Library Blog

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 17, 2019
         Everybody loves an infographic. Global English Editing put together a huge infographic called ‘World Reading Habits in 2018’ and it is fascinating. Check it out for yourself at The bottom of the graphic describes the sources used, which are wide-ranging. The information may not be perfectly reliable, but if we assume a moderate margin of error we should be able to glean some fun facts.
             Did you know that the populations in South/Southeast Asia read the most hours per week worldwide? India, Thailand, China, and the Philippines take the top four countries, with people from India reading an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes every week. USA comes in 22nd with 5 hours and 42 minutes, which is really pretty good. It’s not surprising to learn that 74% of Americans have read a book in the past 12 months. 67% read a print book, 18% listened to an audiobook, and the numbers show that people with higher education levels were more likely to have read a book in the past year than people with lower education levels.
             Estonia, Finland, and Poland lead Europe for most time read. Estonia also has the most books per household on average with 218. That’s twice as much as households in the US! ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama was the most popular book in 2018 in six european nations. Mobile reading is growing in popularity in Africa, and almost twice as many mobile readers are male than female. Nonetheless, Woman read almost twice as much on average than men in Africa.
             The continent of Australia is a goldmine for curiosities. 7 out of 8 of the most borrowed books from Australian libraries are from the Harry Potter franchise. WOW. Harry Potter is popular here, but there isn’t one among our top 8 circulated books. 30% of New Zealanders have read poetry in the last year. If it’s that popular I’ll have to try some New Zealand poetry out…
             Get this: 58% of readers use a desktop or laptop computer to read ebooks, which is more than those who use e-reader devices! Reading ebooks on a computer is a thing apparently. Among teenagers, girls read more fiction books than boys, boys read more comics than girls, and teenagers who read fiction have higher reading skills than those who don’t or rarely do. Magazine readership is rapidly declining (no surprise), but media consumption overall gradually rises.
             Overall it seems that reading continues to be a major part of people’s lives all over the world. Reading habits are diverse demonstrating interest in reading physical books, ebooks on a variety of platforms, audiobooks, and all sorts of genres. There was a lot more information I did not mention, so check it out for yourself if you get a chance. Here’s one last fun fact: ‘Bibliosmia’ means ‘loving the smell of old books’.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 10, 2019
          A quirk of this time of year is the release of so many ‘Best of 2018’ lists. Best movies, best music, best new restaurants, and anything else you can think of. The undisputed best ‘best’ list, of course, is best books of 2018! There are hundreds out there, and the criteria they use range from best-selling to critical acclaim to personal list-maker’s preference. Let’s look at a few of the lists that we librarians take notice of.
    is a resource we love. It has book descriptions, art, series numbers, author pages, and an abundance more of helpful information. Best of all, it is a popular site, with well-known book getter tens of thousands of ratings and thousands of written reviews. It’s a great site to visit to get a feel for how people feel about a book. Which is why we take interest in the Goodreads Choice Awards winning book for best fiction of 2018 with 55,300 votes: ‘Still Me’ by JoJo Moyes! I’ll Be Gone In The Dark’ by Michelle McNamara took best Non-Fiction, Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider’ took best Mystery & Thriller, ‘The Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang’ got best Romance, and ‘Herding Cats’ by Sarah Andersen made best Graphic Novels & Comics--Sarah’s third consecutive year earning the title. They have a new category this year, Best of the Best, which lets users vote on all 170 past winners. Angie Thomas’ ‘The Hate U Give’ took the title with 68,489 votes, closely followed by ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by  Anthony Doerr.
             The editors over at Publisher’s Weekly put together their top 100 books of 2018 and say ‘you can’t really go wrong with any of them’. The top ten immediately demonstrate the difference between their list and that of Goodreads. Goodreads choice awards favor popularity, whereas Publisher’s Weekly favors perceived literary merit. ‘Asymmetry’ by Lisa Halliday took the gold for its creative use of form and writing style to juxtapose characters in more than mere description. It’s followed by Tara Westover’s hit memoir ‘Educated’. ‘Heavy’ by Kiese Aymon is another memoir taking third. Derek B. Miller’s ‘American by Day’ takes best Mystery/Thriller, ‘Blackfish City’ by Sam J. Miller takes best SF/Fantasy/Horror, ‘Big Bad Cowboy’ by Carly Bloom gets best Romance, and ‘All The Answers’ by Michael Kupperman wins best Comic.
             Library Reads is a nice middle ground between popularity and literary merit. Their ‘Favorite of Favorites 2018’ list is voted on by librarians across the US. A quick glance shows many titles in common with Goodreads, so take note! ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover won their ‘Favorite Favorite Favorite’ title, which was PW’s number two--significant for a memoir. ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones took second, which was also Goodreads’ second best fiction. ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller comes in third, which was Goodreads’ Best Fantasy. Library Reads’ numbers five and six are books that we are reading for our Book Discussion Group this year! Kristin Hannah’s ‘The Great Alone’ will be discussed on February 21st and it will be led by Maria Suarez. ‘The Immortalists’ by Chloe Benjamin will be discussed on April 19th and it will be led by Molly and Kayleigh both.
             Lists like these are fun curiosities, but they are also a place to look when trying to figure out what is worth making your ‘must read’ list. So many impressions can’t be wholly wrong. Try one and let us know what you think!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 3, 2019
       For weeks we’ve been talking about cozy reads, resting, hygge, and generally taking time to relax and collect oneself. Well, we’ve done that, so now it’s time to get up and do something! Let’s get moving. It’s a brand new year and we’ve got goals--let’s make them happen.
             But, where do we start? Say you’ve decided to run a 5k in March, or you want to learn how to cook, or you’ve decided to go to back to school. In all cases the first thing you need is information. See where this is going? We have books and digital resources to help you get started on your new goals. If you are serious about reaching your goals, these books can help you set out a plan to learn efficiently. ‘Teaching yourself’ can work, but it tends to be inefficient. Take less time away from the rest of your busy life by learnly intelligently. Instead of just running, learn how to adjust your diet, lifestyle, and running technique to enable your running to improve quickly. Don’t just look up a dish and try following the recipe, get a book on a cooking style, read about how it works and then practice it. Research different course programs, what schools are looking for in their applications, and then cater your application to their expectations. In all these cases there is good and bad information out there. We can help you sort through it all to quickly get the best information available.
             ‘Happy Runner’ by Meghan Roche is the type of resource we’re talking about. It neither describes a one-size-fits-all method for running nor addresses only a niche demographic. It offers advice on how to thrive at running based on how you think, and to maximize the aspects of running that are most enjoyable. If you’re determined to run a 5k, might as well love it!
             ‘Real Life Dinners’ is exactly the type of cookbook title that a learner might look for too. Rachel Hollis, the author, is not for everyone, but if she speaks to you then her cookbook will too. A learner who is more into chemical processes instead of emotional ties might look to ‘Food Lab’ instead.
             Mix these passions together and try ‘Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow’ by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Their first cookbook was a hit, but this one focuses on quick dishes for those who do anything else besides cooking. The food is healthy, delicious, and possible. There is even motivation for athleticism and nutrition.
             For those thinking about higher education in the New Year, we have current resources on standardized tests, college comparisons, choosing programs and majors, and straightforward books like ‘Paying For College’. It’s all here ready for you to utilize.
             So, whatever new thing you are looking to try this year, come learn about it at the Library. We look forward to learning with you!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 27, 2018
          OK EVERYONE. Touch your head if you are listening! Good. Today we are going to be reading books about the EARTH *gasps. Who knows what Earth is? Yes, Maddie? Yes, Earth is the planet we live on. There are many, many planets in the universe, but Earth is where we are. We are going to start with a book called ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers. Can everyone see the cover picture? Parents, we have many of his books and they are great for family reading. Will everyone say ‘Here We Are’ with me? 1, 2, 3, “HERE WE ARE”. Wow, thank you all. Ok let’s begin…
             Thirty minutes fly by as the 20 kids present interact with three picture books being read by a librarian. Just as their attention starts to slip, the group moves on to making the day’s craft: Coloring a miniature paper ball into a globe, which they can take with them. Afterwards the children play, parents talk, and the librarian helps everyone find other books to take for reading at home. It sounds too good to be true, but this happens several times a week at the Library, and another round of storytimes is about to start!
             Behind the peaceful, positive facade of a simple story telling lies a carefully thought out education program based on science and first hand experience. Storytime helps young minds get ready to read, learn to focus on a teacher figure, learn to listen to others, to socialize with other kids, and to take turns interacting. Kids learn to both speak up when it is their turn to participate, and to pay quiet attention when the story is being read or another kid is participating. Reading at home is wonderfully important, and storytime at the Library is the perfect supplement to diversify reading habits and to help parents find books and reading strategies to give young minds every advantage.
             Beginning again on Monday, January 7th, week starts with Baby/Toddler Storytime from 10:30-11am. Parents and their children ages 0-2.5 are welcome to come read, sing, and play with their baby and/or toddler. Stories are accompanied by songs and games to help children develop both mental and motor skills. Then on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30am Preschool Storytime happens. Sign up is required to read, sing, dance, and make a craft for 2.5-5 year olds. The same program happens again on Friday at the same time. Finally, Music & Movement happens on Thursday from 10:30-11:30am. Kids ages 0-5 can sign up to listen to music, sing, dance, and play along with instruments. Each of these story times are open to library card holders, limited only by registration space, so be sure to let parents you know or take advantage of these free programs with your family yourself!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 20, 2018
      Woah, what a wild time. We decorated a million gingerbread houses last week, made candles this week, and we had so many crafty programs for adults. All together we’ve been very busy. It’s time to rest. Time to slow down, time to think, time to take stock, and time to bask.
             Rest is important. It's an opportunity to think about what you have been doing and offers time to enjoy your work. Work on end is mere survival. We’ve all heard that rest is important. So important--that it’s worth reading about!
             Maria Schriver’s book ‘I’ve Been Thinking…: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life’ is food for thought. Right at the start she gets you pondering about how you have been living. A central theme is where you put your focus and how that affects your daily mood and long-term happiness. It is a personal story, so you can take or leave her beliefs, but whether or not you think the same as she does you will learn from thinking about it.
             If meditation is how you rest best, try ‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: a 10% Happier How-To Book’ by Dan Harris or ‘Aware: The Science and Practice Of Presence’ by Daniel Siegel. They take different approaches, but both focus on resting the mind, training it be more efficient and more wholesome by cutting away distraction and negativity both without and within.
          Some people need to slow down to get that restful experience. Books like ‘Slow: Simple Living For a Frantic World’ by Brooke McAlary is right on topic. If the pace of your life is causing unrest in life, maybe it's time for a change of pace. ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’ by Haemin Sunim addresses the same need from an authentic Buddhist point of view.
             Others thrive at a faster pace, stress free. Tough to balance, but a marvel to behold. ‘Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence’ is reporter Karen Crouse’s account of how the tiny town of Norwich produces Olympic athletes regularly despite comfortable lifestyles and a small population. In Norwich, children are encouraged to participate in all kinds of sports. In contrast to the ‘crazy sports family’ stereotype, Karen describes the family dynamic as one of casual positivity. Successes are celebrated and failures are experiences to be learned from. Amazingly, she describes how the residents see the Olympics as part of a lifelong journey, instead of a goal in itself.
             As a point of contrast to these wholesome books, Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ is about anything but healthy rest. A young woman with ample opportunity ‘chooses’ to try ‘resting’ day after day in a narcotic haze to fix something about her life that she finds is broken. ‘Helped’ by a sadomasochistic ‘friend’, a ‘boyfriend’ who is there in the worst ways, and an atrocious ‘psychiatrist’, she has no authentic support or means of escape. It’s darkly candid book that begs to be described with quotations because the bleakly funny aspects are too real.
             This holiday season, try some real, healthy rest, and see how it helps your mood. Pro tip: reading can be amazingly restful!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 17, 2018
         Woah, what a wild time. We decorated a million gingerbread houses last week, made candles this week, and we had so many crafty programs for adults. All together we’ve been very busy. It’s time to rest. Time to slow down, time to think, time to take stock, and time to bask.
             Rest is important. It's an opportunity to think about what you have been doing and offers time to enjoy your work. Work on end is mere survival. We’ve all heard that rest is important. So important--that it’s worth reading about!
             Maria Schriver’s book ‘I’ve Been Thinking…: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life’ is food for thought. Right at the start she gets you pondering about how you have been living. A central theme is where you put your focus and how that affects your daily mood and long-term happiness. It is a personal story, so you can take or leave her beliefs, but whether or not you think the same as she does you will learn from thinking about it.
