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New to Topsham Public Library–cloudLibrary NewsStand!

Topsham Public Library is pleased to announce a new service for our patrons, cloudLibrary NewsStand, an e-magazine app to read magazines on your phone, tablet, or browser! NewsStand has currently over 6500 titles, including a variety of magazines from different countries and languages other than English. It also features at present over 150 “premium” titles including Reader’s Digest, This Old House, Taste of Home, Kiplinger’s, Yoga Journal, and PC World. NewsStand also has a fantastic collection of children’s magazines including Ladybug, Click, and Okido.

Unlike the titles in the regular cloudLibrary, NewsStand magazines are simultaneous use, meaning there are no wait times and there is no check in date—you can keep them as long as you like! Other features include searching and browsing by language, and a category filter including celebrity, food and beverage, health, investment, men’s interest, parenting, and much more. You can tag your favorites, read back issues, and bookmark your page for later! There’s also an ezRead option that makes the text and images easier to read.

CloudLibrary NewsStand is a very, very new app. The Topsham Public Library is a very early adopter of this technology. We’re in the first ten libraries to ever use this app! As such, there will be some teething problems. CloudLibrary has big plans to add more of your favorite magazines as time goes along, and it is not yet compatible with Kindle, however, you can read the magazines on your internet browser on your Kindle device. CloudLibrary does plan in the future to merge the cloudLibrary app and the NewsStand app for your convenience.

The NewsStand is incredibly easy to use. Just go to the app store on your device and download the cloudLibrary NewsStand app. You will be asked to make an account and enter your library card number, just like cloudLibrary, and then you’re good to go! If you need help, please call the library at (207) 725-1727. We’ll also be putting up instructions on our website and a link to the site.

Staff Picks 2020, Part 3

To wrap things up, Susan, Dale, and Monique will share their top picks of the past year. Though reading habits may have changed, it is still the power of story that we found enjoyment in. Here’s to reading in the new year! Enjoy!

Susan’s Top Picks:

Dale’s Top Picks:

Monique’s Top Picks:

Like Jen, I didn’t read as much in the past year. It felt more like a chore and I simply didn’t have the mind for it. However, I did enjoy a couple of gems and found some heart-warming movies to escape into.

Movies:

Troop Zero, Amazon Original – A simple but sweet story about fitting in (or not), staying true to yourself, forming deep bonds, doing hard things, and of hope. This was the perfect family feel-good movie I needed.

Peanut Butter Falcon – I was immediately drawn into the characters and their worlds set in the Southern Coast along the Atlantic. For me, this movie was full of authenticity and raw & vulnerable emotions. Another movie full of empowerment, empathy and hope.

Books:

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor – I’m going to call this one “own-worthy”. It is packed with so much information, both fascinating and useful, but delivered in a story-telling way so that I did not feel overwhelmed. I’ll be buying my own copy and reading through it with highlighter in hand.

The Bees by Laline Paull – This book had a slow start for me but I’m glad I stuck with it. I found it to be an intriguing story and a fascinating look into the life of bees.

Sweetie by Andrea Zuill – Like Lindsay, I too adored this children’s book. My children and I may even see bits of ourselves in the main character. The summary reads, “Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat, but with encouragement from her Aunt Ruth, she begins to see that being herself is the best way to find a friend.” Are you beginning to see a theme here?

Podcast:

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown – Brené Brown is so relatable, addresses sensitive topics with honesty, humility and a dose of humor, and is so good at getting to the heart of the matter. I find her podcast both entertaining and enlightening.

Staff Picks 2020, Part 2

A recurring topic of discussion amongst the staff is how our reading changed this year. One would think, given the time we all found ourselves with during the shutdown that many of us would have made progress on our “To Read” lists, but that was not so. There was a shift to shorter novels, or novels that brought comfort to the reader (however the reader defines comfort), and many of us even stopped reading for a time. What about you? Did you notice changes to your patterns of reading?

Cyndi’s Top Picks of 2020:

If Cyndi had any lingering doubts that the challenges presented by 2020 has impacted her level of concentration, reviewing the titles she has chosen for her top picks made it very obvious. She has always read and enjoyed graphic novels and novels in verse, but all of her top picks for 2020 are those exclusively.

