What to Read Next?

Photo Aug 01, 10 52 49 AMDo you ever find yourself in need of a book suggestion? Of course you do, we all do. Sometimes it’s hard knowing what book to try next. I find it especially hard after finishing a good book – nothing else quite matches up.

At the library, we are often asked for book suggestions, and we love to talk shop so please keep asking, but there are also some other resources available to you to help you find your next read.

One of the fun resources here at the Topsham Public Library is our Art Collab. Across from the circulation desk is a wall covered in suggestions from our patrons. Next time you come in, take a look and find a suggestion or two for your next read (and add one of your own suggestions). All age groups are represented on the wall. A few of the book ideas on the wall right now are: Bag of Bones by Stephen King, Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton, and Give and Take by Adam Grant. Some of the suggestions for children include the Magic Tree House books, always favorites, but the Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins (yes, she has written more than The Hunger Games) also has a growing number of supporters, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, is a timeless recommendation.

If you don’t find anything on our wall, there is a cart with staff picks in it, and it is full (well, we try to keep it full) of suggestions from the library staff. Also, the library has a display table with books which center around a theme that changes monthly that you could choose from (this month’s theme is Real Life Heroes).

There are also some online tools to help with book suggestions. If you are a mystery reader, Stop, You’re Killing Me is a wonderful resource. It offers book reviews as well as lists of mystery series that you can find either by author or by character. Another great place to find ideas is Novelist and Novelist K-8 (for children) found on Marvel, an online resource accessible on the Topsham Public Library’s website under Resources & Materials. (once on the Marvel site, you will notice the alphabet across the top. Click “N” and a list of databases that begin with N will come up. Click Novelist or Novelist K-8.) Some of you are already avid Pinterest fans, and if you haven’t used Pinterest you should think about it because the Topsham Public Library has a Book Lists board which has a plethora of lists from 10 Nonfiction Books That Will Define the Conversation in 2015 to Happy Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances and everything in between. Have you checked out the library catalog ( lately? It has some brand new features! If you scroll down on any book record you will find books in the same series, other books and authors you may like, appeal terms and reader’s reviews and ratings! Have a look at the record for our copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, scroll down and see!

And please, keep your eyes and ears open, as we are always looking for ways to help you find your next read!


National Book Lovers Day

vidya-sury-inspiring-quotes-on-reading-books-8I learned something new today, and I wish I had known it sooner. Do you know there is a National Book Lovers Day? I did not know that! This Sunday, August 9, 2015 is National Book Lovers Day and I plan to celebrate.

First, I’m going to make sure I have piles and piles of books ready and waiting. Of course, I already do have piles and piles of books ready and waiting, but I will get a few more from the Topsham Public Library because there is no such thing as too many books, and I want to make sure I am prepared. (If you need to pick up a few more books to help celebrate your day, remember we aren’t open on Sundays so make sure you visit us before then.)

Secondly, I’m going to make sure my family knows that I won’t be cooking on National Book Lover’s Day. I don’t want to think about food, and I don’t want to talk about food. This is a personal preference and I’m sure many book lovers will cook on this great day. Perhaps they have a favorite cookbook from which they will make strawberry crepes or sticky buns or quiche or whatever their heart desires. But me, no cooking.

Then, I’m going to read. I will read inside, and I will read outside. I will read funny things, and I will read sad things. I will read to myself, and I will read to my children. I may read a poem or two to them like O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (it brings tears to my eyes every time) or Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer or Psalm 23. And I will ask them to read to me. Then I will read quietly to myself something I have never read before, and I will read out loud passages from old favorites like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

That is how I will choose to celebrate National Book Lover’s Day, but there are many more ways one can celebrate it. Give a book to a friend. Give a book to yourself. Or, you could give a book to a stranger (at you can register a book and then leave it in a public place for someone to find). You could have book lover friends over, or go out together and talk books and read together. Discuss old books and new books and banned books and overlooked books.

Whatever you decide to do this Sunday, August 9, 2015, we hope you have a great National Book Lover’s Day!