             If meditation is how you rest best, try ‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: a 10% Happier How-To Book’ by Dan Harris or ‘Aware: The Science and Practice Of Presence’ by Daniel Siegel. They take different approaches, but both focus on resting the mind, training it be more efficient and more wholesome by cutting away distraction and negativity both without and within.
          Some people need to slow down to get that restful experience. Books like ‘Slow: Simple Living For a Frantic World’ by Brooke McAlary is right on topic. If the pace of your life is causing unrest in life, maybe it's time for a change of pace. ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’ by Haemin Sunim addresses the same need from an authentic Buddhist point of view.
             Others thrive at a faster pace, stress free. Tough to balance, but a marvel to behold. ‘Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence’ is reporter Karen Crouse’s account of how the tiny town of Norwich produces Olympic athletes regularly despite comfortable lifestyles and a small population. In Norwich, children are encouraged to participate in all kinds of sports. In contrast to the ‘crazy sports family’ stereotype, Karen describes the family dynamic as one of casual positivity. Successes are celebrated and failures are experiences to be learned from. Amazingly, she describes how the residents see the Olympics as part of a lifelong journey, instead of a goal in itself.
             As a point of contrast to these wholesome books, Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ is about anything but healthy rest. A young woman with ample opportunity ‘chooses’ to try ‘resting’ day after day in a narcotic haze to fix something about her life that she finds is broken. ‘Helped’ by a sadomasochistic ‘friend’, a ‘boyfriend’ who is there in the worst ways, and an atrocious ‘psychiatrist’, she has no authentic support or means of escape. It’s darkly candid book that begs to be described with quotations because the bleakly funny aspects are too real.
             This holiday season, try some real, healthy rest, and see how it helps your mood. Pro tip: reading can be amazingly restful!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 6, 2018
        Aw snap, it’s that time again. Get out your tissue boxes, your heavily scented teas, your sweet treats, and your recipe box because we’re talking about holiday reads. Imagine a beach read that smells like cinnamon and has snow on it. It’s a book that gets you excited about the holidays and has you reveling in all the feely type family stuff.
        The quintessential holiday author Debbie Macomber is a perfect example. The cover of her new read ‘Alaskan Holiday’ is a literal winter wonderland with three of the most festive malamutes right in front of a warmly lit cottage. Spoiler alert: this cozy love story has a happy ending. A career driven woman takes a temporary position in a rural alaskan town and falls in love with the town and a certain rugged smith. When heavy-handed fate keeps her from the last boat out of town, her best excuses to leave start to fail. Thus love.
        If it’s like a beach read anyway, why not ‘Winter at the Beach’? This one is by Sheila Roberts and has the peppy and wise runner of The Driftwood Inn try to plan a ‘Seaside with Santa’ festival. With multiple love interests in all kinds of weather and mishaps, there is plenty of opportunity for warm-hearted cooperation to fix things. Thus love.
        On the topic of Christmas and inns and warm-feelings and love there’s ‘Christmas on Mistletoe Lane’ by Annie Rains. Kaitlyn Russo lost her job and has moved back to the mountains of North Carolina to run a run-down-but-has-potential bed and breakfast. Her primary helper is a local Mitch Hargrove, who is handy with tools but pathetic with feelings. This might seem familiar, because it is, but it’s a story that warms the heart every time. Thus love.
             Another familiar feeling is being ‘trapped’ with your relatives. In Francesca Hornak’s ‘Seven Days of Us’ a family is happy to get together for the holidays, but it gets a little too close for comfort when they are quarantined for a week because one of them works in treating epidemics abroad. It’s too heavy a dose of family and gradually barriers come down and secrets come out. Nothing brings a family together like a one house quarantine zone. Thus love.
             Mary Balogh’s ‘Someone to Trust’ is a period forbidden romance between a widow and younger man. Both are looking for marriage, but their looking for more ‘suitable’ availables even while they flirt. ‘Solace Island’ by Meg Tilly is more thrilling in that Maggie Harris’ life is danger. Only her sister’s mysterious neighbor with a history in private security and humongous muscles can protect her, if her can overcome his past, that is. Thus love.
             It feels good to talk about all of these feel good books. They’re even better with the full-on hygge experience, so try out on of our holiday baking books like Rosanna Pansino’s new ‘Baking All Year Round’. She focuses on the aesthetic outcome, so you can wow your family when they come ‘round like the stories. Thus love.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 29, 2018
       In the midst of this cold, wintry season we see people think about what they can do for others. The spirit of giving is alive in our community. Our volunteers prove that true every day. Giving begets giving, So our volunteers know that when they come in they get smiles, company, and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping the community. Oh, and sometimes lunch.
      Case-in-point; Kayleigh and Sue are hosting a Book Covering Workshop and Lunch on Wednesday, December 5th from 11am-1pm. Book covering is only one of the billions of jobs (estimated) that our volunteers perform, but it is a popular and important one. Every book added to our collection needs a protective cover, labels, and stamps. The process seems complicated at first, but when it becomes familiar it takes on a meditative cadence. Some volunteers listen to music, others listen to audiobooks, and many just chat or enjoy their own thoughts as their hands work away.
       The workshop is for all coverers present and future. Veteran coverers are invited for a reup and to contribute your expertise. Anyone considering volunteering is invited to come see what covering entails and to meet other volunteers. Sue put together a guide sheet to remind coverers of each step, and it codifies the process to account for how things have changed over time. Once all that’s covered there will be lunch!
             Now is the best time to get in touch about volunteering, but it isn’t the only time. These shindigs are so fun we are running it back around January with a focus on shelving. Shelf-reading, shelf-tidying, and full on shelving are all on the table, but let’s shelve that program until after the Book Covering Workshop.
             Stop by or get in touch with us any time if you are interested in volunteering. There are so many different kinds of work to do that fit your talents and schedule. Volunteerism really is one of the most wonderful things going on at the Library, as any of our volunteers can tell you!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 22, 2018
         It’s Thanksgiving. There is no time like the present to talk about and remember sacrifices that people have made in the past. Gratitude, grimly, is most clearly recognized in the context of loss.
          Next Tuesday, November 27th from 6:30-7:30pm, Mark Gilbertson will come to the Library as part of the New Hampshire Humanities To Go Program. He will facilitate a film screening and discussion about the Vietnam War. The film clips are selected from Ken Burn’s and Lynn Novick’s PBS documentary ‘The Vietnam War’. Come to learn about the war, the people, who were affected by it, and to talk about how its events continue to influence the world as we know it. While the entire documentary is worth a watch, the clips that will be shown are hand picked to to stimulate discussion. The program is more than an educational opportunity, it is a chance to hear how others in the community think and feel about this still-divisive war.
          Rather than focus on the tactical aspects of the war, though they are addressed, the film focuses on the human experience of the fighting and fallout. With several interviews and first person accounts, ‘The Vietnam War’ brings live, vivid witness testimonies from all perspectives. It includes those who fought for the US, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam, those who protested, and civilians that saw it unfold.
          As described by the New Hampshire Humanities Council, “This 28-minute video includes war stories told by an American journalist; an anti-war activist; an American author and combat soldier; a Vietnamese author and soldier of the North Vietnamese Army; Hero Mothers; a South Vietnamese refugee; an ARVN officer; and several U.S. Marines.” The film, and therefore the discussion, wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of New Hampshire PBS. The program is free and open to the public, so come by to learn and talk about shared history!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 15, 2018
      Hygge is pronounced ‘hoo-ga’. I’ve been asked how to say it so many times since the ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ by Meik Wiking became a best-seller. He put the pronunciation right on the cover of his book to prevent ignoramuses like myself from saying ‘hig-e’ or some such thing. It’s a Danish and Norwegian term for which there is not a perfect, one-word translation. It is a feeling of comfort, conviviality, safety, and contentment. It’s used when talking about the clothes, food, people, and places that make us feel at home and at peace. What a wonderful concept to match a wonderful way to live.
       Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. They publish subjective happiness indexes and consult with governments and nonprofits to help increase happiness. His book follows in the wake of the World Happiness Report, which declared to the world how happy the populations of each country are. According to the reports, the happiest countries in the world are consistently Scandinavian countries, with Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia in there too. So what’s their secret? Aside from living in a country with a stable government, relatively high income per capita, quality services, healthy life expectancy, freedom, and a trusting and generous population, Meik explains that the secret is candles.
       Turn down the bright lights, shut off the phone screens, grab a soft blanket and read a book with some candles glowing. Have a cup of mulled cider and put on some lofi chillhop to really set the mood. Improve on that by having a loved one there with you. Happiness is not always about the future. Meik wants you to appreciate what you have instead of what you could or will have. Don’t be passive and hope that happiness will come to you. You have the power right now to make your day hygge.
       It does not come from one thing. You can make your atmosphere more cozy, but it isn’t hygge if you aren’t there enjoying it. Meik points out in his book that most of our happiest memories are shared with others. To enjoy the company, you have to break the barriers, forgive one another, recognize each other, and be at peace. One of the most interesting aspect of this comfort is knowing that you are safe and sheltered. You know that feeling when it's dumping snow out and you have nowhere to go and nothing to worry about until the next day?--That’s hygge.
       All of this is covered in ‘The Little Book of Hygge’, so we thought it would be a comfy read for our December 6th book club. Just as things get cold, we can learn to enjoy some warm socks and relax by the fire.
       Oh, and Meik Wiking followed ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ up with ‘The Little Book of Lykke’. Before you can even ask, Meik wrote that ‘Lykke’ is pronounced ‘loo-ka’. It means, simply, happiness.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 8, 2018
           Hey, what’s cooking? If it isn’t something inspired and delicious than maybe it could use some spicing up. Cookbooks are not just how-to’s on making specific dishes, the themes and trends that thread through them help to inspire you to make something a little different. From classic dishes perfected, to common foods revived with new ingredients, to whole meals you may not have imagined, cookbooks help make our cooking and eating experiences better, faster, and/or healthier. I probably use online recipes even more than the next guy when I have a particular dish in mind, but I use cookbooks for new ideas altogether. Their authors have put together these collections with care. The results are usually a coherent series of recipes with detailed imagery, descriptions, and tips. Plus, as every, we have handpicked the collection!
            Chrissy Teigen’s cookbooks, for example, are librarian favorites. Her new ‘Cravings: Hungry for More’ is a well-balanced book that focuses on taste first, followed by simplicity, health, and ease. It is found in the COOKING: GENERAL section. In the same place, you’ll find Tiffani Thiessen’s new book, ‘Pull Up a Chair: Recipes From My Family To Yours’. She describes her recipes as ‘classics with a twist’ and she hopes that they will be good for casual entertaining, feeding an army, and pleasing picky eaters. Joanna Saltz and the people from Delish put out a cookbook called ‘Delish: Eat Like Every Day Is the Weekend’ in the same area. Whereas the other cookbooks try to keep the recipes mostly healthy, ‘Delish’ puts the immediate flavor before everything else.
           To balance the grilled cheese out, look to the COOKING: HEALTH sections. Gordon Ramsey’s new book ‘Gordon Ramsey’s Healthy, Lean and Fit: Mouthwatering Recipes To Fuel You For Life’ is delicious. Like many gourmet, but practical cookbooks, Ramsey’s recipes insist that you have fresh, quality ingredients. What you make is only as good as what you put into it. Joy Bauer takes cooking for health a step further with ‘Joy’s Simple Food Remedies: Tasty Cures For Whatever’s Ailing You’. I wouldn’t trust the recipes to completely solve your problems, but they are tasty enough that they can’t hurt.
            If you’re like me and you can’t wait two hours after work before dinner is ready, then look to the COOKING: QUICK & EASY section. Skinny Taste just put out ‘One and Done: 140 No-Fuss Dinners For Your Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Air Fryer, Sheet Pan, Skillet, Dutch Oven & More’. These recipes consider prep time, cook time, and clean-up time to get something delicious sooner. Instant pots and air fryers are all the rage right now, so there's that too.
          Browsing all these new books will bring your sugar down. ‘Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change The Way You Bake’ has you covered. The simple chocolate cake on the front reminds us that half the joy of cookbooks is in the pictures. Of course, you can’t see them here, you’ll have to come to the Library and see for yourself!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 1, 2018
        What are you watching this weekend? With the weather turning, we have had a run on the DVDs. Word is out that you can reserve DVDs with us before they are even released, so new DVDs barely even touch the shelf anymore. If you are a browser, remember to browse the online catalog to see the new DVD releases, or at least the top ten DVD list posted on the DVD shelves.
        It makes sense though. The collection is hand picked to meet demand. We’ve got action films like Sicario: Day of the Soldado and  The Skyscraper with Dwayne Johnson. We’ve got cerebral flicks like Fahrenheit 451 and crime romps like Ocean’s 8 and Hotel Artemis; both of which are good fun.