The Hill House graphic novel series by various authors:

The Farmhand series by Rob Guillory:

The Middlewest series by Skottie Young:

Cyndi’s favorite stand alone graphic novels, with the adaptation of Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down being her No. 1 pick for 2020, are:

Two novels in verse made this year’s cut:

Emma’s To Read list only got longer this year, but, though she didn’t read as much as normal, she did find some favorites. They are:

Emma’s favorites include an audio book version of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series:

And to wrap up Emma’s list is The Little Witch by M. Rickert. It is a short story that you can read online. To read it, click here or on the image below.

Jen’s Top Picks:

My reading patterns were definitely impacted by covid. I began a number of books only to put them down thinking I don’t care. There were a couple of months where I didn’t read anything, but in retrospect this made my favorites even more favored.

Audio books:

Tom Hanks reads The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and you do not want to miss out on his performance. Patchett’s writing is enjoyable to read, and it absolutely shines with Hanks’ execution. Is there anything Hanks can’t do?

Amor Towles’ book A Gentleman in Moscow was favored among patrons when it was released in 2016 and it is still checked out with great frequency. It was not until this past summer that I listened to it. After hearing Nicholas Guy Smith’s reading, I wondered why it took me so long to get to it. The writing, the performance, the depth of characters, the turn of phrases all combine to make a beautiful, sad-that-it’s-over story.

I almost returned The Searcher by Tana French and read by Roger Clark without even trying it. I just felt rushed for time, but I found myself alone one evening, so I popped the cd into my player and after the first few minutes, I made opportunities in my schedule to finish it. Whether I was washing dishes or finishing a gift for someone for the holidays, I listened to French’s newest novel. A former police officer from the United States retires to a quiet Irish village only to be persuaded to find out what happened to a missing local lad. I have always enjoyed French’s mysteries and this was no exception.

Fiction:

Though it is a short book, Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma should not be underestimated. A gothic tale, this dragon story set in Great Britain was a delight. I enjoyed it so much that I actually bought a copy.

This is one of those children’s books that, I think, adults would enjoy as well. Witty and smart, it is a tale of a thief whose boasting finally ends him up in trouble. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is an award winner and a thoughtful, entertaining read.

I first saw this book when it came through as an Inter-Library Loan. A Kingdom Far and Clear: the Complete Swan Lake Trilogy by Mark Helprin and illustrated Chris Van Allsburg is a beautiful book. The illustrations are luxurious and add so much to the story. Though presented as a fairy tale story, it does not sugar coat reality or follow the happy-ever-after trope.

I could not put down My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. I devoured it in almost one sitting. (I did finally have to put it down long enough to eat.) I found it sad, hilarious, and entertaining. The characters were so real. In the end, I wondered who the real serial killer actually was.

Mariah’s Top Picks:

My friend told me I HAD to watch this and SHE WAS RIGHT.  Schitt’s Creek made me laugh, then tear up, then laughcry, and then laugh some more.  This show is so bighearted, and the character growth and development are excellent, and as soon as I finished all of the seasons I started it over again.  In fact, it may now be my favorite show OF ALL TIME. Did I mention that it made me laugh?  *Disclaimer: if you watch the first episode and first episode ONLY and think “what is she raving about, this show is not all that” HANG IN THERE, it may take a few episodes to get hooked!

This show totally took me by surprise – it is AMAZING!  The acting is great, the cinematography is GORGEOUS, and the story is oddly compelling (oddly because, you wouldn’t think a series about playing chess could be exciting – IT IS!)  I was avoiding The Queen’s Gambit because it looked dark (and it definitely is dark at times) and I’ve pretty much only been wanting lighthearted comedies this year, but I am SO GLAD I watched it.

Caleb Marshall choreographs dance workouts to popular music and puts them up for free on YouTube and they are so much fun!  Did I feel silly/laugh the entire time I was dancing? Yup! Did I feel one thousand times better after a dance/laugh session? YUP! 

I listen to this CD in the morning while doing yoga, and it is exactly what I needed this year: a soothing voice and a reassuring mantra! My favorite track is “Everything I Need,” where he sings about the darkness being fruitful and not being afraid. I like all of his music, but this album in particular is excellent!

When I wasn’t listening to Trevor Hall, I was listening to The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer on audiobook for my daily dose of calm.  I have read bits and pieces of this book for years – carried it around in my car, packed it on vacations – but this is the first time I’ve actually read it start to finish and it was great!

