The House at the End of Hope Street

Last month we read The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. Many of the Rare Readers thought that it would make  a great TV show where a different woman came to live in the house each week (similar to Love Boat). What do you think?

I Challenge You

the_book_challengeI must admit, I did not have much luck reading this year. I had a hard time finding titles I wanted to read, and then, once I began a book, I had a difficult time finishing the book. I did come upon a few pleasant surprises (you will hear about them in just a few weeks when we release the staff’s picks of 2015), but mostly came up flat.

Well, I found a list, Reading Challenge 2016, that suggests categories to read in 2016. I like the list because it gives a broad category and lets the reader choose the particular book. The challenge is to finish the list by 2017.

I’m going to try it, and I challenge you to try it with me. I will post my progress periodically, and we will see how it goes! And let me know how you’re doing, too!

(If you don’t like this list, you could make your own challenge. For example, you could challenge yourself to read through award winners, or read books that have been made into movies, or read books written by athletes, or read books written in a certain time period like the 1920s. If you use pinterest, you could follow our book lists board for ideas. The possibilities are endless!)

Keeping Track of Time

A few weeks ago, it became unavoidably clear that I need a calendar. After hitting the snooze button umpteen times, I got my body out of bed. As usual, I woke up the kids and started them on their morning routines. Then I took a moment and thought about the day that lay ahead and checked with the kids about their after school plans. Once they were out of the house, I had my breakfast and got ready for work. All of this was very normal and quite mundane.

When I arrived at work, Cyndi looked at me and asked, “What are you doing here?” I can tell you, I was quite confused. Cyndi usually has a pretty good grip on what’s going on, and I couldn’t understand how she could forget that I work Thursday mornings. Really, her forgetfulness worried me a little. Then she said, “You asked for the day off.”  Then her forgetfulness worried me a lot. “I don’t think I did,” was my response, knowing full well I hadn’t asked for that day off. But then it hit me. Cyndi was right. I had asked for the day off, and I had completely forgotten about it. Comforted in the knowledge that Cyndi wasn’t losing it, and a little discomfited knowing I had totally forgotten that I had requested a day off and showed up for work, I realized I might need a calendar.

I’ve never really used calendars. I have kept track of my schedule in my head. Oh – I begin the year off with a calendar, I especially like the Word A Day calendars, but it ends up under a pile of clutter sometime in February, and I don’t look at it again until maybe June, and then I forget about it entirely as it’s summer and I don’t like thinking about time in summer. I do have a monthly calendar in my purse, but I forget it’s there. My refrigerator is plastered with the kids’ sports schedules and upcoming doctors’ appointments, and that’s how I operate.

After thinking about my own calendar oddities, I wanted to see how my co-workers operate.

As we can see below, Emma would be absolutely lost without her calendar:

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Julie, on the other hand, likes pretty calendars:

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And Lynne, well Lynne can only take one day at a time:

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I’m not sure what system I will go with, but I’ll find something…soon…maybe….




We Are Thankful

day323_lowresOne of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. I haven’t always appreciated the idea of thankfulness, but I have learned a few things along the way and have tried to develop an attitude of gratitude.

The Topsham Public Library is thankful, too, and here is a list of some of the many things we are thankful for:

  • The Community. Topsham is a great place to live, and the support from the community has grown, and we do not take that for granted. Thank you!
  • The Volunteers. Every week dozens of individuals take time out of their day and assist us in our daily tasks. Thank you!
  • Friends of the Topsham Public Library. This organization, comprised of volunteers, supports our library, and without them our programming would suffer. Thank you!
  • The Garden is another project not possible without our volunteers. It is delightful working at a place where I can go outside for my breaks and stroll through a peaceful garden. Thank you!
  • The Crooker Gallery. Not only do I have a garden to stroll through on my breaks, but I have an art gallery to wander around as well. Thank you!
  • The Telescope. Through Mariah’s vision and the generosity of a grant, the Topsham Public Library has a telescope that can be borrowed by our patrons. Thank you!
  • The Book Groups. From elementary school aged children to adults, we have book groups for everyone. Thank you!
  • The Computers. Prior to working here, I was not aware of the need to have computer access available to the public. I have since learned of the need and am glad we can offer internet access to the public. Thank you!
  • Your Donations. It is through your generosity and donating your books, music, and movies that we can host the Friends’ Annual Book Sale. Thank you!
  • The Business Roundtable and our Business Sponsors – We have a great network of local businesses that care about the town they operate in. Thank you!

The list could go on. Who have I missed? Who are you thankful for?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and let someone know you are thankful for them!

Bulletin Board Update

Photo Jun 25, 4 20 29 PM (2)croppedWith the holiday season fast approaching, I thought this a great time to check out what is on the bulletin board and let you know what’s going on in the community. So here are just a few of the events posted on the Topsham Public Library bulletin board:

  • There are many events on the bulletin board, but before we get to those, the Directory of Commonly Requested Community Services list collected by United Way is posted. This contains a plethora of confidential agencies and resources available to those in need. Here they are in electronic form: DIRECTORY Oct 2015 and Holiday List 2015.
  • Prodigies is a concert series, one performance at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brunswick, featuring Maine prodigy Christopher Staknys with the Maine Chamber Ensemble performing Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. For more information:
  • December 4, 5, and 6 enjoy the WFCP Home Time Radio Hour 2015 a 1950s holiday edition performed by Freeport Players. For more information:
  • Do you know November is senior pet month? Older animals make great pets, so dogs and cats 8 years or older are fee-waived all month long. Contact Coastal Humane Society for more information:
  • Maine Fiverarts, 13 Maine Street in Topsham, presents: Hooked Master Paintings and Neckware through December 31. The reception for the show is December 5, 11a.m.-2p.m.
  • It is that time of year! UU Church of Brunswick, corner of Pleasant and Middle Street, is hosting their Holiday Fair on December 5, 9a.m. -2p.m. They are featuring wreaths and greens, arts and crafts, book signings, breakfast, soup and pie lunch, and live music.

