Dr. Shaw Memorial Library May 2018

Dr. Shaw Memorial Library May 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:
https://www.mainelions.org/eye-glass-contacts     This resource is listed, along with other resources for seniors, on our library website at www.drshawlibrary.org .  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:  www.biodiversitylibrary.org/browse/collections .

And, we linked to this one on our Facebook page this month:  www.storytimefromspace.com – 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?

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NewsletterApril 2016


“A library is a place vibrating with ideas.”

Nancy Kunhardt Lodge


We are planning our upcoming summer reading program.  The theme this year is:  “On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!”  It is designed to support and promote the passion for play – and reading is always an important part of imaginative play.  We’re thinking:  dance or yoga and games, hula hoops, movement of all kinds.  Maybe some music, gardening.  And of course – plenty of stories and books!

It looks like the annual Bird Walk will be back on the docket.  We are talking with our two lead birders, and once we come up with a definite date, we’ll let you know more.

Thank you to our wonderful tax gurus for once again helping so many of us in the surrounding community with our income tax paperwork!  Yet again we had quite a waiting list, and David found a way to fit in a few extra people here and there.  This is such a wonderful service offered to our citizens.

We (and by “we”, I mean mostly Alice and Marianne Archard and Jim Anderberg) are constructing a website for the library!  Lots of editing happening at this point, and there are always a few more things to add, but we are ready for you to take a look!   You can visit our site at drshawlibrary.org.  It is yet another way for you to connect with us.

With all of the emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning for young people, we have been looking at our collection lately, taking stock of our science-related resources for all ages.  What we look for in literature having to do with science for our youngest readers are topical books that also tell a good, engaging story through narrative, cool information, and – always – remarkable artwork.  Our picture book collection includes books that introduce physics (Darlene Stille’s Air Outside, Inside, and All Around; and Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow); biology and nature (Stockland’s Sandy, Leaf, or Coral Reef: a Book About Animal Habitats; I Am Water, by Jean Marzolo); earth systems (Rosinsky’s Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough); and applied science (The Day-Glo Brothers, by Chris Barton).  Top authors to keep in mind are Gail Gibbons, Jim Arnosky, and Joanna Cole (we have her Magic School Bus series of books, as well as videos).  There are so many more titles and authors that bear mentioning, but we’ll stop there for now.

The Juvenile 500s (science) collection covers chemistry, physics, magnetism and electricity, science experiments, water & earth, sea life, animals & insects.  Our go-to authors are Seymour Simon and Steve Jenkins – they give us great information and narrative coupled with gorgeous illustration.  The Eyewitness book series is always popular, no matter what topic.

Don’t forget to check our 500s in the adult nonfiction, too.  There’s plenty to pique your interest.  Besides a wide array of field guides, there is lots of fascinating narrative, creative writing by beloved authors like Rachel Carson, Dean Bennet (local nature writer), Diane Ackerman, and Stephen Hawking.

Meanwhile, to “depart the text”, we have a new Maine Poet Laureate, Stuart Kestenbaum.  Stuart came to do a reading at Vienna Union Hall last year, to quite an appreciative crowd.  We have three of his books in our collection.  This week, I lent out my own copy of Mary Oliver’s most recent book of poetry, Felicity, to a dear friend; and I’ve been paging through an old favorite book, Birch Stream and Other Poems by Maine poet Anna Boynton Averill.  All of it keeps me in mind of a phrase written by our young patrons who leave encouraging and thoughtful notes for us to find around the library.  They spoke, in a recent note, of living “deep, like a poet”.  This seems to be a wise and beautiful way to shape a life, don’t you think?  Something to aspire to.  What are you reading during the slow turning towards spring?

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Expansion Update

About $210,000 towards our expansion project.  The exact timing of our ground breaking is yet to be determined as the grant writing projects are still in process.   Meanwhile, an energy audit was performed on the main building.  Many suggestions were made that could greatly reduce the loss of heat through the part of the building which will not be affected by the expansion.  This work will be done in the near future.

Donations are greatly appreciated and can be mailed to the library at 344 Pond Rd. Mt. Vernon, Maine  04352

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Expansion Update

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.Expansion Update

About $210,000 towards our expansion project.  The exact timing of our ground breaking is yet to be determined as the grant writing projects are still in process.   Meanwhile, an energy audit was performed on the main building.  Many suggestions were made that could greatly reduce the loss of heat through the part of the building which will not be affected by the expansion.  This work will be done in the near future.

