Blog

Don’t forget about the gardens!

In all the excitement about Topsham Public Library being open to the public, I hope you don’t forget to visit the gardens. Even though the building has been closed, our garden volunteers have been working hard and the gardens are a beautiful sign of their labors. Stroll through and enjoy the sights and sounds of our beautiful setting.

In every walk in nature one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir

We’re Opening!!

It’s true! Topsham Public Library is ready to open the building to the public! Here are the details!

Beginning Monday, July 6, we will open Mondays through Fridays 9am-5pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm and closed on Sundays. (Please note that we will be closed on July 3 and 4.)

A mask is required to enter and you will be expected to keep the mask on while in the library. Upon entering, there will be a hand sanitizing station which you will need to use.

There will be a limit of 20 people allowed in the library at one time. In addition to limiting the number of people in the library, there will be a 30 minute limit for those in the library.

Tape on floor marking social distancing space.

Social distancing is required and you will notice tape on the floor to help all of  us to remember to do that. Loitering and congregating will not be allowed.

The study rooms are off limits. The couches and chairs will not be available. The toys in the children’s area and the children’s computers have been removed and are not available. Board books will not be circulated.

The checkout process will be a little different as well. To maintain social distancing during the checkout process, tables have been set up in front of the circulation desk. On the desk will be a scanner. You will scan your library card and your items. There will be an aide behind the desk to ensure everything scans and runs smoothly. Return dates will remain as normal: 3 weeks from time of checkout.

We do not have a firm date, yet, as to when Interlibrary Loan service will recommence, but the rumor mill says it may happen soon.

The reciprocal borrowing program has been suspended until further notice. If you are a Topsham resident you may receive a Topsham Library card at no charge. If you are a non-resident of Topsham you may apply for a Topsham Library card with a cost of $65 for the year. For more information and to apply for a card, whether you are a Topsham resident or not, click here.

Due to quarantining protocols, we will continue to only take returns on Saturdays and Sundays through the outside drop boxes.

And just a reminder: children under 11 years old will not be admitted without an adult.

We’ve cleaned. We’ve organized. We’ve planned. We’re ready. Again, please be patient as this is the first time we’ve dealt with a pandemic. There will be kinks along the way, but we will iron them out.

We hope to see you soon!!

It’s good to be back!

Thank you! It’s so good to be back, and your response has been so positive! We appreciate your patience as we figure out the process and procedures to our parking lot pick up. We enjoy seeing everyone’s happy faces when we bring items out to your car! We love our community!

Because everything went so smoothly, we have expanded our pick up hours to our new operating hours which are Monday through Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.

There are three ways you may request items for pick up:

Interlibrary loan is not operating at this time, so you are limited to items that Topsham Public Library owns. Items may only be returned on Saturdays and Sundays through the drop boxes. At this time, everything is due July 10 and fines are not accruing.

There is an air of family reunion about the place when we hear your voices on the phone and see your faces in the parking lot. Many of you have asked when we will be reopening the building. We do not have a date, yet, but we are working on safety protocols and space considerations in anticipation of opening.

We are so happy to be back, and we are so thankful for you all!

 

An Author Amongst Us

If you haven’t heard the news, we are so excited to announce that Emma, our Adult Services Librarian, has released a book of horror short stories! We just can’t help but brag on her behalf and spread the news.

Dark Blood Comes From the Feet by Emma J. Gibbon, was released on May 22 has already sold out on amazon.co.uk!! It is available wherever books are sold, and of course, we will have a copy here at Topsham Public Library!

Within its pages, you will meet secret societies who contract deadly diseases on purpose, dancers helping each other avoid “below,” monstrous children who must be loved before they return to the sea, a taxidermy-obsessed mother, small blue devils in the Maine woods, a black cat that retrieves the dying, the last witch in Florida, and “a huge dog of potentially supernatural origin.” Visit haunted houses, a Hollywood nightclub, limbo, Whitechapel, and other stops on a death tour, and a childhood hangout that spells destruction for kids and dogs alike. Listen to a punk rock sermon in a post-apocalyptic matriarchal society, witness crustaceans that have trouble staying dead, a cannibalistic romance, a gothic love story to tuberculosis and a downtrodden wife’s transformation.