“I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots.  I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours.  I spend my entire day talking to children.” “I hope you like feminist rants, because that’s kinda my thing” “Oh my gosh.  Look, it’s food. I love food!” Jessica Day is basically me, haha.  New Girl on Netflix has been my favorite show for years, only recently replaced (tied for first?) by Schitt’s Creek.  It’s silly and funny and quirky and even though I’ve watched the whole series at least five times and can quote most of it by heart, I still am catching jokes that I missed the first five watches.  Perfect comfort watch!

Hamilton. So good.  Just so good.  That is all.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk is one of those kids books that I recommend to all the adults – this historical fiction was absolutely beautiful!

Was The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West (metaphorically speaking) preaching to my choir?  Sure.  Did it make me feel better? It did indeed!  Did I insist on reading multiple passages aloud to my fiancé, who knew well enough to humor me and just listen to the passage, and then to my much longer rant about whatever topic I was reading?  Yup!  Fun times!

And, we discovered sheet pan cooking during the early days of stay-at-home, and I honestly don’t know if I will ever cook vegetables any other way ever again! I have yet to taste a vegetable that doesn’t taste better roasted in the oven.  Take LITERALLY ANY VEGETABLE, cut it up, slather it in olive oil and salt/pepper and any other spices you might like, and roast in oven until done.  SO GOOD!

Staff Picks 2020

It may have been a miserable year, but at least it moved right along! Just like that we are closing the chapter on 2020 and opening a new one for 2021. Every year, it is interesting to look back on our year of reading, watching, and listening and thinking about what was going on at the time, and that is even more true this year. Here are the Staff Picks of 2020, and we hope you enjoy looking at our favorites.

First up: Linda

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

It seems that every year Penny’s books are in my top 5, and this one may be her best ever.  For the first time the setting is outside Quebec, in Paris, where we get a taste of neighborhoods and daily life. We also get a good look into the history of the Gamache family and the dynamics of their relationships. Every member of the family gets involved with this one. Once again Armand’s character is tested to the extreme. Will he, can he, do the right thing, even if his family’s lives are at stake? The mystery is as contemporary as today’s headlines and the plot intricate. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, intelligent and clever, holding my attention and building suspense right up to the explosive climax. I didn’t know who the villains were until the smoke cleared. If I could, I’d give this one 10 stars.

The Red Door by Charles Todd

This makes an even dozen in the Inspector Rutledge series, set in post WWI Britain. We start with a young wife from a small village, longing for her husband to come home from the war. She paints the front door red as a welcome home surprise for him. Then we visit a married man in London, going to the bank. On the way home he has an overwhelming fear for his young son, and lapses into panic and paralysis. Thus begins the knot that Ian Rutledge has to untangle. What do these two have in common and how does that set off a string of deaths encompassing the distance between them? This case is well plotted, intricate, and beautifully written. Beware the red herring. I never guessed the culprit. I give this one 5 stars.

The Stranger Diaries by Ellie Griffiths

This is a stand-alone book by the author of the Ruth Galloway mystery series. It is quite the departure from her usual fare, having a definite gothic feel to it, dark and brooding. Clare Cassidy is teaching a course on her favorite gothic writer R. M. Holland. The book opens with the beginning of one of his old stories, two men on a train and the story of a secret society and unexplained death at the school where Clare teaches. Then we move to the present time and real life. Clare’s best friend is killed. Next to her body is a note from that story. From there the story is told from three different perspectives, Clare’s, the detective’s, and Clare’s daughter, intertwined with the telling of the original fictional story. Those perspectives and the story that started it all are expertly interwoven into a seamless mystery that will hold you captive until the end. It is suspenseful and a little spooky. As an aside, also interesting to me was the assumption on the part of Clare about the thoughts of the other two people, and what they were actually thinking, and vice versa. It was a study in how we think we know what others are thinking based on our own state of mind. It was brilliantly done – 5 stars.

Enola Holmes

This Netflix movie rated PG13 and written, it seemed to me, with teens in mind, was quite original and fun to watch. Enola is Sherlock’s little sister, left in the care of Mycroft after her mother’s disappearance. Mycroft intends to send her away to a finishing school to make a proper young lady of her. That, however, is not what Enola wants. So, of course, she runs away, hoping to find her mother. Along her way she encounters a young man about her age who has also run away from his family, whose motives toward the young man do not appear honorable. And the game’s afoot!  Enola is every bit as clever as her brother. Acting as protagonist and narrator she leads us on a merry adventure filled with excitement and danger. This movie is a great escape from the stresses of our time. I give it 5 stars.