Donations are greatly appreciated and can be mailed to the library at 344 Pond Rd. Mt. Vernon, Maine  04352

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Library Column – Mt. Vernon Newsletter

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 (DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us) 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: https://www.maineinfonet.org/download/downloadlibrary/

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: https://librivox.org/

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: http://www.gutenberg.org/

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 ( DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.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 https://drshawlibrary.org/ for any updated information regarding library services. Or leave a phone message for us (293-2565) or an email at DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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 DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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 malibby18@gmail.com 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 https://drshawlibrary.org (click on “catalog”) and search by author, title, or subject. Then email us at DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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: https://drshawlibrary.org/ 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 DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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: https://drshawlibrary.org/

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:  https://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/services/childliteracy.htm   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:  https://library.digitalmaine.org/

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 https://.drshawlibrary.org 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: https://mainememory.net/mymainestories   A good way to archive the history of our current challenges.

You can email us at DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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 DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us 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 https://drshawlibrary.org/ (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:https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml
  2. PBS Learning Media: https://mainepublic.pbslearningmedia.org/
  3. Free Audible stories for kids: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
  4. How to use Maine State Library Cloudlibrary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLn-FyzYhks&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2zU41oHYK0C5JpRiOgLFo1snUnEEEvwZSqhgQ-xEaE1vZmQzrU6-JB9Ew
  5. Open Culture educational resources for all ages: http://www.openculture.com/

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:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

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 www.drshawlibrary.org 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 jilrdomom@gmail.com.  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 http://www.pcsformaine.org/ or call them at  338-4233.

A few online science sites for young people and their parents which might be of interest:
https://pbskids.org/sid/   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.

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/  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.

https://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics  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?
https://www.youtube.com/user/minuteearth  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:  jilrdomom@gmail.com, 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 DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us   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:  https://www.rif.org/literacy-central/parents

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:  jilrdomom@gmail.com, 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 www.thebirdist.com ).  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 www.thebirdist.com . 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:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/

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 www.readingrockets.org .  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):  www.mainepublic.org/programs/poems-here-maine-poet-laureate-stuart-kestenbaum.  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 www.poetryfoundation.org 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:  https://wehavekids.com/education/k12interactivepoetry

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  https://www.efficiencymaine.com/  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 www.ptla.org  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 www.mathsisfun.com  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 https://drshawlibrary.org   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:

www.amazingspace.org Space Telescope Education Program includes information on the solar system, galaxies, gravity, comets, the history of science, and more.

www.Soils4kids.org  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.

www.easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-soil/  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:  www.drshawlibrary.org .   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 parade.com/help for stories and advice from caregivers.
  • Go to alz.org for support suggestions. This site also offers an excellent checklist about normal memory loss compared to signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Visit abesgarden.org 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 https://www.dkfindout.com/us/ , 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 https://www.youtube.com/user/itsokaytobesmart .  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:  www.ccmaine.org/SEARCH


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 youtube.com for “Vienna Maine plays”, or go directly to these URLs –

“Making Josie Jealous” by Beverly Wight Smith (www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAXyOwsKNY4)

“Doctor’s Orders” by Cheryl Herr-Rains  (www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTa88fizNXA&t=487s)

“Cheap Lodging Available” by Beverly  (www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpLC1giLcrU&t=67s)

“Ghosts for Sale” by Cheryl  (www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5dnMS_jSHg&t=135s)

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:  https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html

A Book in Time – all about history:  https://www.abookintime.com/

How Stuff Works – one for adults and older kids.  We’ve featured this one before:  https://www.howstuffworks.com/

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 www.mainelse.org, 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:  www.npr.org/series/462045954/skunk-bear  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 www.duolingo.com.  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 https://drshawlibrary.org/.  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:  www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html

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, Hannaford.com or Walmart.com/grocery, 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:
https://www.mainelions.org/eye-glass-contacts     This resource is listed, along with other resources for seniors, on our library website at www.drshawlibrary.org .  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:  www.biodiversitylibrary.org/browse/collections .