Literary Day Trips

map-of-maine-citiesSummer is speeding on by and there is still so much to do! Are you aware of the literary adventures you can have in the State of Maine?

Naturally, your first literary adventures are right here in Topsham. Maine Fiberarts at 13 Main Street has a current exhibit running through September 30, 2015 titled Handmade Artists’ Books: One of a Kind that you will want to check out. Of course, here at the Topsham Public Library we have summer reading for all ages, a variety of programs, and a lovely garden where you can sit, contemplate and breathe deeply.

Each library has its own personality and you may want to consider visiting a few others. Head on up the coast and visit the Camden Public Library and Amphitheater as it was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 2013. The Waterville Public Library is one of eighteen Carnegie public libraries in Maine or you could visit the Maine State Library in Augusta. Once you have finished there you could keep on traveling to Brewer, the birthplace and childhood home of Joshua Chamberlain who not only served during the Civil War but also wrote an account titled Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg as well as others.

If you have a few days in which you can play, you might think of traveling to Gotts Island which is off of Mount Desert Island. This was once the home of Ruth Moore whose book Spoonhandle, published in 1946, spent fourteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a movie titled Deep Waters. Or, you could drive to the northern most part of Maine to the little town of Allagash, home of author Cathie Pelletier, and have a little lunch at Two Rivers Restaurant.

There are some literary adventures that are great for children, too! The Children’s Museum of Maine has an exhibit featuring the children’s book Down to the Sea by Chris Van Dusen or you could enjoy a Shakespeare play adapted for children on August 1 or August 2. Or you could read Andre: the Famous Harbor Seal by Fran Hodgkins (for a more adult telling of Andre’s story read A Seal Called Andre by Harry Goodridge) and travel to Rockport where it all happened.

This is just a small sampling of the numerous literary adventures waiting for you in our great state. If you need more ideas, the Maine Sunday Telegram, in conjunction with various humanities groups, have an online literary map of Maine that will provide you with many more options for enjoying a literary Maine.

Stay in the loop!

Photo Jun 25, 4 20 29 PM (2)croppedLibraries aren’t just about reading anymore, and that is certainly true here at the Topsham Public Library. Naturally, we are still big on books, but we also offer children’s programming, teen programming, adult programming, a job information center, and computer access for the public just to name a few of our services. Do you know, we also have a community bulletin board? This is another active way of keeping our community connected.

This community bulletin board is located on the wall beside the DVD collection, and you will want to check it out. It is full of useful information on upcoming events and opportunities for everyone.

Here is just a sampling of what is posted:

  • 2015 Scholarship opportunities with Maine Education Services (MES) is a list of educational scholarships for high school students AND adults. You can check out their website:
  • Bay Clay, Bay Brick, Bay Potter is a series of events centering on contemporary ceramic art. For more information and a list of events scroll down their website at
  • Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park is hosting a variety of nature programs. In the Maine summer you want to be outside. Find events at
  • Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program ( is offering free meals this summer to children ages 2-18, no questions asked, at Mt. Ararat Middle School, Faith United Methodist Church, and Harpswell Community School. (They are also in need of volunteers.)
  • Wednesday evenings on the Town Mall in Brunswick there is a concert series running from June 24 to August 26. Check out the schedule of performers here:

This is a small selection of the information posted on our bulletin board to help keep you in the loop, so check out the board when you visit the Topsham Public Library.

Don’t Miss the Fishing Derby!

P1030779jenEven though I did not appreciate it so much at the time, some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad and I fishing. One of my more vivid memories is of me standing on the bank of the Little Black. Dad was showing me how to flick my wrist just right, so that my line would sail out into the dark water. After he demonstrated the technique a few times, he handed the fishing pole to me. I flicked my wrist and heard a yell and felt a tug on my line all at the same time. I had caught something! I caught my brother. My mother had been applying the bug spray on him and when she was finished, he straggled up behind me at the exact moment I cast my line, and I hooked him behind the ear. But the rest of the fishing was fine.