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

This is the first in new series by the author of the Shetland and Vera Stanhope mysteries, and is just as intriguing. The book begins with Detective Matthew Venn standing outside his father’s funeral. He has been estranged from his ultraconservative religious family for years and doesn’t want to be noticed. While there, he gets a call telling him that a body has been found on a nearby beach, and off to work he goes. Soon he finds himself in charge of the investigation, which makes it impossible to avoid his family and the issues that divided them. Ms. Cleeves writes an engaging story with well-drawn complex characters in a setting so real, you will think you hear the gulls screeching. I didn’t want to put this one down.

Julie’s Top Picks of 2020:

Books:

TV series:

Lyndsey’s Top Picks of 2020:

Books:

Giving Tuesday!

What a weird year. Every one of us has experienced change on levels we never imagined, and we have had to learn to adapt. Adapting is easier for some than others and can be scary for all.

Topsham Public Library has also adapted and changed the way we do things, but we have not changed our mission, and our desire to help you receive the services you need remains constant.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that
encourages people to do good. Over the past 8 years, this idea has
grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of
millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Giving Tuesday is an annual opportunity for people to give to their favorite nonprofits. It is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving which this year is December 1st. May we ask you to reimagine the ways in which you support Topsham Public Library? Perhaps you have supported us through volunteering or supplying books for the book sale, but with Covid, those avenues of support have been slim to nonexistent. Maybe that support could be shown through your gift through Giving Tuesday.

Our goal is to raise $1,000 on December 1st. Any donation amount is helpful for reaching that goal and greatly appreciated. Here’s how you can support your library on GivingTuesday…

Gracie, age 12

Now:

  • Like and share our #GivingTuesday social media posts.
  • Download the #unselfie template and share your message on your social media. Don’t forget to tag us! unselfie template

On December 1st:

  • Visit our DONATE page and give in any amount you are able. For donations of $50 or more, we will add a dedication book plate to a new book in our collection. Please select the “tribute gift” option and let us know your special message.

The support from our community has always been overwhelming. So many of you, since our reopening, have told us how much it means that we are back. In these uncertain times there may be some of you who just can’t donate right now, and we understand, but if there are those of you who can help us meet our $1000 goal it would be so appreciated.

Thank you and hope to see you at Topsham Public Library!

Making Nature a Tradition

Many traditions are carried out throughout the year – holiday traditions, unique family traditions, community traditions. Many of those traditions have been altered this past year and will continue to be. While this might bring about feelings of sadness or loneliness, it also can be an opportunity to create some new traditions.

A growing body of science supports what we have known anecdotally for some time: time spent in nature makes us feel better. I’ll take more doses of that any time. How about you? Here are some ideas to consider if you’d like to incorporate some nature traditions into your life:

 

Go for walk after a holiday meal (or any meal, really). Generally, once holiday meals have been eaten, family and friends sit and socialize. For many, this will not be a possibility this year and it may be helpful to find a replacement activity. No matter the temperature, going for a walk after a large meal not only helps with digesting all that food, the fresh air and vitamin D will help boost your mood and energy. Being mindful of noticing the nature around you and appreciating the beauty you see will heighten your experience even more.

Make decorations from found nature. Wreaths, garlands, ornaments, center pieces… there are so many decorations that can be incorporated into annual celebrations. They don’t have to be just for holidays or special traditions. Give every day a little sprinkle of sparkle by adding special seasonal touches throughout your home. Crafting with found nature is budget-friendly, encourages us to get outside and notice nature, and is environmentally friendly. Studies also show that crafting has some health benefits including relieving stress, reducing anxiety, and boosting self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

 

Press leaves. Did you do this as a kid? I remember rounding up our heaviest books, putting newspapers between pages and anxiously awaiting the final, flattened results. Ah… fond memories! What do you do with those pressed leaves? Well, you may find some ideas in the resources listed above and can certainly find some ideas online but perhaps it’s enough to leave it as a seasonal tradition that gives rise to fond nostalgia.

 

Snail mail photos of nearby nature to loved ones. Bring your camera along for one some of your walks or when you head out to collect found nature and snap some photos of your favorite sights. Whenever you mail a card to a loved one in celebration of a special tradition, tuck one of your photos inside or print some as postcards and brighten some people’s day. What a nice surprise it is to find happy mail in your box!