And, we linked to this one on our Facebook page this month:  www.storytimefromspace.com – 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 www.edsitement.neh.gov .  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 https://drshawlibrary.org for any information we have about the project, or email us at DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us.  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 DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us.  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: https://www.howstuffworks.com/
Here’s a good one for families who love cooking – Spatulatta: Cooking for Kids, at http://spatulatta.com/. 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: https://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/ 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: http://www.oshermaps.org. 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 www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/explore.  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:  gws.ala.org .  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:  https://www.exploratorium.edu/explore/websites.  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 http://www.maine.gov/msl/ 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 www.stevemorse.org .  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 www.raisingdragons.com .  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:

www.levarburtonpostcast.com  Levar (former host of the beloved Reading Rainbow public TV show) reads short fiction aimed at adults, and it is getting good reviews.

https://themoth.org/radio-hour-stations/maine  Podcast or radio broadcast, you can hear all sorts of people sharing a variety of stories, it is becoming quite popular.

https://grownupsreadthingstheywroteaskids.com  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:  http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1478   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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Dr. Shaw Memorial Library-May 2017

“But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.”   Helen Hayes

We will have our annual Bird Walk around the village on Monday, June 12, at 3:30pm, led by the incomparable Dona Seegers.  Meanwhile, we have some great bird identification guides in the 598 section of our nonfiction collection.  You may remember that our favorite birding website is the Cornell University’s page:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org .  At that site, they also review various phone apps for identifying birdsong.  For that, go here:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/our-review-best-iphone-apps-for-learning-bird-songs/ .

Last summer, with lots of help from Len Roe and Dan Hamilton, we placed a little neighborhood library at the corner of Wings Mills Road and Bartlett Road, in front of The People’s Bookshop.  Dan keeps it well-stocked.  Unbeknownst to us, the latch on the little door was stuck for a good part of the winter, but it is working again, so the folks at that end of town can now stop by and grab a few books whenever they have a chance.  The other two little libraries are located on Demariano Road (stocked by the Roe’s), and at the far end of the Belgrade Road (stocked by the Jacksons), right before you turn onto Castle Island Road.  Many thanks to all of the good-hearted booklovers for building and stocking these miniature treasure troves.

We have often worked with Barbara Skapa on providing cheesemaking workshops over the years.  If you would like to attend a session, please talk to us, and when we have enough people interested, we’ll schedule a day with Barbara.  You can visit the library to let us know, or leave us a message at 293-2565, or email us at DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us .  We’ll get back to you.

Our Maine fiction collection continues to grab the attention of many of our patrons.  Perennial favorites are Gerry Boyle’s mysteries; Monica Wood’s and Elizabeth Strout’s beautiful novels that feature strong and sometimes tough characters; and some of the older books by Elizabeth Ogilvie (set along the Maine coast).  Some other good ones to keep in mind are Earl H. Smith’s books – Head of Falls, set in Waterville in the 1950s, is currently popular;  Bruce Robert Coffin’s mystery Among the Shadows; and Jon Keller’s Of Sea and Cloud.  We also just got Ron Currie’s One-Eyed Man, which has gotten lots of press.  We have the new Stephen King book, Hearts in Suspension – nonfiction, for the most part – a collection of essays by him and others, as well as a novella.  It is circulating right now, but you can ask us to put you on the reserves list.  We hope we’ll soon have the new Elizabeth Strout novel, Anything Is Possible.

One last Maine resource:  we now have the brief (1/2 hour) video entitled “From Stump to Ship, a 1930 Logging Film”, narrated by Tim Sample.  It is comprised of old black and white clips of the year-round work of a coastal logging company.  It was originally produced as a silent motion picture, and was then reworked as a project by UMaine & the Maine Humanities Council.

If you follow our Facebook page, you know that we have received some new packets of various veggie and flower seeds for our exchange.  Apparently some branches of the National Honor Society have been putting together combinations of seed packets, and we have been a recipient of a few of them!  What a wonderful idea!  And some of our area gardeners have donated their own seeds, or partial packets of varieties they have left over from planting seeds from Fedco, Johnny’s, and other providers.  We are so grateful to everyone.  Rhonda Marquis’ calendula and parsnip seeds from her garden are always popular.  Stop by to share some seeds, or take some home.