Do you like to fish? Or perhaps, you have never tried fishing before. Maybe you have children or grandchildren who would like to go fishing. Your Topsham Public Library, in partnership with Topsham Parks and Recreation and the Topsham Solid Waste Facility, is hosting a fishing derby on Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 8-11 a.m. at the ponds on Townsend Way (approximately 2.5 miles down Foreside Road on the left, and once on Townsend Way, follow the fish signs to your destination). This is a free opportunity you do not want to miss! You don’t have a fishing pole, you say. Well, we do. The Topsham Public Library will have fishing poles available for our patrons to use for 30 minutes at a time! And not just on June 20. The fishing poles are a part of our permanent collection and are available anytime for checking out.

Troy Garrison, Topsham’s own professional fisherman, will be there as well, and there will be coffee and refreshments provided by the Friends of the Topsham Library, prizes for a variety of categories, and a raffle.

This event is open to all ages, and for this ONE DAY ONLY, people over the age of 16 attending THIS event, do not need a fishing license. THE FISHING DERBY WILL BE HELD RAIN OR SHINE.

And please, if you have a favorite fishing story, share it with us in the space below.

TPL Garden Projects 2015: Children’s Garden Updates

‘Tis the season at the TPL Gardens. We have a number of continuing and new projects available for volunteer input . If you see a project you’d like to work on, please email or contact the indicated contact person.

Children’s Garden Project

Garden Longshot (1)

The Children’s Gardens are ongoing opportunities to contribute volunteer energy through garden maintenance or creative expression: weeding or seeding. The children’s gardens consist of the Butterfly and Birdsong Garden, planted by  a local girl scout troop, the Rainbow  Perennial Garden, the Strawberry Spiral, and The HugelMound.  These gardens demonstrate techniques and approaches to gardening that are appropriate and engaging for families.


Butterfly and Birdsong Garden

Bonnie’s Labeling Project
After the obligatory expression of admiration for the Rainbow Garden, Master Gardener Bonnie McGlaughlin noted, “You really need to label the plants.”  That sounds like a job for a Master Gardener volunteer. To start with, using brightly painted stones, Bonnie will label plants that she has identified in the Rainbow Garden. But she has already had a request from Eli Arlen for labeling help for her project….


Tea garden site (center) flanked by the Strawberry Spiral (left) and the hugelmound (right).

Eli’s Tea Garden
Master Gardener Eli Arlen’s reaction to the TPL Gardens (post obligatory admiration) was, “There should be an edible component in the Children’s Garden.” In addition, to volunteering with the Edible Forest Garden project, Eli will be starting an Herbal Tea Garden (subject to change) next to last year’s hugelmound, a permaculture experiment we started last year that produced a harvest of patty pan squash for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention.

Strawberry Spiral
This was a fun project we tried last year as an example of planting upwards, rather than sideways. MG Volunteer Sue Ham’s brainchild, it’s a tower of strawberries. This year, it’s producing loads of strawberries, but now it needs some cosmetic maintenance, signage, and …eating.

Strawberry spiral, side view.


Strawberry spiral from above.


Future yum. I already ate the ripe one.










Patty pans in the hugelmound

HugelMound, part II
This is year two of the hugelmound. We’re open to suggestions for planting this year. Last year’s organic matter has had a year to decompose, and of all the beds in the garden, this one retains the most moisture. Some suggestions have been a pumpkin patch or a sunflower patch.

Volunteer Needs
To participate in these projects, post a message to There is plenty to do, from garden maintenance to garden bed design to workshop planning to sign-making and blog writing.

As an extension of the Topsham Public Library,  the gardens demonstrate and practice gardening techniques to entertain, educate, and enlighten the public. More than plants, the TPL Gardens cultivate community.

TPL Garden Projects 2015: Edible Forest Garden

‘Tis the season at the TPL Gardens. We have a number of continuing and new projects available for volunteer input . If you see a project you’d like to work on, please email or contact the indicated contact person.