Other writers have chimed in as well:

“Careful, or you might cut yourself on these stories—little gems with sharp edges which deserve to be treasured alongside the jewels of Shirley Jackson and Sylvia Townsend Warner—in the tradition of the illuminating dark.”
—M. Rickert, World Fantasy Award-winning author of You Have Never Been Here

“Visceral, searing, and whimsical all at once, Emma J. Gibbon’s work somehow combines and carries on the bloodlines of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Johnny Rotten. Dark Blood Comes from the Feet is a perfect rainy-day read. The Mary Poppins of Horror has arrived!”
—Morgan Sylvia, author of Abode

“Gibbon invites us to macabre destinations, including a strip club in Purgatory, a Lovecraftian orphanage, and a day at the beach that would make Cronenberg proud. In this collection of short stories, we meet relatable characters in horrific situations, and may even recognize ourselves among the pages.”
—Michelle Renee Lane, Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author of Invisible Chains

“Gibbon is a compelling new voice in horror. Part punk, part metal, part crooner, her work resonates beautifully.” —Catherynne M. Valente, NYT/USA Today Bestselling Author of Space Opera and Deathless

Emma is originally from Yorkshire and now lives in a spooky little house in the woods with her husband, Steve, and three exceptional animals: Odin, Mothra, and M. Bison (also known as Grim).

Her stories have appeared in various anthologies including Wicked Weird, Wicked Haunted, and The Muse & the Flame and on the Toasted Cake podcast. She also has a story upcoming in Would but Time Await: An Anthology of New England Folk Horror from Haverhill Publishing. This year, she has been nominated twice for the Rhysling Award for her poems “Fune-RL” (Strange Horizons) and “Consumption” (Eye to the Telescope). Her poetry has also been published in Liminality, Pedestal Magazine and is upcoming in Kaleidotrope. She is a member of the New England Horror Writers, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, the Angela Carter Society, and the Tuesday Mayhem Society. Learn more about Emma and read some of her other stories on her website, emmajgibbon.com.

 

Parking Lot Pick Up Service

The excitement is building!! We do ask you to remember that all this is not only new to you, but new to us as well. We all need to try and be flexible as we try to restore a level of service that we have not experienced before. Below is information and instructions in regards to curbside pickup:

  • Topsham Public Library will be open for parking lot pickup beginning Tuesday, June 2 and will run until further notice.
  • The pickup hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays 12noon-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. We will be closed to the public on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • It is parking lot pickup. The building will remain closed to the public.
  • When you arrive, please park in the large parking lot and wait in your car. A staff member will bring your items out to you. Please, do not get out of your car. Loitering and congregating is strongly discouraged. No parking allowed in the fire lane.
  • There will be a limit of 5 items per card per visit. Inter Library Loan (ILL) is not operating at this time, and only our items are available. We want to make try and make sure there are items for everyone.
  • Items may only be returned on Saturdays and Sundays in the drop boxes. Returns will not be accepted at any other time, even if you are picking up items during curbside pickup we will not be able to take your returns at that time.
  • The Reciprocal Borrowing Program has been suspended until further notice.

How do you request items, you ask? Well, there are a few ways available to you:

  • The best way is to request items through minerva.maine.edu. The only items that you are able to request, at this time, are items that Topsham Public Library owns. ILLs are not available at this time. If you request an item that we do not have in our collection your request will not be successful.
  • If you do not have a specific item in mind, you may also fill out the online form found here. Fill out the questionnaire and staff will match your likes with some items that should match those likes.
  • Call us at 725-1727 Mondays through Fridays 9am-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. We will take your requests over the phone during those hours, but the curbside pickup hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays  12noon-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. We will let you know when your items will be ready for pickup.

We look forward to providing service to you again! Please remember to be flexible as things will change as we look to improve our service.

Curbside Pick Up Begins June 2

We are still hammering out the details, but we are so excited to announce that curbside pick up from Topsham Public Library will be available beginning Tuesday, June 2!