I am reading a few geeky books about libraries from my own shelves at home.  The one I’ve just now started is by Wiegand, and is entitled Part of Our Lives: a People’s History of the American Public Library.  I’ve also borrowed a new Eva Gates cozy mystery from the library, called By Book or by Crook, about a woman who becomes a special collections librarian on the Outer Banks, and the murder and mayhem that ensues.  What will you be reading as you plant your garden and listen to the peepers and loons?


“All Librarians are Secret Masters of Severe Magic. Goes with the territory. A Library at its ripping, roaring best is a raucous beast to ride.” – Catherynne Valente, The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Itʼs that time of year. Remember to call us on snow/ice days to see if we are open, before you venture out. Generally we are closed when there are school closings, and there are other times when we canʼt get to the library to open. Call us!

Tax Help days will be coming up in February and March, organized by our AARP Volunteer Tax Guru, David Fuller. We will have four Saturdays available for appointments. Our dates this year are: February 13 and 27, and March 12 and 26. To make an appointment, call the library at 293-2565 – weʼll start accepting appointments at the start of January. This is a wonderful service offered to our community elders and others who need help. Thank you, David, and Senior Spectrum!

You may have seen the article in the KJ about our communityʼs latest project, Neighbors Driving Neighbors, which is now up and running. We want you to know that the wonderful volunteer drivers are very willing to bring you to the library! We are working to see how else we can provide library services to those in need within the community. Weʼll let you know about our efforts as we move forward.

Weʼll keep our Can Due program going for another week or two. Please bring in some items for the Food Bank and weʼll deliver them. Weʼve already gotten a lovely thank you letter from the Food Bank folks, for what has been donated so far!

After Alice Olson and Linda Smith held a homework help workshop for parents in early November, they and Sarah Caban (the school districtʼs instructional math person) left us some notes on a couple of math websites which might come in handy for parents of young students. Try looking at these for a bit of help and inspiration for you and your children.
Math Tappers is a free app for your mobile device, just type in that name on your app store. There are math games about finding sums, time, and estimating fractions.
Mathsframe  here It helps with number lines,
time, balance calculations, and more.
Talking math With Your Kids  here gives ideas on how to integrate
math talk into basic conversations.
One weʼve mentioned before: Bedtime Math here
Lots of games and ideas for how a family can incorporate math into their household routines.

One more idea about online resources: If you are trying to
learn a foreign language, or help someone else learn, you can get started via the BBC. Rosettastone.com and babbel.com are good sites, but there is a fee involved. At www.bbc.co.uk/languages you can get familiar with over 30 languages. You can look up

essential phrases travelers might need, like “I need help, please”, or find resources for teachers & tutors, and look into introductory instruction.

There is a Maine author of juvenile fiction we want to mention. Catherynne M. Valente has written a series about a young girl who travels back and forth between her home in the plains states, to Fairyland. There are lots of fantastical creatures, plenty of adventure, and the prose is beautiful. Some of the creatures start out scary, but you eventually learn why and how they can sometimes wreak havoc. Her books are reminiscent of classic childrenʼs literature like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or Wind in the Willows. We have the first two in the series, and hope to get the next two. The first title in the series is: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairland in a Ship of Her Own Making. These books might make a good family read aloud during the long winter nights.

New adult nonfiction titles on the shelf this month are getting good reviews in newspapers & book blogs. We have Rinker Buckʼs The Oregon Trail; Dark Places of the Earth, about a slave ship, by Jonathan M. Bryant; Voracious, by Cara Nicoletti (itʼs about cooking and literature – how can you go wrong with that?); a beautiful book by Robert Llewellyn entitled Seeing Seeds (gorgeous photography); and another to help you dream and plan your way to next yearʼs garden – Ken Druseʼs The New Shade Garden. Itʼs beautiful.

Iʼm about to delve into some of Maine author Henry Bestonʼs old books that have been sitting on my own shelf at home. What are you reading as winter approaches?

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Newsletter Oct-Nov 2015

“Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for.” – Brian Selznick, from Wonderstruck

We are starting our annual CAN DUE program (forgiveness regarding overdues combined with canned goods collection) this month. Remember that if you bring in some items for us to donate to the Mt. Vernon Food Bank, all of your guilt about overdue library materials this past year will magically disappear. Bring us some canned or boxed goods (large cans of soup are great – winter’s coming!) or personal care items. We’ll get them to the Food Bank.

