.

Some fun online resources for families:

These three links are all associated with University of Maine. They have information and activities for various age groups. Learning activities in many subject areas, including astronomy, physics, government, coding, crafts, music and much more. Videos and learning about cooking, gardening, science aimed at teens, outdoor adventures, healthy living. Much of it is based on 4H activities. All about NASA and astronomy, from the Emera Astronomy Center. They have activities aimed at children, and even have some educational guides for teachers.

I’ve been reading some of N. Scott Momaday’s poetry, and just finished two novels from our library collection: Sofia Sebovia’s The Murmur of Bees, and Laurie Frankel’s One Two Three. Stop by the library and grab something good to read, listen to, or watch. We’re always glad to see you

Library News for September 2021:

“Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

Carl Sagan

A few reminders:

Remember to always wear a mask when you are in the library. We have some on the front desk, if you forgot your mask at home. We are all trying to be responsible, and our patrons are receptive and glad to help by wearing masks! Thank you!

We switched email addresses a month ago. Our email is now:

We also have our website, where we post information on programs or changing health protocols, some new book reviews now and then. You can take a look at And most current information (especially when the weather gets bad and we might need to close), as well as links to some fun videos or websites, is posted on our Facebook page. Just search for Dr. Shaw Memorial Library, and hit “like”.

We have an ongoing book sale in the Dolloff room up the back stairs. There are shelves full of fiction and non-fiction, as well as some children’s materials. Lots of treasures! Come check it out! Hard cover and trade paperbacks are $1.00, and mass market paperbacks are 50 cents.

Summer Reading: Our summer reading activities have come to a close. If your child signed up for summer reading & has completed their reading log, come & get a Gifford’s ice cream gift certificate – an ice cream treat is a nice way to end the summer! We ended our activities with a fabulous evening Bat Program and Walk, attended by folks of all ages. Thank you, Shevenell Webb, for your presentation (she is so knowledgeable about bats!). And of course, thank you to the parents who always are there to help us set up and take down our supplies and tables and chairs for each program.

Our next adult program is all about Advance Directives, held on Wednesday, September 15 at 4:00pm, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center. It will be given by Mt. Vernon’s Jackie Fournier. Jackie gave this same talk for us a few years ago. It was well-attended and she gave us so much useful information. She is a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner from Androscoggin Home Health Care & Hospice, and provides consultation for people with serious chronic illness. Her work focuses on quality of life, including goals of care, management of symptoms, clarification of medical information, and collaboration with both the family and their primary care provider. Advance Directives are helpful documents to keep on hand. Jackie’s explanation of this document and how to complete it is so understandable and accessible. If you plan on attending, we require that you wear a mask (and we will try to keep doors open, for ventilation), and we ask that you pre-register with us, either by phone (293-2565) or email ( Give us your phone number, so we know how many people will be in attendance, and we can call you if plans need to change in accordance with any new public health protocols. This will be a helpful program for elders and all those who are making plans for their medical care into the future.

Every once in a while it is fun to run a report on what our most popular titles are over a period of time – and it might give you some ideas for what to read next!

Popular adult fiction for this summer:

One Last Lie, and Dead By Dawn, both by Maine author Paul Doiron

Klara and the Sun, by Ishiguro

Paradise Valley, by CJ Box

Sooley, by John Grisham

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, by Beth Morrey

Leave the World Behind, by Alam Rumaan

The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah

A few adult nonfiction titles:

Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains, by Maine author Kerri Arsenault

The Little Book of Cottagecore: Traditional Skills for a Simpler Life, by Emily Kent

Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America, by Gigi Georges

Chickens, Gin, and a Maine Friendship: the Correspondence of E.B. White and Edmund Ware Smith, (Maine author E.B. White)

Children’s books:

My Friend Earth, by Patricia MacLachlan (she is such a great author)

Puff, the Magic Dragon (book and CD)

The Big Book of Beasts, by Yuvai Zommer (the Big Books series is so popular)

Memory Jars, by Vera Brosgol (beautiful illustrations, and a nice idea for a new family tradition)

The Big Book of the Blue, by Yuval Zommer

All Along the River, by Magnus Weightman (great story and illustrations)

Okay I’ll stop now. Meanwhile, I have been reading some of Louise Erdrich’s books, she is a fine writer, and just finished Isabel Allende’s Zorro. Both of these authors build beautiful stories over time, and their characters are nuanced and complex. What are you reading after canning tomatoes and while you keep an eye on the orchard?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library August 2021

Submitted by Mary Anne Libby

“A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” Henry Ward Beecher

We have a new email address as of this past month. Now if you want to send us an email, please use: Thanks, Jim Anderberg, for helping us get this set up. We have so many people who are willing to step in and support us in so many ways!

Remember, we have another StoryWalk@ set up this year, on the trails at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area. The book Alice chose this year is Amy MacDonald’s Little Beaver and the Echo. We hope you can bring some young family members down to the trails to follow along with this good quiet story. And, Alice left a small notebook again in the wooden information box at the start of the trails, so you can leave notes about the Storywalk – we love to read people’s comments. If you snap some pictures of your Storywalk adventure and would like to share them, you can email Mary Anne at and include a jpg. We’ll post the pictures on our Facebook page!

After a few postponements due to rain, we were finally able to have our Fern program with Maine Master Naturalist, Deb Stahler. She brought lots of fronds of various ferns she had preserved over the years, as well as some examples that she had just picked. Folks also brought a few ferns that they wanted identified, and we all got a good chance to study each one. One of Maine’s most common ferns is called the Interrupted Fern – did you know there are fossils of that particular variety that indicate it has been around for 180 million years?! Pretty cool that a plant can survive all the climate and other changes through time, and still thrive! Thanks so much, Deb, for introducing us to such wonderful, astonishing plant life.

The summer reading program has had to be rather self-directed this year. Alice and Linda had to cancel a couple of our outdoor story times due to weather, and we’ve had to send home various craft projects to our young patrons as Take&Makes, rather than doing them together out on the picnic table. We hope everyone has been reading regularly! If you haven’t been in to pick up your child’s Take & Make kit, please come in and grab one, we’ve got some extras ready to go. Alice is glad to make more Take&Makes if families are interested in continuing doing crafts at home for a bit longer. If your child has met the Summer Reading Program reading goal for the summer, you can pick up one of the Gifford’s ice cream certificates from us, as a closing reward. We hope they have had fun reading this summer – it always helps to have a good book at hand on rainy or hot days!

Bat Walk: BATS!  A program for all ages!

Save the date!  Friday August 20 meet at the library at 7pm to enjoy a bat snack, learn some interesting facts about bats, see a bat skeleton and bat guano amongst other things,   and for the younger crowd, listen to a bat story and do a bat craft if there is time. If not, Take & Makes will be available. At around 7:45pm we will head over to Teaberry Lane, where parking will be available on the first house on the right. From there we will walk down the road and listen for bat echolocations under the guidance of Shevenell Webb, local Wildlife Biologist and bat enthusiast. Please wear a headlamp and vest reflector if you have one, or bring a flashlight.  Feel free to join us just at the library, or meet us on Teaberry Lane.  Rain date is August 21.  We ask that you pre-register so we can plan accordingly. Please email the library at or call the library (293-2565) to let us know you plan to come.

Ongoing Book Sale: We have lots of books upstairs in the original part of the building, in our ongoing Book Sale – fiction, nonfiction, children’s books. Come browse, and grab an armful to restock your camp or household bookshelves. All hardcover and trade paperbacks are $1 each, and mass market paperbacks are 50 cents. You never know what treasures you will find!

This week I’ve been reading William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace. It is set in a small town in Minnesota, and includes his usual excellent portrayal of imperfect characters trying to pull together. A good read. We have others of Krueger’s novels, he is definitely an author to try. What are you reading while you wait for the tomatoes to ripen, and finish canning some raspberry jam?

July 2021 What’s happening at the library

“A library is infinity under a roof.” (Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted)

Our hours: Mondays 3-6, Wednesdays 9-12 and then 3-7, and Saturdays 10-3. We still do require masks at all times in the building, to protect children who have not been vaccinated and adults who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons.

Summer Reading – Tails & Tales! Tails and Tales is a great theme, our young patrons can choose all sorts of books about animals, if they wish, and of course – the library is full of tales of all sorts! You can come sign up for our summer reading goal of 15 minutes/day until you reach 500 minutes – the sign-up poster is in the children’s area. Kids who meet the goal of 500 minutes will get an ice cream cone certificate from Giffords Ice Cream. To keep track of reading time, we’ll give you a Tails & Tales pencil, stickers, and reading log. Our young readers can choose to read any books they want, and listening to someone read to you also counts!

Alice has been working on children’s programming. She will hold weekly outdoor story times (at the library) throughout July, on Wednesdays at 4:00pm, beginning July 7th. On rainy days, story time will be canceled, but each week – rain or shine – there will be Make & Take packages for each child. Please come in and sign up if you plan to attend the story times, and also if you prefer to just stop by and pick up the weekly craft. This will help us with creating our outdoor space, and also help us to know how many Make & Take packages to have ready. Plans may change over the summer if CDC public health guidelines change.

Our StoryWalk@ on the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area trails was so popular last year, that Alice has put together a new one for this summer! The book she chose this time is Amy MacDonald’s Little Beaver and the Echo, a lovely quiet story about finding friendship. And, it is a great book for our Tails & Tales theme! It is now open, thanks to Alice, Jon, and Dave – come take a nice walk on the trails and pause to read this good story!  Alice has left a notebook at the start of the trails, in the information box, if you would like to leave a note about your walk!

We have two outdoor programs coming up this summer for families or individuals, whoever is interested.

First, on Sunday, July 18 (rain date July 25) at 3:00PM we will host our first ever Fern Walk with Maine Master Naturalist Deb Stahler. The walk will start at the new parking area for the Ezra Smith Conservation Area, down near the Pond Road end of Blake Hill Road. Because that area has limited parking, it would be a good idea to carpool with others you think might be going. It would be good to call or email us at the library to let us know if you plan on attending, so we have an idea of how many people might come. Wear clothing and footwear that will protect you from insects and that is comfortable for walking outside. We hope to see you there! Meanwhile, we do have a fern identification book in our collection: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families, by Boughton Cobb (587.3 COB).

Next, another first for us – we will have an evening Bat Walk on Friday, August 20 (rain date August 21), led by Shevenell Webb. We are still putting together pieces of it, but we might have people meet at the library around 7PM for a bat story or two, some brief information about bats that Shevenell will share, and perhaps a small craft to do. From the library we will walk or drive to the Olde Post Office Cafe, where we will park cars and then walk to Teaberry Lane. Of course bats don’t come out till after sunset, so the walk will be late. People can also just meet us for the walk around 7:45. We’ll post more about this event on our Facebook page and we’ll have updated plans in the August newsletter, so stay tuned!

Please do visit our Facebook page – it is where we post our current information, as well as other town and local happenings. Libraries are sharing information with each other about various programs, some for families (like cool nature and animal programs), some for adults (like author talks). We do like to post some of these zoom or in-person talks, in case our own patrons are interested. Check our page to catch news of fun & interesting programming from us and from other wonderful libraries and community resources.

June, 2021 What’s happening at the library

Submitted by Mary Anne Libby and Alice Olson

“As a young boy, the library card was my prized possession. To think that the son of an oil field worker could hold a key to unlock the endless stacks of knowledge within the most spectacular building I had ever seen, was an amazement.” Dan Rather

Whew, it has been quite a year (and a bit more). We have been listening to the latest recommendations from the CDC and from Maine State Library, as well as other public libraries, and – we are opening back up for our usual hours, as of June 2nd! We are grateful for your patience and cooperation, our patrons are wonderful about paying attention to how to keep each other safe throughout this pandemic. Here is our current information about hours and safety:

*Our hours will go back to: Monday 3-6PM, Wednesday 9AM-Noon and then 3-7PM, Saturdays 10AM-3PM.

*There will be no more “tickets” (sticky notes) on the door, so you are welcome to come inside. We will not limit the number of people entering the building, and we will not require signing in at this point. You can return your books to the book bin at our counter, instead of having to leave them outside in the green book deposit.

*We will still require mask wearing for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, as a precaution. There are still people who have not been able to get vaccinated yet for various reasons, and we want the library to be a place where everyone can come and feel safe. We also hope to protect our youngest patrons, as children have not been approved for vaccination yet. Please help protect all of our wonderful community members by wearing your mask in the library at all times.

*We will still provide curbside service, just call us or send us an email, and we will put together your order.

Our plans may change and evolve as we move through the summer, but for now our focus is on seeing you! Please come on in!

We will be offering some outdoor programming during July and August, beginning with the children’s Summer Reading Program, which will be held at 4pm on Wednesdays through the month of July.  Current plans are to have an outdoor story time followed by a simple Make and Take Craft. Craft kits will be fully made up. They may be done after the story time, or taken home to do later. Anyone not attending the story time may pick up a Make and Take when they visit the library. On rainy days, story times will be canceled but Make and Takes will still be available.

We encourage our young patrons to read over the summer. Reading logs with stickers that help keep track of time will be available to pick up at the end of June, and ice cream cone certificates will be awarded to everyone completing their summer reading goal.  This year’s theme is Tales and Tails!

Last year’s Story Walk@ on the Ezra Smith Conservation Land was a good way to combine movement, appreciation of our local environment, and reading – folks loved it. We are planning to do another one again this summer and expect that it will be ready in the beginning of July. We’ll see you on the trails!

We are putting together a few outdoor programs for adults, also – please stay tuned! This year, one of the nature walks we want to host is about ferns, with Maine Master Naturalist Deb Stahler. Our planned date for the Fern Walk is July 18 (Sunday) at 3PM, with a rain date of July 25. The walk will start at the new parking area for the Ezra Smith Conservation Area, down near the Pond Rd end of Blake Hill Road. We may need to limit the number of people who can participate, we’ll let you know as we finalize plans. Meanwhile, we do have a fern identification book in our collection: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families, by Boughton Cobb (587.3 COB).

Ongoing Book Sale: We have a large book sale set up in the old upstairs of the building. Many books in every category are waiting for a new home, and the price is right!  $1.00 for all books, except only $.50 for mass market paperbacks.  Please visit our sale room while at the library, so you can have lots of reading material for down at camp or while you travel.

I have been reading through the town Annual Report, of course, since it arrived the other day. And, I picked up Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country for a re-read (818 VON). What are you reading while we wait for rain and work in our gardens?

May, 2021 In the Library

Submitted by Mary Anne Libby

“Of course, he knew something was wrong, he was a librarian – part psychologist, bartender, bouncer, and detective.” Janet Skeslien Chares, The Paris Library, p. 249

Right now we are keeping our hours & number of people allowed in the building at about the same level, with some small changes. On Wednesday from 3-6 and Saturday 10-3, we will now serve five individual people plus one family group in the building simultaneously. We hope that helps to make things feel alittle less constrained. We are not fully open on Wednesday mornings (9-12) or Monday afternoons (3-5:30), but generally someone is there catching up on tasks, and we will help someone who calls for an appointment or if they make a quick drop by. We’ll let you know of any changes, as we watch the recommendations from the state library and national library organizations. We know it is a lot to try to remember!

We have been trying to figure out summer programming for our wonderful young patrons. Most libraries in Maine will not be doing in-person children’s programming again this summer. Our current idea is to have Make & Takes available again during the summer, for kids to pick up and work on at home. The Make & Takes will provide all necessary materials and directions. If you have questions or suggestions about summer programming, we’d love to hear from you!

We are in the process of changing our library email address, but the current one will continue to be available for a while. You can check our website and our Facebook page for any updates on this!

More people are signing on to Hoopla, the streaming service we subscribe to for our patrons. Like any streaming service, they don’t have everything you might want, but they do have a nice array of music, ebooks & audiobooks, movies & television for both adults and children. There is a monthly limit of 5 items you can borrow, but once you’ve hit the limit, you can type in Bonus Borrows in the search bar and thousands of free materials in all categories show up for you to use the rest of the month. This is a great way to add to your resources for learning or relaxing at the end of the day. If you would like more information on this service, let us know, we’ll be glad to help.

Carbon Cashback Pricing initiative: The town of Mount Vernon has a warrant article to be voted on at our annual town meeting. It is an initiative being supported by various communities around the country, with New Hampshire being one of the states where it is being studied the most. This zoom session on the warrant article should help you make your own decision on how to vote on it. There will be an informational Zoom meeting about Cashback Carbon Pricing on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 6:30PM. A panel of local people (Randy Oakley, Sandy Wright, Deb Stahler, and Cynthia Stancioff) will explain the warrant article which asks the town to support a federal carbon fee and dividend program that was introduced in the US Congress. The meeting will include a short slide presentation introducing the article and then a question & answer period to clarify what it will do if passed. Please attend if you want to hear about this issue before town meeting next month. Tom Ward (our town Zoom Master) will oversee the meeting. You can email Tom for a link to the zoom meeting, and he’ll get back to you. His email:

For some fun and interesting kid-centered learning and activities about Earth, and other planets in our solar system online, you can visit the sites below. They provide videos, games, printable materials, and ideas for how to participate in helping to sustain the Earth:

Eek! Environmental Education for Kids:

Planets for Kids:

And for adults who want to get into Citizen Science (we’ve posted this one before):

I just grabbed two novels from our newest book order. I have started Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman. It is about an Irish family who make lots of mistakes, but also try to help in their own way. There is some great humor in it, and I really like the (flawed) characters so far. The next one I will try is Brood by Jackie Polzin, about an unnamed person trying to care for their chickens over the course of a year, and interactions with friends and neighbors and family. Hmm, with those bird-related titles, it seems like we’ve got a bit of a theme going here. What are you reading while we wait for rain, and watch the yellow tulips bloom?

April, 2021 In the Library

“A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it…It’s a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world. It’s a place with librarians in it. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now.” Neil Gaiman

We are attending various zoom sessions with Maine State Library and other Maine public libraries, to see how they will handle any re-opening strategies as the summer progresses. We will let you know if there are any changes to our current hours, as we move forward. As a reminder, currently we are open to 5 people at a time on Saturdays 10-3, and Wednesday afternoons from 3-6. We can arrange an appointment for you to come in on Mondays 3-5 and Wednesdays 9-12. Remember to always wear a mask when you are inside the building, and keep physical distance from other folks.

Hoopla: Remember, with your library card, you can sign up for the streaming service we subscribe to, Hoopla. They provide access to many TV series and movies, audio and e books – and they even feature each month’s LibraryReads on their website, along with graphic novels and comics, music, and more. Call us to see how to sign up. Personally, I have been drawn into the old Father Brown cozy British mystery series on Hoopla.