There will be a limit on the number of items you may have which will be much reduced from the normal limits. Inter Library Loan (ILL) is not running at this time, so the available items are the items that we have in our own collection and we want to make sure there is enough for everyone.

The way in which you request our items will also be a little different and that procedure we are still working on.

Once your items are ready for pick up, we ask that you park and wait for us to come to you. Please, do not get out of your car. We are still social distancing and cannot encourage loitering or congregating with others at this time.

We have missed you and cannot wait to see you all!

Drop Box Opens For Limited Hours and Message from Friends of Topsham Public Library

Here’s an update from Susan Preece, Director of Topsham Public Library:

Susan working at home--yes that is an ironing board!Thank you for your patience during this pandemic!  We are anxious to get back to business but, as you know, public health and safety must come first. We are hopeful that we can begin to provide some of our services in June, however the library remains CLOSED to the public. We are going to open our book drops in a VERY LIMITED way. This is a first step–please hang in there as we all try to cope with our “new normal.”  If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at director@topshamlibrary.org or 536-8170 and leave a message. We will return your call.

As a first step in our process of slowly bringing library services back to Topsham, we are accepting material returns through the book drops ON WEEKENDS ONLY. The drop boxes will remain closed Monday thru Friday so that the returned items will be untouched for the CDC recommended quarantine time before being handled by staff.

No library items in your possession are due, and they are not accruing fines, so you are welcome to hang onto them if you prefer. For the month of May, those of you who would like to return your library items are welcome to do so on Saturdays and Sundays only.

We hope to provide additional services as soon as it is safe to do so for you and for the staff. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

 

Friends of Topsham Public Library have announced that the Annual Book Sale scheduled for September will be cancelled this year.

With the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic and our inability to safely handle book donations, we have reluctantly made this decision. We cannot accept book donations this year.

The Book Sale has been our chief fundraiser to support virtually all programs at the library. We look forward to finding other ways to support our mission. We are grateful to our many donors, buyers and supporters.

Just a Bit of Fun

Sometimes, I just don’t know what to write, so in order to get the creative juices flowing, I tried something different. I don’t know where this idea came from, but I thought I’d give it a go. I chose a music playlist, it was comprised of 308 songs, and I typed out the first line of each song in the playlist. I arranged the first lines into a story. Of the 308 first lines, I used 113. I did have a few rules to abide by: I could only use songs on the original playlist regardless of the fact that there are songs not on the playlist that work better because it would take forever to finish the story otherwise; I removed all the “na-na-nas,” “doo-wops,” and “oh, babys”; I could not alter the first line at all. To help you identify the first lines they are in italics.

In the back of my mind, I hear Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake singing the story. It’s a bit hokey, but have fun with it! It is what it is…

 

Desperado

I’ve lived a long life and now I’m looking back, even though my Mama always said, “Don’t you dare look back.” I’ll tell you a story that happened to me. I’ve got picture perfect memories.

I’ve been down the broken road, now been through that fire, and thought times it seems like I’m coming undone, life’s like the road that you travel on – no one knows what’s waiting where you go, but after all is said and done, I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day, for the power of love is a curious thing.

My Daddy was a preacher, but my Daddy left home when I was three. I remember the day. When my Mama saw my Daddy rushin’ home down that long dirt drive she whispered, “There’s a cold feelin’.

Daddy burst in the kitchen and said, “It’s not the way that I intended this. You remember, my Maria – they used to call me lightnin’ I was always quick to strike. Well, Big Bart done hurt young Janie for the last time. When I hit him he never got up again, and I thought, ‘I’m a dead man walking here, but that’s the least of all my fears.’ Maybe I’m right and maybe I’m wrong, but I’m trading punches with the heart of darkness.”

My Mama and Daddy hugged and kissed like there was no tomorrow. Daddy said, “Never know how much I love you.” Mama said, “How sweet it is to be loved by you.” Daddy looked at us kids and said, “Children behave, the world today can be a scary place.” And he was gone.