         Eighth Grade is not eighth grade appropriate, but that’s kind of the point. Kayla lives through the last week of eighth grade in all of its adolescent discomfort. She endures and causes experiences that stable, confident adults would shiver at, not to mention a timid, thoughtful girl. Shock and Awe dramatizes the actions of four journalists in the lead up to the Iraq War. It’s been criticized for its lack of both shock and awe in the telling, but it will appeal to those interested in the time period or in journalistic method.
           Fans of horror can be sated with two new tv shows: Killing Eve and Mr. Mercedes. For thrill seekers, The Sinner television series comes highly recommended as a well-portrayed who-dun-it. Many people have been talking about the ‘true to life’ show This Is Us, the second season of which just came to DVD.
           For learners, there has been a wave of new biographical DVDs including such initials as LBJ and RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has shot back into the public eye recently, with multiple biography books and films for all ages. Won’t You Be My Neighbor is, of course, about Fred Rogers, the almost universally adored children’s TV host. There is even a new biographical television series called The Genius, the first season of which is about Albert Einstein.
           Sci-fi enthusiasts have no end of superhero movies and series offshoots like Solo and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but there are also new shows like the time-travely Timeless. It still amazes that those capable of time travel are always in a rush to keep up with other time travelers.
           You would need time travel to see all of the movies in the collection. All of these are a sample of what has been added in the last couple of months and more are coming in every week. Streaming is, truly, wonderful, but it can be expensive to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and all the other services. We have their shows here at the library as soon as they are released. Again, they are handpicked, so no more browsing through hundreds of titles and finding nothing to watch. We are always happy to help find a DVD to meet your interest, so never hesitate to ask. Happy viewing!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 25, 2018
        There are so many books. So many. As librarians, we see deep into the world of authorship, publishing, translation, and distribution. It is a tragic reality that many worthy books will never reach our notice. Debut and undiscovered authors don’t always have the means to have their work expertly edited or marketed. The only way to find these diamonds is to look for them beyond the best seller lists. Sure, some will disappoint, but some will go beyond what you or anyone thought was possible with writing.
          ‘Rogue books’, we call them. The readers who try them are ‘rogue readers’. The Classics Book Discussion pick this month is ‘As I Lay Dying’ by William Faulkner, for example. Faulker said that when he first wrote the book he wrote it all between midnight and 4am over 6 weeks, and he never edited a word of it. Stream of consciousness writing was hardly mainstream, but rogue readers gave books like ‘As I Lay Dying’ a try anyway. Those who did discovered a mainstay of American literature. It is quiet proof that you don’t need to be a best selling author to write something worth reading.
         Here at the Library, We try to fill the shelves with books that Gilford patrons will read. That means paying a lot of attention to how popular authors and genres are and finding rogue books to pique readers’ interest. If the books you have been reading are losing their interest for you, maybe it's time to go rogue and try something different. You don’t have to get right into cerebral classics or poetry, but maybe try a darker novel if you’ve been reading light, or vice versa.
         Go rogue and try Louisa Hall. She wrote ‘Speak’, a story drawn from several stories across time and space. Each story is a different example of an attempt, successful or not, to communicate. Hall’s brand new book ‘Trinity’ is a novel about Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb. It’s told from seven perspectives--together they coalesce into one biography of an enigmatic and apparently conflicted man. Part history, part case study, part biography, Hall’s literature shakes up what we expect from a novel.
        Try a graphic novel biography. We have some incredible ones, like ‘Rosalie Lightning’ by Tom Hart. Hart and his wife journey through the loss the their child, an experience so indescribable that he attempts to draw it. The death and birth of hope are vividly portrayed between comics and full page imagery. Try something from the teen room. Young Adult literature can be less reserved about addressing real issues. Markus Zusak just published his second book, ‘Bridge of Clay’ coming out 13 years after his surprise hit ‘The Book Thief’. Zusak is an inventive writer. He experiments with sentence structure and spacing to leverage the meaning of his words. Its surprising, which is part of the point! Let’s go crazy. GO ROGUE!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 18, 2018
      You may have seen that we’ve made a right mess out of the end of the Non-Fiction Section. There was a polite sign asking for you to forgive us for the mess. Now that it is almost done, it was worth it.
      We took almost every book in the 900s and changed their labels to categorize them in the new HISTORY section! Just like we have BIOGRAPHY, TRAVEL, GRAPHIC NOVEL, and COOKING sections, now the new HISTORY stands in the same shelves that held the 900s. There are subcategories for major geographic areas, time periods, military conflicts, and generalized studies. Some books would fit in multiple subcategories, but any of the subcategories is better than the former pile of nondescript numbers. For example, Dewey’s 915.9 stands for ‘Other Europe’, which was replaced with HISTORY EUROPE GENERAL.
      So take a look! We are getting new non-fiction books everyday. For recent, local history, try looking in ‘HISTORY US NEW ENGLAND’. We just added ‘Cruising New Hampshire History’ by Michael Bruno, who was just here speaking about his book a couple of weeks ago. We also have David McKean’s ‘The Days That Went Before Us: Stories & Accounts of Lowell’s Early Irish’. It details how Irish immigrants managed to become central to the growth and cultural identity of Lowell, Massachusetts.
      There is a ‘HISTORY US GENERAL’ section, so that is where you’ll find Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new book ‘Leadership in Turbulent Times’. She covers some of the most volatile moments in US history and the leaders that helped the nation through them. You’ll also find Jill Lepore’s ‘These Truths’, which is a history of the United States told in relation to ‘political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people’. New Political histories, like many of the hundreds of books about Donald Trump and his branch, can be found in ‘HISTORY POLITICAL’.
      ‘HISTORY MILITARY’ is a huge section with many subcategories. In ‘HISTORY MILITARY AFGHAN WAR’, for example, you’ll find ‘The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq’ by C.J. Chivers and ‘The Bodies In Person: An Account of Civilian Casualties In American Wars’ by Nick McDonell.
      There’s a new book on the Opium Wars in Asia, the Holocaust, the Romanovs, and many more. One unique story is that of ‘The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House’ by Norman Eisen. It’s in ‘HISTORY EUROPE EASTERN’ because the house is Prague. It was home to alternating powers making moves throughout the century, and evidence of each resident lingers in the building. The scope expands to tell the story of power in Europe with a cynical touch.
      These are just a sampling of the new history books added in the last couple months, come by to see entire new section for yourself!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 11, 2018
         Read with your ears. Everyone else seems to be doing it. People are listening to audiobooks while they cook, while they clean, while riding in the car, and/or while exercising. I saw someone listening to an audiobook while they browsed for audiobooks the other day! The digital numbers we see don’t lie, eAudiobooks are as popular as eBooks; even more popular on Hoopla. What could be more convenient than having hours and hours of listening downloaded on your phone. Many cars will star playing the audiobook right when you start the car. We get bestselling audiobooks on CDs every week, and they fly off the shelf. The popularity has improved quality, so the apps are getting streamlined and the voice actors sound like Sir Patrick Stewart (in some cases they are read by him). If you haven’t tried them yet, trust the rest of world and give them a play.
           Let’s talk about some of the audiobooks we’ve gotten recently. We’ve got hit authors like Lisa Scottoline, Elin Hilderbrand, Sandra Brown, and Karin Slaughter. Scottoline’s ‘Feared’ is read by Kate Burton, best known for her performances as Grey’s mother on Grey’s Anatomy. Elin Hilderbrand’s ‘The Perfect Couple’ has been so popular, it deserves its reader Erin Bennett. Erin has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across genres and has dabbled in voiceovers in TV and video games. Her voices (yes, she does several) bring the characters to life. Sandra Brown’s ‘Tailspin’ is narrated by Victor Slezak and Karin Slaughter’s ‘Pieces of Her’ is done by Kathleen Early.
           Many of the memoirs are read by the author, which is awesome! Reese Witherspoon reads her own memoir/cookbook/cultural exposition called ‘Whiskey in a Teacup: What growing up in the South taught me about life, love, and baking biscuits’. You know when you read something and you can just hear the author’s voice in it? This is literal. Sally Fields narrates her own intense literary memoir ‘In Pieces’. In a style completely unlike Witherspoon’s, Sally explains how she survived a lonely and difficult childhood in her own words.
           The fascinating premise of Christina Dalcher’s ‘Vox’ tells a story where women are suddenly allowed only 100 words per day. Julia Whelan’s narration is crystal clear, as if in defiance of the persecution evident in the story.
           Audiobooks are yet another way to enjoy literature. Listeners can rejoice in its current popularity. Let’s ride this train to storyland.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 3, 2018
         Singing can be a wondrous, healing activity that warms the heart and refreshes the mind. From idly humming along to a catchy tune to full operatic achievement, singing is an activity that can be enjoyed at all levels. Children start naturally at a young age, and they never need to stop. It can seem intimidating to sing in front of others--what if we sing out of tune, or forget words, or our voices crack, or… NO. That’s enough anxiety. Today we are talking about singing self-conscious-less-ly. You will not be judged for your singing, at least not at the Library’s new singing program: SAIL (Sing Along In the Library).
           Jane Ellis will lead a biweekly singing group for people of any ability or disability here at the Library. She ran a similar program for years at the Taylor Community, and now she wants to bring the idea of an easy-going singing program to the public space. Jane explains that anyone can sing, no matter if they are on oxygen, can’t remember the words, have never been trained, or anything else. Singers don’t even have to sing! You can hum along, or just listen to familiar songs.
           The point is to have an opportunity for people to sing, socialize, and enjoy themselves without any holdups. Jane will bring her full keyboard to play songs from the 30s and 40s up through today. It’ll be mostly pop, with a bit of rock, meaning that the music is likely to be familiar and catchy. Jane explains, “I would love if people came from the Knolls or the Gilford Community who couldn’t find a place to sing that was made for them. This program is for them”. The program is designed for seniors, but it is open to anyone.
           It is going to meet here at the Library every second and fourth Wednesday from 11am-12pm starting October 10th. Feel free to stop by at the Library or give us a call if you have any questions. There is no sign-up or commitment, just good tunes!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 27, 2018
         If you have ever managed to tear your eyes away from the gorgeous New Hampshire trees and mountains as you drive over our highways, you may have noticed New Hampshire’s historical markers strategically scattered throughout the state. These green posts with a paragraph or so of white text tell a unique story about an individual or an event that had an impact on history. Collectively, they tell the story of New Hampshire and the impact its citizens have had on the world.
           Lakes Region native Michael Bruno took it upon himself to write about all about the 255 historical markers. His book ‘Cruising New Hampshire’ reads like a tour of the state through the ages, touching on everything from first settlers in 1623 to modern politics. All of their locations are noted in detail, with the inscription plainly written. They are humble reminders of what has happened and who made things happen, hidden in plain sight. The book brings to light a part of the New Hampshire community that many either know nothing about, or are barely of the extent of the project.
           Before Michael was an author he served in the U.S. Army for over 23 years. He is still a JROTC Army Instructor at White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield and he earned an Educational Specialist (Ed. S) degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Remarkably, he has written and sponsored a historic marker himself, commemorating Frances Glessner Lee.
           Michael’s work and writing are fascinating, so we’ve invited him to give a presentation on the historical markers and his experience ‘cruising New Hampshire’ here at the Library on Thursday, October 4th from 6:30-7:30pm. Come hear for yourself about these local remembrances.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 17, 2018
            Mark: Maria! You’re the brand new Children’s Librarian. After years of crushing it as a Library Assistant in the Children’s Room, running storytimes, music and movement, play and learn, children’s yoga, and making eye-popping displays you are taking the lead. Are you excited?
           Maria: Yes! I am very excited.  I am looking forward to continue bringing new and exciting programs to the library such as Spanish Club for 1st-4th graders coming in October.
           Mark: That’s exciting. What can we expect to see happening in the children’s room? The 1st reader sections has been organized by reading level, and the parenting section is already becoming more usable. What’s next?
           Maria:  Our little patrons can look forward to their very own reading nook coming soon! This space will help build reading independence for our developing reader while building a positive association with books and libraries. I’m also hoping to have the largest graduating class of our ‘1000 Books Before Kindergarten’ program. The benefits of early literacy for kids and families is so well-documented and exciting that we want this motivational program to really take off.
           Mark: Now, I know that you love to come up with new ideas for how to engage children. I’ve also seen kids light up when you talk to them with exuberance and respect. Why have you chosen to be Children’s Librarian?
