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:

“I’m Bored” Nature Fun Ideas

There’s still plenty of summer left and with many activities and summer camps cancelled, families face the challenge of coming up with more ways to engage their children through the warmer months. Perhaps you are feeling the same way? Whether you have children or not, you may find something on this list that will spark some new outdoor explorations.

National moth night was July 18th-26th but, really, it’s a fun activity to do during any summer night. Never heard of having a moth night? Check out National Moth Week’s website for how-to’s. You might be surprised to find out how many different types of moths visit your yard!

Moth night resources:

Many campgrounds are open but you don’t need to go far to have a fun campout experience. The Great American Campout offers lots of ideas for indoor and backyard camping. You’ll also find recipes, ideas for bringing the outdoors in, gear checklists and more. Grab your supplies and head out to your yard.

Camping resources:

Have you ever been pond dipping? There’s so much life in the water- some of it easy to observe, some you can see only with a microscope. Kids especially will be intrigued with what they find and will get a thrill from identifying the various critters. Watch out for those toe biters!

Pond life resources:

Go on a wildflower hunt. Create your own scavenger hunt like this one, bring along a field guide and identify them as you see them or, take photos and identify them later. These guides will assist you:

Create a sound map. What is a sound map? It’s very simple and can be done anywhere. All you need is a place to sit comfortably outside, a piece of paper, and something to write with. You’ll find all the information you need here. You can be as general as you’d like (“bird song”) or be more specific (“a black-capped chickadee singing”). It’s also interesting to separate man-made noises from the sounds of nature. This is an easy and engaging way to tune into your surroundings and connect with nature.

Have you ever tried your hand at building a shelter? Why not gather a couple of your favorite people and have a go? It’s a helpful skill to have and you’ll be left with a neat place to hang out and read a book whenever you could use a little alone time.

Shelter building resources:

Getting outside, especially being active outside, is a great way to stay healthy. If you’re looking for new places to explore, these sites have just the place:

Be sure to follow safety guidelines when enjoying outdoor activities. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has some good information here.

And here at the Topsham Public Library, be sure to stop by our Dahlov Ipcar story walk! Outside time, movement and story – a great combination!

Wishing you good health. Until next time, stay curious and get outside to notice nature!

Returning to pre-covid operating hours

Topsham Public Library’s operating hours are changing and we are excited to say that we are returning to our pre-shutdown hours. So, beginning today, Monday, August 3 our hours are:

Mondays 9am-5pm

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 9am-8pm

Fridays 9am-5pm

Saturdays 9am-4pm

Sundays closed.

We are seeing increased traffic every day, and it is so good to see you all! Though there is a limit of 20 people in the building at one time, we have not had to enforce it. You all have been really good about coming in, browsing without dilly-dallying and checking out. Even with some slight changes like requiring masks and sanitizing hands, it almost feels normal again.

Our meeting rooms and study rooms remain closed, but the public computers are available.

If you request items through interlibrary loan and you would rather not come into the library building to pick up your items when they’re ready, we are still offering parking lot pickup.

Due to CDC guidelines and protocols, we are only taking returns on Fridays beginning at noon through Sunday evenings through the outside drop boxes near the front doors. We are not assessing fines at this time, so don’t worry if you miss the deadline just return them the following weekend. (Returned items need to be quarantined, so we unlock the drop boxes Friday and noon and then lock them again early Monday morning. Then the items sit, untouched, for 72 hours, or more, before we check them in.)

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at (207) 725-1727.

Many of you have been so kind and expressed your appreciation that we are open. Let me assure you, we are as happy to see you as you are to see us!

Interlibrary loan is back!

Beginning this week patrons of Topsham Public Library are able to request items from other libraries using Minerva! Though we, and many other libraries, have begun using interlibrary loan again, not all libraries are up and running with the interlibrary loan service, so please be patient.

If you requested items from other libraries before the shutdown, those items should be still on your account and will be on their way shortly, hopefully.

If there is an item you’ve been wanting to read/watch/listen to, but it’s not in our collection and another library has it – you can now request it!! Though borrowing and requesting has resumed for most libraries, your requests might be denied if the item is owned by a library that has not reopened yet.

You may request an item by:

If you have any questions or problems related to requesting please don’t hesitate to call us at 725-1727!



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!! 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,