 

Start a nature journal. A nature journal can be as simple as jotting notes in a blank notebook or writing a quick observation on a calendar (this is a wonderful option and the author lives nearby). You could add sketches/paintings, photos, poetry, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Perhaps you could start a collective journal with your household members. Another option is to keep a digital journal to share with friends and family all over who could also contribute their observations.

Keeping a nature journal helps deepen your connection with nature and learn seasonal rhythms. It also makes a wonderful keepsake to pass down to family.

 

Decorate a tree or bush for the birds. Food supplies for our feathered friends are dwindling this time of year and setting up feeders helps them out. Turn it in to a fun tradition by choosing a tree or bush to decorate with popcorn and dried berry or fruit garland, pinecone feeders, and whatever else you can think of. This makes a lovely winter solstice activity.

 

Go on full moon walks (yes, even in the colder months). Some of our senses become more heightened and others won’t be as strong. You’ll see sights you don’t often get to and possibly hear unique sounds (or even a wonderful silence). It’s an experience you’ve got to try.

Whether it’s in your neighborhood or in a park, on pavement or on a trail, make sure you are prepared:

  • Bring a flashlight or headlamp. It’s so much more fun to use it only when necessary but if you’d prefer to leave it on, try covering the lens with red cellophane to help your sight stay adjusted to the dark.
  • If you walk a trail, know where it goes and tell someone where you’re headed. Take extra precaution or avoid wooded trails altogether during hunting season.
  • Wear reflective gear.
  • Be aware of traffic.

Bring nature inside. One tradition that can be very enjoyable is creating a nature display and changing it out with the shift in seasons. The first day of each season is the perfect time for a refresh. Preparing your collected nature provides and opportunity for reflection on experiences and personal connections to nature. There are also some health benefits to brining a bit of outdoors inside. For children, collecting and displaying nature finds is an affirmation of their interests and provides opportunity for further inquiry and connection.

If you incorporate nature into your traditions or will be trying some of these ideas, please do share by leaving us a comment.

Until next time,

Stay safe, be well and get outside & be curious.

Winter Hours

Beginning November 1, 2020, Topsham Public Library will change our operating hours to our new winter schedule. The new schedule is as follows:

Monday  9am-5pm

Tuesday  9am-6pm

Wednesday  9am-6pm

Thursday  9am-6pm

Friday  9am-5pm

Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday  closed

As always, if it is storming, check our website (topshamlibrary.org) or call us (725-1727) to make sure we are open before venturing out.

Remember masks are required and we ask that you sanitize your hands as you enter the building. There is a hands-free sanitizer dispenser stationed right inside our main doors.

We hope to see you soon! And if you would prefer not to come into the building, we are still offering parking lot pickup.

Take care and be safe! (And don’t forget – clocks go back one hour this weekend!)

What’s so great about late October?

Here are seven splendid things to enjoy outside during the latter half of October:

O – Obviously, the foliage! Peak hits our area around the first and second week of the month so it has just passed but there is still plenty of color to notice. Take a moment to pause and appreciate the foliage found around the library next time you visit. As leaves start to fall, take notice of which trees hold on to their leaves (this is called marcescence).

Although leaves of deciduous trees tend to steal the show, grasses are worth noticing. Many change colors as well, from shades of rich copper to dark red and even purple.

C – Creature watching: Squirrels and chipmunks are beginning to stock up on food (and can be quite entertaining to watch!); skunks and racoons are searching for shelters; beavers are repairing and building up their lodges. If you catch a glimpse of any of these creatures, pause for a few moments and watch their activities. You may learn something new about these common critters.

T – Trail walking. We are fortunate enough to have quite a few trails nearby (a short one right behind the library) and fall is a fabulous time to take advantage. The days are cool, birds are still singing, leaves rustle overhead and crunch under foot and the scent in the air has shifted – it’s a full sensory experience!

O – Observing the full moon. This month are we are treated to two! The October 1st full moon is called the Harvest Moon, the second (a Blue Moon), is called the Full Hunter’s Moon. The Old Farmer’s Almanac states that “Some folks believe that this full Moon was called the Full Hunter’s Moon because it signaled the time to go hunting in preparation for winter. Since the harvesters had recently reaped the fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters could easily see the fattened deer and other animals that had come out to glean (and the foxes and wolves that had come out to prey on them).”