           Maria: When I first moved here, I was having a hard time transitioning. I felt out of place, and I was worried that my family and I wouldn’t find a place to be welcomed. When I came to the Library as a patron, though, the Librarian at the time made it feel like home for the first time. I want all others to have that feeling when they come to the Children’s Room. The Library can be so much for families. It is a place for parents to rest, for kids to play, for families to meet and realize that parenting is perfectly imperfect (despite what social media may suggest). Life can be silly, and so can books. A place to share love for reading and love for life is what I hope the Library can continue to be for others, as it has been for me.
           Mark: With you at the desk, I know it will be. Thank you Maria!
           Maria: Readers, let’s make this year a record setter for how many books our kids read. Bring in your big bags and fill them! Be sure to say ‘Hi’ when you come in.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 13, 2018
         Now, I know that you had so much time this summer that you were able to read everything on your ‘to-read’ list, right? No? You were busy with work or beaches or life? Well, let’s catch you up then on some good reads that you might have missed this summer.
         You may have missed ‘Fruit of the Drunken Tree’ by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. A coming of age contrast story juxtaposing the perspectives of privilege and want in Bogota, Colombia at the height of Pablo Escobar’s infamy. The young, sheltered Chula is fascinated by her maid-from-the-slums Petrona, just as Petrona is torn between young love, the needs of her family, and her new affection for Chula. It's a multifaceted story where the description of the setting is as admirable as the tale.
         You may also have missed ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon. Elsie is 84-year-old Florence’s best life-long friend. At this late stage in Florence’s life, there is little that she can count on, but Elsie is one of them. Threatened by the possibility of being moved to a more restrictive home, Florence strives to make sense of the confusing irregularities in what she witnesses and what she remembers. The story is part mystery, part exploration of late-stage life, and part an outpouring of emotion and cliche. The characters are stereotypes, but they are adorable in their roles, and Florence, most of all, has the reader aching for her to be treated with the dignity that she craves.
          You may not have missed ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara because it has been outrageously popular. If you did, however, know that it merits its reputation. McNamara relentlessly researched the ‘Golden State Killer’ and the hurt he caused, writing a gripping and apparently obsessive account of his crime spree. She draws upon interviews with victims, police reports, and other evidence dug up by the true crime community. The acclaimed book was finished by another researcher and a colleague, as she passed away before the work was finished.
          ‘Meet Me at the Museum’ by Anne Youngson is an immediately likeable read about correspondence between a Danish museum curator and widower and a plucky history enthusiast in America. ‘An Unwanted Guest’ by Shari Lapena takes another direction entirely, telling the story of several guests trapped in an inn with a murderer by a blizzard.
             So many good reads have come out recently or will come out soon, so it is always time to check back in to find a new book for you.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 6, 2018
        We’ve all seen the thousands of miles of short rock walls throughout New England. We know that, at one point, most of New Hampshire’s forests were cut for lumber and replaced with grazing fields. Knowing all of this, it is still astounding that New Hampshire once had hundreds-of-thousands-of-sheep roaming the mountains and yielding fur. For a few decades in the early 19th century the industry boomed, and then crashed almost as quickly. The story is wild, with social consequences that reverberate throughout New England history.
       The story is so interesting that it should be told. Steve Taylor is coming to the Library on Thursday, September 13th from 6:30-7:30pm to share what we know about the Sheep Boom. The program is a joint effort with the Thompson-Ames Historical Society. Wool production pushed growth in New Hampshire, motivating architectural development as much as stone walls. It was a blip of prosperity that encouraged many to work furiously to make the land hospitable for sheep husbandry. The investments paid off quickly, but they did not last. Economic and industrial forces beyond New Hampshire made for tough competition, and by the late 19th century the industry shrunk to the point that they barely exported.
      The Sheep Boom is one of the formative periods in New Hampshire history, and the evidence of it today only begin to tell the whole story. Steve Taylor will help to fill in the gaps in our historical awareness.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 28, 2018
          One of the greatest joys at the Library is when a five-year-old comes to the desk to get their first library card. Often shy, but eager for the privilege and impressed by the responsibility, they scribble their name and dream of taking books out themselves. 30 seconds later they do, and they walk out clutching their card and beaming at their family. It’s awesome.
          It’s just as great when a family new to town swings in to see what’s up. They comment on how nice the building is almost every time. More often than you might think we have someone come in who has lived in Gilford for 5 years or more explaining, “Yeah, I just never stopped by. Do you let people borrow that GoPro?!” I always think that having missed out so far does not mean one should keep missing out, which is why we make such a big deal about Library Card Sign Up Month. September is here again!
          Tell your friends, tell your family, and tell your neighbors that now is better than ever to start using the Library. We want to add to the fun of sharing the joys of using the Library by trying a referral reward this September. When you refer someone to the Library and they mention it as they sign up throughout the month, your name will go in a drawing for a gift certificate to the new Village Store, which will official open in a couple weeks. Everyone who signs up for a first time library card in September will go into another Village Store gift certificate drawing.
         To get a library card you need to pay property taxes in town, live in town, go to school in town, or work in town. If none of those apply, you can purchase a non-resident card, which is good for two years. If you don’t have one, get one! If you do, celebrate!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 23, 2018
          ‘It takes a village’ to make an event as lovely as Old Home Day, so they made it the slogan this year! There are so many wonderful connections between people and organizations throughout town that it seems worth celebrating as part of this annual tradition. The Library is heavily involved, as usual, with a major book and pie sale put on by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, the pre-sale of Old Home Day T-Shirts and hats, and a dynamite parade float.
          Be sure to wave when we come by with the float this year. As ever, you will be able to pick us out by the small army of children helping to hand out candy and books. The Pie and Ice Cream and Book Sale covers two days. Friday evening from 4-6pm and again on Saturday from 9am-2pm. The Friends do an amazing job putting the sales together. The pies are baked and donated by local bakers with ice cream donated by Sawyer’s Dairy Bar. Both the bakers and Sawyer’s are so generous to offer their creations. Anyone who has tried it can tell you that it is so...good! It gives you boost of energy you need to peruse the thousands of bargain books available at the book sale.
          Something like the 10th Anniversary Party a couple weeks ago or Old Home Day happening the next couple of days takes a lot of work. Too much work, you could say, for organizations like the Gilford Public Library to participate in. We are diligent workers, but keeping the library moving is full time work already. We need help, and the community does what it can to provide. Thank you, to all of the volunteers that work selflessly to make our community a better, brighter place to be! The whole high school Boys Soccer Team usually comes out to help move the dozens of boxes of books for the book sale. Thanks! The Friends of the Gilford Public Library consistently donate, volunteer, and organize programs to support the library and the community. Not enough thanks can really be given. Nevertheless, there are always volunteer opportunities at the Library for this and other events, so just come by and ask about how you can help too.
         In the end, the work is well worth it. It takes a village to celebrate a village, and as part of the village, we hope to see you there!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 16, 2018
         You may have seen the strange light up magic box buzzing like a spaceship near the paper printer at the Library. Well, it's not a magic box, though the technology can seem that way--its a 3D printer. It’s an Ultimaker 3 to be precise, and it was purchased with funds provided by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. Once again, the Friends have made a major contribution to the educational and creative potential of the Library, so thanks to them for making dreams come true.
          3D printers can, actually, make dreams a reality. You may have seen them before, or even used them, but to ELI5 (explain like I’m five), 3D printer software takes 3D models, wraps them in digital skin so they have thickness, slices them into super thin layers (0.1mm by default) and then figures out a path for the printer to go to make the whole thing. The printer itself is a really, really accurate hot glue gun that squirts, in this case, fancy plastic. Since it comes out in a line, the software needs to tell the printer where to spread the line. So when we tell the printer to make a 3D house prototype, we really tell it to squirt from point A to point B, to point C, and on, layer by layer, until it's done.
          It’s cool technology (the print head actually heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit often) but its not really new or complicated. The printers themselves have gotten better over the years with conveniences like a heated print bed to help the plastic stick, a self-leveling bed, and software that adds supports for you (to hold up a figure’s arms, for example). One of the distinguishing features of this printer is that it has two nozzles. That means we can print in two colors, materials, or even use a water-soluble material for the support structure, leaving just the model you wanted after a good soak.
        ‘We’ refers to all of us. You can 3D print at the Library right now! Just bring a digital 3D model in, make one on one of our computers, or find one online. Once you load the model into the ‘Cura’ software installed on all of the library computers, let a librarian know that you are ready and we will save it to be printed. Printing can take a long time, so there will be a queue, but it’ll be just like waiting for your turn at a new book! The only cost is to compensate for the materials used.
       So come by and try out this new tech! Feel free to ask any questions. Make a decoration for the house, a specialized tool, a replica lightsaber for an escape room at the library (yes we did that). Boldly we go, unto the future.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 8, 2018
        BOOM! That’s what’s going to happen when this ‘time’-bomb goes off in your brain: The library has been at the ‘new’ location at 31 Potter Hill Rd. for 10 years. 10! YEARS! On the one hand it feels like the opening just happened. On the other hand it feels like the fond memories of the old location are from BC. Its our tenth anniversary here, and we intend to bring the house down (not literally… we are celebrating the building as much as the experiences after all).
        This is a celebration for all of the donors that made the new building possible. It's a celebration for all of the taxpayers that contribute to library’s ongoing service. All of the library trustees, staff, Friends of the Gilford Public Library, and volunteers can celebrate and be celebrated. Every patron, of the thousands and thousands of people who have visited the library, has contributed to making the Library what it has been and what it is now; you too are celebrated.
       The Shindig is August 9th. Start the day off with a Mushroom Hike in Weeks Woods with the NH Mushroom Company. We love programs that combine wellness, education, and fun, and this hike will surely deliver on all three. It’ll be followed up by an informational presentation.
        After the warmup, the real party begins at 4pm. We put the Summer Reading Finale together with the Anniversary Party together with a musical performance. The Summer Reading Program has been fabulous this year, and the finale party is a chance to recognize participants of all ages for their reading passion. There will be a (weather permitting) cookout, games for all ages, crafts, people, music, and happiness.
        The music is the biggest draw of all. Katie Dobbins will surround the library with her energetic and elegant guitar and voice performance. She is vocal about the benefits of being free spirited and letting go of worry--something we can get behind on the day of celebration. Check out her music at She grew up here in Gilford and she performs in the area frequently even though she is branching out to venues far beyond the local scene.
        This event will be something to remember. 10th anniversary only happens once, so be there! Go readers, go libraries, go us!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 27, 2018
         Get out your white jeans, your roll necks, your oversized coats and your undersized dresses, you and your friends and family are getting sent back to the 80s to relive one of the most bizarre decades in human history. Madonna on the walls, hair bands playing, infomercials looping, it's a throwback nightmare, but by working with others you can... Escape the 80s!
          The library is hosting an Escape the 80s escape room where groups of up to 8 people get to find clues, solve puzzles, and make it back to the present, or else be trapped in the 80s forever! Be awash in 80s pop culture as you laugh, think, and reminisce with others.
        If you haven’t participated in an escape room before, here’s how it works. You sign up for a time spot. Pick a one hour slot between 1-5pm for Wednesday, August 1st, Thursday, August 2nd, or Friday, August 3rd. Coordinate with friends and family to fill a time spot (8 people), or have a chance to work with others who sign up for the same time. On the day you are ‘locked’ in to a room with only your wits, each other, and ludicrously popped colors (no door will actually lock). Observe your wacky surroundings to find clues, open locks, solve riddles, and escape! Make your back to good old 2018.
        The Friends of the Gilford Public Library sponsored the Breakout EDU kit that we will use for the escape room. We used it once before for the custom made ‘Escape From Kylo Ren’s Workshop’ escape room with K-8th graders, which was awesome. Escape the 80s is for all ages, so don’t miss this completely free experience!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 16, 2018
            We’ve been screaming it from the mountaintops, ‘LIBRARIES ROCK!’. When we first learned the Summer Reading Program Theme, we knew that we would need to maximize our pun equity. It was not ‘hard’ to find a down to ‘earth’ program: A geology hike with Dan Tinkham on Piper Mountain.
           Dan Tinkham has lead geology hikes before and they rock too. He is a professional hydrogeologist with decades of experience, stories, and a natural enthusiasm. Hiking with Dan is like having a personal narrator describing how the world you are walking on was formed. He goes beyond the describing the various surface materials to explain how they came to be, why they are in that shape, and he pauses to explain what the glaciers were up to ages ago so that you can catch your breath. The best part is that he loves talking about geology, so he will gladly questions--don’t hesitate to ask.
           Those who have hiked Piper mountain know that it is a gorgeous hike, with a few moderate ascents, but a spectacular view with an open, rocky top. It has the iconic stone bench you may have seen pictured. It is a true hike, so proper footwear and supplies should be used.