Not long after daddy left, we saw the Marshall comin’ down our drive. Mama met him on the porch.

“Maria,” he said.

“Marshall,” she replied.

“You know why I’m here?” He asked.

“Yes, sir, I do,” she said.

I bet you never heard old Marshall Dylan say, “You pass on a message for me? You tell him you can run on for a long time. I know your life on earth was troubled, but I see your fingerprints, so you just turn around and turn yourself in.”

Mama tried to stop the Marshall as he left, “Hangman, hangman, hold a little while.” But the Marshall just kept on his way.

Mama slumped down on the porch. It’s a heartache. Even so young, I thought, “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” I never saw daddy again.

I don’t know how she’d done it, but Mama kept the farm. Life on the farm is kinda laid back. When I was five we’d get up at four and get the chores done. We were poor, but I was satisfied. I got a little education and my brothers and sisters, well, we all looked out for ma and for one another.

I even had a sweetheart. At my sixteen years of age I thought I knew it all, and I said to myself, “Wanda is a woman.” My feet was wantin’ to go down roads they ain’t been down before and I thought it be nice to have her by my side.

Wise men say only fools rush in. I said, “Wanda, girl, you really got me now and I’m goin’ exploring. Meet me in the morning and we’ll go see the world.” So we planned I’d pick her up down past her daddy’s barn at midnight.

All day I was thinkin’ night would never come. I could never get anything past Mama, though. I was toting my pack sneaking out the back and there was Ma with a bag of biscuits and some jerky and tears sneaking down her face.

I said, “Well, that’s all right now Mama.” She hugged me and kissed me, and though I never saw her again, I knowed she prayed for me ev’ry day….I’m finding myself at a loss for words. 

Photo by Jen

I had a hand me down ride painted rattle can red and I started her up. I got to the wood a little early, and I was a bundle of nerves. Midnight, getting’ uptight. Where are you? Wanda never showed. I thought it would do me good to shout, shout let it all out, “Fare thee well my own true love! I’ll think of thee night and day.” 

I don’t wanna go home, though, and it’s now or never, so I said, “Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye I’m doin this tonight.” Ridin’ down the road in my pickup truck, I was a highwayman. I was out in the country past the city limit sign and no idea which way to head, so I says, “Greenspond is a pretty place, so is Venture’s Island.”

I got a homesick heart but a long ways left to go. All that time I was searching. I found my truck heading for the city, and well, New York, New York isn’t everything they say with hot summer streets. So I skedaddled out of there.

I drove and drove until I’s sittin’ in a bar boozin’ losin’ next to my friend the communist. It’s easy come, easy go. After too many rounds, I said, “Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, Nancy-O.”

Nancy don’t take that from no one. She said, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.” And the next thing I know I’m in the back of a black and white. Well, luck would have it, that night the warden threw a party in the county jail and my cellmate said, “I always heard that his herb was top shelf.” He was right.

Next mornin’ two recruiting sergeants came to the jail. The soldiers didn’t want me so they passed me on to the sailors. Ships may come and ships may go as long as the sea does roll, and we set sail at half past one. The next few years were spent in and out of ports, but I never was so glad to hear, “The boys are back!” as I was when we returned home.

Discharge papers in hand, next day lonely like a sailor, I moved on. The streets were crowded but I spotted her. On the other side of the street, I knew it was my sister. She saw me, too, and she done stop me on the corner and cried, “Brother, o brother, is there any news today?”

I said, “Little sister, don’t you cry. Tell me of Ma and home.” That’s when I heard Ma was gone on to a better place, and that the boys were toilin’ hard in the hot sun beatin down to keep the farm afloat. I am a troubled mind, I am a calloused heart. But we had a good long talk and we hatched a plan. I’m not about to give up, so I’m heading home. I put some greenbacks in an envelope, and I gave a letter to the postman. He put it in his sack.

So it’s farewell to the whiskey, tobacco and smoke. All my bags are packed I’m ready to go. I put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane. As I traveled, I got to thinking about life. Since I can remember guess I been a problem, but I’m a hard workin’ man, and every day is so wonderful. We were born to embrace it not accept it. It’s a long life, this I do believe, but honey, I’m good, and I’m gonna give me something brighter.