It’s gardening season! We have lots of how-to books on gardening in our 635 nonfiction section, come check them out. Some favorite Mainers who write about gardening are Elliot Coleman (basics of gardening), Will Bonsall (seed saving), and Deb Soule (growing medicinals). One of my lifetime favorite books on the subject is Katherine White’s Onward and Upward In the Garden – her reflections on being a gardener.

There are also some great fiction & nonfiction children’s books on gardening – a good way to introduce them to this lifelong, gratifying, healthful activity. Our young readers could try some of these:

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden. This classic fiction is about so much more than gardening, but the garden is essential to the story. J BUR

Juanita Haville, I Heard it From Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden J 811 HAV

Kevin Henkes, My Garden PB F HEN

Andrew Larsen, The Imaginary Garden PB F LAR

Kate Messner, Up In the Garden and Down In the Dirt PB F MES

Charlotte Zolotow, In My Garden PB F ZOL

Also, the Maine Cooperative Extension service and the

Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) offer lots of information via their websites, Facebook pages, and through various webinars and workshops. They have supported agriculture and gardening education for many years, and their people have a wealth of experience.

We recently celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, which brought to mind two wonderful movies associated with Ireland: “Waking Ned Devine” and “Once” – put them on your watch list. We have them both on DVD in our collection. We have a new book order that will come soon, but meanwhile, we recently cataloged a memoir by Shaun Bythell, entitled Confessions of a Bookseller – it is actually his journal entries over the course of the year, detailing his interactions with customers and staff at his used bookstore in Scotland, as well as various other community members. We also just added Mary Alice Monroe’s Swimming Lessons, and Beth Morrey’s The Love Story of Missy Carmichael, about a lonely elder woman who reluctantly (at first) admits a community of new friends into her life and finally opens up about the difficulties and conflicts she has experienced.

Meanwhile, I am reading Narrowboat Summer, by Anne Youngson, and am enjoying it very much. We also have her novel Meet Me At the Museum. Both are good reads. What are you reading as the snow disappears and you consider new possibilities within the garden or orchard?

March, 2021 — a blustery month so far!

I may not be a witch, Miss Eastwood, but I’m quite a tolerable librarian.”

Alix E. Harrow, The Once and Future Witches, p. 221

Just to review our current hours: We are open on Wednesdays 3-6 and Saturdays 10-3. Just grab a “ticket” (sticky note) off the door, and come in. If there are no sticky notes, that means we are already at capacity and when someone leaves, you can come in! We are so happy to see our patrons. We can schedule appointment times for Mondays between 3-6 and Wednesday mornings 9-12 for anyone who wants to come in and browse or use the computer or ask for some information help. Just call or email ahead of time, and we’ll get back to you, or call when we are there and we can arrange it for you. Please know you can also call or email if you have particular information needs, and we’ll be glad to see what we can do!

The George Smith Memorial Fund: The trustees and staff of the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library are saddened by the passing of our dear friend and associate George Smith. George participated in every aspect of our library experience for thirty-five years, and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the past twenty-five years. George was primarily responsible for raising the funds with which we were able to construct our new addition as well as many other improvements.

It is our goal to create a special memorial as an expression of gratitude for all that was accomplished with his help. In the spring we are planning to create a beautiful and relaxing outdoor space at the library for the enjoyment of everyone. Specific plans for this will emerge in the months ahead. Should you wish to make a donation in George’s memory for this effort, please make checks payable to The Dr. Shaw Memorial Library, and note “George Smith” on the memo line. Donations may be left at the library during open hours, or sent to: The Dr. Shaw Memorial Library, 35 Demariano Rd., Mount Vernon ME 04352.

Tax Help: We extend many thanks to our marvelous AARP volunteer Tax Gurus, David and Christine, for helping so many members of our community once again this year during tax season. It is so reassuring to have their assistance and skills. And we are thankful for the folks at the Cohen Center, who help with training volunteers and provide needed equipment and paperwork.

Something Fun on the Web: We featured this site on our Facebook page a week or so ago: It is a remarkable video that lets you scroll down (and down and down) through the ocean, and features various life forms that live at various levels. They include nice, brief facts about some of the ocean life. If you scroll all the way down, you can see what is going on at about 7 miles below the surface of the sea! It is fun, well-done, and quite interesting!

And has a daily crossword you can work on, as well as a few other games, and cool info and facts about grammar, a “word of the day”, and some other word games. Try them out here:

Reading Recommendations: I just picked up Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, for a re-read. Her writing is so quiet and reflective. It is always good to revisit some of Maine’s “classic” literature! Besides Jewett, we also have three of Ruth Moore’s novels, and just replaced her first novel, The Weir, with a new edition recently published by Islandport Press. Moore’s work depicts the tough aspects of traditional Maine life, and she portrays the challenges people face (and sometimes create) both personally and within their place. Other respected and talented Maine authors from the earlier part of the 20th century include Erskine Caldwell (from the Metroplex!), Elisabeth Ogilvie (coastal), and Gladys Hasty Carroll (we have two of hers). More current and popular authors are Richard Russo and Peter Scott, both of whom can tell a great story. Please browse our Maine fiction section, and discover some great reading choices to keep you going through the end of winter!

Here we are, already through the first week of February, 2021!

I don’t have to look far to find treasures. I discover them every time I visit a library.”

Michael Embry

We are open to 5 people at a time for brief visits on Wednesday afternoons 3-6PM, and Saturdays 10AM-3PM. We ask that all visitors wear masks and practice distancing. We also provide curbside service anytime we are at the library, even if we are not open (Mondays 3-5PM, and Wednesday mornings 9-12). Our patron computers are available for use, and we wipe down the keyboards after each patron has finished. Give us a call at 293-2565 or email us at if you have any questions about access to the library.

We have received 71 new books through the Children’s Book Project grant award from the Pilcrow Foundation, and were selected to be sponsored through two additional awards, one from an anonymous donor, and another generous donation from Mr. Hal Berenson & Mrs. Laura Ackerman of Colorado. These new books are recently published fiction and nonfiction, and range from picture books to books for juvenile and young adult readers. The retail value of the grant was $1,152.76. The grant required a two-to-one contribution, and our community contributed $250. With that contribution and the Pilcrow Foundation $500 match, we were able to select $750 of new hardcover books. We are thankful for our Friends of the Library for setting up and maintaining a continuous book sale which went toward this contribution. We also want to thank the Eleanor Philbrick Trust for the Arts, which supplemented the effort. With so much learning happening at home this year, we hope families will take advantage of this wonderful collection of new books. The unexpected donation of 24 more books from the additional awards are all related to math & science. We’ll feature titles from this new collection on our Facebook page and website once we finish cataloging them. Please come check them out!

Our wonderful local AARP Tax Help guru David Fuller and one of his colleagues are once again accepting appointments for elders and low-income folks from the area who could use some help with filing their state and federal taxes. This year all appointments are on Tuesdays (February 16, March 2, and March 16) so that we don’t have too many people in the building at the same time. We still have some slots available, just call and leave a message for us and we’ll get back to you to schedule an appointment. Masks will be required when you come into the building, and we will set up spaces for social distancing.

We’ve been getting lots of book donations in recent months – thank you. Some of our patrons have been running up to the sale room in the Clayton Dolloff room to browse the shelves, and take home a good stack of reading matter. If you want to donate, it helps if you call ahead of time, and please don’t leave boxes or bags outside – we’ve lost some materials to weather damage. We appreciate nonfiction that is not too dated (and we can’t use encyclopedias or other series), and any books that are in good physical shape and not too old or musty. We hope to have a real booksale this summer, or at least next year! Meanwhile, feel free to come take a look and grab whatever looks promising! Hardcover and trade paperbacks are $1.00, and mass market paperbacks are 50 cents.

We’ve had more library patrons signing on to Hoopla, our subscription streaming service for audiobooks, ebooks, music, and TV shows & movies. Let us know if you want to sign up – it is a very easy process, you can view materials on your TV or laptop or phone, and all you need is an email address and the barcode number from your library card. We are happy to be able to provide this service, especially in the midst of winter and our time of sheltering at home and social distancing!

Some free online games to keep you amused and engaged during the winter months can be found at: They link to online games from AARP, chess, jigsaw puzzles, word games, Sudoku, and more.

Sap season will soon be upon us! To prepare, you can borrow a few books for various age groups:

Tom Herd. Maple Sugar: from sap to syrup the history, lore, and how-to behind this sweet treat. 641.33HER

Books for juvenile or middle readers:

Sugaring season, by Daine L. Burns J 664 BUR

Sugaring Time, by Kathryn Lasky J 633.6 LAS

Ininatig’s Gift of Sugar: traditional native sugarmaking, by Laura Waterman Wittstock J 338.1 WIT

Picture books:

Curious George Makes Maple Syrup, by CA Krones PB F REY

Sugaring, by Jessie Haas PB F HAA

Maple Syrup From the Sugarhouse, by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton PB F KNO

The Sugaring-off Party, by Jonathan London PB F LON

Thanks to the Animals, by Allen Sockabasin PB F ME SOC

Our Yarn Cooperative group of knitters and crocheters still meets via zoom. If you want to join, please contact Amy Jajliardo via email at:

I just finished Matt Haig’s newest novel, The Midnight Library – such a good story. Once my neighbor has finished it, we’ll enter it into the library collection. Put it on your TBR list – definitely a nice read! And it features a school librarian, so… Meanwhile, I am looking forward to reading some of the juvenile fiction series that were included in the Pilcrow grant: Jason Reynolds “Track” series about kids in an elite middle school, and a series by Karina Yan Glaser about the VanderBeeker family of young kids who get into all sorts of fascinating shenanigans. One of them plays the violin! Okay, two more of the Pilcrow books that have drawn me in are a nonfiction picture book by Carme Lemniscates, entitled Seeds, and a gorgeous juvenile nonfiction about microbes called Unseen Worlds, by Helene Rajcak. What are you reading as the days lengthen and our thoughts turn to tapping the maples and putting together supplies for planting seedlings soon?

What’s Happening At the Library, December, 2020

I was a hugely unchaperoned reader, and I would wander into my local public library and there sat the world, waiting for me to look at it, to find out about it, to discover who I might be inside it.” Patrick Ness

Our new digital streaming subscription is up and running Hoopla! Hoopla (managed by Midwest Tape) provides access to ebooks, audiobooks, comics, music, movies, and TV for our library patrons! With Hoopla & a valid library card, our patrons will be able to borrow, stream, or download content via Hoopla’s mobile app, or at The service is simple to access, with no waiting. What you need to get started is: your library card, and a web browser, smart phone, or tablet. The staff will be glad to help you get set up.

Here is some information about the service:

1. It is a free service to library patrons, though we may need to restrict the amount of materials borrowed.

2. To sign up, make sure you have a valid Dr Shaw Memorial Library card. During registration, Hoopla will ask you for an email address, which will be your username for logging in. You will set a password for your account as well, and will need to enter your barcode number on your library card. If you can’t find your card, give us a call or email us, and we can send the number to you.

3. Hoopla constantly adds new titles from vendors, on a weekly basis and they always feature Bonus Borrows – lots of extra material. Some titles will be added for just a limited time, so if you see something you like, check it out! You can scroll through what they feature on the app on your phone, or browse their site on your laptop – there are always materials they group by subject, by events like holidays, or other interests.

4. Your account information and borrowing history is private. No one can see what you have borrowed but you.

5. Material is available both on your desktop and on your Hoopla mobile app.

Ongoing Booksale! We have a large number of books of all kinds for sale in the old upstairs hall and in the Clayton Dollof Room. We are limiting browsing in the sale area to one person at a time. Hand sanitizer and gloves are at the foot of the stairs. Just tie a ribbon around the banister when you go upstairs, to let people know the sale rooms are occupied. Untie the ribbon when you come back down, so others will know the sale area is available. You can also make an appointment to come and shop on Wednesday mornings, between 9AM and noon. All hard cover & trade paperbacks are $1.00, mass market paperbacks are $.50. Proceeds from the sale of these books will go towards matching funds for a recently received grant from the Pilcrow Foundation. You might find just the right holiday gifts for folks on our shelves! Come take a look.

Reviewing our hours and safety procedures: We are keeping abreast of protocols and guidelines from the Maine CDC and Maine State Library, so we might make various changes throughout the winter. Currently, our hours are:

* Saturday 10-3: (limit 5 people at a time, for 20 minute periods)

* Wednesday 3-6: (limit 5 people at a time, for 20 minute periods)

* Wednesday morning 9-noon and Monday afternoon 3-6: we will be open by appointment only, for 30 minute slots. Appointments for computer use can be made for an hour. Call ahead to reserve a spot.

* We are continuing our curbside/pick-up service for those who want to contact us and request some materials that they have chosen or that they would like us to put together for them. Call us at 293-2565, or email . You can even contact us when we are open, and we’ll try to put together the order before the end of the shift. Then you can just swing by and grab the bag of materials.

* When entering the building, make sure to always wear a mask, sign in at the table right inside the main door (name and time of arrival), and use hand sanitizer. Touch as few surfaces as possible, and put handled materials inside the bins or baskets placed in each room so we can quarantine them. Families please stay together,

This year we applied for and received a Maine Public Library Grant, and as a result we have a new wooden shelving unit in the Juvenile collection room (thanks so much for building it, Bob)! We will be gathering all of the Juvenile nonfiction books together onto those shelves, so the books will all be easily accessible. That will give us a bit more room to play with the fiction collection also, and to display new books to entice our young readers.

As we move through this year, we are all finding that we might have to reinvent our activities. The crafty and skilled folks of The Yarn Cooperative who had always met at the library, are now on Zoom! They are meeting on Tuesday nights at 7pm via Zoom.  Anyone is welcome but will need to email Amy Jajliardo for the link.  Her email is They hope they can still help those that want to learn, and they also want to be able to help with questions anyone has about working on their own projects. They still have resources available as well, they’ll just have to work with you on how to deliver materials to you.

A few online resources:

In this time when we should stay home, it might be fun to take a look (virtually) at the world around us. The British Library just released a lot of beautiful historic maps that are fun & intriguing to browse through. The artwork is gorgeous. Here is the link so you can have a look:

And for young folks interested in geography and the art of mapping, there are two National Geographic sites that are fun to explore:

Reading as self-care!

One of our patrons told us that she has been delving into a mystery series by Maine author Julia Spencer-Fleming, and after a day at work and worrying about current news, she is able to simply lose herself and follow the adventures of the characters in this series set in New York State. Taking up a good series right now, with the approach of winter, is such a good idea, and it can be part of our self-care. Besides Spencer-Fleming’s series, a few other authors you might try are:

Maine authors with series: Sarah Graves, Woody Hanstein, Paul Doiron, David Rosenfelt (mysteries with dogs!), Peter Scott (brief historical series), Kate Flora, Gerry Boyle.

Mystery series: Louise Penny, of course, Barry Eisler, Simon Brett, Alexander McCall Smith, Stuart Woods, Archer Mayor, Susan Wittig Albert (mysteries set in an herb shop), CJ Box, Ian Sansom (brief series of cozy mysteries set in a library bookmobile in Ireland), Rhys Bowen, Emily Griffiths, Walter Mosley (good writer), and Jacqueline Winspear.

I just finished Janae Marks’ juvenile novel, From the Desk of Zoe Washington, and am starting Colin Woodard’s latest nonfiction on the development of American culture, Union. I recommend them both! What are you reading, listening to, or watching this winter? Books, music, videos – they all help us relax and reflect a bit!

Library News for November, 2020

A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” Andrew Carnegie

Coming soon – Hoopla! Starting this month, we will be partnering with the digital streaming service, Hoopla (managed by Midwest Tape) to provide access to ebooks, audiobooks, comics, music, movies, and TV for our library patrons! With Hoopla and a valid library card, our patrons will be able to borrow, stream, or download content via Hoopla’s mobile app, or at The service is simple to access, with no waiting. What you need to get started is: your library card, and a web browser, smart phone, or tablet. The staff will be getting training on it, so we’ll be glad to help.

Here is some information about the service:

1. It is a free service to library patrons, though we may need to restrict the amount of materials borrowed.

2. To sign up, contact the library to register. Make sure you have a valid library card. During registration, Hoopla will ask you for an email address. This will be your username for logging in. You will set a password for your account as well.

3. There are no ads or commercials while you enjoy the content on Hoopla.

4. Hoopla constantly adds new titles from vendors, on a weekly basis. Some titles will be added for just a limited time, so if you see something you like, check it out!

5. Your account information and borrowing history is private. No one can see what you have borrowed but you.

6. Material is available both on your desktop and on your Hoopla mobile app.

7. You can follow Hoopla on social media, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, where you can get news of new content additions and library partnerships.

Ongoing Booksale! We have a large number of books of all kinds for sale in the old upstairs hall and in the Clayton Dollof Room. We are limiting browsing in the sale area to one person at a time. Hand sanitizer and gloves are at the foot of the stairs. Just tie a ribbon around the banister when you go upstairs, to let people know the sale rooms are occupied. Untie the ribbon when you come back down, so others will know the sale area is available. You can also make an appointment to come and shop on Wednesday mornings, between 9AM and noon. We have bargain prices! All hard cover and trade paperbacks are $1.00, and mass market paperbacks are $.50. Proceeds from the sale of these books will go towards a recently received grant from the Pilcrow Foundation, which will match our funds 3×1. You might find just the right holiday gifts for folks on our shelves! Come take a look.

An update on our hours: We are keeping abreast of protocols and guidelines from the Maine CDC and Maine State Library, so we might make various changes throughout the winter. Starting in November, our plans are:

* We are opening our Wednesday afternoon hours to mirror our Saturday procedures. We are moving appointment times to Wednesday mornings and Monday afternoons. Our hours will be:

Saturday 10-3: (limit 5 people at a time, for 20 minute periods)

Wednesday 3-6: (limit 5 people at a time, for 20 minute periods)

* Wednesday morning 9-noon and Monday afternoon 3-6: we will be open by appointment only, for 30 minute slots. Appointments for computer use can be made for an hour. Call ahead to reserve a spot.

* We are continuing our curbside service for those who want to contact us and ask us for some materials that they have chosen or that they would like us to put together for them. You can call us at 293-2565, or email . You can even contact us when we open, and we could put together the order by the end of the shift. Then you can just swing by and grab the bag of materials.

* When entering the building, make sure to always wear a mask, sign in at the table right inside the main door (name and time of arrival), and use hand sanitizer. Touch as few surfaces as possible, and put handled materials inside the bins or baskets placed in each room so we can quarantine them. Families please stay together,

We are thankful to our patrons. People have been so cooperative and understanding as we try to create a safe space for our community.

Some fun and interesting websites to visit:

We have mentioned these in the past, but with winter approaching, it might be fun to spend a bit of time now and then learning about all sorts of odd bits of life:

Atlas Obscura: It is sometimes advertised as a travel destination site, but it is so much more. There are articles about historic, geographic, cultural, natural science, and other aspects of so many places on Earth. Some of it is amusing, much of it is intriguing.