        Sign up is required, so get in touch with us at the Gilford Public Library to get your name in. We’ll meet at the Upper Parking lot on the Carriage Road at 9:30 AM.
        If you can’t make the hike but still want to explore geology, hit us up for tons of local geological resources. A book that we recently picked up is ‘A Wilder Time; notes from a geologist at the edge of the Greenland ice’ by William Glassley. Glassley bears witness to plate tectonics and other natural phenomena that rock the mind. You can consider it a staff recommendation for the Summer Reading Program!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 12, 2018
         It the perfect time of year to talk about our favorite cold weather tradition. The storyteller’s art that is deep with meaning and thick with colorful material. The toil that we admire, learn from, as it keeps us warm and snug. Its history is a patchwork from across the world, wherever cold needed to be fought with cloth and a caring hand. Quilting: The art of patience, of lore, of tradition, and of love.
           Melodrama aside, quilting is far more than what your aunt does to occupy her hands as she watches TV. It has a history as an American tradition, though there have been quilters in many world cultures. So let’s hear about it! Pam Weeks is coming to the Library this Tuesday, July 17th from 6:30-7:30pm to present ‘New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell’. This program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council, a consistent source of quality programing.
           Drawing on the stories that quilts tell, Pam will talk world history, women’s history, industrial history, and more. She explains that quilting is a tradition of service, and that its history is full of myths and misinformation. It will be an interactive presentation and participants are invited to bring one quilt for identification and/or story sharing. Based on what Pam and the other participants bring, Pam may speak in greater detail about historical fashion, the Colonial Revival, quilting during the Civil War, and other relevant topics. This program is free and open to the public.
           Quilters are sure to be inspired by the presentation. Don’t forget to supplement your new ideas with the several books and magazines the library offers to help get ideas and techniques. Books like ‘The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting & Living Courageously’ offers several patterns to fuel creativity. Let’s keep the warm and cozy tradition thriving!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 3, 2018
       Ever heard someone call a writing style ‘lyrical’. Ever read something to a cadence, ala sagas like ‘Beowulf’. Ever find that it's easier to focus on a book with some soft rhythm going in the background? Music and reading share more than we sometimes realize, and the experience of one can influence the other. Just walk past the Storytime Room and hear Miss Maria singing a book to a group of toddlers mouthing along to know what I mean. All of these articles, in fact, are written to the soft sounds of lo-fi chillhop.
           If you had walked into the Teen Room during our book talks a few days ago you would have heard me rapping before a group of middle schoolers. It wasn’t freestyle, I was reading an excerpt from Kwame Alexander’s new book ‘Rebound’. Written in prose, Alexander’s writing has a rhythm to it that you can’t but feel as you flip page to page. Light topics, heavy topics, they have their own deliberate pace and punctuation. It’s like beat poetry, but the reader is the performer and it's a whole book.
        It's a wonderful thing, the relation between music and reading. We celebrate it this summer with the Summer Reading Theme ‘Libraries Rock’. Libraries tend to be more humble than the theme suggests, but in this summer’s case the library will literally rock. Paul Warnick’s music and antics had 80 kids laughing and singing for the Summer Reading Kickoff. The kids will have a chance to catch their breath before musician Joanie Leeds puts them in stitches again on July 11th from 2-3pm. Coming all the way up from New York City, Joanie’s passion for singing is matched by her ability to instill that passion in others. Where Joanie’s melodies will be pleasing to hear, the Akwaaba Ensemble coming up from Manchester on July 18th from 4-5pm will be bone shaking. Their authentic West African drumming is loud, fascinating, and the kind of fun that gets you out of your chair to dance. Pulling the summer together, Katie Dobbins will play at the Summer Reading Finale on August 9th from 4-5pm (that is also the 10th anniversary party).
       Speaking of libraries rocking, during the week of July 23rd children will be able to make rock candy and paint rocks while adults can join in with the Geology Hike being led by Dan Tinkham. We may rock, but we are not above obvious puns.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 28, 2018
          What is a fun activity for all ages, almost all skill levels, gets you outside, that you can do alone or with others, and is totally free? I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with ‘biking’ but you need good shoes instead of a bike. Yup, its hiking, one of New Hampshire’s favorite pastimes. We cannot print the Belknap Hiking Trail Maps fast enough to meet demand.
           Just yesterday we spoke with patrons about where to go. Got young kids (or knee pain) and looking for a view?--try Lockes Hill. Got active kids who like to hop on rocks?-try Piper Mountain. Ramp it up to Rowe, Belknap, Gunstock, Whiteface, or any combination of the lot. We’ve got books for borrowing and maps of the area at cost available. You can even start hiking right from the Library parking lot!
           The White Mountains are a step up from the Belknaps in challenge, majesty, and risk. We just had a presentation on how Mount Washington has some of the ‘worst weather in the world’, and yet people climb over each other for the chance to scale them. From experience, I can say that there is nothing like hiking above the treeline. It's fun, and the Whites are the tallest we’ve got. It is not fun, however, to get caught out in bad weather to perish from exposure. Avoid that morbid turn by planning for the weather, knowing your limits, and being prepared for surprises.
         Now, that doesn’t make any sense--how can you prepare for surprises? Fair point. What we can do is prepare for what surprised other people. We can learn from their mistakes. Julie Boardman wrote ‘Death in the White Mountains’ believing that she could help hikers to be safer in this environment by learning from past tragedy. As she points out, over 200 hikers, climbers, and backcountry skiers have died in the White Mountains since the mid-1800s. Knowing what we know now, or could learn from Julie’s book, we realize that many of these death’s were avoidable.
         One way to avoid exposure is to stay indoors, but we would miss out on the mountain of hiking benefits. Cardio, fresh air, time to think, a chance to shuffle off the stress of life--hiking is too good for us to give up. Hikers know that it is worth the risk. Learning from Julie’s studies reduces that risk.
          Julie Boardman is coming to the library tonight! She will be here from 6:30-7:30pm to talk about her book, about fatalities in the Whites, about some of the lethal trends she discovered, and to celebrate the safe exploration of our landscape. Don’t miss it, but if you do, be sure to take a look at her book.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 19, 2018
          Incentivising reading is like putting chocolate on ice cream, the ice cream is great without it, but why not have some chocolate too. Reading is entertaining, good for the brain, and good for the mind. Like others the world over, our Summer Reading Program celebrates that, adding in bonus prizes like literal chocolate.
          The State Library of New Hampshire explained that “Students who read at least four books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books. Nine out of ten kids say they are more likely to finish a book they’ve picked out themselves.” Frankly, I’m not surprised, but this is the kind of information that the summer reading program is built on. It’s made to encourage reading and diversify reading habits in a fun, engaging way.
          A big part of the fun is in the variety of summertime events. We have way too much going on to mention everything, so the first thing to do is to come to the Summer Reading Kick-Off party on Wednesday, June 27th from 4-5:30pm to hear about what’s going on! All ages can sign up for the program, get the ‘deets’, eat some ice cream, and listen to the music of Paul Warnick. Did I not mention?--the theme of this Summer Reading Program is Libraries Rock! Musical programming is planned throughout the summer, as well as a geology program because of puns.
          Keep an eye out for three more big musical events on the calendar. Joanie Leeds of New York, NY will perform a concert for kids on Wednesday, July 11th from 2-3pm. The library will get loud with kids singing along, dancing, and laughing as Joanie shares her silly, fun style. All ages can feel the library tremble in rhythm with the Akwaaba Ensemble out of Manchester on Wednesday, July 18th from 4-5pm as they perform West African drumming and dance. Master Percussionist Theo Martey will lead the interactive performance. Katie Dobbins will close out the Summer Reading Program at the Finale Party from 4-5pm on Thursday, August 9th with her empowering, poetic take on folk. Her melodies are a positive message for anyone, and they are perfect for celebrating a summer of reading!
           You might be thinking, “Wowzers, how can the library put on all of these amazing events all summer long?” Well, we wouldn’t be able to without the support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. They support the entire Summer Reading Program, for all ages, both financially and with volunteerism. Thank you Friends.
          That’s enough talking about it, let’s do this thing. Come by the library to hear more, sign up, and don’t miss the Kick-Off Party!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 11, 2018
          “Hi! What have you been reading? Aces. I’ve been reading more Brandon Sanderson--can’t get enough of his world building.” Reading is so much more rewarding when we talk about it. It can be just like that, a casual conversation with a friend in the foyer of the library. We might hear a dramatic book review on NPR. Prominent figures tell us about books they recommend, like Oprah Winfrey’s book club and Bill Gates with his taste for books that inform how to improve the world. Talking about what we have been reading and getting ideas for what to read next is a favorite aspect of the reading experience, and it is useful too.
           Programs like the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read work to share the benefit of reading and discussion. What better conversation starter could there be than the common experience of reading a book? It has long been established that reading has health benefits, mental function benefits, and is basically the best thing you can do, but there is also evidence that talking about what you read promotes comprehension. By talking together we get the most out of what we spend time reading. Bonus: it’s always fun to share your interests with others.
           This time of year we invite classes from the Gilford Middle School to come by the library to hear about new book recommendations. It's not like, “Hey, this book was interesting, you might like it” it's more like, “Future Earth is too restrictive for the strong female lead of this book, so she catches a ride with a giant alien/spaceship hybrid and they explore the galaxy as she falls in love with it.” Books are all about what’s underneath the surface. Without talking about a book, reading a review, or browsing through it, we cannot guess at the contents. There are so many amazing books out there, but only through communication can we find them.
           So, when you read a good book, remember to share it with others. Talk about it to clarify your thoughts, or attend a book discussion to really get the most out of it. Sites like are wonderful for reading about what friends and reviewers think about books. It's easy to make an account, letting you share your own thoughts. Anyway, those are my thoughts.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 4, 2018
           Let’s get right to the point. This article is about minimalism, simplicity, and new books that have to do with either.
             We’ve seen this before with ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo, ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter’, and others. Since then, the minimalist movement has been thriving and people have been burdened by fewer tasks, less clutter, and clear schedules. Practitioners find that there is value in keeping only the objects that we need and doing only the things that we have to, or that they decide they want to do.
           As an example, a minimalist would leave the explanation there. Others might carry on saying, “Oftentimes extra explanation is unnecessary, and frankly it tends to run on and waste time, resources, energy, and other related terms and notions that don’t really add to the discussion at all, and are extraneous.” Don’t need it--cut it.
             ‘Don’t need it--cut it’ can be applied to many aspects of our lives. Courtney Carver was a striver who was forced to figure out her priorities when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Her busy and expensive life of wanting more was no longer possible, but in focusing only on what mattered most to her, she was able to live more easily and with less stress, something that she wish she knew earlier. She wrote the whole story in her book ‘Soulful Simplicity: how living with less can lead to so much more’.
            One attempt to find cloves in my spice cabinet will indicate that my kitchen can be decluttered. Melissa Coleman wrote ‘The Minimalist Kitchen: the practical art of making more with less’ to help people simplify their kitchen and food habits. In manageable steps, she helps the reader pare down excess ingredients and kitchen tools, learn efficient cooking techniques, and streamline meal planning and shopping. The recipes are delicious.
           Fiction readers can get a taste with Andrew Sean Greer’s Novel ‘Less’. A failed novelist finally confronts his stagnant lifestyle when he travels abroad and learns who he is, and who he could be. It reads like a coming of age novel about a 50-year-old.
              Other books in recent memory include ‘Present Over Perfect: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living’ by Shauna Niequist, ‘The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own’ by Joshua Becker, and ‘The Unsettlers: in search of the good life in today’s America’ by Mark Sundeen.
           One major bonus to simplifying our lives--more time to read.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 31, 2018
        Almost anyone can pick up a good thriller and enjoy a little excitement, but true crime is another beast altogether. It’s an acquired taste, blending curiosity, disgust, and morbid fascination. It's a mix of history, psychology, sociology, and oftentimes mystery. It’s disturbing, in a way, so why are so many people drawn to true crime?
           True crime is not the fanciful imagination of some twisted writer--it happened, proving that someone was capable of the criminal act. Readers, thoughtful as they are, want to know why they did it. Who were they, what was their life like, what were their motivations, what state of mind were they in, and, a lot of the time, what went wrong. There is an element of fear as well. Fear of your fellow humans. For some, fear is exciting.
        The true crime book that everyone is talking about is ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer’ by Michelle McNamara. Michelle studied and wrote tirelessly about the Golden State Killer, having her work compiled and published two years after her untimely death. Her work has drawn the public eye to the case, which recently saw an arrest decades after the crimes. Michelle’s ‘obsession’ is clear in the way she writes, finding questions with each piece of evidence. Her book has been a best-seller, and soon we will see an HBO special on the story.