I was just off the two lane where the school bus used to stop, when I saw a pretty woman, walkin’ down the street. She was just seventeen, but oh, her eyes, her eyes. I knowed she could wash away my trouble, wash away my pain. My heart beats fast, and slowly came these words to me, simple and plain and true, “I’ve been walkin the same old road for miles and miles, and since the moment I spotted you  I can’t hide the way I feel about you anymore. I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your fantasy.”

She, to my great surprise, said, “A little less conversation, please, I can feel the magic floating in the air. Love is a burnin’ thing, and what I want, you’ve got. I’m not afraid.”

I said, “Your melody is like a love letter. Let the good times roll!”

Step we gaily on we go.

There’s a wedding in the chapel. We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. Now, I got a pocket, got a pocketful of sunshine. My kin said, “Welcome to the family.”

In all my adventures and learnin’ my only advice is don’t let the old man in. Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you.

This is the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Farms Adapt

Photo courtesy of Monique.

We are so thankful to live in an area with great local farmers who provide all sorts of fresh produce, meat, dairy, and baked goods. With Covid-19, you might be wondering how to take advantage of the locally grown food. Farmers have adapted and are striving to make their produce available and safe for you to access.

The Brunswick Farmer’s Market begins a new season this Friday, May 1. They will be using a temporary location at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 39 Pleasant Street Brunswick. The hours, which have also been changed, are 8am – 12noon. Ample parking can be accessed on Union Street. The farms that will be selling are: Apple Creek FarmApplewald Farm, Big Barn Coffee, Borealis Breads, East of Eden Flower FarmFairwinds FarmIsland Mushroom Company, Keough Family Farm & the Farmers DaughterKing & I Angus, Lipovsky’s GardensPemaquid Lobster & SeafoodSix River FarmSpear Farm Inc., and Whatley Farm.

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust also sponsors a farmers market that begins Saturday, May 2. Their location has changed to Brunswick High School at 116 Maquoit Road. They are providing a special time for high-risk populations from 8:30am-9am and opening to the general public from 9am-12:30pm. They are also limiting the number of customers at one time. Check out their procedures here.

If you don’t want to go to a farmer’s market you can still purchase food from local farmers. Many of the previously mentioned farms have farm stands or allow you to place an order for pickup. Check their websites for details.

There are some farmers that are also available though they don’t sell at farmer’s markets. Try Bisson Farms in Topsham for fresh meat and dairy, or Cantrell’s Seafood, also in Topsham, for fresh seafood.

The farmer’s markets are fun places to get locally sourced food, even with added concerns. Our local farmers are adapting and making safe spaces for you to nurture your body and soul.

 

National Library Week

It is National Library Week this week and did any of us ever guess that our library, and so many others, would be shut down? The building may be closed, but this is a great time to check out Topsham Public Library online to see how we are still meeting your needs during Covid-19. We keep an updated Stay at Home Mega List, as well as a link to our newsletter that keeps you in the know with Topsham Public Library, and we want to help you Find Your Next Read with ideas compiled by staff members. Don’t forget, with a Topsham Public Library card, you can access ebooks and audio books for free from CloudLibrary. (If you don’t have a library card, click here to find out more.) And if you need internet, park at Topsham Public Library and access the free wi-fi by connecting to the Topsham Public Library link. Don’t worry – during our shutdown a password will not be needed.

We have also added a new feature to our website: a reflections page. This is a page where people can share their thoughts on the situation we currently find ourselves in. If you would like to add to this page, please email cyndi@topshamlibrary.org. You may remain anonymous if you wish.

During this time, perhaps you could spend a few moments to think about Topsham Public Library and what you miss. Is there something that surprises you in your list of what you miss? Is there something that you took for granted and now are much more thankful for? Let us know! You can message us through our Facebook page or you may email me at jenb@topshamlibrary.org.

I hope you miss us, and let me assure you, we miss you!