How Stuff Works: An informal approach to how things fit together (mechanically, and in relation to other things). They even have podcasts, quizzes, and puzzles.

Earth Sky: One more site with geeky, fun information, images, and articles about astronomy and the earth (and its inhabitants).  It has lots of great learning opportunities and is just a good site to spark curiosity and wonder.

The above sites generally provide brief, informal articles, and also have Facebook pages, as well as Twitter and Instagram, if you want to see some of their latest postings in your feed. There are some pop-up ads on the sites.

Crossword puzzles and more:   This site gives a list of online places you can click on for doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku and KenKen math puzzles, and other puzzles and quizzes (state capitols!).  These are great winter activities to boost cognitive skills, mental health, provide entertainment, and remind us to try, try again (and puzzle it out!):  One of the sites on the list that is mentioned most often is Boatload Puzzles.  You can go directly to it here:

I have been reading some more Louise Erdrich fiction, this time it is one of her older novels, The Master Butchers Singing Club, and I’ve been paging through Mary Oliver’s book of poetry called Evidence at the end of the day. What are you reading/watching/listening to as we prepare for winter?

Library News Column for October, 2020

“A great library doesn’t have to be big or beautiful. It doesn’t have to have the best facilities or the most efficient staff or the most users. A great library provides. It is enmeshed in the life of a community in a way that makes it indispensable.” Vicki Myron

Here is a recap of when we are open, under various circumstances: We are open on Saturdays from 10AM – 3PM for 5 patrons at a time (each visit is limited to 20 minutes). You can grab a “ticket” (right now, tickets are sticky notes!) from the main door and come inside. If there are no tickets, or not enough tickets for all members of your family, please wait outside the building. To come inside, our protocols are:
*Wear a mask at all times

*Use hand sanitizer and sign in at the check-in station right inside the main door

*Keep physical distance from others of 6 feet or more

*Family members should stay together at all times

*Only one family at a time in the children’s area

*Touch as few surfaces as possible

*If you handle books/movies/audios but decide you don’t want them, please place them in the bins or baskets we have in each room, for quarantining

We still offer curbside service on Saturday, also. Please call (293-2565) or email by Wednesday afternoons and leave a message including what materials you would like us to set aside for you. The materials will be waiting for you out on the picnic table at the edge of the upper parking lot.

Currently, we are also open by appointment only on Wednesday afternoons. The appointments are for 30 minutes, and are scheduled for 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5, and 5:30. Call us and leave a message to reserve a slot, and we’ll get back to you.

These arrangements might change over time, as we watch the guidelines and research from Maine CDC and the Maine State Library. Please check our website and our Facebook page for any new information on further information on adjustments to hours and services.

Some of our young patrons who are always engaged in the library and reading, finished our list of suggested literary, community, and outdoor summer activities this year, and are now listed as donors for the funds we are giving to the PALS animal shelter in Winthrop. Many thanks to the kids, and we hope you had fun!

We are hosting two candidates forums via Zoom in the early weeks of October! We are so grateful to Tom Ward for pulling this together for all of us! He will set up the zoom link and will moderate the meetings. It looks like the District 17 Senate candidates (Russell Black and Jan Collins) will be speaking on Tuesday, October 6, from 6:30 -7:30PM. Then the District 76 House candidates (Deborah Emery and Dan Newman) will be on for Tuesday, October 13, also from 6:30 – 7:30PM. Watch our website and Facebook page – and Tom’s weather report! – for further information once it is available. These should be good informational meetings that will help us get to know our local candidates as we decide about casting our votes.

Coming soon – an online subscription service to help get us through the winter: Hoopla! Many libraries now subscribe to this company in order to provide access to ebooks, videos, audiobooks, and music, for patrons. We have now signed up to try it out! You can stream instantly through your mobile device or desktop browser or TV. Or if Wifi isn’t always accessible, you can download a title to enjoy later. All titles will be automatically removed from your device at the end of the lending period. We’ll get more information out to you once we’ve had some training and finish the paperwork. It should be available soon for our library patrons!

We were able to get a CARES grant through the Maine Humanities Council to help us with resources needed due to the COVID pandemic. The funds made it possible for us to safely reopen to the public a bit sooner than we had anticipated. Being able to purchase the PPE that would be required, as well as buying plexiglass shields to place along the circulation desk and between computers, has been intrinsic to our dedication to keep both patrons and staff safe in recent months. Our patrons are happy to comply with using face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes within the building. Being able to get a good supply of printer ink was key in being able to establish files of Reader’s Advisory notes while we worked with patrons for curbside service, making signage to place around the building, and printing various reports to share among the staff, since we often work alone in the building or from home. One of the best features of receiving the grant funds was that we were able to purchase a new picnic table for outside, near our parking area! It provides a comfortable place for people to sit while they access our 24/7 Wifi. Purchasing folding tables to provide space for quarantining materials within the library and to use outside for curbside service was also a tremendous help. Two new laptops have served the dual need of helping us to work from home, as well as providing us with the ability to position them in areas that safely allow necessary social distancing protocols. A new public access printer will allow patrons to print paper copies of documents from their own personal devices. This enables independence and minimizes close staff interaction. The grant also provides the funds for our Hoopla subscription. The CARES grant reassured staff that while they worked longer hours picking up tasks generally done by our wonderful volunteers, as well as attending ongoing training and updates from the Maine State Library, that they could continue to be paid. We are very grateful for the financial support we received through the CARES grant. It has allowed us to move forward in a positive way as we adjust and prepare for this current, changing situation.

New books in our collection (we haven’t had a chance to mention books in a while!): Fredrik Backman’s newest novel, Anxious People is quite popular and is going out nonstop. Other titles from well-known authors:

The Pull of the Stars, by Emma Donoghue

Choppy Water by Stuart Wood

The City We Became, an acclaimed new SF title by N.K. Jemison

Donna Has Left the Building, by Susan Jane Gilman

The Exiles, the newest title by Christina Baker Kline

What It’s Like To Be a Bird, by David Sibley – it looks great!

And, I am reading Yaa Gyasi’s beautiful new novel, Transcendent Kingdom, She is such a good author. We also have her Homegoing.

There are lots of people using our i24/7 Wifi outside, happily taking home some of the free books we have out on George’s porch, and still using our curbside service. We wish people could linger & visit, we wish young students could gather again to do homework together, we wish our various knitting, book, and writing groups could meet together again. Meanwhile, it was heartening to see the local Girl Scout group conduct a meeting (while staying distant from each other) out in our parking lot and at the edge of Tunny’s field. It helps to see the young ones scampering about. We are grateful for your patience as we work through the many complications of trying to provide services safely while keeping close ties with this wonderful community. We’ll get through this together!

Library News, September 2020

Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark…In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.” Germaine Greer

We will be opening for a few more hours each week, starting September 9, by appointment only on Wednesdays, between 3:30 and 6PM. This would be a good, quiet time to come explore and browse our shelves. Appointments will be for family groups no larger than five people, or for single individuals, and will be scheduled for 30 minutes each. Our public access computers will be available for use. Please call or email us to reserve a time slot. The best time to call us would be Mondays between 3:30 and 5:30 while we are usually catching up on work, but if you leave a message at other times, we will check our email and phone messages on Mondays and Wednesdays, and get back to you. Our guidelines for coming into the library for appointments are the same as our Saturday hours, regarding public health precautions: all patrons are asked to wear a mask at all times in the building, use hand sanitizer when entering the building, touch as few surfaces as possible, and keep at least six feet physical distance from others. The bathroom is currently unavailable for public use.

Besides the Wednesday appointments, we will still be open Saturdays from 10-3, for five people at a time (each patron is allotted a twenty minute time period), and curbside will continue 10:30-2:30 on Saturdays, after you have placed your order by 10AM on the previous Wednesday via email ( or phone (293-2565).

Each stage of reopening is a test run. We are listening to recommendations from other libraries and the Maine State Library, and figuring out what works best for our own building and community. We thank you for your patience and suggestions – and please stay tuned for further changes as we piece this together!

The Story Walk at the Ezra Smith conservation area out on Pond Road will be up till the end of September, if you want a chance to take a quick hike during these beautiful, cool days. Don’t forget to look at both sides of each story board – the front side has the pages of Lynn Plourde’s lovely picture book, At One In a Place Called Maine, and then the flip side provides a few fun facts about our environment.

Many thanks to all the wonderful folks in our community who volunteer to help us in all sorts of ways. Thank you, Ann Gibbs and Ellen Ellis for being our garden elves this summer, keeping the landscaping on the hill looking so lovely and weed-free! And thanks to Dan Holman for painting the new picnic table, and organizing a great group of young folks to decorate it with some fun and creative artwork. We have lots of people come to use our wifi each week, and it is so good to have George’s porch and the picnic table as beautiful spots to sit and get a bit of work done.

If your household worked on completing some of the summer reading tasks on the list we sent out in June, now is the time to let us know what you accomplished! The list included reading various types of books, writing blackout poetry, helping neighbors with chores, trying a new recipe, keeping a nature journal of what you see when you go outside for a walk or to explore, walking the Ezra Smith conservation area, and even inventing a new game. Email us with a list of ten items from the list that you completed, and your name will be added as a donor to our food donation to the PALS animal shelter in Winthrop!

We have mentioned these three online resources to access free books before, but given our need to continue staying home as much as possible, it might be good to review them once more:

The Download Library (or CloudLibrary) at Maine State Library is accessible by signing in as a patron of our library. You type click on the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library in the search options, and you will need the four-digit number that is handwritten on your library card when you sign up. This resource has both ebooks and audiobooks to download once you are signed in! Because of heavy use in recent months, many of their books do have long reserve lists, but you could get on the list for one of those, and still download one of the less well-known books to read while you wait! They have been adding many titles lately. You can learn how to sign up for this state resource and download books onto your device here:

LibriVox offers free public domain books to listen to, all read by volunteers – you can even sign up to be a volunteer reader! Search their catalog by author, title, or genre, and then download the book you want. They include books from all around the world! You can link to their main page here:

Project Gutenberg has been a go-to site for readers for quite a while. They are in the middle of updating their website, so access might be somewhat limited for a little while. This is another site that offers many books from around the world that are in the public domain. They provide ebooks, and work with Librivox on audiobooks. Their website is:

We’ve been so busy at the library, there hasn’t been much time for reading, but I just finished Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway, and Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward. What are you reading in between canning tomatoes, stacking firewood, and checking on the fruit trees? Be well, everyone.

Library Column for town newsletter, August 2020

Submitted by Mary Anne Libby

Your library is where community stores its treasures. It’s the house that imagination built…People come to it communally for something that’s deep and ancient and important beyond an easy explanation. Who you are as a town is in the library.”

Brian Doyle, “An Leabharlann”, One Long River of a Song.

We are starting a limited opening of the library building as of Saturday, August 1st. We plan to open to the public on Saturdays from 10AM – 3PM, beginning August 1. We will be following CDC guidelines as well as recommendations set by the Maine State Library, as follows:

When entering the building –

*Wear a face mask at all times. If you are unable to wear a face mask, we will provide curbside service for you.

*Keep social distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

*Children should stay with their parent or guardian at all times.

*Touch as few surfaces as possible. If you touch materials and decide you don’t want them, we will have stations (boxes or tables) where you can leave them, rather than putting them back on the shelf.

*Visits to the library should not exceed 20 minutes.

*Use hand sanitizer when entering the building.

*Bathroom will not be available to the public.

*Limit socializing to the outdoors. You can use the picnic table or the porches.

*When you first enter, please check for more updated or specific information on how to use the building safely.

*Please limit any use of public access computers to 20 minutes. If extended time is needed, please let us know ahead of time so we can try to make arrangements.

Curbside service will continue on Saturday mornings. If you use our curbside arrangement, please email us ( ) your requested items by 10AM on Wednesday mornings, for pick up between 10:30 – 2:30 on Saturdays. You can also phone us at 293-2565 on or before Wednesday mornings, to place an order.

Interlibrary loan will start again on August 8. You can ask us to request materials from other libraries, and we will place the order. We will quarantine materials for several days when they arrive, and will call or email you for pickup when they are available.

Late this month, the older part of the building where all the children’s and young adult materials are, as well as audiobooks and videos, might not be accessible due to planned renovations happening in those areas. Staff will probably be able to supply materials from those spaces upon request. We’ll keep you posted on when this will occur.

Staff will be working at the library on Wednesday mornings, though the building will be closed to the public. Please feel free to call or email us at that time, if you have any questions or requests for materials.

We are in constant communication with the Maine State Library on safe practices. Our current guidelines for opening are subject to change, so please check our Facebook page and website for the latest information regarding our hours and safety procedures!

The Story Walk is open! Our Storywalk@ is completed and ready to enjoy!  The Dr Shaw Memorial Library received a grant from the Maine Bicentennial Commission to create a Storywalk in the Ezra Smith Conservation Area on Rte 41 in Mt Vernon. This Storywalk@ uses Winthrop author Lynn Plourde’s book, At One in A Place Called Maine.  Her book is a warm, simple reflection on our connection to this beautiful state. On the flipside of the pages are fun facts that correspond to the text and provide information about various aspects of our Maine environment. The Storywalk@ begins at the head of the Deer Trail, going counterclockwise, ending at the head of the Beaver Trail.

The Storywalk @ should be up through the end of August and can be enjoyed at any time. A notebook, inside the sign-in box at the head of the trail, is provided for your comments.

We are so grateful to all of the people who helped put this project together, at every step of the process. It was a lot of work, but it was so much fun! Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without Linda & George Smith’s donation of the land, and Kennebec Land Trust’s stewardship of this beautiful place. And, many thanks to the Maine Bicentennial Commission for providing grants for these community-oriented activities.

Enjoy the walk and the story. We’d love for you to share your reactions in the notebook at the start of the trail. Please do social distance if there are other families or groups wandering the trails, and give each other space to spend time at each stop along the way.

As always, please check our Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library) and our website at for any updated information regarding library services. Or leave a phone message for us (293-2565) or an email at We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Library Column from Town Newsletter July 2020

“A library is infinity under a roof.” (Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted)

Libraries all over the world are finding ways to continue offering services that support communities, as we all struggle with current challenges. We are learning as we go, and – as always – we learn so much from our patrons, and find ways to collaborate with community members near and far. We are thankful for everyone’s patience and for all the people who are volunteering to help us with various tasks. We participate in all weekly information sessions provided by Maine State Library in order to stay current on services & resources for future safe reopening.

Storywalk! In late January, we submitted a Bicentennial Project grant request to the Maine Arts Commission to do a Storywalk@ on the Ezra Smith Conservation Area in Mt Vernon donated by Linda & George Smith. We received the grant in early March just before COVID 19 hit, so we put back our timeline on it for a while. Now we are almost ready, and the story we chose is: At One In a Place Called Maine, a beautiful picture book by Winthrop author Lynn Plourde! The pages of the book will be attached to posts along one of the trails – and on the back of the pages there will be facts about the history and natural resources of Maine. This project will be up and ready sometime in July. We hope you will enjoy this lovely outdoor literary activity that can be experienced while social distancing! We’ll let you know when it is ready, via our Facebook page and website. Stay tuned!

Summer Reading: We have put together some “make & take” activities for children to explore at home. Each week in July, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, we will have bags on a table outside for curbside pick up. Activities include making crystals and blackout poems, viscosity race, and a Paul Bunyan madlib, experiments with color, making a catapult, and making a whirligig dragon. If you don’t have items like crayons, paper, scissors or other basic craft supplies at home, please email us at or leave a phone message at 293-2565, and we’ll put something together for you.

Also, for our summer reading theme of “Imagine Your Story”, we are sponsoring Read for PALS (the animal shelter in Winthrop). You can choose from a list of self-directed activities that include reading, creative writing, outdoor exploration, cooking, and acts of kindness. If you complete 20 of the 25 activities, your name will be included in the list of donors for food and other supplies we will deliver to PALS at the end of summer! You can pick up copies of the form and list of activities at the library (outside the main entrance) on Wednesday & Saturday mornings between 9AM and noon! We hope you have fun! If you want to share a picture of some of your creative work, please send it to Mary Anne at and we’ll try to post it on our Facebook page!

We’ve been having a great response to our curbside service, and patrons re so helpful about reading suggestions. If you want a book, movie, or audiobook, you can look on our online catalog at our website (click on “catalog”) and search by author, title, or subject. Then email us at or leave a phone message for us, and we’ll try to put an order together for you. Please make your request by 10AM on Wednesday mornings for pick up on Saturdays between 9AM and Noon.

We just got a new order of books, and are busy cataloging and processing them. Once they are ready, we’ll list them on our website (hover your cursor over “Collection” along the top, then click on “What’s New” in the drop down options). We’ll put up a few reviews of various books, too. We also set up a browsing table during our Saturday morning curbside service each week, and those new materials will be out there for you to consider!

We will be open for curbside service as usual this coming Saturday, July 4th, from 9-12.

June 2020 Library Column :

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

W.B. Yeats

We have worked closely with the Maine State Library & libraries across the state regarding safe partial reopening for our public library buildings. Because the materials we provide are shared and recirculated, safe procedures for carefully handling materials is crucial. Of course there may be changes in services that happen quickly, based on the Maine CDC, new research & information, and developments regarding the pandemic. We’ll let you know as we move along if we need to change plans again, but right now we are so happy to start providing some services to our wonderful patrons again.

We plan to open for “curbside” service beginning Saturday, June 6th, from 9AM – 12Noon. For Saturday pick-up, patrons will need to have emailed or called us at the library with requests for materials by the previous Wednesday, before 10AM, so that we have time to process and prepare orders.

You can browse our online catalog to find books or movies you might want, by visiting our Dr. Shaw Memorial Library website at: Just click on “Catalog” along the top, and you will be able to start searching. You can search our collection by author, title, or subject, to find just the right materials.

Once you know what materials you want, please email us at and include the following information in your email: your name, phone number, and list of books or materials by author and title. If you want us to help select books, let us know what you are interested in or what other authors you like, and we’ll try to accommodate you. If you are requesting for children, let us know if you want picture books, or juvenile (elementary and middle school) level. You can also call us at 293-2565 and leave a message with this same information. Again, we will need your request by 10AM on the Wednesday previous to Saturday pick-up.

Items will be ready for pick-up unless we notify you otherwise. We will keep a reserve list for items that are in circulation or quarantine at the time of your request. We are not able to borrow books from other libraries at this time.

On Saturday morning, all orders will be outside by the main entrance, or on the side porch in case of rain. They will be in a bag and labeled with your name. Materials will also be there for you to browse, with specific instructions on how to handle them and check them out.

Anyone who is not currently a patron but wishes to use our services, please call or email us and we will get back to you to sign you up.