B – Bird watching. Birds are still migrating so you may catch a glimpse of a lesser seen species or two. There are also birds you’ll see in some seasons but not others. For example, while some American Robins stay, many migrate. You may notice that they have gone from your yard but can be found in other spots close by (like here at the library). Juncos and Carolina Wrens tend to be birds spotted in backyards during the fall and winter in our area but not typically throughout the summer. Are you noticing a change of feathered friends you see or a change in their behavior?

E – Embracing clear nights. It’s getting darker earlier and it’s not too cold to hang outside for a bit in the evenings to star gaze. Did you know that this month and next, Mars is at its closest point to Earth and at its brightest? NASA explains here. It’s also a great month to look for the galaxy of Andromeda – a spiral galaxy similar in appearance to our own Milky Way. Whatever you see, the night sky is a wondrous thing.

R – Reaping the harvest. It is possible to garden year round in Maine but this is typically the time to enjoy final big harvests of fresh produce. Whether you garden yourself or take advantage of local farm offerings, there is much to enjoy this time of year.

Until next time, be well, stay curious and get outside to notice nature!

Of Purple and Gold

From Monique

Strolling through our gardens and noticing the colors that remain, I was reminded of these words from one of my favorite books…

“The human eye is superbly equipped to detect these colors (purple & yellow) and send a signal pulsing to the brain. This doesn’t explain why I perceive them as beautiful, but it does explain why that combination gets my undivided attention. I asked my artist buddies about the power of purple and gold, and they sent me right to the color wheel: these two are complementary colors, as different in nature as could be. In composing a palette, putting them together makes each more vivid; just a touch of one will bring out the other. In an 1890 treatise on color perception, Goethe, who was both a scientist and a poet, wrote that “the colors diametrically opposed to each other . . . are those which reciprocally evoke each other in the eye.” Purple and yellow are a reciprocal pair.

Goldenrods and asters appear very similarly to bee eyes and human eyes. We both think they’re beautiful. Their striking contrast when they grow together makes them the most attractive target in the whole meadow, a beacon for bees. Growing together, both receive more pollinator visits than they would if they were growing alone… That September pairing of purple and gold is lived reciprocity; its wisdom is that the beauty of one is illuminated by the radiance of the other… When I am in their presence, their beauty asks me for reciprocity, to be the complementary color, to make something beautiful in response.”

~ from BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Do you have a favorite color combination found in nature? Favorite fall colors? Step outside, breathe the fresh air, and take a few moments to notice the nature around you.

Another look at the Libraries Build Business grant

 

 

Recently, we announced that Topsham Public Library was awarded a Libraries Build Business grant, an initiative of the American Library Association funded by Google to build capacity and expand our programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

We are excited about this new endeavor, but you might be asking yourself what will this look like. I spoke with Susan Preece, Director of Topsham Public Library and Nicole Jakubowski, staff member and assistant on this project, about what this funding actually means for Topsham Public Library and for our community.

If you are not familiar with grants let me give you a brief overview. Grants are one of the tools available to organizations like ours to help support our services. Grants are usually sponsored by other charitable groups and individuals and sometimes by governments or businesses. There is an application process and deadlines to meet. At one time, grants were very broad in what an applicant could do with the money they received; however, grants have become more focused and competitive. Organizations who receive funds must use them in accordance with the guidelines of the grant and provide documentation and reports to the grantor.

Through the Libraries Build Business grant, we received $38,200.00 which will be used to support our ongoing outreach to small business, entrepreneurs and job-seekers.  Some of the funds will be used to purchase new computers, train staff, cover space costs, and the like. Our goal is to help create a blue-print for our library and, hopefully others across the country to provide resources, help and tools to support our community’s economic vitality. Library staff will receive training to help them connect individuals with the right organizations and help as they move forward in their pursuits.

The focus is not on doing something new but in coordinating with proven organizations to reach the people who can benefit by their expertise. Organizations like Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber, Topsham Development, Inc., New Ventures Maine, and Maine Career Center are established organizations that assist those looking for employment or who may want to start their own business.

Not only does this grant help us here in Topsham, but the 13 libraries that received this award are also working together to create a playbook for any library in the nation who would like to build business.

If you are interested in more information or want to stay up to date on the developments, we have a website:

topshamlibrary.org/libraries-build-business/