        ‘A False Report: A true story of rape in America’ by T Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong is a recent release that tracks how a serial rapist was able to cover up his crimes to the extent that a teenager was charged with false reporting when the police, and even some of those close to her, doubted her story. As more cases turned up with eerie similarity, a detective pieced together the connection, and the truth came out. ‘A False Report’ is as much a book about a serial rapist case as it is about injustice in sexual assault investigation and about skepticism shown to rape victims.
        As sad as it is, true crime is often about both crime and injustice. ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun: a true story of violence, race, and justice lost and found’ by Gilbert King brings to light the story of racially motivated murder and cover-ups in a small town in Florida right when integration was ongoing. The truth is harrowing in a way that fiction can’t achieve. ‘The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: a true story of injustice in the American South’ by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington is another new and true account of abuse of power, crimes, and cover-ups.
           These books have come in just the last couple of months. They are the tip of iceberg for true crime readers. Ask a librarian and we can help you find the whole collection--they’re to die for.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 22, 2018
         We are not all experts on mental health. That is a hard truth. I wish we were, but most of us are total amateurs at dealing with our own mental health issues, helping others work with theirs, or even talking about mental health issues. Information abounds about healthy exercises and diets, but is harder to find information about even the most common mental health concerns, like disorders associated with anxiety, mood, addiction, psychotic episodes, eating, post-traumatic stress, and so many others. Mental health can be hard to talk about, partly due to a fear of being stigmatized.
          Mental Health Awareness Month is ongoing and its purpose is get people talking and learning about mental health issues. The idea is that we can shake off the stigmas and improve our compassion through discussion. That’s a great word, ‘compassion’, because it bundles sympathy, love, and understanding all into one experience. When someone explains an issue that they are dealing with to you, oftentimes, I think, they are looking for that experience.
         The librarians are always here to help people find resources to learn about or to work through mental health challenges. At the same time, we recognize that some topics can be hard to talk about in a public place, so we’ve put together a couple of pathfinders to help people find their own way (isn’t that poetic!). Pathfinders are bibliographic pamphlets (available in person or on our website) to point their users to locations in the library or online for specific resources. We currently have one for drug addiction and another for alcohol addiction. They include quick reference for fiction books, nonfiction book, DVDs, online resources, and local organizations or groups that can help. We also have resources on our website, and patrons can use our catalog to find materials by subject.
          We now know that health means more than the physical state of our bodies. We need to pay attention to our brains too. We need to take care of our minds. What I’m trying to say is a book a day keeps the doctor away.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 14, 2018
        What do you do when a loved one has no hope of recovery? What do you do when you are the patient’s doctor, and it is up to you to explain that hopelessness to the patient’s loved ones? How do you act when a loved one cannot communicate their wishes and their life can only be lived out immobile in a hospital bed? These are horrible questions, but they are asked and answered every day in hospitals and homes the world over.
           Extremis is a 24 minute documentary filmed entirely in the Intensive Care Unit of Highland Hospital in Oakland California. Dr. Jessica Ritter is the palliative care specialist whose role it is to explain to loved ones that her patient has no hope of recovery. Extremis follows her encounters with three patients and their families, each of which has a unique condition with unique scientific, humane, and faith issues. The film is hard to watch, but it’s (may I forgive myself for saying this over-used reviewer word) an important watch. By that I mean that the documentary is a realistic representation of an aspect of our lives that matters, and yet we prefer not to talk or even think about it. It’s hard to confront, but more and more people are learning that these end of life issues can be better handled if we are prepared--at least as prepared as possible. To see the film, join us for a showing on Thursday May 24th from 12-1pm. It’s a lunchtime showing so you can look forward to some food and engaging conversation.
        Reading is another way to learn, of course, so here are some of the end of life resources we have added recently to help get us thinking, or help with grieving. ‘With the End in Mind: dying, death, and wisdom in an age of denial’ by Kathryn Mannix is a brand new read to help anticipate our own death, or the death of close loved ones. Kathryn herself is, you guessed it, a palliative care doctor with years of experience helping families make those those terrible choices, and seeing the results. ‘Natural Causes: an epidemic of wellness, the certainty of dying, and killing ourselves to live longer’ by Barbara Ehrenreich is a candid description of modern welfare and the negative impacts that some common health practices on our quality of life. Barbara advises against sacrificing quality of life for longevity. ‘Modern Death: how medicine changed the end of life’ by Halder Warraich is a much more holistic and historic description of the concept of death. It is great material for philosophical and religious discussion.
         Some people have lived experience in brushes with death or in ICUs or their own. ‘I Am, I Am, I Am: seventeen brushes with death’ by Maggie O’Farrell immediately catches your attention with the peculiar circumstances she found herself in. That many near-death experiences changes you, apparently, which is a change that Maggie documents. ‘In Shock: my journey from death to recovery and the redemptive power of hope’ by Rana Awdish offers us an educated description of what it is like to be a patient. Spoiler--it’s not great. Rana makes the case that doctors can miss the emotive touch that patients need, even as they do their best to care for the body.
        Although it is not a topic that is fun to learn or talk about, end of life issues are a reality, and they will never (possibly, the future will be weird) go away. The Extremis documentary and these other resources will help get us thinking about how we will answer horrible questions, and maybe it will help.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 4, 2018
       May the 4th be with you. It’s a cheesy line, but any excuse we can find to celebrate Star Wars. This family saga has been in the making for decades, with a fan base that spans all demographics. We have retirees looking for Star Wars photography books, working folks reading from the canon, teens writing and reading fan fiction, and children watching animated shows or learning to read from BB-8. It is a big deal and it has been for a long time.
         The power of puns to unite people is a mystical force that surrounds all of us. May the fourth came to be a day of celebration naturally, after a series of use in social media and marketing. Today, it is a day that schools and businesses around the world recognize.
         Why, you ask? There are things about Star Wars that some may not love, but it has a lot going for it.
      1: Star Wars is a saga, with characters that affect the story during, and often after their life. The ramifications of what happened in the past are forever felt. I mean, Obi Wan was like a dad to anakin, and anakin was a dad to Luke, but not like a dad, and Luke could be like a dad to Rey, and Kylo Ren has dad envy over Vader, and Leia is super-mom...
      2: Star Wars has depth of time and space. ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’ goes the opening line. The galaxy has, as galaxy’s do, billions of stars, with billions of planets, and an indeterminate number of species. Nevertheless, there is centralized power, governments, and the rule of law for most of it. There are books and games that take place thousands of years before episode 1, and they shed light on how the galaxy came to be like it is. The story will never really be done.
      3. Stars Wars has something for everyone. Just as there are galactic power plays and gritty, back alley deals, adorable droids are up to their antics. That is why we have ‘R’ rated books, PG-13 movies, and kid’s tv shows set in the same story.
      4. Stars Wars is a story of good versus evil. A simple dichotomy in a complex universe. It is not at all veiled, with Leia in white and Vader in black, the full orchestra screaming ‘bad, mean, nasty’ when the Imperial Star Destroyer shows up. The force has two sides: light is selflessness, dark is selfishness.
      5. Star Wars is a story where one person can change the trajectory of a galaxy. There are so many points where one person has to make a choice with galactic ramifications. Characters come from humble origins and a single fighter pilot can destroy the Death Star.
      So anyway, there is a lot to like. This Friday, May the 4th, we are hosting an after school Star Wars Escape Room for K-8th graders, so check with the library to see if there spots left for kids you know. They will be escaping from Kylo Ren’s Death Star 4.0. Happy Star Wars Day, and May the 4th be with you.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 9, 2018
      Be Kind to Animals Week. This is a week that has been observed for generations, with marketing campaigns, flags, the whole kit and cabootle (I had to look ‘cabootle’ up--apparently it comes from the word ‘bootle’, which is a group [of people]). ‘Be Kind to Animals Week’ has been an opportunity to highlight ways in which animals suffer at human hands. It helps raise awareness about ways in which animals suffer, why it should be prevented, and how to prevent it. To me, it begs the question--why would people deliberately be unkind to animals, but I’m not going to be talking about our psychology collection today. Let’s talk about our books on animals.
       A new novel by Sigrid Nunez offers much food for thought about what pets think, how they react to life-events, and how similar their behavior to that of humans can be. After a woman loses her lifelong best friend, she inherits his Great Dane. At first annoyed by its presence, worried about having a dog in her apartment, and confused by its behavior, she begins to recognize that it is sorrowful over the absence of the same person she misses. She begins to obsess over the dog and its thoughts, to the point of losing control of her own.
      ‘The Friend’ is the kind of story that makes you want to research to find the truth of the matter. We have several new non-fiction books on exactly this topic. Coincidence? Books like ‘What it’s Like to be a Dog: and other adventures in animal neuroscience’ by Gregory Berns. It seems obvious that the first step to being kind to animals is to understand what they need and what they want. Staring at my pets sometimes, I have to admit that I don’t really know what they are thinking. Other times it’s clear they are thinking “Give me that treat. Now.”
       What if we could get better at communicating? Jon Katz published ‘Talking to Animals: how you can understand animals and they can understand you’, so that might be useful. To get even closer to the heart, look into ‘The Inner Life of Animals: love, grief, and compassion: surprising observations of a hidden world’ by Peter Wohlleben. Cat lovers can get specific with ‘The Inner Life of Cats: the science and secrets of our mysterious feline companions’ by Thomas McNamee or read about ‘Strays: a lost cat, a homeless man, and their journey across America’ by Britt Collins.
       If you are not in the mood for neuroscience or a heart-tugging story, at least there is the new National Geographic publication, ‘The Photo Ark: one man’s quest to document the world’s animals’ by Joel Sartore. The book has indescribably beautiful images in it (if a picture is worth a thousand words, it would take a while to aptly describe ‘The Photo Ark’). Of all of these my favorite ‘Be Kind to Animals’ book is the imaginative and insightful graphic novel, ‘My Boyfriend is a Bear’ by Pamela Ribon. The title is not a metaphor.
      We should always be kind to animals, but for this week, let’s make an extra effort to do well by the animals in our lives and the world over.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 23, 2018
        Let’s dispense with a misconception right now: It is not the case that people are ‘just’ bad or good with money. It may appear that way when your cousin keeps talking about how she liquidated some of her investments to buy her third home outright, when you have only more or less been keeping up on mortgage/rent payments for… your whole life. Money management is something that almost everyone is obligated to take part in, and yet, it seems like only some people study it seriously, and it is only minimally taught in schools across the country. The reality is, money smarts can be learned. Truly. The basics can have a huge impact on your life, and they are simple!
        So let’s get smart, money smart. It’s Money Smart Week! has several quick go-to guides on how to cut debt, make a budget with which to save, and how to make it through major life events without catastrophe. It seriously takes a couple minutes to read, but the information is relevant to almost everyone--smart. Taking some time to learn how better to manage your personal finances can end up saving or earning you more money. We are willing to put in 40 hours a week, oftentimes more, week after week, to earn a wage, isn’t it worth it to take a few minutes to learn how to make the most out that hard-earned money? Smart.
        Here are some smart resources: Online resources like Money Smart Week, the Financial Planning Association, the Federal Reserve, and no end of independent educators (my personal favorite being Mr. Money Moustache) can be quick references. There are many excellent books here at the library, too. Chelsea Fagan just came out with ‘The Financial Diet: a total beginner’s guide to getting good with money’. Being a 2018 release, I think that Chelsea’s book is a great place to get started, especially for young people. Jen Sincero’s new book ‘You Are a Badass at Making Money: master the mindset of wealth’ is perfect for roughly middle class reader’s try to make a difference with what they have.
        Ric Edelman looks long term with ‘The Truth About Your Future: the money guide you need now, later, and much later’. Robert Kiyosaki just updated his bestselling, and exceedingly readable money theory book, ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad: with updates for today's world and 9 new study session sections’. ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ is well-liked for its use of basic language to describe economic theory.
        Since money smarts are not always taught in school, it can be up to adults to help kids get a head start before they become independent. Beth Kobliner writes a satisfyingly candid book, ‘Make Your Kid a Money Genius (even if you're not): a parents' guide for kids 3 to 23’. The ‘even if you’re not’ clause means that we are likely to learn, just as we teach! Follow this up with the juvenile non-fiction books, ‘Why should I save for a rainy day?’, ‘What do I want?, what do I need?’, ‘Learning about earning’, all by Rachel Eagen.