Please practice social distancing and only send one person to pick up materials for your household. People will not be allowed in the building.

As always, materials are checked out for two weeks and can be returned anytime in our book drop by the main entrance.

If you need someone to pick up or deliver books to you, let us know. We are working with Neighbors Driving Neighbors to provide this service during our Saturday curbside hours and we will make the arrangements for you.

We look forward to serving you!

Some building updates from Alice – and she’s been working hard on devising some Summer Reading Program activities that can be done remotely! : Lots of work has been going on at the library since our closure. Besides staff labeling series, learning about the best ways to serve the public at this time, weeding, ordering new books, much work has been done to renovate the old part of the building. All the ceilings have been repaired and repainted, a metal roof has been put on, the old porch and back step have been replaced and siding has been put on.  An upstairs passage between the old building and addition is underway. Once we can all get safely back into the building, all these wonderful changes should be evident. We are disappointed not to have our usual summer reading program! This year’s theme is Imagine a Story. Well, who could ever have imagined our story of summer 2020!  Our current plans are to put together a pack of fun science experiments and craft activities with many materials provided that can be done at home.  The reading log will be made of other types of activities  that can be done and checked off, such as reading a graphic novel, or doing an act of kindness. Children who complete a certain amount of the activities will have their names included in a donation of needed items for PALS, the no kill cat shelter in E. Winthrop. We hope to have these summer packets of fun, educational and engaging activities ready at the beginning of July.

Remember to check our library Facebook page for fun or educational resources we’ve been posting in recent months. We’ve been loving some of the read-alouds by Maine children’s author Lynn Plourde! Please also visit our website now and then – when the next new book order comes in, we’ll post a few quick reviews of some of the titles, so you can put them on your wish list for future curbside delivery. Again, our website is:

Be well, everyone. We hope you get outside to garden or walk, and that you stay in contact with loved ones via phone, zoom, email, facebook, or other means. I just started reading John Irving’s Cider House Rules. What are you reading while you wait for the dragonflies to come grace the yard with their quiet presence?

May 2020 library column from the town newsletter:
“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time:  thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”    Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

We hope you are well.  We miss you.  We have been using our time during closure to address several projects, as are so many other libraries.  We have been organizing & updating our collection, and our patron list.  At the same time, we are discussing and updating our library policies, reviewing and ordering new materials, and we are excited to be working on a Story Walk project funded by a Maine Bicentennial grant.  We participate in a weekly statewide Zoom meeting of libraries, led by the Maine State Library staff.  They are always in contact with the Maine CDC, and are working with other New England libraries & organizations regarding how to continue services.  They are gathering various plans from across the country, on what reopening might look like.  As with all public buildings, the daily & weekly logistics will need detailed planning.  Reopening will of course depend on slowing the advance of the virus, and on availability of medical resources and sanitation supplies.  Most libraries will probably try a graduated opening, only offering limited services such as curbside service for a while till we all see where this is going.

Meanwhile, so many organizations are offering online resources.  Online story times are of course favorites for young families.  The Maine State Library keeps a list of suggestions regarding stories at:   They also offer their Digital Maine Library for learning resources.  They have databases for students language learning, geneology, newspapers, and more.  To start with them, use this link:

On our Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library) we try to post all sorts of educational, informational, & literary online possibilities – we’ve put many on the page in recent weeks, so be sure to scroll down to see what might be of interest.  We have featured activities or brief videos for children & adults, so hopefully you will find something you like.  On our website at we have a list of resources for information on the COVID-19 virus, as well as links to Maine Dept. of Labor unemployment information, possibilities for finding free e-books, and some educational sites.  Along the top of the front page, right below the picture of the library, hover your cursor over “Research” and in the drop-down, click on “Links to research sites/tools”.  You may be interested in the 2nd resource listed on that page, which is instructions on how to access the Maine State Library’s Cloud Library of e-books from various devices, play with that a bit if you are in need of reading and have a device.  The Cloud library has been very busy, so you might have a wait to get the exact book you want but they do have a wide selection and they are working hard to try to meet the extra demand.  Their site for the Cloud Library is:

We also have 24 hour wifi available outside the building.  You can sit in your car & catch up on your email homework, or whatever online needs you have.

Libraries, museums, and archivists are encouraging folks to keep a record of what it is like to live through this uneasy time.  The Maine Memory Network is one place that accepts submissions of local current history on their “My Maine Stories” page.  You can submit by typing your written journal entries or notes, you can make videos or audio recordings, and upload photos.  They give instructions on how to do it all, and once you’ve submitted, they wil let you know if it has been accepted.  Their site is at:   A good way to archive the history of our current challenges.

You can email us at if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.  We think of you, always.

April 2020 library column from the town newsletter:

“…and where if not a library could I go to understand the unknown, to expand my world?”
R. Eric Thomas, Here For It

With just about every library in the country closed to the public, we all struggle to provide services.  This has been a quickly changing & sometimes frantic process, though it certainly keeps the creative juices flowing.  As of this writing, we are providing a weekly “curbside” (a table either in the upper parking lot, or on the old front porch, depending on weather) service to try to get library materials to patrons.  Currently, to request items, you can call and leave a message on our phone at 293-2565, or email us at any time of the week before 9AM Wednesday morning.  On Wednesday morning, we will check our messages, assemble the items you requested (some might not be available), and then we will have them sorted and waiting for you for pickup on Saturday morning between 9-11AM.  This may change quickly, depending on recommendations from the CDC and the Maine State Library, so please visit our website at (we’ll post any updates on the service on the front page there), or our Dr. Shaw Memorial Library page on Facebook. Our Curbside Service has now been suspended.  We will still check emails and phone messages on Wednesday mornings 9-11AM if you need help with information of any kind.

We are posting resources that might be helpful on the home page of our website; and on our Facebook page we post some lists of resources for learning and fun, including story times and readings by various authors and public figures.  A video of Patrick Stewart reading one of old Bill Shakespeare’s sonnets has been popular!

A few resources we’ve posted on our website include:

  1. MaineCDC–COVID-19:
  2. PBS Learning Media:
  3. Free Audible stories for kids:
  4. How to use Maine State Library Cloudlibrary:
  5. Open Culture educational resources for all ages:

We will also be glad to try to help you with informational questions on Wednesday mornings between 9-11AM, while we are working on book orders.

Meanwhile, if anyone is looking for a project to keep themselves busy and active, we could use a new picnic table at the library!  Let us know if you could help build one, or donate one, whatever works!  Be well, everybody.  Check on your neighbors (via text, email, or phone), take walks, explore some of the resources we’ve listed on our sites.  Start a tiny garden.  So many members of our community are working hard to try to help in any way they can, it is so heartening.  In spite of our current stresses, it is often a “beautiful day in the neighborhood”.

March 2020 Library Column from the Mt. Vernon Newsletter:

“The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”  Kurt Vonnegut

Thank you to tax gurus David and Chris for setting up their Tax Help days here at the library.  All appointments have been filled, of course.  We are all so grateful that these dedicated AARP volunteers work with us to make this helpful resource available.

The Maine Humanities Council has made all sorts of resources and speakers available to libraries around the state, through a program called “World In Your Library”.  We have partnered with the Underwood Memorial Library in Fayette to bring four of the programs to our area throughout March and April.  The speakers are knowledgeable and engaging and the topics are current and relevant to Mainers.  The schedule for the four talks will be:
Wednesday, March 11, 6:30PM at the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library– Dan Dinsmore will speak on the “Free Press and the Changing Landscape of Journalism in Maine”.
Sunday, March 22, 2PM at the Underwood Memorial Library – Libby Bischof ‘s talk will be “Thinking About the Bicentennial in 2020”.
Sunday, April 5, 2PM at the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library – Darren Ranco will speak on “Native American Environmental Issues”.
Sunday, April 19, 2PM at Underwood Memorial Library – Liam Riordan will speak of “Maine and the Revolution”.

Puzzles – we’ve got some!  Jigsaw puzzles have become a popular item this winter, and we’ve had a number of them donated to us.  We have both 500 & 1,000 piece puzzles.  Come borrow one, to get you through to Spring.  We also always have a puzzle in progress on a table up in the adult fiction room, please feel free to go spend some quiet time there and add a few pieces.

While you order seeds and start seedlings, please remember that we will do our usual small seed exchange starting soon.  Bring in some spare vegetable or flower or herb seeds (we prefer organic or open-pollinated seeds especially, so we don’t have to worry about patents) from your own stash, or buy an extra packet or two from Fedco or Johnny’s or Longfellow’s and donate them to us.  Also, look through our box and see if there is anything you’d like to take home to plunk in your garden once the snow is gone!

Speaking of gardening, here are a couple of websites that offer information and activities for gardening with children, so you can get the entire family out working together to plant and weed and harvest.
From the BBC, educational activities:

From EarthEasy (site about rural lifestyle), information on how to garden with kids:

And, we have lots of gardening books – within our Juvenile collection (J 635), you can try:  Creasy, Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes:How to Grow a Rainbow Garden; Fryer, A Child’s Organic Garden; and Biggs, Gardening with Emma: Grow and Have Fun.  Our picture book collection for younger readers has a number of beautiful stories about gardens.  Two that come to mind are Henderson’s And the Good Brown Earth (PB HEN) and Love’s Lighthouse Seeds (PB LOV) – the story of a child who plants a garden at a Maine lighthouse.

I have been reading Maine poets (mostly Gary Lawless & Anna Boynton Averill) lately.  What are you reading as we March along towards the end of winter?

February 2020 Library column from the town newsletter

“Through books you will meet poets & novelists whose creations will fire your imagination.  You will meet the great thinkers who will share…their philosophies, their concepts of the world, of humanity…you will learn about events that have shaped our history…All of this knowledge is yours for the taking…Your library is a storehouse for mind and spirit.”  Neil Armstrong

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will see the schedule of all of the February Frolix activities in Mt. Vernon & Vienna.  Here is a list of the Frolix events that will take place at the library:

Saturday, February 1st, 9AM:  Chair Yoga.  Join Ann Parker, Mt. Vernon yoga instructor, who works with Maine General and other institutions, for some gentle movement.  Ann is great at helping people learn a routine of fluid, healthy, balanced mobility – this class will focus on how to do it from a chair!  Call us at 293-2565 to sign up.

Tuesday, Feb. 4th (snow date Feb. 11), 10AM:  Koffee Klatch with our wonderful AARP volunteer David Fuller, who will talk about various benefits available to seniors that many might not know about, and he’ll go over why filing Maine Income Tax is important.

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 5th, at 10AM:  Our stellar volunteer Kelly O’Neil will lead story hour (and crafts)!  Bring your young ones and enjoy a good morning mid-week with Kelly!  The dates for February Wednesdays are:  Feb. 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th.

Mondays, Feb. 10th & 24th, at 1PM:  Knit or crochet at the library.  There will be small yarn projects you can finish in one session, and you can learn from others in the group.  While you work, there is always lots of good conversation & laughter.

February 19th, Wednesday, 1PM:  Sledding is scheduled behind the library. We will have hot chocolate at the library.  Snow date is Feb. 20th.

Feb. 29th, Saturday, at 3PM:  Our Grand Finale’ for February Frolix!  The amazing musician and music teacher Greg Hatt (and a couple of his talented students) will give a concert and sing-a-long for all ages here at the library!  Bring your singing voice, and join in with this lovely group.  We’ll have some treats from some local young folks!

If there is bad weather on any of these days, please call the library ahead of time to see if we are open (if a snow date isn’t listed), 293-2565.  And, you can check our library Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library), we usually can post there if we need to cancel.

As of today, February 1st, we have no available slots left for tax help appointments!  You can call the Cohen Center at 626-7777 to see if they have available times.

A local resource for elders in the Maranacook district is the Senior Café – weekly gatherings for senior citizens, hosted at Maranacook Middle school, each Monday from 9-11AM.  They offer muffins, coffee, and a chance to connect with others in the area.  The middle school students are often involved, serving as greeters & sometimes sharing projects they’ve worked on in class.  If you would like to meet and visit with others, to get you through the winter, please join them each Monday morning.

We have been expanding our Graphic Novel collection for middle and young adult readers.  This genre has become so popular in the past few years—the stories move quickly, and so much is told through dialog between characters, as well as their facial expressions and the depiction of their place in the immediate environment drawn around them.  The collection is in the YA room.  Let us know if there are good authors or series you’d like us to add.

Remember to check our website at for lists of new items added to the collection, as well as some (somewhat random) reviews.  And, like our Facebook page so you can get the latest postings on closings due to weather, as well as goings-on around the Metroplex.
I am reading Roland Merullo’s newest novel, Once Night Falls, the story of a small village on Lake Como in Italy during WWII, and the dire lives of those who participate in resistance, or just try to stay alive.  What are you reading as we inch our way through the winter?  This time of year, I always remember the old adage:  on Groundhog’s Day, have half your wood and half your hay.

December 2019, by Mary Anne Libby

“…and best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander, where she liked, made the library a region of bliss.”              Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

First:  it is that time of year!  On any days when we have snow/ice/freezing rain, please call during our usual hours before coming in, to see if we are open.  We try to post cancellations on our Facebook page.  Our hours are Monday 3-6, Wednesday 9-12 & 3-7, and Saturday 10-3.  Our phone is 293-2565.

What’s happening in December:
On the 2nd & 4th Monday, the Yarn Cooperative meets at the library.  You can check with Amy Jajliardo for more information, at  This group of folks always has a nice time creating all sorts of items during their gatherings.

On Wednesday, December 18th, the Writer’s Group will meet at 3:15pm.  Bring a piece of writing to share, and see how others craft their pieces.

The annual Christmas Tree lighting happens at the Mt. Vernon Community Center on Saturday, December 7th, at 6:30pm!  Alice will read a story to the kids and she’ll have a craft ready for them to do.  We hear Santa will visit to see the tree lighting and greet our young townsfolk,  towards the end of the evening!  Meanwhile, we have lots of holiday books to enjoy at the library, or to take home for some family reading time.

TAX HELP days in late winter:  Our stellar local AARP tax guru David Fuller will be at the library once again during tax season.  DATES AND TIMES.  We will start accepting appointments in January.  This is such a marvelous service, we are grateful to the Cohen Center and David for providing it each year!  Our appointment dates are scheduled for these Saturdays:  February 22, March 7, and March 21.

If you are looking to learn some basic tech skills – connecting your cell phone to your online accounts, establishing a social media or email account, making Word documents, or just searching the internet, please give us a call.  We’ll try to connect you with a tech savvy volunteer to get you started.  Also, you can contact PC’s for Maine to see about getting a refurbished laptop to start connecting to the internet.  You can contact them here or call them at  338-4233.

A few online science sites for young people and their parents which might be of interest:   Sid the Science Kid.  Science for young children, there are videos and games, and there is a link to the site for parents, too, with more related resources.  Accessed by children around the world, Science for Kids has many links, experiments, games, and more resources for learning about all kinds of science (chemistry, earth, space) and even offers science jokes under their “fun stuff” section.  At the top of their home page, you can also link to similar resources for math and for English.  Lots of short videos about physics.  Many are about space, but some are about basic ideas here on earth, like — is it better to walk or run in the rain?  From the same folks as Minute Physics, there are lots of videos about life on earth, like — what would be the best dragon?, and how much air a tree can hold.

These days, we always have a jigsaw puzzle in progress up in the adult fiction room.  Stop by and fit a few pieces in, it is a nice way to just relax for a few minutes, in the midst of the busy-ness of life.

I am in the middle of Ta-Nehesi Coates’ new novel, The Water Dancer.  What are you reading as we launch into the winter holiday season?

November 2019 Library Column, by Mary Anne Libby

“The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities…I was made for the library…The library was open, unending, free. Slowly, I was discovering myself.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates

We just finished our October Wednesday morning story hours, and hope to do more series of them at other times this year.  Let us know if this meets your interest and needs, and we’ll keep all ideas in mind as we plan.

Groups meeting regularly at the library:

Book Group meets on the 3rd Monday of each month, from 2-3pm. For information, please contact Bernadette Gleichenhaus at 293-2912.

The Yarn Coop meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month, from 1-3 at the library.  Bring a project to work on, share supplies, and you can learn as you grow.  Contact Amy Jajliardo for information:, 685-0201.

The new writers group (right now we are calling it Writers of the Metroplex, till someone comes up with a better name) will have their next meeting on Wednesday, November 13th, starting at 3:15pm. Come join us, bring a brief piece of writing, and introduce yourself, we’ll be glad to share our own efforts and ideas with you.

We are still considering starting up some Tech Help sessions, whether as workshops or as individual appointments.  We are looking for volunteers who can help others learn how to navigate the internet, learn how to use Word, set up social media accounts, Skype or Zoom, check their email or use the internet on their phones (let us know what kind of phone you have), and other issues.  And, if you would like some help on any of these topics, or you have some other tech learning problems, please call the library at 293-2565 and let us know.  You can leave a message if we aren’t there.  Or you can email us at   It might take some time for us to set something up, but we’d love to help you be more connected to your community (and beyond).  Appointments would happen during the hours we are open, usually on Wednesday afternoons or on Saturdays.

A nice online resource for parents or grandparents of young children is the nonprofit organization Reading is Fundamental.  They have a page aimed at parents that includes highlighted books as well as various literacy activities to do together.  You can explore their site here:

As we move through autumn towards winter, I rely a lot on poetry, going back to my favorites like Mary Oliver, William Blake, Anna Boynton Averill, Robert Frost, Stuart Kestenbaum, and Gary Lawless.  I also just finished a nonfiction by Peter Brown, Right Relationship:  Building a Whole Earth Economy.  What are you reading, now that we are all (mostly) done picking apples and planting garlic for next year?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library  October 2019
submitted by Alice Olson & Mary Anne Libby

“I started with a book, and that led me to a library, and that led me everywhere.”
Terry Pratchett

Summer is over, but the library remains a vibrant and busy place.  People are stopping by to see the addition and look at the artwork displayed throughout.  We see people sitting out on George’s Porch, using their phones or laptops, or just chatting (or knitting) with friends.  The beautiful birdbath, generously crafted and donated by Gerry Hoff, will be a delight to all for many years to come.  He made it from a piece of granite that had been part of the old building, so it includes our history.

We had a wonderful group of children who signed up for the Summer Reading Program (A Universe of Stories – such a good theme this year!), and 19 young patrons met their reading goals so far!  The kids chose to keep track of their reading in whatever way they chose, so in the end, we have these totals to share:  582 books plus 23 ¼ hours of reading, plus 4,751 pages!