Edible Forest Garden: A new Master Gardener Project led by Sarah Wolpow and Dana Cary (729-4945). See this post for more details. We broke or rather shifted ground on the project on May 28th:

Covering woody materials with compost and and compostable materials.

We took a modular approach, completing a portion of proposed area to serve as a model for other sections:


Finished section: base is woody material over grass, firmly packed and covered with organic materials, covered by layers of newspaper and cardboard, and dressed with a layer of straw.


This section has woody material and some organics mixed in. It requires more organics packed around and over wood, newspaper, and straw.


This section requires the full treatment.

For this project we need helping hands to edge, shift sod and loam with wheelbarrows, and pack  and paper the mounds. We need helping hands and minds of permaculture enthusiasts and explorers to educate visitors and patrons about the principles behind the project. As well as working on the bed, volunteers can create signs and other materials or simply explain what’s going on to curious visitors.
Useful links:

Minerva Searches
Edible Forest Garden

List o links

Get Your Hero On!

Holy Reading, Batman! There is a change in the air and it has nothing to do with the weather.

Summer reading only began a week ago, and already there are children claiming their first prizes! SHAZAAM! If you haven’t picked up your summer reading packet yet, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. Things are just getting started.

Summer reading programs are not just for kids anymore. There is something for everyone!  Summer at the Topsham Public Library is busy with children, teens AND adults participating in the many activities and programs offered and meeting their reading goals.

What types of programs, you ask? Well, of special interest to children, on Wednesday, August 5 at 10:30am Lindsay will be visiting with her Puppet Pals. For the teenager, bring your hero powers with you on August 1, from 12-2pm as the Topsham Public Library will be hosting Lawn Olympics, and adults don’t worry – we have something special for you: coloring on Tuesday, August 11 at 6pm for those ages 18 and above. And that is just a small sampling of what we have to offer.

Don’t delay! Hop, skip, jump, run, fly, walk or beam yourself to the Topsham Public Library and get your reading packets today! Adults, be a hero and get your children involved in summer reading! Kids, be a hero and encourage your friends to sign-up for the fun activities! Everyone, get your hero on!

Art is Elementary

My refrigerator used to be the hottest art gallery in town.  It was covered with finger paintings and drawings and collages galore. It was refreshing to see the artwork of uninhibited children. Now, it is covered with miscellaneous notices that go, mainly, unnoticed. I displayed, with great pride, the beautiful works of art that my children made in elementary school.

Until June 9, The Crooker Gallery at the Topsham Public Library is displaying the work of Woodside and Williams-Cone School students. The exhibit, Art is Elementary, is vibrant and full of life. There are pieces that play with color, others that work on design elements, some still life drawings and even an assortment of 3-D works and much more.  Life is full of color and these students are learning to use and manipulate it even now. This exhibit is a great way to encourage our young artists. For these young learners, seeing their work in a public gallery is a moment of pride.

I miss my refrigerator art gallery, but this exhibit brings it back and makes this busy life simple again. This is an exhibit you will be sorry that you missed, so make sure you don’t miss it!

Garden Work Day May 28th, 2015 @ 1 to 4 PM

Sorry about the last minute announcement, but…

Raw materials for soil.

Tomorrow afternoon, Thursday May 28, from 1 to 4 we’ll be having a work session in the TPL gardens. We’ll be concentrating on prepping the Edible Forest Garden.  For that task, in addition to helping hands and strong backs, we could use
 1. Compostable organic material that you have lying around. Green (nitrogen rich) material welcome– Coffee grounds, garden waste, chicken poo if you have it, but we’ll take browns too…  saw dust, wood chips, shredded receipts….
 2. Discarded cardboard or newspaper (please avoid color printed and glossy materials)
 3. Wheelbarrows for transporting sod and loam (here’s where the backs come in)
 4. Garden forks
 5. Clippers, saws- for making unruly branches smaller, nothing huge.
 Also bring an open mind. The library is an ideal place for you to grow and put your gardening knowledge to work, spreading it to new audiences.