        Money smarts are not only for the smart, or the naturally gifted. Take a little time this week to learn how to better manage your money and improve your life--smart.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, 4/18/18
          Happy Birthday Shakespeare! The guy shuffled off his mortal coil in 1616, so he can’t hear us, of course, but if he could I bet he would be astounded at the fact that we are wishing him well so long after his passing. It begs the question: what about Shakespeare’s playwriting made it interesting to so many people for so long? If you Google him you will get plenty of intros about the man explaining that he is widely regarded as the greatest English writer/poet, greatest writer in the English language, and/or the greatest writer/poet in the history of everything. Forgive the philosopher in me, but what does that mean?
          Since I don’t know, I asked some readers, including patrons, volunteers, and other librarians. When I asked a volunteer, ‘Hey, what do think makes for great writing? I don’t mean good, or even really good writing, I mean great. I’m asking because it’s Shakespeare’s birthday.’ She responded, ‘Oh! Hi Shake’ before hitting me with some heavy ideas about what sets great writing apart. I’ll do my best to sum up what they said (thank you all). Let’s start simple:
          Great writing grabs and holds your interest. It is clear and engaging, so you are never bored reading it, and you want to get to the next page. It will almost always have humor in it. Great writing is original, which sounds easier to find than it is. Originality is hard to qualify, but it does seem to be a common trait amongst great writings. Great writing has an impact on you. It has you thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading, and you remember it, at least in some fashion. It challenges you, at least a little. These seem to all be tied together--because great writing is original and interesting, it has an impact on you, and it has an impact on you because it is original and grabs your interest! Let’s go deeper.
          Great writing is approachable at several levels, such that a teenager will know what is going on, an adult has plenty to think about, and a tenured literature professor can puzzle over it (Shakespeare excels at this). Great writing is more than just the explication of plot--the reading of it is wonderful. This is the difference between literature and news reports. Great writing makes you love reading it, even as you are excited to reach the conclusion. In great writing, language is used in a way to facilitate imagination, creating a painting or an experience with words. It does more than linger with you--it changes the way you think, which can change your whole life. It offers vicarious perspective, so that you can understand another point of view just by reading it. Great writing teaches you something, even if you aren’t fully aware of what you learned.
          So, basically, this weekly article is quintessential ‘great writing’. You can find more great writing by browsing the classics section, looking at reader’s advisory lists at the library or online, or by asking a librarian!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 9th, 2018
          I saw the sign for myself. The fog was thick, and I could only just see the next cairn before me as I stepped from granite slab to granite slab. The bold, yellow sign clearly read, “STOP: THE AREA AHEAD HAS THE WORST WEATHER IN AMERICA. MANY HAVE DIED THERE FROM EXPOSURE, EVEN IN THE SUMMER. TURN BACK NOW IF THE WEATHER IS BAD.” Mount Washington is known around the world for record colds, wind speeds, and exposure danger, even though it is a tiny mountain by the standards of other ranges. I admit, I thought to myself, ‘Really? Our little Mount Washington has the worst weather in America?” After reading up on it I learned that they are serious, and I’ve carried an extra layer and bottle of water with me ever since. Although alarming, these signs should never be taken lightly by travelers. As anyone else who has ever attempted to traverse Mount Washington, by foot or by car, knows – it is a journey that can only be undertaken in the best of weather conditions – and like most New England weather, it can change and reach extremes at the drop of a hat.
               Few people know better how extreme the weather on our world-famous mountain can be than those individuals who study and work on top of it, at the Mount Washington Observatory. Will Broussard from the Mount Washington Observatory will visit the Gilford Public Library on April 26th from 6:30-7:30pm to help explain what work weather observers do at the observatory. Tracking the weather patterns on top of Mount Washington is fascinating in its own right, and it helps to tell the tale of New England weather patterns in general. Wind speeds have been recorded up to 231 mph on Mount Washington, which is really, really, mind-and-body-blowingly fast. The current observatory began keeping records starting in 1932, and both the mountain and its observatory have long histories as landmarks in northern New Hampshire. The Observatory is also involved in many educational efforts to inform individuals about the many aspects of extreme weather, area history, and the mountain geography and ecology.
          If you don’t already, I recommend reading up on the Mount Washington Observatory’s blog at Their descriptions of consistently amazing weather events are vivid and readable. They also describe the human experience of spending so much time among the clouds, snow, and wind. It is a hub of hikers, scientists, educators, and naturalists. In short, it’s just the kind of place I like.
          The program is totally free and open to the public. It is put on by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. I hope the weather is good.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 2, 2018
          For one week a year, April 8th-14th, the Library holds nothing back. National Library Week is our time to shine. Bring out the horns (please don’t, this is a library), launch the fireworks (that’s a fire hazard, books are flammable), and sing (really? shhhh)! National Library Week is a chance for people to celebrate and support libraries and all that they do. The American Library Association has declared the theme to be ‘Libraries Lead’, so please, this week, share with us how libraries have lead you. I’ll start: When I was young, my library taught me that I could read what I was interested in unashamedly, and I haven’t put Sci-Fi and Fantasy books down since.
          Misty Copeland is the Honorary National Library Week Chair, which is awesome. She is an incredible author, athlete, performer, and role-model. Find her newest book, ‘Ballerina Body’ in the library.
          To celebrate, we have several unique programs going on. Try something new with two Adult Storytime sessions on Tuesday, April 10th from 10:30-11:30am and Thursday, April 12th from 3-4pm. They are modeled after children’s storytimes, so adults will hear a librarian read a short story and then they will enjoy a snack and craft. The NH Historical Society will hold a presentation on Immigration and the Granite State on Tuesday evening from 6:30-7:30pm. With plenty of details from primary sources, they will talk about immigrant experiences here in New Hampshire from 1700-1920.
          Crafters can sign up for making Wire Wrap Bracelets with Wendy Oellers on Thursday, April 12th from 5-6:30pm (cost is $15 for supplies, due at sign up). Roney Delgadillo will host an Acrylic Painting Class on Friday, April 13th from 3:30-5:30pm (cost is $5 for supplies, due at sign up). Both of these sessions are totally beginner friendly and are great social experiences. Don’t forget that the New Moon Women’s Group is meeting on Saturday, April 14th from 10am-12pm too.
          National Library Week is when we have one of the most exciting series for kids: Touch-a-Truck storytimes! Every weekday from 10:30-11:30am kids can see a new vehicle and hear a story read by the driver or a librarian. Kids love to see and hear about the vehicles and to learn from the people that use them. Elementary Schoolers can also paint flower pots and plant seeds during early release on Wednesday, April 11th from 1:30-2:30pm. In addition to their regular gaming programs, Teens can participate in a casual improv program during Early Release at 12:30pm. Improv is hilarious, but you have to put yourself out there, so this easy going environment is a great time to try it out.
          All ages can enjoy the annual tradition put on by the Opechee Garden Club: Books In Bloom! The club puts together engaging floral arrangements themed on books of their choice to display them throughout the library. Take a look around during our regular hours on Thursday, April 12th, Friday April 13th, or from 10am-12pm on Saturday April 14th. You won’t want to miss it! Libraries like ours provide exciting and educational programs for their communities all over the US. Go libraries!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 29, 2018
Boy howdy, this book is written eloquently. The gramatical play is astonishing, and I feel rewarded as a reader.
          Books and movies have different things going for them, and yet we can’t stop making one out of the other. All of us have read books and thought, ‘This would make a great movie’, and producers do too. Fans of hit movie series can’t get enough, so dozens of canon novels and fan fiction is written to meet demand. This year alone there are dozens of books being made into hit movies. It's best to read the books now before the movies come out, because, as sure as there will be more teen trilogy film adaptations, there will be a run on the books when the movies release.
          Start with one of the most imaginative adaptations of the year. ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline shows a world that could be. The not-too-distant future is in environmental, political, and economic decline. The one escape that almost the whole world shares is a digital, virtual reality universe which blends societies, economics, and entertainment. The book focuses on the feelings and obsession of our hero as he travels the digital landscape that is riddled with 1980s geek culture. The movie focuses much more on the awe of the digital universe with incredible visual and audible effects. It is beautiful and thought-provoking, but it has to leave out most of the puzzle solving patience of the book.
          ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows will become a movie this year, which is amazing because the book is composed entirely of fictional letters between an author and an island’s book club in 1946. The topics of the movie and the book are the same, but the medium is as different as can be. They compliment each other because they only overlap passingly.
          Maria Semple’s ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ should make for a fine film. When an eclectic and agoraphobic mother disappears, her smart and resourceful 15-year-old daughter pieces together the gaps in her mother’s life to find out where she went. The mother and daughter are both characters the a reader can imagine, but that they would love to see.
          Madeleine L’Engle’s classic for all ages, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ will finally be made into a modern film. The movie cannot hope to capture the skill of Madeleine’s writing--its an all-time favorite for a reason--but it can stir up the visual imagination for readers. It also can put the story in the hands of those who weren’t going to read it anyway.
Others to look for are David Levithan’s ‘Every Day’, Stephan Talty’s ‘The Black Hand, David Lagercrantz’s ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’, and Sarah Waters’ ‘The Little Stranger. The BBC is also making John le Carre’s ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ into a television series, so mystery and thriller fans can look forward to a gritty and realistic new show.
          Personally, I love to see the differences between movies and the books they are based on. Yes, some content will be left out or changed (I’m looking at you, ‘Inferno’) but that is to be expected, and often it is for the better. But seriously check the books out soon or they will be gone.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 22, 2018
        Mud season. Too early to clean or garden, too late to ski. No thanks, I’ll stay in and read. I’ll read something like Matt Young’s memoir ‘Eat the Apple’. He writes with a refreshing variety of styles even as the material catches your breath. Matt writes about his life going from a teenager driven by misguided notions to his several tours of the iraq war, to his current creative writing teaching position. His changing styles, cutting honesty and introspection, and dark humor all work together to make this a unique memoir.
          An alternative with less testosterone is ‘The Girls in the Picture’ by Melanie Benjamin. The ‘girls’ are Frances Marion and Mary Pickford, two of Hollywood’s earliest female stars. As writer and actor they captured the hearts of viewers and left a legacy of power, success, and friendship.
If you want to have your soul shattered into tiny liquid bits, then pick up Rhiannon Navin’s ‘Only Child’. Rhiannon seems to have managed writing a story about a tragic school shooting and the aftermath from the perspective of a six-year-old first-grader who hid in a closet while his brother and several others were massacred. It cannot be easy to imagine what goes through a six-year-old mind, but Rhiannon captures the innocence, confusion, and the propensity to focus on different aspects of the tragedy than the adults do. He thinks about the pros and cons of being an only child, about the attention he will get from his parents, but soon he is all but ignored as his parents struggle with their grief, and he acts on his emotions. Wow.
          After a read like that you might need to go searching for happiness. That’s what Bibi Abbas Abbas Hosseini gets up to in ‘Call Me Zebra’ by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (I need to change my name to something fascinating). Bibi is a refugee from Iran from a specific culture and a survivor of horrors. After ten years in New York City, she follows her old path of escape to learn what she can about who she is and, most importantly, what she thinks. This is a thoughtful, poetic, and bizarre book that is as rewarding as it is aggravating.
          Chris Bohjalian just published his latest, ‘The Flight Attendant’. Cassandra Bowden likes to make the most of her time between flights by drinking heavily and finding adventure wherever she is. The lifestyle takes its toll on her, and one morning the man she wakes up next to appears to be murdered. Her lies build up as she tries to remember what had happened the night before.
Don’t miss ‘Sunburn’ by Laura Lippman, ‘Brass’ by Xhenet Aliu, ‘Song of a Captive Bird’ by Jasmin Darznik, ‘Chicago’ by David Mamet, ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover, ‘Rosie Colored Glasses’ by Brianna Wolfson, ‘The House of Broken Angels’ by Luis Alberto Urrea, or any of the others we have added this month! It’s a great time to be a reader.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 15, 2018
        Women’s History month is here! It should be Women’s History Half-a-Year instead of just a month, but hey, let’s celebrate while we are here. The history of women is … well, its glorious, there are triumphs in science and art, but there is also sadness, and much pain, followed by social reformation, and so many stories pulling it all together. There is a lot to talk about, frankly, because women have done more than can be described. I’ll let some of our new books explain instead.
          Let’s start talking about ‘Women & Power’, a discussion that Mary Beard recently wrote about. Her book takes a well-researched look at how power structures throughout history have been hostile to women. She argues that misogynistic views are so deep-seeded and common, that it takes the influence of great women to shake up how the world perceives ‘power’. I am partial to books with a scope as colossal as the whole history of women and power, and her history of Rome called ‘SPQR’ was excellent. ‘Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley’ by Emily Chang gives a modern example of this happening.