Most of our picture books about apples have been out constantly since early September. Now we are displaying some of our pumpkin, Halloween, and autumn books on the table in the children’s room. I’m sure they will prove to be as
popular as the apple books!

Also among the picture books, we have a nice collection from Raising Readers, a project of the Libra Foundation here in Maine. Each book is a collection of stories to share with your young children, from many different Maine authors (Chris Van Dusen and Robert McCloskey, for example). You might have seen some of these at your pediatrician’s office, too, since the member organizations of this project want to get these into the hands of all Maine youngsters and are distributing them far and wide. Our books are shelved together, with the spine label marked PB RAI. Keep these in mind for family reading time this winter.

Some websites we’ve been looking at lately, which you might find helpful, or just plain fun: www.familysearch.org is a site that lets you search for family & geneology information, but also lets you create your own family tree or chart, and add photos, to share with others.

http://www.mpbn.net Their education resources are varied & extensive. Along the top tab bar, hover over the “Education” tab, and then click on PBS Learning Media/STEM Resource Bank; Adults; Parents and Families; Educators: or Kids.

http://www.zooniverse.org A website of scientific discovery where the public can participate in research and information sharing in various sciences (astronomy, zoology, biology, wildlife & habitat, etc).
http://www.yummy-books.com Cara Nicoletti’s blog about making the recipes she finds in literature (from Roald Dahl to Jane Austen to Anthony Doerr). Light-hearted, with some book-talk, and great (sometimes amusing) recipes. She has a book out now, too, called Voracious.

In the past few months I’ve been enjoying a lot of fiction set in small towns. Many of our patrons have, too, and we’ve been swapping titles back and forth. We like these stories

because the setting feels comfortable & familiar, of course; but also we are drawn to the very quirky characters, with all of their flaws and their own complicated backstories. These are books about imperfect people living in challenging but beloved places. Pretty soon we’ll put a partial list of small town fiction on the white board in the main room — please feel free to add to it! Meanwhile, here are a few titles to get you started:
  • Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by Bruce W. Cameron
  • Cold Storage, Alaska by John Straley
  • Lots of Maine writers like Sarah Graves, Elizabeth Ogilvie, Cathie Pelletier, and Gerry Boyle
  • Louise Penny’s popular mysteries (Canada)
  • Susan Wittig Albert’s mysteries that feature medicinal herbs
  • The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry (it will be in our collection soon, I’ve almost convinced various family members to part with it)
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (ditto, re our family letting it out of the house)

I just finished that last novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel, a wonderful story. What are you reading in between putting up applesauce and filling the woodbox?

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Newsletter Aug-Sep 2015

“When I was about eight, I decided that the most wonderful thing, next to a human being, was a book.” – Margaret Walker

Our childrenʼs programs are finished for the summer. We ended our “Be a Hero” series with music by Dan Simons. The kids love listening to him, and singing along. We are so grateful to all of our program heroes – we had a teacher, fire department and rescue people, a Maine author, and of course our musician, who read to us and presented so much great information and engaged our young patrons in beautiful conversations. We also thank the parents and grandparents who helped put together our craft projects – and we would have been lost without our summer program volunteer, Remi! Thanks also to Matt Dunn, as always, for providing ice cream certificates for the young patrons who signed up for summer reading and are working toward their goals of number of pages read.

The annual book sale was busy, and we got to visit with lots of people. Again, our volunteers made it all possible: everyone worked so hard, set-up was completed in record time! Thanks to all who helped load and unload innumerable boxes of books. We also want to thank the girls who set up a table to sell bouquets of wildflowers and homemade jewelry to benefit the library. In our book, all of our library volunteers are Super Heroes.

Monday, August 3rd at 7pm we will be at the Mt. Vernon Community Center for an information session on the proposed addition to the library building. The head of our board of trustees, George Smith, will be on hand to talk about the process and answer questions, and weʼll have the architectural drawings on display.