There will be three groups meeting regularly at the library, all of them centered on interesting activities, and of course if you join, you get to spend time with some wonderful folks!  Consider joining one of these creative groups:
1.  On the 3r Monday of each month, from 2-3pm, a book group meets at the library.  They usually take the summer months off, but they are back in full swing.  For information, please contact Bernadette Gleichenhaus at 293-2912.
2.   The Yarn Cooperative is off to a good start.  They meet on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month, from 1-3pm, at the library.  Bring a project, share supplies, learn from other group members, and create something beautiful.  Contact Amy Jajliardo for info:, 685-0201.
3.  The new Writers Group (Writers of the Metroplex, for now) starts on Wednesday, October 16th at 3:15pm.  Please bring some copies of your own writing to share, and be ready to support other members with their writing.  The group will decide how often to meet, and what they want to focus on, at that initial meeting.  For info, call Mary Anne Libby, 293-2954.

Some upcoming programming that looks fascinating and fun:
1.  Alice will be conducting a 4 week Wednesday morning story program, including story time and a craft.  It will be held starting Wednesday, October 9th, and go through October 20th, from 10-11am.  The theme will center around silly stories, autumn, scarecrows, and of course – Halloween!
2.  Saturday, October 26th at 3:30pm, a program for all ages by Marine Mammals of Maine, here at the library!  We will learn about a seal’s journey from stranding to release, and all of the obstacles and activity in between.  MMoME (Marine Mammals of Maine) has given talks in libraries all around the state, and get great reviews.  The program is open to all ages, it is a family-friendly event.  We’ll have cider and doughnuts.  Call 293-2502 for more information.

Tech Help:  we are putting together ideas for offering basic tech help at the library during the hours we are open on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays, for phone or computer.  Please call ahead to schedule an appointment with one of our volunteers or staff, and we’ll see what we can do to help!

Did you know we’ve been collecting quite a few jigsaw puzzles (500-1,000 pieces)?  Currently there is a puzzle slowly being assembled on the table upstairs in the adult fiction room – stop by and add a few pieces!  Take a look at the puzzles we’ve got, to see what might interest you.  Alice would also like to start a collection of board games.  If you have any in good shape, complete with all pieces and including instructions, which you would like to donate, please let us know!

We have a partial list of some of our top circulating books from this summer, both adult and juvenile.  For adults:  Evvie Drake Starts Over (Holmes); Where the Crawdads Sing (Owens); Wolf Pack (Box); The Librarian of Auschwitz (Iturbe); 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste (Kellogg); and of course, Maine authors are always so popular – Doiron’s Almost Midnight, Russo’s Chances Are, and Monica Wood’s Secret language.  Popular titles for our younger patrons included Daring Dozen: the Twelve Who Walked on the Moon (Slade); The Find It Book (M. Wise Brown); You Are Stardust (Kelsey); The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal (Seluk); The Little Green Girl (Anchin).  There are some beautiful, engrossing, fun books in that list!

Remember that paper copies of the newsletter are available at the library as well as the town office.  If you want to receive a paper copy in the mail, you can do so by contacting the town office.  If you want to sign up to receive the newsletter via email, you can let Mary Anne know at the library, or contact the town office, and we’ll get you squared away.

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library  August 2019
submitted by Mary Anne Libby

“I have an unshaken conviction that democracy can never be undermined if we maintain our library resources and a national intelligence capable of utilizing them.”   Franklin D. Roosevelt

Many thanks to all those who helped Alice put together our Universe of Stories programs – Ivan Borja, Tara Marble, parents and grandparents, and, as always, our wonderful volunteers.  Our young patrons seem to love learning about science and space.  They’ll still be reading and recording their progress towards their reading goals throughout August.

We have two programs coming up in August, plus a major event!
First – Thursday, August 8th, at 7pm, we’ll host our 20th annual Community Poetry Reading, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center. Join friends and neighbors from around the Metroplex, as they share favorite poems from beloved writers, or a piece of their own work.  We’ve had people read poems in various languages, children’s poetry, classic and humorous poems – we love it all.  We’ll have some refreshments to end the evening.  I’m thinking I might read something by Anna Boynton Averill, an early 20th century Maine poet. Or maybe something by Joy Harjo, our recently appointed US Poet Laureate.
Second – Sunday, August 25, at 3pm here at the library, we’ll host an open forum for area elders.  We want to hear from you about what would help you to remain here as you age.  There will be a quick presentation on Maine State Housing’s Comfortably Home program, also.  See more information on the forum in a notice in this newsletter.  We’ll have ice cream!

And please note – trustees are planning an Open House to celebrate the completion of the addition, on Sunday, August 18, from 2-4pm.  Come visit with trustees, volunteers, and staff, and take a tour of the building.    We’ll be serving hors d’oeuvre, so you can relax and snack as we all gather.  So much planning and effort have gone into this project, we’d love to share our space and story with you.  See you at our Grand Opening gathering!

Just a few notes about the new geography of the building:  our desk is now in the new section of the building, right as you come in the main entrance at the upper parking lot.  Adult non-fiction is right there in that new area, people are enjoying browsing through the collection.  Most recent fiction & non-fiction are on the shelves right next to our desk, and the rest of adult fiction is located upstairs.  Media (DVDs and audios) are where our main area used to be.  Children’s collections are now allocated to the 3 rooms in the old part of the library.  That is still a work in progress, until we settle things once renovations are complete.  Public access computers are currently in the new main room.  We still have two book drops – the wooden box on the old porch, & the green mailbox (Alice just gave it a fresh coat of paint!) just to the left of the new entrance.  And – many people are just discovering our new porch, which George made sure was always a part of the building plans!  It is lovely out there – we have a couple of wicker chairs there, it is screened in, & you can access our WIFI.  We’ve had folks sitting out there to knit, hold small meetings, and take phonecalls. Come sit for a spell!

I am just about to start Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant.  What are you reading as you savor the first tomatoes from the garden?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library   June, 2019

“In principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder.”

Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

We are extending our Wednesday and Saturday hours a bit during the months of July and August.  Starting the week of July 1st, our Wednesday hours will be 9:00AM—1:00PM and 3:00 – 7:00.  Saturday hours will go from 9:00AM – 3:00pm.  You’ll have a couple of extra hours each week to spend with us!

We have lots of summer programming coming up:

The Annual Bird Walk will be June 12th, Wednesday, starting bright and early at 8AM at the library.  This year the walk is co-hosted with the 30 Nile River Watershed Association, and our lead birder will be Maine Audubon’s Nick Lund (check out his Birdist Blog at ).  Dress for taking a walk around the village, bring binoculars if you have a pair, and bring a small notebook and pen if you like to record all the various birds we’ll see.  We’ll come back to the library for a while at the end of the walk to talk about what we got to see.  Parking will be available at the library, and at the town beach.

Our children’s summer reading program will start at the end of June!  We love the theme this year – A Universe of Stories. Here is the information you will need, mark your calendars:

This year’s Summer Reading Program will kick off on Friday June 28 at 4:00 pm with Flight Attendant Ivan Borja talking to children about Airplanes and How they Fly through slides and models.  At this time children are invited to set their summer reading goals, get their reading charts and book marks as well as tickets to a Sea Dogs Game.   Refreshments will be served.

The rest of our programs will be held Wednesdays in July at 4:00 pm at the library and will center on this year’s theme-A Universe of Stories.  Plans include a rocket launch, ongoing creation of a space ship made from a large cardboard box, a cookie moon phase activity, space slime, airplane craft, and universe mobiles.  A light snack will be served each week. Sign up is not necessary but appreciated for these weekly events!

Tickets to the Farmington Fair will be awarded at the end of the Summer Reading Program to all children who meet their goals!   Please join us for one or all of these free weekly events!

Friday June 28 – Summer Reading Program Kick-Off: Airplanes and How they Fly

Wed. July 3Airplane Model Craft

Wed. July 10-Rocket Launch with Tara Marble, Cooperative Ext. Service

Wed. July 17-Universe Mobiles

Wed. July 24-Galaxy Slime

Wed. July 31-Space Stations including Cookie Moon Phases, Gravity Drip, and Craters.

 Bring your Reading Logs to redeem your Ticket to the Fair.  A special snack will be served!

Reading Logs may be returned until September 1 so keep reading to meet your goal- or set a new one.

Monday, July 8th, 6:30PM here at the library, we will host Ed Rice, author of Baseball’s First Indian, about Louis Sockalexis, baseball star and civil rights icon representing the Penobscot Nation and the State of Maine.  Ed gives talks about Sockalexis all over the state, and receives rave reviews for his presentation.  This should be a great evening, come hear about one of Maine’s foremost historical figures.

The 3rd Annual Stories From the Metroplex will come up at the MVCC on Tuesday, July 16th at 7PM.  We’ll give more detail in next month’s newsletter.  Meanwhile, think about stories about coming to live in the Metroplex, or from your youth, or about an amazing or odd trip you took one time.  This is getting to be a popular event – we have some funny and amazing storytellers in our midst!  Thanks to the folks at MVCC for co-sponsoring this evening with us.

Our 20th Annual Community Poetry Reading (well, we may have missed a year in there somewhere) will be held at the Mt. Vernon Community Center on Thursday, August 8th at 7:00pm.  Come join friends and neighbors from around the Metroplex, as they share favorite poems from beloved writers, or a piece of their own work.  We’ve had people read poems in French, German, Russian, and Ancient Greek, children’s poetry, classic & humorous poems – we love it all.  We’ll have some refreshments to end the evening.  I’m thinking I might read something by Anna Boynton Averill, an early 20th century Maine poet.

Remember we have lots of gardening, cookery, and plant & bird identification books to enrich your summer experiences, whether you are weeding, harvesting, hiking, or just relaxing for a few minutes in the hammock.  There’s something for everyone at the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library!

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                                                                                        May, 2019

What else is a library, but a temple of truth?  What other function do books have, the great ones, but to change the reader?”             Jon Cohen, Harry’s Trees, p. 290

While we move towards summer, ready to greet our wonderful summer residents as they return, and plan for reading activities for our young readers (this year’s theme – A Universe of Stories), we pause now and then to think about the community of people who help us, always.  Many thanks to our volunteers, those who work with us every single hour we are open, and those who come to our aid for special projects.  Our patrons are great at helping to share information, book recommendations, and pitching in on the spur of the moment to lend a hand.  What a fantastic community this Metroplex is.

We have changed up the annual Bird Walk this year, thanks to the wonderful Community Center folks!  We will now co-host the walk with MVCC, and the walk will be on Wednesday, June 12, starting at 8AM (new time!  Lots of birds are out in the morning hours!) up in the library parking lot.  Our lead birder will be Nick Lund (with Maine Audubon), who is known for his blog at . We’ll start in the parking lot, walk around town, and then meet back up in the library to discuss our adventures.  As usual, wear clothing that will allow a bit of hiking, and might protect you from blackflies or ticks.  Bring binoculars if you have some!  Please join us, this will be a wonderful outing!  We have some great bird identification guides in our collection, as well as great creative nonfiction like Bernd Heinrich’s Raven’s Mind, or if you want to attract birds to your space, we have Birds in Your Backyard by Dolezal.  Books for young ornithologists are a new one called Bird Watch, by Matheson (beautiful picture book), or a juvenile informational book simply titled Birds, by Brinkley, among a number of other related titles.  And, we have featured this site in the past, but it is always worth visiting:
Cornell University’s site:

We are looking at dates for our 3rd annual Stories From the Metroplex evening (we might switch it to a weekend afternoon, if that is easiest for participants) and for our 20th (we think) annual Community Poetry Reading.  We’ll let you know on our facebook page and through the town newsletter once we’ve pinned down the times.

One nice website parents might want to visit is called Reading Rockets, at .  It is a nice website (they also have a facebook page) that provides literacy support for struggling young readers, and lots of ideas to promote reading activities.

I’ve been going back to author Ivan Doig (we have 3 of his novels), who writes beautifully about the many characters he creates, who live in Montana. I just finished Work Song.  What are you reading or watching or listening to, as the garden beckons?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library, April 2019

“The library is a prerequisite to let citizens make use of their right to information…Free access to information is necessary in a democratic society.”  1949 UNESCO Public Library Manifesto

April is National Poetry Month – AND it is Maine Library Month, so of course we have to give a brief quote from a poem entitled “Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things” by Naomi Shihab Nye:  “she will not be alone/She will have a book to open/and open and open/Her life starts here.”  If you want more poetry, check out our 811 and ME 811 sections in the nonfiction collection now located in the new addition.  Poetry brings us beauty & comfort & astonishment.

Children’s picture books can offer much enrichment through information & awe.  We love the new PBs we’ve gotten in 2019, and they are seeing lots of use by our patrons.  There are gorgeous books that consider science, like A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars;  Junk: a Spectacular Tale of TrashBird Watch (natural science and counting); and three natural science books entitled An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, and A Butterfly Is Patient.  There are also some quiet, inspiring tales about coming together across lines and building social skills:  ABC Ready for School; This Is the Rope; Drawn Together; Bully; and Dreamers.   There are some new PB biographies and historical stories, as well as the usual lovely and humorous stories by favorite authors like Mo Willems and Jan Brett.

We keep adding to our audiobook collection, and patrons love checking them out.  People love to listen to favorite authors on their morning commutes, it makes for an enjoyable trip and helps pass the time during delays.  It is a great way for book lovers to keep time for books scheduled into their hectic lives. Some recent additions are:
Heads You Win, by Jeffrey Archer
Transcription, by Kate Atkinson
Deliver Us From Evil, by David Baldacci
Tony’s Wife, by Adriana Trigiani

To continue our celebration of National Poetry Month, here are a couple of websites to visit:
Poems From Here, at Maine Public, hosted by Stuart Kestenbaum (we have some of his work):  Each Friday, Stuart reads aloud a poem from a Maine writer, and posts it on the site, along with a brief introduction to the poet.
The Poetry Foundation, at You can read a poem of the day, search for a poet or poem, and listen or read.
The We Have Kids website provides a list of 12 sites for kids of various age levels, regarding playing with and creating poems:

I am in the middle of a remarkable, quirky novel filled with luscious prose, humor, characters with hidden pasts – all centered around a candlepin bowling alley.  Bowlaway is written by Elizabeth McCracken, a new writer for me.  What are you reading when you aren’t boiling down the sap or tamping down ruts in your muddy driveway?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library

March, 2019

“The library connects us with the insight and knowledge…of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species…the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness…of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”        Carl Sagan

Many thanks to David Fuller, our AARP tax guru, for setting up three days of tax help for some of our elder and low-income citizens.  All appointments are now filled – 24 area citizens received some much-needed assistance. They got to have their appointments on the 2nd floor of the new addition – a great first use of the new space!

Just a reminder – we will gladly accept donations of packets of garden seeds (vegetables, herbs, flowers) for our annual seed exchange.  In past years we’ve had some of our talented local gardeners bring us calendula, dry beans, and parsnip seeds, all of which were popular.  If you have some seeds, please share with us. And if you need some seeds, please come take a look at our small reserves to see what you might want to try.  As a plus, our gardening books are now easily accessible out in the new addition!

And of course, the gardening books are part of our general non-fiction collection – all of which has now been moved!  We had a wonderful group of volunteers who worked together to move all of the non-fiction books, including Maine non-fiction, to the far wall in the new addition.  Patrons have been enjoying being able to get to the books so easily and just browse contentedly, familiarizing themselves with the collection.  We will try to keep a “staff picks” shelf going out there to feature books of particular interest.  We’ve seen an uptick in circulation for this marvelous collection since the move.  Please come take a look, there are lots of tempting titles there.  As always, we are thankful to the volunteer community members who make our work possible.

Three online resources that may be of interest:
Efficiency Maine at  They provide information on improving energy efficiency in your home, through weatherization, heat pumps, efficient appliances, and programs & incentives to help you upgrade.  They list resources for both homeowners and businesses.
Pine Tree Legal Assistance at  They have an office in Augusta.  Pine Tree tries to provide affordable legal services regarding common legal issues like public benefits, tenant-landlord problems, family law, and veteran issues like homelessness and healthcare.

One for young folks – Math Is Fun, at  You can learn about numbers, algebra, geometry, measuring, and money.  There are puzzles and games to play, and worksheets to help you study.

Please remember you can “like” us on our Facebook page:  Dr. Shaw Memorial Library.  There you can keep up with latest news & pictures (we posted a couple of pictures of the nonfiction books in their new “home”) and we try to post about community and library events, as well as whether we might be closed due to bad weather.  You can also visit our website at   for information like links to research sites, lists of our new books, and recommendations and reviews of some of the latest titles we’ve gotten.

I just finished Susan Orlean’s nonfiction book, The Library Book, which has been getting rave reviews all over.  She starts with the story of the LA central library fire in the 1980s, and traces the back story to that event through her consideration of various librarians (and arson suspect, and police & fire fighters) there in LA and elsewhere, as well as what libraries are for so many of us in these times.  Now I’m in the middle of The Secret Diary of Hendrick Groen, by… Hendrik Groen. It is a quiet novel – sometimes sad, often amusing — written as diary entries, from the point of view of an 81 year old man who lives in a nursing home and it tells of how he interacts with others, both staff and residents.  What are you reading while we muddle through till spring?

February, 2019

“When in doubt, go to the library.”     JK Rowling, Harry Pottery & the Chamber of Secrets

Tax Help Saturdays are coming right up.  If you are an elder or in need of tax assistance, we do have a few slots open, so please let us know if you need help.  David Fuller, our AARP volunteer tax guru will be at the library, with a coworker, on the following Saturdays:  February 23, March 9, and March 23.  You can call us at the library, 293-2565, and ask for an appointment.  We’ll need your phone number and address, so we can mail you pertinent information about what you need to bring with you for an appointment.  You can also get assistance at these locations:

  1. Cohen Community Center in Hallowell, please call 626-7777 during their hours of 9AM-1PM, Mondays — Fridays. . They will have appointments Wednesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 30 –April 11.
  2. Buker Community Center in Augusta, please call 582-3053 after 5pm. Their appointments are on Monday and Friday from Feb. 1 through April 12.

In the depths of winter, when all the seed catalogs arrive, we start thinking about our small Seed Exchange.  If you have some vegetable or flower seeds of your own that you save, please think of donating a few packets for us to share with others.  We also accept leftover packets of seeds from companies like Johnny’s Selected Seeds or Fedco.  Thanks so much to folks who have been donating seeds in recent years!

Remember, on days when the weather is challenging, please call the library during our usual hours, to see if we have been able to open.  Alice does try to get there by hook or by crook, but we can’t always be sure any of us will make it.  If the schools are closed, chances are that we will be closed also.  Call us, just to be sure, before you venture out on icy roads – 293-2565.

We’ve gotten in some gorgeous children’s picture books with our most recent order – including one by Seth Fishman, entitled A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars.  It has great information and simply instills a sense of awe for the immensity and connectedness of life, both in space, and here on earth.  Meanwhile, here are a few websites for our young science geeks: Space Telescope Education Program includes information on the solar system, galaxies, gravity, comets, the history of science, and more.  Dig Deeper is from the Soil Science Society of America.  There is basic information as well as experiments, games, career exploration — and you can gear it to age/grade levels.  Easy Science for Kids covers various topics – animals, plants, the human body, tech, etc.  They have a fun page on soil that lists fun facts, a video about what’s in soil, and posts on topics like growing food, healthy soil, types of rocks, etc.