This is just a sampling of the many notices and events that are posted on our bulletin board. Next time you are in, check it out!!

Elvis Is In The Building

The following is the fourth in a series in which I interview each staff member of the Topsham Public Library. 

On your next visit to the Topsham Public Library, if you are quiet, you might hear someone singing out back. That would be Julie – she is usually singing or humming a little ditty to herself. It might be a hit single by her current favorite singer, Taylor Swift, or it could be an oldie but goodie by the likes of Elvis, Led Zeppelin, Carole King, or Cyndi Lauper just to name a few.

johnny questLike the rest of us, Julie devours books in her spare time. Her first favorite book was a Johnny Quest graphic novel (she still has one).  Even to this day, Julie prefers a good graphic novel over fiction, but she will not choose between sci-fi and fantasy as she does love a steamy, bodice-ripping romance whether set in space or in fairy land. And you can find her reading them all on her e-reader as she is one of a few staff members who appreciate the devices.

Julie also gardens (but it might not be her favorite thing to do…), enjoys walking some of the lovely trails we have in Maine (and I’m sure in Vermont, too, as that is where she is originally from), and takes care of her cat.

Given the choice of being hairy all over or bald, Julie chooses to be bald, and that just proves how smart she is. Not only is she smart, and detailed oriented, but she is SUPER organized. Of all the staff members, Julie’s desk is always the neatest. The magnets on her bulletin board are all lined up in a nice row; the papers she has pinned up are not crooked and they are spaced evenly. Everything has its place.

Julie prefers the ocean to the mountains, summer over winter, take-out over eating-in, Mexican food over Chinese food, mustard over ketchup, chocolate before vanilla, pie instead of cake, and eggs over-easy. She is firm in her preference of Batman over Superman – there is no doubt! And she would rather be invisible than be able to read minds.

When asked what she would do if money was no object, Julie said she would travel beginning in Italy then making her way through the rest of Europe. Wherever she goes, rest assured, she will have the most organized suitcase of all.



Happy Halloween!

jack-o-lanterns-2048x2048-HSaturday is Halloween! Are your costumes ready? (Miss Mariah has been planning her costume for weeks now!) Are you going to be a ghost or goblin or a favorite character from a favorite book? Make sure you dress warm under those costumes so you don’t get cold and carry a flashlight or glow sticks with you so you are visible as you walk along from house to house. And remember – you don’t have to eat all those treats in one night! (When I was little, I used to come home on Halloween night and dump my bag of candy on the floor and just look at all the yumminess. I sorted them into piles and then resorted them into different piles.)

Don’t forget – we are open 9am-4pm Saturday, so swing by the Topsham Public Library and show us your costume!

Those who are driving – please drive carefully and be a little extra cautious Saturday night.

(It’s also Daylight Savings this weekend, so don’t forget to set your clocks back Saturday night, too!)


We start again next week!

Rare Readers! Our book discussion group is starting up again next week. On Thursday 29th at 2pm and 6pm, we will be discussing The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. We always welcome new members so if you would like to discuss this book, you are very welcome to attend either of the sessions. Can’t make the discussion? Tell us what you think by commenting here!

Here’s a message from one of our members, Amy, on The Art Forger:

Getting a little reading in for Rare Reads in Quebec! Finished and enjoyed it!


No Excuses!

Joy of the Pen submissions have been received and we are eagerly awaiting the Joy of the Pen Reception on Saturday, November 14 1-3pm here at the Topsham Public Library. We have been encouraged by the growing number of submissions we receive each year for this program. The number of submissions is evidence of the vibrant writing community that exists in Topsham and beyond.

Are you one of those people who, upon hearing that Joy of the Pen has rolled around again, excitedly dusts off a piece e-b-white-writing-routine-quotesof your work and spruces it up to submit? And as you tidy up this piece, ideas and characters pop into your imagination for other pieces, and you tell yourself that this time you will keep writing and get on to paper the worlds that are in your head. At first, you write hurriedly and excitedly because things are so clear and the characters are so alive, but then things become blurry and what was once so clear has become dark and difficulties with timing or plot arise. Or perhaps a story wants to be written one way, but you don’t want to write it that way, so you decide to let it rest for a bit, but you will return to it in a little while – at least that’s what you tell yourself. Then a few weeks pass, maybe a few months, could be a few years later you stumble upon it and guilt floods in. You are a terrible writer – a terrible person – what kind of human being are you?! (My mind pictures over-dramatic damsels lying slumped over the writing table weeping in despair.)

Well no more! No more are we going to languish in self-loathing! No more are we going to keep silent the stories that war in us! Instead, we are going to encourage one another to do what we have dreamed of doing! We are going to help each other overcome the fear of doing something new and slay the dragon that keeps us from telling the story the way it needs to be told. Whether a new writer or an old pro, we can help one another. Beginning November 2015, the first Tuesday of every month (so the first meeting is November 3, 6-7pm) the Topsham Public Library will host Writer’s Meetup. It will be facilitated by Melissa Walsh (she facilitated our writing programs that were part of our summer reading program this past summer), and it is an informal time (with snacks!) to meet new people, make new friends, and talk all things writing. This is a free program and open to the public, so there is absolutely no reason why you can’t join us!