Then Thursday night that week, August 6, also at 7pm at the Community Center, weʼll have our annual Community Poetry Reading! Weʼve lost track of how long weʼve been doing this, but we guess itʼs been about 15 or 16 years. Join us for one of our most beloved programs. Bring a favorite poem to read, and listen to friends & neighbors recite Frost or Stevenson or Millay (or Silverstein). Weʼll have some anthologies there if you are inspired to read also, but forgot to bring a poem with you. Join us for a truly beautiful evening, and stay for light refreshments at the end.

To end the summer, respected Maine poet Stuart Kestenbaum will be reading his own work at the Vienna Union Hall on Wednesday, August 26 at 7pm. Iʼve been reading poems from his book Prayers & Run-on Sentences during quiet moments all summer. His writing is exquisite. It should be a fine night, please be with us.

My favorite novel this summer was Nina Georgeʼs A Little Paris Bookshop. A good story, quick read, and it is about a bookseller who recommends books to his customers based on the healing properties those books will hold in the personʼs life. Books as medicine! How could that not be a great read? Another beautiful novel, by Sena Jeter Naslund (author of Ahabʼs Wife), is Four Spirits, about a cast of characters as they make their way through the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s Birmingham. Well-written, and moving. What have you been reading when you arenʼt canning green beans, drying herbs, or sitting at the edge of the pond?

* Mary Anne Libby

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Newsletter Jun-Jul 2015

Library Column June 2015

Our “Be a Hero!” summer reading program is shaping up. All story/activity periods will take place at the library at 4pm on Monday afternoons starting June 29 and going through July. While we love super hero characters – especially those featured in children’s books (Traction Man by Mini Grey!), our Monday afternoon activities will revolve more around the “every day heroes” of a community. This is what our schedule looks like:

June 29, Maine author Nancy Prince, who wrote Libby’s Loons (the main character is a bit of a hero, trying to protect loons!). Nancy’s programs are geared towards both kids and adults, so please join us.

July 6, Fire Fighter hero from Mt. Vernon! One of our heroes will come visit with us.

July 13, Mrs. Hatt, our magnificent 4th grade teacher hero, with story time and craft.
July 20, One of our Mt. Vernon Rescue heroes (complete with ambulance!)

July 27, and lastly, our fine local music hero, singer Dan Simons, who will do music and song with our young patrons. His performance was very popular last year. You’ll love it.

We’ll send flyers home with MVES students this month so you can keep track of the schedule for the children’s programs.

Our housing discussion (Home is where the heart is) will be at the library on Sunday, June 7, @ 3pm. Sandy Wright, Rebecca Dorr, and Greg Plimpton (who builds accessory housing in Southern Maine) will be on hand to talk about their experiences with trying to help people figure out housing issues faced by both young folks just starting out, and seniors, who live in small rural communities. We want to hear your frustrations and worries about housing, as well as share ideas you may have about making home a safe, affordable, and comforting place within a thriving, caring community. Rebecca and Mary Anne will bring some refreshments.

The annual used book sale will be at the Mt. Vernon Community Center as usual on Saturday, July 18, starting at 9am. We have so many books to sell! Join us to browse the tables, buy lots of books for summer reading, and enjoy impromptu visits with various community members. We’ll have paperback & hard cover fiction and nonfiction, children’s books, as well as some movies and audiobooks.

And finally, our annual Community Poetry Reading is scheduled for Thursday evening, August 6, at 7pm in the Mt. Vernon Community Center. Mark your calendars – a beautiful evening, with community members reading or reciting beloved classics or contemporary and “homegrown” verse. It is always an amazing mix of beautiful literature and the warm and familiar voices of our dear friends and neighbors. There will be cookies.

Cool website of the month: Go Botany, a project providing information and resources about New England plants, funded in part by the National Science Foundation. If you click on their “simple key”, you can find ways to help identify some of those woodland and field plants you’ve been wondering about. Their url is: gobotany.newenglandwild.org

We are hoping to open the library an extra 3-4 hours this summer. The past few years we’ve opened on Wednesday mornings from 9-12 in July and August. Are there other hours or days you would prefer? Let us know, and we’ll consider it. Our phone is 293-2565, and our email is: DrShaw@shaw.lib.me.us. You can “like” our Facebook page (Dr. Shaw Memorial Library) and post your preference there, too.

–Mary Anne Libby

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