I have been paging through some of Mary Oliver’s poetry these past few weeks.  And I’ve just finished one of the novels from our new book order – Leif Enger’s book entitled Virgil Wander.  It is small town fiction set in Minnesota, there are lots of quirky characters trying to find their way.  Enger’s prose is so direct and gorgeous.  We also have his novel Peace Like a River, another great one.  We do try to post some brief reviews of new items in the collection, you can look at those reviews at our website: .   What have you been reading to help you through the snowstorms?

Here is Alice’s latest bit of information from the Aging in Place Committee:
Help for Caregivers

More than 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number projected to soar to nearly 14 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Some 16.1 million Americans currently provide unpaid care for people with various types of dementia.

  • Go to for stories and advice from caregivers.
  • Go to for support suggestions. This site also offers an excellent checklist about normal memory loss compared to signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Visit to watch videos offering caregiver tips.

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                                                                              December 2018

 “The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.”                                                                                                         Elizabeth Drew

On bad weather days, especially when the local schools have been closed for a snow day, please call the library (293-2565) during our normal hours, to see if we are open, or if we will be closing early.  Our hours are Mondays 3-6, Wednesdays 9-12 and 3-7, and Saturday 10-3.

By the time you see this, the annual Tree Lighting will have already happened on December 1st.  Thanks to all the folks who put that together.  We hope to get a few pictures of Alice’s story time (and maybe Santa’s arrival) on the library Facebook page!

On December 8th, former MVES teacher (and now author!) Lois Beedy will join us for a book signing.  She’ll arrive around 11:00AM and stay for an hour or so.  Please stop by at some point and buy a copy of her children’s picture book The Littlest Donkey – which she both wrote and illustrated – and ask her to sign it for you!

Starting in January we will take calls for appointments for our Tax Help Days with our stellar AARP tax guru, David Fuller, along with another trained volunteer.  There will be three Saturdays scheduled in February and March.  After January 1st, please call the library during our open hours to set up an appointment.

Two website resources:
We have some juvenile informational books by DK Publishers (along with a DVD on butterflies & moths).  Their website, at , has all sorts of subjects kids can explore, including dinosaurs, computer coding, nature, science, math, sports, music, and more.  There are also resources for teachers and parents.

We may have mentioned this PBS YouTube channel before – “It’s Okay To Be Smart”, at .  There are videos on all sorts of science topics, we know high school science teachers who share them with their students.  The videos are fun, brief, and pack in lots of information.

All of the holiday books are on the table in the children’s room (there are some adult Christmas books, too, on the small table in the main room, including an Andy Carpenter mystery by Maine author David Rosenfelt – dogs & holidays & mysterious shenanigans!  I’ve been re-visiting two non-fiction books by stellar Maine author Colin Woodard, American Nations and American Character.  We hope you have plenty of books, movies, audios, and music to get through the wintry month.  Remember, we’ll slowly return to light after Solstice!

Here is what Alice has been up to regarding her work for the Aging in Place Committee:

A group of folks from the Aging in Place Committee met in early November with a member of the SEARCH program, a project of Catholic Charities that supports independent living for Maine Seniors. SEARCH is a program that provides free support services by matching trained volunteers with seniors of all faiths living in several counties in Maine, Kennebec and Franklin counties being two of them. For seniors in rural areas volunteers are recruited to support these seniors in their own communities.

The SEARCH program and volunteers can provide:

  • Companionship and friendly visits
  • Telephone reassurance
  • Help with appointments, errands and grocery shopping (When assistance is needed beyond transportation alone)
  • Help with projects and yard work
  • Assistance with correspondence and forms
  • Socialization opportunities
  • Referrals to other programs as needed

Volunteers are screened and trained, and depending on their individual availability, contribute time and support services to isolated seniors.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or can benefit from these services, or know of someone who can, please talk to Alice Olson, Mary Anne Libby, or Pat Rawson, who are members of the Aging in Place committee.  A training session will occur after the holidays, once we recruit interested volunteers.

For more information, you can visit:

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                                                                                  October 2018

“Welcome to the library.  Here you are part of our community.  Here you have standing.”

Brian Koberlein

Coming right up is the Candidates Forum for our House and Senate districts, on Thursday, October 4th at 7pm, at the Mt. Vernon Community Center.  Our moderator will be David Fuller.  This is an informational, nonpartisan event so you can hear both Democrat and Republican candidates’ ideas on various issues.  We will hear them speak on several moderated questions, and then we hope to take questions from the audience.  Join us to learn about our candidates, as you prepare for voting day on Tuesday, November 6th.

For your autumn and winter entertainment, there are a few of the Vienna Historical Society Plays on YouTube now.  Cheryl has provided the following information so you can watch these amusing plays starring many of our local friends:  you can search for “Vienna Maine plays”, or go directly to these URLs –

“Making Josie Jealous” by Beverly Wight Smith (

“Doctor’s Orders” by Cheryl Herr-Rains  (

“Cheap Lodging Available” by Beverly  (

“Ghosts for Sale” by Cheryl  (

For folks who are curious about the world (or universe) around them, here are a few websites you might enjoy:

Nasa Kids Club – lots of information and educational games:

A Book in Time – all about history:

How Stuff Works – one for adults and older kids.  We’ve featured this one before:

Our books on display on the children’s table, of back-to-school, apples, and autumn themes, have seen much use.  Next up, we’ll be getting out our Halloween books, of course!

A good resource to keep in mind for elders is Maine Legal Services for the Elderly in Augusta.  Their website says they provide quality legal services for “persons age 60 and over with free legal advice regarding health care, health insurance, Medicare (including Part D), MaineCare (Medicaid), Social Security and other public benefits, pension and retirement benefits, powers of attorney, consumer matters including creditor and bankruptcy problems, physical and financial abuse, guardianship defense and other issues.”  You can browse their website at, or call their number at 621-0087 for general information.  They are located at 5 Wabon Street in Augusta.  Keep their helpline handy – it is 1-800-750-5353.

There are two juvenile novels I’ve enjoyed this month.  Jacqueline Woodsons’ Harbor Me, about a group of kids – all with difficult lives – assigned by their teacher to go to a quiet room each week to talk.  They begin to reveal their stories to one another, and deepen their friendship and understanding of each other.  Then there is a more light-hearted novel, Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Author Extraordinaire, by Susan Tan.  It is just plain fun, even though we can see some underlying social issues.  Told from the point of view of 8 year old Cilla, we see her interpretations of her family & friends, as well as her magnificent plans for the future.

Then, if you are looking for a good movie, we now have “RBG”, a biographical documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg that has gotten stellar views; and we have “The Post”, a fictionalized story of the Watergate papers when they first surfaced (starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, so you know it’s gotta be good).  Meanwhile, I’ve just started reading Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck, a novel about a group of women who hide from or escape from WW2.  It is great so far.  What are you reading this month?

 Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                 September, 2018

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have lots of young patrons who love to read.  Each summer they sign up for our summer reading program and keep track of the number of books or pages they have read, and choose an end of summer reading goal.  We still have a few kids who will check in with us, but as of this past week, we had 21 kids meet their goal so far this summer, with total numbers of 270 books and 4,400 pages read.  Congratulations and many thanks to all the readers and their families!

The finish work has begun in the new addition. We have a local craftsman working on the new circulation desk right now, and we are grateful for his work and knowledge of library spaces.  We also want to thank the donor who gave all of the money to pay for the desk!  The Selectboard approved the donation and we are moving forward.  Thanks so much for the support!

Though we have always loved all the book donations people give us, we won’t be able to accept books for a while.  Once we have figured out space for all of our various functions, we’ll let you know that we can take more books.  Meanwhile, you can take them to Goodwill or the swap shop at the transfer station.

Thank you to all the people who donated school supplies to the students of Mt. Vernon Elementary School.  We have one more load to deliver to them soon. We hope it helps students feel prepared and ready to learn.  Thanks to Trish, who always organizes this effort.

We are sending our current collection of KVBA children’s books to Jill at the elementary school library, so she can help the students get right into reading.  There are some great stories on the KVBA list, and it is encouraging to see so many children diving into the list in preparation for the school year.  It is gratifying to collaborate with our local school on reading and learning support.

One online resource you might want to visit, just because it is fun and quick:  This site provides a scientific approach to random mysteries of the world (and beyond), involving biology, neuroscience, physics, and more, all portrayed in occasional brief videos, in creative and amusing ways.  You can even suggest further mysteries for them to explore.

Speaking of fiction (that Emerson quote way at the top of this column), check our website for new additions to the collection.  We’ve gotten some wonderful new juvenile fiction titles over the summer, including Casey Lyall’s Howard Wallace, P.I.; Georgia Rules, by Nanci Turner Steveson; and Cilla Lee-Kenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, by Susan Tan.  These are all on my TBR list!  Currently I am reading an adult novel by Defino, entitled The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses).  What are you reading when you aren’t picking apples or canning tomatoes and stacking wood?

Here is Alice’s latest information regarding keeping elders in our community safe:

Did you know Scams always resurfacing, sooner or later?

Scam detector sends weekly fraudulent practices and scams to be aware of in order to educate consumers on how to make better decisions. People often think that a scam is old and they’re not in danger anymore.

Scam detector’s mandate is to educate people on how various scams work, so the public can avoid them in the future. They often include videos that are a bit older, for the sake of exposing criminal minds. The five articles below are discussed in the Scam Detector newsletter sent the week of August 20.

To view this website on line, or to sign up to receive the scam newsletter weekly, go to:

  1. Fake Coupon and Voucher Sales
  2. Email Money Transfer Scam
  3. Android Phones Fake Sales
  4. Store Blowout Scam
  5. What Happens If Your Bank Tries To Call You When Detects Suspicious Activity On Your Account But Your Phone Line Is Busy

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library column, Mt. Vernon town newsletter, August 2018

“Is everything a story to you?” Harry called after her.

“Absolutely!” came Olive’s voice.  “I’m a librarian, dear!”                                                              (Jon Cohen, Harry’s Trees,  p.233)

On Wednesday, August 1st at 4pm, wonderful local musician Greg Hatt will be doing a concert with the kids!  That will be our final children’s program for the summer, and his music is not to be missed.  Come sing along, and then enjoy some ice cream.  There will be tickets to the Farmington Fair for kids who bring in their reading logs to show they have accomplished their reading goals.  We have some very dedicated readers in the group!  Thanks to Greg, and thanks to all the volunteers (Karla and Kelley!) and parents who helped put our programs together.

You can see some pictures from our wonderful “Stories From the Metroplex” night at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, on our library Facebook page.  It was a sweet evening.

It seems there are a few random acts of poetry happening around Mt. Vernon & Vienna, so that must mean the annual Community Poetry Reading is coming up.  That will be at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, Thursday, August 9th, 7pm.  Bring a favorite poem or two to share with us.  We’ll have a few anthologies available if you come to just listen and are then inspired to participate.  As usual, we’ll have some snacks ready at the end of the evening.  This is always such a lovely evening to spend together, as we slide towards September.

A possible online resource for beginning learning various world languages is Duolingo at  You can choose from a wide variety of languages, and work through lessons on vocabulary, alphabet, reading, listening and speaking.  Much of the learning happens through various games.  This can be a good introduction to a language to see if you want to continue studying, and it is free.

We are slowly updating our website, hoping to list new materials whenever we catalog them, and offering a few reviews.  We’ll try to post upcoming programs and events there.  You can visit us at  If you use Facebook, like us and keep up with our activities there.  On Facebook, we are simply Dr. Shaw Memorial Library.

I just finished a beautifully written juvenile novel, The Language of Spells, by Garrett Weyr, and also a new adult novel, Tommy Orange’s thought provoking There There, which follows various characters as they make their way to a modern-day pow wow in Oakland, California.   Meanwhile, the “long list” of the 2018 Man Booker Prize was recently released, and two of our favorite current novels are on the list – Richard Powers’ Overstory, and Ondaantje’s Warlight. What are you reading, after you’ve picked the small fruits, and made pesto from the fragrant basil in the garden?

Here is Alice Olson’s latest resource for our community elders:

Did you know?

Maine General Prevention and Healthy Living offers an integrated mind, body, heart approach to health that focuses on supporting lifestyle changes that reduce and eliminate chronic health conditions and support healthy living and healing.

Physical Movement

  • Chair Yoga
  • Feel Younger Yoga
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Gentle Yoga Level 2
  • Modern Square Dancing
  • Nia
  • PiYo®Live!
  • Tai Chi for Health
  • Yin Yoga
  • Zumba®

Healthy Mind and Body

  • Forest Bathing
  • Healing Meditation with Crystal Bowls
  • Introduction to Meditation Workshop
  • Medicinal Plant Walk
  • Peggy Huddleston’s Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster™
  • Stop Smoking with Hypnosis
  • Walking the Labyrinth
    • Chronic Pain Education

Healthy Eating and Cooking

  • 5 Ingredients or Less
  • Better Burgers
  • Buddha Bowls
  • Cooking the Mediterranean Way
  • Cooking with Your Kids
  • Cut the Carbs
  • Farmers’ Market to Table
  • Fight Inflammation with Food
  • Make Your Own Spring Rolls & Dipping Sauces
  • Secrets to Cooking Fish

They offer a 20 percent discount per class to:

  • Seniors (65 and older)
  • S. military veterans
  • Current Maine General employees
  • Second family member of a household member who registers for the same class

To receive the discounts, choose the appropriate response to “Are you eligible for any discounts?” on the online registration form, and the discount will automatically apply.

For more information:

Alfond Center for Health

35 Medical Center Parkway

Augusta, Maine


We have a few brochures from MaineGeneral Health Prevention & Healthy Living at the library.

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                                                                       July 2018

“For me libraries represent a serendipity of learning.”  Claire Jennings, in Public Library and Other Stores, by Ali Smith.

Summer programming is in full swing.  Many thanks to Ruby for starting us out with her presentation on cheetahs. Our next children’s program will be Wednesday, July 11th (we’ll be closed on July 4) at 4pm.  Here is the line-up of the Wednesday activities, all starting at 4:00:

Wed. July 11 at 4:00pm–Garden Stepping Stones
Come make and decorate your own stepping stone.  Make an extra one to create a path from our porch to our new addition. Bring your own special trinkets to place in it if you want-shells, pebbles, marbles, keys, you name it! This may be messy. Wear old clothes!

Wed. July 18 at 4:00pm—Creeping Creatures Stone Art
Enjoy a hands on experience with The Very Hungry Caterpillar with Leslie Grenier and then create your own insect or creature–out of stones!

Wed. July 25 at 4:00pm–Turtle Banks and flowers
Make a bank for your coins or other small collections or design a flower out of foam.

Wed. August 1 at 4:00pm–Rock n’ Roll and Rocky Road
Come listen to and sing along with marvelous Mt. Vernon musician Greg Hatt, and then enjoy ice cream on the lawn. Passes to the Farmington Fair will be awarded to all who bring their completed reading logs.

Other events we will be hosting over the summer:

Please stop by for a small used book sale on our lawn, on Saturday July 21st (rain date July 28) during our usual hours (10-3).  Alice has been weeding our collection, and we have a few donations, there might be a few good reads you’d like to pick up!

We will co-sponsor our 2nd annual “Stories From the Metroplex” evening on Tuesday, July 24th, at 7pm at the Mt. Vernon Community Center!  It was a lot of fun last year (I still think of Pat’s “pink Cadillac” story).  Come share a brief (around 5 minutes or so) story from your life.  Our storytellers provided us with a nice mix of funny, frantic, and sweet stories from their time here in the community, or from childhood.  We had both adults and children in attendance.  We’ll probably have a few snacks and some lemonade for sustenance.  Please join us, we’ll be glad to share our stories with you!

And our annual Community Poetry Reading (it began in the summer of 1999) will also take place at the Mt. Vernon Community Center on Thursday, August 9th at 7pm.  Bring a favorite poem or two, or one you have composed yourself, to share with us.  Over the years, we’ve had people read poems in various world languages, classic poems, children’s poetry, and contemporary free verse.  It is always a lovely evening filled with many different voices.  As always, there will be some snacks!

We hope to have a Mushroom Walk sometime in the middle of August.  Barbara says she is watching to see how the mushrooms are doing after a dry start to the summer.  She’ll let us know what she finds, and we’ll get the information out to you as soon as we can.

Another resource on Aging in Place, from Alice:

Fall Safety and Prevention Guide

This Fall Safety and Prevention Guide for older adults was developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Exercise Regularly-Exercise builds strength and improves balance.
  2. Take your time-Get out of chairs slowly. Sit a moment before getting out of bed. Stand and get your balance before you walk.
  3. Keep stairs and walking areas clear.
  4. Improve the lighting in and outside your home-Use nightlights or flashlights to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. See an eye specialist once a year-better vision can help prevent falls.
  5. Use non slip mats. Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower and toilet. Wipe up spills immediately.
  6. Be aware of uneven surfaces. Use only throw rugs that have rubber, non-skid backing. Use hand rails if available.
  7. Be sure stairways are well lit from both the top and the bottom. Have easy to grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairway.
  8. Wear sturdy well-fitting low heeled shoes with non-slip soles.

You can access this website for more information:

Each summer we try to purchase many of the KVBA (Kennebec Valley Book Award) list of children’s books that are chosen by area school library personnel.  We’ve cataloged some of them, and they have been flying off the shelves!  We just received the rest of our book order, and will get those cataloged and onto the mantel in the children’s room as soon as possible. It is always gratifying to see all the young patrons so engaged in reading.

I have just started reading Jon Cohen’s novel Harry’s Trees.  A bit of magical realism, the characters are trying to put themselves together while being out in the woods of Pennsylvania, bonding with the trees.  Anna and I are both loving it.  I’ll donate it as soon as I can, and get it entered into the collection – watch for it!  What are you reading or listening to, as you pick peas and work on canning all the summer fruits?           

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                                                                                                                        June, 2018

“Books feed and cure and chortle and collide.”
Gwendolyn Brooks

Here is the schedule for our children’s summer reading program activities, straight from Alice! –

­­Libraries Rock 2018 Summer Reading Program

Wed. June 27 at 4:00 pm–Cheetahs of Marimba, Africa
Set your reading goal and sign up for this year’s summer reading program.  Seadogs tickets, pencils, reading logs, and bookmarks will be free to all who sign up!

Learn about the Cheetahs of Marimba, Africa with Ruby Rubin. She will read a story about Cheetahs and show some artifacts from her recent trip to Africa. Her service dog Ruthie will join her and looks forward to some attention!

Wed. July 11 at 4:00pm–Garden Stepping Stones
Come make and decorate your own stepping stone.  Make an extra one to create a path from our porch to our new addition. Bring your own special trinkets to place in it if you want-shells, pebbles, marbles, keys, you name it! This may be messy. Wear old clothes!

Wed. July 18 at 4:00pm—Creeping Creatures Stone Art
Enjoy a hands on experience with The Very Hungry Caterpillar with Leslie Grenier and then create your own insect or creature–out of stones!

Wed. July 25 at 4:00pm–Turtle Banks and flowers
Make a bank for your coins or other small collections or design a flower out of foam.

Wed. August 1 at 4:00pm–Rock n’ Roll and Rocky Road
Come listen to and sing along with marvelous Mt. Vernon musician Greg Hatt, and then enjoy ice cream on the lawn. Passes to the Farmington Fair will be awarded to all who bring their completed reading logs.

If you can’t make this final event, you can bring in your reading log at another time to redeem your prize.

Two of our annual adult programs will come up in July & August.  Our 2nd annual Stories From The Metroplex, co-sponsored with the folks at Mt. Vernon Community Center, is scheduled for 7pm on Thursday, July 26th at the Community Center.  Then, on Thursday, August 9th at 7pm the annual Community Poetry Reading will take place, also at the Community Center.  We’ll mention these again in the next newsletter, and on our Facebook page.

Alice has written the latest addition to possible resources for our community elders:
Did you know that you can grocery shop from home at both 29 Whitten Rd. Hannaford and Walmart in Augusta? All this requires is a computer or mobile device, and a credit card. You simply log into the site, or, set up an account, and choose from the same items available at the store for the same price. Create your list on line, submit it, allow at least 4 hours for your order to be ready, and then pick it up. Customers can use coupons and credit cards, the same way they would in the store. Orders may be sent in ahead or picked up on the same day if orders are received in time. At Hannafords, there are six parking spaces in the front of the store reserved for “groceries to go” customer vehicles to be loaded, or customers can use the drive through lane. At Walmart, attendants will be waiting with your groceries to load  in your car at a prearranged  time that you give them. There is also a reserved parking area near the front of the store for “groceries to go” customers. A number to call if you arrive early or late is 509-1804.

At Hannaford, the first trip is free. After that, there is a $5.00 service charge if the total bill is less than $125.00.  At Walmart, you can get $10.00 off your first order of at least $50.00 by using the coupon code WOWFRESH.  After that, there is no charge, but the order must exceed $30.00.  Neither store includes greeting cards nor prescription drugs.

For more information about these programs call Whitten Rd Hannaford in Augusta 622-3148,
or Augusta Walmart 623-8223.

Neighbors Driving Neighbors can take you to pick up your groceries if you need help with that.  Be sure to give them adequate advance notice. You can make arrangements with Neighbors Driving Neighbors by calling 860-0677.

The wonderful folks at the Mt. Vernon Community Center kept our little free library on their front stoop over the winter, so people could have access to free reading material.  Now it is back at its summer home, in front of The People’s Book Shop on the corner of Bartlett Rd. and Wings Mill Rd. – thanks everyone, for helping!  Please stop at any of the little libraries around town and grab something to read as you head off on a trip, or simply to keep you happy until the next time you get to the library!

The juvenile nonfiction collection is getting lots of use in its temporary location closer to the children’s room.  Come see what we’ve got – so much of it can be creative and beautifully illustrated!

I re-read Kurt Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country recently.  His work is always so reflective.  Besides enjoying his work, I just finished Jason Reynolds’ beautiful and heartrending Young Adult novel, told in poetry, Long Way Down.  Now I’m on to a young adult nonfiction, Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot, by Winifred Conkling.  What are you reading as we wait for rain to aid the microbes in the garden soil?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library April 2018

“Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library.  The only entrance requirement is interest.”                                           Lady Bird Johnson

Every year Alice puts together our annual statistics required for all public libraries in Maine.  Here are a few of the numbers she tracks:  we held 16 programs in 2017, including our summer reading program and various adult programs we sponsored, or co-sponsored with the Grange & Community Center; there were almost 3900 visits to the library last year, and about 11,200 items circulated.  Adding up all of the print, audio, and video materials in our collection, we have approximately 16,000 individual reading & viewing items which we offer to our community.  That doesn’t include baking pans for loan, puzzles, or the Seed Exchange as extra resources we offer.  We are happy to be a part of an active community of people who borrow our materials and offer suggestions for more items and for programs!

The annual Bird Walk is almost here!  Once again our two lead birders, Dona Seegers & Linda Smith, will take us around the village to watch for song birds, water birds, whatever flies or perches in a tree or glides on the water!  We will gather down below the library, in front of the Masonic Hall this year, on Monday, May 14th, at 4pm.  Bring a pair of binoculars if you have them, and dress for black fly weather.  Bring a friend or family member, and we’ll see you there!

This summer’s theme for children’s programs is “Libraries Rock”.  Alice has been busy planning timing of the programs (probably Wednesday afternoons throughout July, but we’ll have definite dates soon), and she’s lining up her usual creative array of activities to do with the kids.  Stay tuned!

Some online resources for you this month:
The Maine Lion’s Club offers both vision and hearing aids for elders who are struggling financially and need some help.  You can go to this link for phone numbers or more information, and for online application forms for assistance:     This resource is listed, along with other resources for seniors, on our library website at .  Just look at the tabs along the top of the page, hover over “research”, then scroll down to see the list.

We may have noted this site before, but the naturalists among us might enjoy noting it again – there is a biodiversity library available online, with information on all kinds of odd information like the history of cats, the art of science, Antarctic exploration, and more.  You can link to them here: .

And, we linked to this one on our Facebook page this month: – astronauts reading picture books aloud!  Definitely try this one, a nice reminder of how we can connect with one another, even across the wide expanse of space.

I finished Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, To Die But Once (good, as always), and have just delved into The Overstory, the latest novel by the powerful writer Richard Powers (we have one of his earlier novels, Orfeo in our collection).  This is a series of stories about the long history of various characters and their relationships with trees.  I’ll put it in the library collection as soon as I’ve finished it!  What are you reading or listening to as you celebrate the daffodils, the bluettes, the dandelions, and listen to the music of loons & peepers?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library     March, 2018

“The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are:  1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.”
Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

Thanks to our wonderful volunteer, Donna Williams, the little free library on the steps of the Mt. Vernon Community Center is well-stocked with adult and children’s books, as well as magazines.  You can stop by there any time to see what’s new, and definitely scan the shelf on your way out from community activities like the Saturday breakfasts or fund-raising suppers, so you have something to read when you get home.

We just processed a new book order.  My favorite children’s picture book from the lot is a collection of poetry by Nikki Giovanni, entitled I Am Loved.  It has brilliant, colorful illustrations by Maine artist Ashley Bryan.  All of the poems are, as the title implies, about love.  It is checked out right now, but keep it on your list.  Simply beautiful.  We also got the audiobook of Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders.  We’ve had the novel for a while, and it has gotten good circulation, but then we heard rave reviews (thanks, Betsy) about the audio version, so we had to try that!  The reading is performed by Nick Offerman, Don Cheadle, David Sedaris, and others.  Of course it went out the door with a patron as soon as we put it on the shelf, but it will be back soonish.

A good resource that families might want to access:  the National Endowment for the Humanities has a great website at .  It is generally aimed at the classroom, but could be used for homeschooling activities around art & culture, world languages, social studies, and literature.

I tend not to read too many mysteries or suspense novels (too scary!), but a small subset of that genre is the classic heist story, and those I can enjoy – especially if told with a dash of humor or history or fantasy.  I just finished Christopher Buckley’s The Relic Master, set in Medieval times, about a relic hunter who poses as a monk (along with a posse of unlikely companions) to retrieve a revered item.  A bit of humor, and good portrayal of the culture and society of that time.  If you like the genre, Weir’s most recent outer space novel, Artemis, might be a good choice, as well as one that’s been in our stacks for a couple of years, Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg’s the Heist.  Obviously, there will be humor in that, with Evanovich as one of the authors.  An old favorite is Jennifer Crusie’s Faking It – an art heist, with lots of humor and goofy action.  Crusie always creates great friendships among her characters.  Movies and shows that follow the heist theme are “Leverage” (a very popular show with our patrons, clever and fast-paced and often humorous) and “Ocean’s Twelve”, along with “The Italian Job” and “The Maiden Heist”.  For younger readers, the YA novel Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer involves a heist.  And for middle readers, Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths by Megan McDonald might be a fun choice.

Right now I am reading one of our new additions, The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce.  It’s a fun story so far – quirky, somewhat awkward characters who run small shops in a rundown neighborhood, on an aptly named Unity Street.  We have a bit of a waiting list for it, I promise I’ll try to read fast!  Meanwhile, remember we have lots of gardening books to page through while you tend your seedlings indoor and wait patiently (or perhaps not quite so patiently) for spring weather.

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library  March, 2018

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”  Albert Einstein

First things first.  Because the construction on the addition has ratcheted up, there may be times when we will need to close the library, sometimes without much advance notice.  We are sorry for the inconvenience!  We are so heartened to see all of the work that is happening in the addition – it is really quite astounding – but we also miss all of the wonderful interactions with our patrons when we do close.  Please keep up with our Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library), or our website at for any information we have about the project, or email us at  We’ll always try to let you know what is happening as soon as we know.  Thank you for your patience and support.

Barbara Skapa is offering her Cheesemaking 101 course in March, to benefit the library.  Learn how to make cheese and yogurt!  The date is March 3rd (snow date, March 10th), from 10AM – 1PM.  The workshop will be held at Echo Ridge Cheese on North Road.  Pre-registration is required, and the fee is $50/person or $75/couple or family members.  You can call the library (293-2565) or Alice (293-2502) for details, or to sign up.  You can also email us at  Barbara asks that you bring a few small jars so you can take home some yogurt, and a pair of heavy duty washing gloves to protect your hands if you have them.

As you plan your garden and put in your seed orders or sort through the seeds you saved from your own garden last year, please consider sharing your seeds with us for our Seed Exchange.  You can bring us veggie or herb or flower seeds in labelled packets, so others can take some home to start their gardens in the spring.  In recent years, favorites have been parsnips and calendula (thanks, Rhonda!).  Remember, too, that we have lots of gardening books to help you plan for the growing season.   The PTC (Parent Teacher Club) at the elementary school is also doing a Fedco fundraiser, and we have some information about that at our desk, please take a minute to check that out!  Gardening opportunities galore!

We had fun making Valentine cards with some of our young patrons last month.  We had over a dozen kids drop by and make cards for loved ones and for the Meals On Wheels program.  Many thanks to the parents who shared pictures of the kids’ artistry with us!

We are collecting food labels for the PTC at Mt. Vernon Elementary School.  When enough labels are gathered, the PTC can use them to get free equipment and materials for school.  We have a container for them right at the desk, so please start collecting them and drop them when you come visit us!

We do have two drop boxes for returning items when we aren’t open.  There is the wooden box on our front porch, as well as an old dark green mailbox that we keep at the edge of the upper parking lot.  We check both places regularly, so please feel free to use whichever one is more convenient for you.  Meanwhile, as winter continues, please do use caution on the stone steps.  We are aware that parking is limited right now.  Currently there is no side entrance door for the library, and there isn’t much room for parking in the upper lot. There is no path shoveled through the ice and snow from the upper lot to the front porch, so you can only enter the library by going up the steps to the front porch door.  If you are up for a bit of exercise, there is the option of parking at the Masonic Hall and walking up the hill to us.  Our hours are Mondays 3-6, Wednesdays 9-12 and 3-7, and Saturdays 10-3.  If the weather is bad, please call us during hours when we are normally open, to see if we are there.  And again, we will try to get the word out whenever we need to close due to construction issues.

I just finished Merullo’s latest novel, Lunch With Buddha, as well as Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, which has won many awards.  Merullo’s book is his usual quiet musings, while Ward deals with some pretty harrowing issues of family, poverty, and race.  Both are good storytellers.  Meanwhile, I’m rereading some Gwendolyn Brooks poetry.  What are you reading or listening to or watching as we await mud season?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library  February, 2018

“One of the good things about America, right up there with baseball and Jimi Hendrix, is the library…It’s the home for words…There’s restfulness, everything peaceful…It’s so gentle that I could sit and read the newspaper…There’s Tom, a regular citizen, doing his civic duty, keeping current, a believer in the ways of the known world.” Baron Wormser, Tom O’Vietnam
It’s February, that month when Cabin Fever can take hold and not let go. Good thing we have a plan to break that up a bit! On Saturday, February 10th, from 10:30 till 2:00, bring your kids into the library and browse our small collection of used children’s books for sale, and stay to make some Valentine cards! Kids can make cards for friends and family, or they can make some which we will donate to recipients of Meals on Wheels. It will be a chance to spend some time together, and to create some cheer for others. Please join us.
On snowy or icy days, please remember to call us during our usual hours to see if we are open. We are most often closed if the local schools are closed, or if we know parking will be a challenge. Give us a call at 293-2565 during these hours: Monday 3-6, Wednesday 9-12 & 3-7, and Saturday 10-3. If we don’t answer, don’t come!
There are so many great websites out there, it’s hard to keep track. We mentioned How Stuff Works a few years ago, and it is still worth a look. A great one for people who are curious about how things are put together, or function, with plenty of examples and illustrations, in a wide range of subject areas. You can access it here:
Here’s a good one for families who love cooking – Spatulatta: Cooking for Kids, at It was creat-ed by a couple of women and their daughters, and it is all about learning to cook. You can find recipes for meals, ap-petizers, salads, and desserts, and it is international in scope. It might give you some fun winter kitchen activities to try together.
Dan’s Wild Wild Science Journal is all about “advancing earth and space science”. It is at: You will find lots of weather-related stuff, and you can search his blog posts by topic.
One of our new children’s picture books is Bees: a Honeyed History, by W. Grajkowski. It is a large format book with such beautiful and intricate illustrations, accompanied by all sorts of information, all creatively connected. I love the large format books, there is so much to absorb from each and every page, and there is something about handling such a beautiful book. In that format we also have Animalium by Jenny Broom, and Steve Jenkins’ (a great writer of juve-nile nonfiction) The Animal Book.
I just finished a new addition to our fiction collection, by Baron Wormser, former Maine Poet Laureate. It is his first work of fiction, entitled Tom O’Vietnam. The novella is a consideration of a Viet Nam vet who has been back home for a few years, and because of his experiences during the war, he has not yet settled into a place or a way of life that feels comfortable. He is haunted by his experiences, and relies heavily on the one item he carries with him always – his worn copy of King Lear – to help him find his way. Beautiful, stark prose, stream of consciousness. I’ll get it back to the library as soon as possible! What are you reading as the days begin to lengthen and the cold strengthens once again?

Library Column, December 2017
“A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer but a citizen instead.” Caitlin Moran
Thank you, to the workers constructing our addition, who cheerfully work through the cold (and sometimes rainy) days. They are capable and communicative and kind. Thank you, to the volunteers who have been scurrying to help us move materials out of the back rooms and relocate them in creative ways. And thank you, dear patrons, for your patience regarding parking and our slightly crowded library while we make our way through the building project.
While the project is ongoing, we cannot accept book donations for our former sale room. You can take your used books to the swap shop at the transfer station, or to Goodwill for the time being. We’ll let you know when we are set up again for donations. Thank you!
Our youngest patrons love seeing the mighty workers and their machinery. Consequently, our picture books on construction equipment have become very popular! We still have a few left on the table in the children’s room, please feel free to come check them out. For adults, I would recommend My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith – a romp through Italy while the main character tries to meet a deadline for writing a book, and instead of the rental car he thought he had scheduled, he winds up driving a bulldozer around the countryside to reach his destination.
We’ve started putting out some picture books about winter, including one of our favorite books of all time – Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. The US Postal Service has just released a postage stamp with the image of the front cover from this book – run to the post office and grab some, they’re great!
Do you love cartography (and who doesn’t)? Try this website: This is sponsored by the Osher Map Library at USM. If your kids love maps, look at “mapPlay” under “Teacher Resources” on the site. There are some fun and informational activities there. They also host an annual map making contest! For those of you who prefer paper, we have University of Maine’s beautiful large volume from 2015, entitled Historical Atlas of Maine. And, to steer you off course a bit, you might be interested in David Cook’s Above the Gravel Bar, a study of the native canoe routes in Maine, along with how those intersected with geological developments and prehistoric native culture. No maps, but definitely of interest to cartographers and geographers and historians.
Library Column November 2017

“I think the book must be the most perfect object ever designed by humans.  Their physical beauty and how well they work – dayenu! – but then there is the way they often absorb their reader’s presence, too.  Tea, ink, greasy fingers, receipts, weather, but more than that, something of the spirit, too, so that years later you can take the book down off the shelf and a flash of your old self leaps out at you.”      Nicole Krauss

Many thanks to the Mt. Vernon Events Committee for once again putting together some Halloween activities downtown.  We’re happy to be a part of this, and it is wonderful to see so many parents & grandparents & children out and about.  Alice and some trusty volunteers put together craft projects and some treats for our young visitors.  Next up:  it seems that Alice will read a holiday book or two for our young citizens at the Mt. Vernon Community Center during the annual Christmas tree lighting.  You can check our Dr. Shaw Memorial Library Facebook page (or the Mt. Vernon Community Center fb page) for further information as the month progresses.

Our Can Due program will continue through this month.  We’ve had some generous patrons donate canned & boxed food, as well as some personal care items.  If it is easier, we also accept cash donations that we will pass along to the Mt. Vernon Food Bank.  A number of other libraries are now also running programs like this in their communities, we’re happy to see.  Another good way to participate in our community!  Meanwhile, the Mt. Vernon PTC is still collecting food labels to fund activities at school.  They keep a collection container on our desk at the library, so please save your labels & bring them to us next time you stop by.

If you need to start thinking about gifts for various loved ones, try visiting our book sale room.  We have lots of fiction and nonfiction available, both older and more recent titles.  You might find a few DVDs there, too.  Each year during the holidays, my extended family does a used book swap instead of a gift exchange and we all come back home with some great reads for the winter.  Come stock up and share your treasures with others!  Generally we ask for a donation of one dollar for a hardcover or trade paperback, and fifty cents for a mass market paperback (we’ve been known to make deals when people take home a bagful or two).

Our yearly reminder as winter approaches:  on bad weather days, please call the library during our regular hours to see if we are open, before you venture out on snowy/icy roads.  We try to get there, and Intrepid Alice has been known to trudge through the snow on foot to open for us, but it can’t always happen.  Give us a call!

Two of our newer picture books which are popular with our young patrons happen to be an alphabet book from Maine and a brand new counting book.  The illustrations in both books are so creative, and the stories are great.  Take a look at Beth Rand’s ABC Gulls, and Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood.  We are also slowly collecting some of the lovely board books that are being published now, and they are quite popular.  Keep those in mind for a nice bedtime or snack time read aloud with your babies and toddlers.

We may have mentioned the Canadian Broadcasting education site before.  It is worth a look, at  You can search by categories (animals, arts, geography, nature), and it also features videos and games.

I finally got around to reading Polacio’s heartwarming juvenile novel, Wonder.  I hear it will be coming out as a movie this month!  Next on my list is Matthew Quick’s latest novel, The Reason You’re Alive, about a Viet Nam war veteran.  And of course I want to read Louise Penny’s new release, Glass Houses, but I think I’ll let more of our patrons read it before I grab it.  What will you be reading now that you’ve canned up all the applesauce and are preparing for winter?

Library Column, October 2017

“Libraries are innately subversive institutions, born of the radical notion that every single member of society deserves free, high quality access to knowledge and culture.”
Dr. Matt Finch

Thanks to our stalwart volunteer, Betsy, we now have a laptop dedicated to our OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) set up in the main room again, after a year’s absence.  The computer opens automatically to the OPAC, and you can search our collection by title, author, or subject/keyword.  And of course, you can always ask us to help with finding materials, as usual.  Thanks, Betsy!

We like to feature a few cool informational websites for kids or adults now and then.  This month, we have two wonderful websites that are gateways into all sorts of educational sites on various subjects.  There is a wealth of material contained here!
1. American Library Association has an entire section called Great Websites for Kids.  You can access it at: .  They organize educational sites by subject, and many of the sites range from K-12 in the information they contain.  Math & computers, history, animals, the arts, science, social studies, they’ve got it all.
2. Ditto for the second site, called Exploratorium, sponsored by the Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception in San Francisco.  You can visit them here:  On the left side of the page, there is a list of subjects you can explore, and you can also search for videos and blogs besides websites.

We will start our annual Can Due program later this month.  If you recall, you can bring in food items (or a cash donation, if that is easier) and all of your accumulated guilt about overdue books magically disappears.  We pass all donations along to the Food Bank.  We might combine this with collecting hats and mittens, like we did last year, to help keep MVES students warm.  We’ll let you know, via our Facebook page, when we officially start collecting – but if you want to bring in some food or mittens now, we will gladly take them!

Because I just got home from volunteering at the Common Ground Country Fair, it seems like a good time to feature some agriculture and gardening books from Maine farmers.  We have four of Eliot Coleman’s books on winter harvesting and four season growing techniques.  All of his books give solid information on gardening, and might help with garden plans you devise over the winter.  All of his books are in the 635 section of our nonfiction collection.  Deb Soule, a wonderful and respected herbalist from the coast, wrote How to Move Like a Gardener, a practical and also somewhat contemplative work on planting medicinal herbs.  You can find her at 615.3 SOU upstairs.  We have Henry Beston’s Northern Farm (917.41), a collection of essays about living on his farm with his wife, poet Elizabeth Coatsworth, in Nobleboro.  His prose is beautiful, and can inspire you.  Finally, a recent addition to our agriculture books is Letters to a Young Farmer: on Food, Farming, and Our Future (630.9 LET).  This is a collection of letters from respected farming folks from across the country, including Eliot Coleman and Chellie Pingree from Maine, written about the importance of the work young farmers are undertaking.

And speaking of farming & gardening – if you saved any seeds from your garden this season, please share with us, to include in our Seed Exchange!

This week I brought home Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette’s Twelve Months of Monastery Soups from the library.  I always start the Fall season with potato leek soup, and this book seemed to be just right as we move towards cooler and longer nights.  Twelve months of soups that these monks get to enjoy!  Soup (and tea) get us through the winter.  The recipe for Garlic Soup, one of the possibilities for the month of March, looks wicked good.

The next fiction book on my list is Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network.  I do love fiction set in and around the two World Wars, and this one includes both.  What will you read as the trees let go of their leaves and the frost inevitably encroaches?

  September 2017

“Don’t give up on books.  They feel so good – their friendly heft.  The sweet reluctance of their pages when you turn them with your sensitive fingertips.   A large part of our brains is devoted to deciding whether what our hands are touching is good or bad for us.  Any brain… knows books are good for us.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Many thanks to all who donated items to the school supplies drive.  Once again, we had a wonderful response from the community.  Trish Jackson has now delivered all of it to the Mt. Vernon elementary school, so the staff can have it on hand to parcel out to struggling students.  Keep in mind that the Mt. Vernon Food Bank generally has a stash of school supplies, so if you are in need of assistance, please drop by and talk with the volunteers there on a Saturday morning.  We might be collecting hats & mittens again for the students, within the next couple of months.  Thank you for the kindness you always show in helping to keep our youngest citizens moving forward.

When you borrow DVDs or audiobooks on CD, and have had difficulties with any of the discs, please let us know when you return the item.  You can leave a sticky note on it, or just mention it to us when you bring it in.  Usually it just requires a bit of cleaning, and we’d like to be able to correct the problem, if we can, before loaning out the material again.

Cheese and yogurt workshop, anyone?  Barbara Skapa is willing to do another workshop on making cheese & yogurt, if she hears there is enough interest.  We’ve had a few people sign up for a possible workshop, though we haven’t set a date yet.  If you would like to learn this skill, please sign up next time you are at the library, or give us a call.  There is a $50 fee for the workshop.  Once we have enough people, we’ll ask Barbara to set a date.

We still subscribe to the Maine State Library Downloadable Books project, which they now provide via Cloud Library.  There have been some issues regarding access to the Cloud, depending on the device being used, but they are working on it and we encourage patrons to let them know what doesn’t work.  You can go to the MSL website at and look for “Get Started with Ebooks” on the left hand side of the screen.  You can sign up as a patron of the Dr. Shaw Memorial Library and use the 4 digit number written in the upper right corner of your library card, rather than the long bar code we use to check out books to you.

Two websites to try:

There is a good genealogy website recommended by the genealogy specialist at MSL.  The site is at .  There you can search the list of ports of entry (Ellis Island, etc) as well as access information on vital records, the Holocaust, DNA, interactive maps, and more.

Families might be interested in an education website called Raising Dragons, at .  It is a good resource that combines activities and ideas around science, math, and art.  You can also like their Facebook page, entitled Raising Dragons – Activities for Kids.

We were able to squeeze in a few tech help sessions with our young volunteer Kaydee in August.  Please let us know if continuing this service would be helpful.  If you need help with your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone regarding social media, downloads, or other issues, please call us at 293-2565 and tell us what it is you need.  We are looking for a few volunteers who can help us put this together, and knowing the kinds of issues that are troublesome to folks would help us know what services to provide.

Carl Storm’s apple tree, planted in our dooryard a number of years ago in his memory, was absolutely laden with fruit this year!  We picked four bags of apples and gave them to patrons and families to take for snacks and lunches.  Last year we were able to share some with the Food Bank, since that is located at the Baptist church where he was minister – we’re not sure we’ll have enough to share this year, but we’ll be glad to send some along if we can!

Nonfiction books on harvesting and processing fruits and vegetables have been going out in recent weeks.  Paul Doiron’s mystery series is as popular as ever, and his latest, Knife Creek, never stays on the shelf for even an entire day.  I have started one of Octavia Butler’s rather dire science fiction novels, Parable of the Sower.  Her writing is superb.  What are you reading as we all enjoy the clear, chill air of the end of summer?

August 2017 

“Without access to the public library as a child, my world would have been smaller, and infinitely less rich.  All those riches, freely available, to everyone and anyone with a library card.  All children should be so lucky.”    Lesley Bryce, in Ali Smith’s Public Library and Other Stories

Our children’s summer programs are almost at a close, though Alice is pulling together one more Build a Better World activity for Wednesday, August 2nd.  Then, the wonderful Ruby Rubins has agreed to come read a book (about a service dog who doesn’t quite pass the test, but manages to save the day any number of times) and talk with the kids about service dogs on Wednesday, August 9th, at 4pm.  Ruby trains different types of service dogs, and will bring her wonderful canine companion, Ruthie, along for the program!  You may have seen Ruthie from time to time this summer at the library.  She is a quiet German Shepherd who loves to lay down next to you and she very much appreciates it if you pet her and scratch behind her ears!  Join us for a wonderful closing to our programs.  We want to thank the parents of our young patrons, and all of the volunteers, who help us with organizing, cleaning up, taking pictures, running a program, and supporting the kids as they put together their crafts and activities.  All of the adults involved definitely have honed their own skills to help build a better world, and are helping the children find their way!

We have lots of programs on the docket for August.  We hope you will join us for any or all of these activities:

Thursday, August 3, 7pm at the Mt. Vernon Community Center – our annual Community Poetry Reading.  We’ve been doing this for about 18 years now.  Bring a favorite poem or two, one from a beloved poet or one of your own, and share it with the rest of us.  We love the New England poets, of course, but we bring work of poets from around the world and from all ages.  If you don’t want to read, please just come to listen to your fellow community members’ voices.  We’ll have a couple of anthologies available, if you get there and decide you want to read after all.  As always, we’ll have some snacks and time for visiting at the end.

Thursday, August 10, 7pm at the Mt. Vernon Community Center – Stories from the Metroplex!  We’re trying something new, and co-sponsoring this with the MVCC folks.  Have you listened to some of the storytelling from “The Moth” on public radio?  We are hoping you will come and share odd bits of stories or writing (someone said she will come and share some very odd recipes she has) that you have run across.  They can be funny or sweet or puzzling, we’ll see what develops.  We ask that the stories are rated PG so it can be family-friendly.  So, come share a piece that will make us smile or shake our heads in wonderment.  Again, we’ll have snacks.

Monday, August 14 and Monday, August 21, 3-5pm at the library – Basic Technology 101 for Adults.  We will set up appointments (about a half-hour) on those afternoons, with our young volunteer, Kaydee Martin, who can sit down with you and help you set up email or download ebooks or create a facebook page, or learn how to text, on various devices.  Bring your cell phone, tablet or ipad, or laptop, and work with Kaydee for a bit to get you started on connecting with others via your device.  Please call the library in advance (293-2565) to set up an appointment – leave a message if you call when we aren’t open, and we’ll get back to you.  If this is something some of our elder community members find useful, we’ll try to have more tech learning opportunities in the future.

Saturday, August 19th, 10am-Noon – Annual Mushroom Walk with Barbara SkapaWe will start at the library parking lot.  Wear clothing suitable for hiking; bring a basket or bag, and a small knife for collecting mushrooms.  The walk may be local, or might involve a short car trip to get to another location.  In the event that it is necessary to cancel due to weather conditions we ask that you preregister for the walk by calling us at 293-2565.  Leave a message if we aren’t open, and we’ll sign you up.  Barbara asks that you give a donation for the walk, which she then gives to us.  We have some mushroom identification books, if you want to check one out!

Wednesday, August 30th, 7pm at the Vienna Grange Hall – “The White Lions of South Africa”.  The Grange is co-sponsoring this event with us, and it looks to be an interesting evening.  Ruby Rubins will show a brief (approximately ½ hr) film entitled “Return of the White Lion” and has pictures of her own time spent there to share with us.  She will talk about her experiences and will lead an open discussion and question & answer period.  We’ll have refreshments.  Join us at the Grange Hall at the end of the month to learn about this amazing topic!

In between setting up programs, doing a bit of weeding in the garden, and picking pie cherries from our tree (and chasing away the resident groundhog!), I’ve been reading a bit of poetry now and then – some of Mary Oliver’s work, William Blake, Naomi Shihab Nye, a few of Russell’s bits and pieces.  I’ve also been enjoying a great geeky book on libraries:  Wayne A. Wiegand’s Part of Our Lives:  a People’s History of the American Public Library.  I think the most popular title in our library collection this summer has been Maine author Paul Doiron’s latest mystery, Knife Creek.  Both of our copies have had long reserve lists on them, but they should be back on the shelves soon.  His series is captivating and well-paced, you might want to check it out.  What are you reading as the apples ripen on the trees?

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library                      July, 2017

 “The poet’s, the writer’s duty is to…help man endure by lifting his heart.”

William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech

Many thanks to Dona Seegers for leading the annual bird walk on a very stormy day!  Let’s hope our programming for the rest of the summer will happen under clear skies.

Thank you also for the volunteers who helped us set up for our rather impromptu book sale at the library on Memorial Day.  People helped us organize books, and baked goodies for hungry customers.  We had a really nice day, sold a lot of books, visited with wonderful people, and we all scrambled outside to watch the parade go by halfway through!  We won’t have our annual book sale in mid-July this year, but there are still plenty of books in the back room for sale.  Please come in and browse, and grab a few to take down to camp!

Alice, along with her various co-presenters, is busy putting the final touches on the Wednesday afternoon summer reading programs for our young patrons. We have the sign-up poster ready (with quite a few readers already listed, along with their reading goals!), and we have flyers with the particulars of each program sitting on the circulation desk.  The basic plan for our “Build a Better World” theme is:

July 5,  4pm:   learn about tropical rain forests, and building a small one to take home.

July 12, 4pm:  learn about common woodworking tools, and making a simple structure using nails, screws, sandpaper, washers, hand drills, glue, and other materials.  We ask that parents help the kids put this all together with us!

July 19, 4pm:  a couple of our young volunteers will do some interactive theatre around “The Three Little Pigs”, and then we’ll put together small cardboard houses to take home.

July 24, 4pm:  Alice and Linda will help us with two art projects – a dried flower collage and a skyline nightscape.

Then, coming up in August (whew, it’s busy in our communities in the summer, isn’t it!) is our annual Community Poetry Reading!  That will be at the Mt. Vernon Community Center, at 7pm on Thursday, August 3rd.  Bring a favorite poem or two to share with all of us, or just come to listen to others’ voices.  People share their own work, poems from beloved writers, some that make us laugh and some that take our breath away.  We’ll have a few anthologies there, if you are inspired to get up and read something to us.  We’ll share snacks and conversation at the end.

Save this date as well:  Thursday, August 10, at 7pm, also at the Mt. Vernon Community Center.  The folks at the MVCC are joining with us to co-sponsor our first-ever event we’re simply calling “Stories from the Metroplex”.  Anyone in the area is invited to share brief stories, musings, and odd or sweet or funny bits of writing they’ve come across.  Ideas for bits to share might include:  stories from your childhood, something you wrote for school and have kept over the years, passages from family correspondence, odd recipes, hopes for future adventures.  We’re sure there are many more examples of great storytelling to share which we haven’t named.  We ask that stories are appropriate for all age levels and are no longer than five minutes in length.  Please join us for storiesand snacks, of course (we seem to always have snacks) – at the Community Center!

Speaking of storytelling, here are a few websites you might want to check out:  Levar (former host of the beloved Reading Rainbow public TV show) reads short fiction aimed at adults, and it is getting good reviews.  Podcast or radio broadcast, you can hear all sorts of people sharing a variety of stories, it is becoming quite popular.  This one is from the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and has been around for a while, also on podcast or radio.  People read bits of writing from their youth, on stage in front of an audience.  Their presentations can be serious or funny and sometimes rather awkward.

Meanwhile, Maine fiction continues to maintain quite a steady readership here.  Paul Doiron’s mysteries are wicked popular, and his latest title, Knife Creek, has quite a waiting list.  Definitely check him out, as well as Gerry Boyle, Kate Flora, Woody Hanstein, and Sarah Graves, if you think you might like Maine mysteries.  I just finished Tracy Chevalier’s short novel, New Boy, a modern retelling of Othello; and The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan, about a woman whose life is now in the US but goes back to Tehran to visit her aging father.  What are you reading or listening to during this beautiful midsummer? 

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library

June, 2017

“I take refuge in my books.”    Julia Ward Howe

Build a better world!  Alice has been working diligently with teachers and parents and various other creative folks to put together a plan for our summer reading program.  We might change things up a bit as we go, but the basic outline is in place. This year’s theme is Build a Better World.  The programs will be held Wednesday afternoons at 4pm, starting the first week of July.  The schedule looks like this:

Wednesday, July 5, 4pm:  Learn about the layers in a tropical rain forest and build your own rainforest in a box!  This art project will include using an assortment of materials.

Wednesday, July 12, 4pm:  Learn about a variety of common woodworking tools, and then make your own structure using nails, screws, sandpaper, washers, hand drill, glue, and a variety of other materials – explore and create!  Parents are encouraged to stay and assist with this hands-on activity.

Wednesday, July 19, 4pm:  Teen volunteers Claire and Kusha will prepare and present an interactive puppet play of “The Three Little Pigs”.  Children will then build a house using manipulative toys and also make and take their own cardboard house.

Wednesday, July 24, 4pm:  Alice and Linda will assist children in two art projects – a dried flower collage which will make a lovely framed souvenir, and a skyline nightscape.  We’ll try to find just the right accompanying story!

We hope you and your children can join us – it is always a fun, active afternoon of play and it’s a great chance to spend precious time with friends!

Also coming right up is the Annual Bird Walk!  Dona Seegers will be ready to take us around Mt. Vernon village for some birdwatching on Monday, June 19th.  She’ll meet you in the parking area at the library at 4pm.  Remember to bring a pair of binoculars if you have one, and wear comfortable shoes and clothing that will protect you from those pesky black flies and mosquitoes.  We’ll have some of our bird identification guidebooks on display that week, if you want to refresh your memory a bit!  And remember, you can spend some time on Cornell’s webpage about bird identification and birdsong, too:   Hover over “All about birds” along the top, and click on “Bird Academy” in the dropdown box.

We’re still plotting and scheming about other programming, and will let you know what we come up with next.  The annual Community Poetry Reading will happen in early August as usual, and we’ll set a definite date next month.

As we head towards summer, we’ll have some of next year’s KVBA and MSBA books on the mantel in the children’s room so our younger patrons don’t have to wait till the next school year to start on their reading list.  One of Steve Jenkins’ fantastic nonfiction animal books is on the list – he’s a favorite author for many of us!

I tend to like somewhat calm and genteel books at the end of the day.  I’ve been reading my way through the Miss Dimple cozy mystery series by Mignon F. Ballard.  They are set in the small town of Elderberry, Georgia during WWII, and the mysteries are solved by a group of teachers (and their good friend, the town librarian!).  I also just finished the latest novel by Roland Merullo (author of Breakfast With Buddha), entitled the Delight of Being Ordinary.  The current pope and the Dalai Lama, and the pope’s cousin Paolo – and his former wife Rosa, who manages to arrange for their needs – go on a four day road trip, incognito, to get away from their very public lives and to seek some spiritual guidance.  Gentle shenanigans ensue, and their time together is funny, sweet, and thoughtful.  What are you reading while the orchards are in bloom and the newly planted calendula seeds sprout green stems and tiny leaves up above the soil?

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