          People love to read about working women: their successes and, unfortunately, about injustices done to them. ‘The Radium Girls: the Dark Story of America's Shining Women’ by Kate Moore tells about women workers who were told that the glowing radium paint that they were using was safe. As they became poisoned, the story broke and scandal followed, with a fight for women’s working rights beginning in earnest. Another story is that of women scientists in ‘The girls of Atomic City: the untold story of the women who helped win World War II’ by Denise Kiernan. That story inspired Janet Beard’s new fiction, ‘The Atomic City Girls’.
          On the darker side, Tori Telfer wrote ‘Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History’. With a bizarre drive to show that women, as well as men, can be serial killers, Tori tells the stories of 14 female killers and all of their gruesome and nuanced actions. There is an emphasis on bypassing stereotypes to see these killers as individuals, instead of dismissing them as ‘hormonal’ or ‘witches’ as some of history has chosen to describe them. On the lighter side, ‘Text Me When You Get Home: the Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship’ by Kayleen Scaefer is a celebration as much as a history of how female friendships have evolved in pop culture and modern society.
          The history and celebration of women is not only for adults this month. There has been a new wave of books for children that are hopeful and empowering. ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women’ is a collection (there are two volumes, in fact) of stories with incredible portraits. It is one of my favorites, and definitely not just for girls. ‘What Would She Do?: 25 True Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women’ by Kay Woodward also tells about incredible women in history, whether they made an impact in politics, science, art, war, or more! There are so many others to mention, but just check out our biographies sections to see for yourself. I didn’t even begin on the memoirs... there is A LOT there too! Go women!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 5, 2018
       Casually, I lean against a wall and slip my phone out of my pocket. A quick swipe and one tap and I’m back at page 167 of Lincoln in the Bardo. I read for a couple minutes, then someone says something and just as quickly I put my phone away, it keeps my new place at page 170, and I’ll be back to reading it later. I’m on the couch--20 minutes of reading. Waiting at a coffee shop--10 minutes. Keeping the soup from boiling--15 minutes. Having an eBook or a thousand (seriously, they take no space) on your phone is a game changer for reading.
          I say that as if eBooks are a new thing, when in reality (haha, eBooks are virtual) they have been commonplace since the late 90s. Recently phone and tablet technology has been dramatically improving, so you no longer need a dedicated e-reader. Since many of us use our phones and tablets for everything anyway, throwing a few eBooks on there to read during the day is so rewarding, especially when it replaces time we might otherwise spend on mobile games or some other distraction.
          EBooks are on our minds because this week is ‘Read an EBook Week’, which is totally not a marketing gimmick. Well, even if it is a marketing gimmick, it is a reminder that eBooks are an option for readers, and one that is well suited to readers on the go, readers who need or prefer large print, and readers, like me, who are just as happy reading from a device as from a physical book.
          There are a lot of options for finding eBooks, and, I know this will sound crazy, they are almost all online. To start, there are several websites and apps that offer thousands of free eBooks in the public domain to your phone, tablet, or computer. Check out Project Gutenberg, for example. Then there are the library offerings. With your library card you have access to thousands of free eBooks and audiobooks to download and read. Free. The services have new, simpler apps, so some of the wonky, confusing barriers to use from the days of yore have been overcome. Now, you just need a library card and a minute. Finally, you can buy eBooks from Amazon or a similar service.
          If you haven’t tried reading an eBook, I suggest trying one out. It may not be for you, and that is OK, but maybe you will find that it is another option to make reading easier and available. For those of you reading this online--have a wink ;)
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, 2/28/18
        #Shelfie. Its a selfie, but with books! To take a selfie, take a picture of yourself by reaching your camera out in front you. Now, take one with your bookshelf or with a favorite book and BAM! You’ve got a ‘shelfie’. They are categorically better than other selfies. Hip youngsters use ‘#’s for internet voodoo, but you can just print the shelfie out and put it on your bookshelf for some #shelfception.
          Taking and sharing a shelfie is one way that people are going to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which is this Friday, March 2nd. We are having a birthday party for him, which is really a party for all young readers. Kids can come by from 1-4:30pm to eat cake, play games, make crafts. Cat in the Hat will be here from 1:30-2:30pm to read stories and spend time with the kids. It’ll have its hat, whiskers, and all of its personality. This program is put on by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library (thanks)!
          This party is extra special for a few reasons. To start, it is the finale of our Winter Reading Program for kids! Dozens of kids participated and they read hundreds of books over the last couple of months. Now is the time to celebrate and to draw the raffles.
Dr. Seuss’ birthday party is also special because it is Read Across America Day. People all over the nation will be going to reading parties, hearing stories, finding new books to love, snacking, and crafting. It’s like heaven on Earth, but particularly between the stacks.
          Read Across America Day is celebrated by readers of all ages. Everyday is a day to read, but Read Across America Day is a chance to talk about it. Social media will blow up with shelfies, pictures of bookshelves, pictures of favorite books, and, best of all, pictures of kids reading. Ahh, I love books. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 20, 2018
           Let’s tell a story. On this day in 1732, the greatest and most unflappable human to ever live was born. George Washington was raised right, always did what was proper, and never had anything truthful said against him. He was an unrivaled general, president, and person. This was the man who took the time to write out ‘George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation’ when he was 16. There were 110 rules, and he hand wrote them (probably as a school project). He also made America great, the first time.
          Here is another story. In 1732 George Washington was born. When he was older, he and his wife Martha owned several slaves, including Ona Judge. His slaves lived without real hope for freedom in his lifetime, with fear of having their families torn apart, and with the everyday atrocities that came with slave life. George Washington abused a loophole when he lived in Pennsylvania to keep his slaves for longer than the law allowed. When Ona Judge escaped to freedom, she lived the rest of her life evading slave hunters, and anyone else looking to collect the sizable bounty that the Washingtons put on her return. Using his connections from when he was president and his own wealth, he sent federal agents after Ona to force her return, though she eluded their capture. This story is told in Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s book ‘Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge’.
          These two stories give us different looks at George Washington. As writers, we are inherently biased. By considering both of these accounts we get a more complete idea of who George Washington was. Incomplete, biased, revisionist history is disastrous for people trying to understand what really happened. My advice? Read more, and read the whole book. Sometimes the best place to discern bias or revisionist writing in the notes and bibliography, or lack thereof. We cannot always trust others to represent history without bias.
          I enjoyed ‘Never Caught’, and I recommend it. There are not enough primary materials for Erica to be certain, so the book contains some supposition, but her effort seems genuine and her telling seems probable. I also highly recommend John Avlon’s book, ‘Washington’s Farewell: the Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations’. Another recent release, while you are reading about old people, is Gordon S. Wood’s ‘Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson’. Gordon takes on a double biography, demonstrating how their unlikely friendship and ‘inevitable’ division had an impact on the trajectory of a nation. There are new and old histories waiting to be read here at the library. Just be sure to look into the author and their resources before and after reading. That goes doubly so for know-nothings writing in a local library column.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 12, 2018
           This one is personal. You may notice that I have a slight bias in favor of digital technology. OK, it is a major bias, because modern technology is amazing. Bias notwithstanding, even I can admit that sometimes it is a good idea to step back and admire analog in all of its tactile glory. I’m using analog to refer to, by one of its meanings anyway, all things that function mechanically without digital computation. Remember forever ago when clocks had gears? Those were analog clocks. Smart watches are not. A lot of our lives are analog, but digital gadgets are replacing analog objects steadily.
          Many people have charged into digital head first. Social media, Google searches with a literal, spoken word, calendars and mail all done online. They have cleared out their file drawers and scanned it to the cloud. So what’s wrong with it?
More and more we are coming to understand that the trajectory of digital technologies have led to problems in privacy, anxiety, attention-deficit, impatience, and a great shift in jobs and local businesses. Automation will replace many existing jobs. Companies like Amazon are a problem for many brick-and-mortar stores. Even knowing this, people wonder what we can do about it. History has shown that you cannot deliberately unlearn technological advancement. These developments are here to stay.
          People have talked about taking time for analog as a way to help cope with the side effects of device usage. Bits of the physical world here and there might help to ground our experiences. I read eBooks when I’m on the move and physical books at home. I still love the feel, the smell, the weight of paper and glue, but I also love the convenience of reading on my humongous phone. So maybe we can keep our phones and our Facebook pages, but we can remember to turn them off occasionally and experience physical things that are right at hand. Drive over to a friend’s house instead of sending another text. Go dancing instead of watching another video. Maybe we can strike a balance to get the benefits of digital technology, without the obvious drawbacks.
          This ‘movement’ has been going on for a while. As an example, CD sales are down, but vinyl sales are way, way up over the last decade. 20-somethings are picking up vinyl players for a variety of reasons, but those I’ve spoken with say they enjoy the feeling of vinyl and the way it sounds. They dismissed me when I mentioned FLAC digital sound files, which have sound quality as high as possible (relatively), but they said I didn’t get it. There is something about the crackles and pops of the vinyl player that is lovable.
          That ‘something’ matters. Something about a real book, about looking someone in the eye as you talk with them, something about a live performance, something about how the librarian crinkles their brow as they ponder your question. I’m excited for the digital future, but let’s not forget that ‘something’ about ever-present analog.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 8, 2018
        We are all feeling it. It’s cold out, the ground is icy, we just had to clear snow, even the ski slopes are icy. The days are short and the nights are long. And then there was the Patriots game. Many, many people experience the Winter Blues, and a few unfortunate people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder in winter. If you have a hard time keeping your energy and your hopes up during the winter, there are a few things you can do to endure.
        Part of the problem of the Winter Blues is that the recommended solutions are often exactly the kind of activities that the afflicted are averse to. Exercise to counteract the lack of energy, eat healthy foods to fight fatigue and eat them moderately, and sleep in regulated patterns. One remedy, however, is super simple--light your environments up. Plenty of light helps to make the days seem longer and more enriching. You want the kind of light that you find at the Library, for example.
Another remedy is to socialize. When people get talking, it seems to help brighten things up. The connections we make over books, news, local happenings, they all help us to feel connected, something that the Winter Blues might detract from.
A last remedy is to keep our minds active with, say, reading. Be sure to read in places other than the bed, so that you can maintain focus and stay wakeful. Let’s look at some of our new books that might help to shake the blues.
          Books like ‘Hiding in the bathroom: an introvert's roadmap to getting out there (when you'd rather stay home)’ by Morra Aarons-Mele. Sometimes what we want to do and what we think we should do can be drastically at odds. Morra helps to make it work. Another is ‘Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: a 10% Happier How-To Book’ by Dan Harris. It’s a lighthearted approach to meditation that will make you laugh and dispense with any lofty associations. Meditation can be a tool to help manage the Winter Blues. You can even do it on the go with ‘Mindful Running: How Meditative Running can Improve Performance and Make You a Happier, More Fulfilled Person’ by Mackenzie Lobby.
        Tagging on to the recent series of books on happiness coming out of Sweden and Scandinavia is ‘The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World’s Happiest People’ by Meik Wiking. Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, so he might know something.
          If you prefer a book to be more severe, try ‘Silence in the Age of Noise’ by Erling Kagge. Erling recounts his fifty day solo trek to the South Pole and supplements his ruminations with the thoughts of poets and artists. Why fight the cold and silence when you can embrace it. If your struggle is emotional, there is ‘Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone’ by Brene Brown.
        Many other new books address aging well, end of life science, and Alzheimer’s prevention and management. There are work-related motivational books that remind you about the things that you have cared about, and how to pursue them. One of my favorite titles, ‘Rise and Grind’ refers to outworking others to get ahead, but on a cold, blustery New England morning, I think ‘rise and grind’ as I make some coffee. Try something and find what works for you.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 1, 2018
    Although we have hundreds of people coming to the library every day, our computers are always busy, and we check out tens of thousands of materials every year, I still think that the library is underused. Part of the reason why is because many people, even people who come to the library often, don’t know about all of the services that the library offers.

I hear about people paying for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Audible, or any of the several digital media services. Don’t get me wrong, those services are seriously awesome, but they are partially redundant with free library services. Overdrive has a massive collection of ebooks and audiobooks available for download and the only subscription you need is a valid library card. That includes most bestsellers. It does behave like a library, so you might have to wait for popular items, but you can read the books right on your smart device.

Our new digital service, Hoopla, has no waits. All you need to use it immediately is a valid library card and a smart device. They have hundreds of thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, comics, music albums, movies, and television shows. Books, music, and videos all in one place. Granted, they only have some of the most popular media, but since there is no wait it is a great place to go when you need something to read or watch right now. Browse the many collections on the landing and you are sure to find something interesting.

The music collection is particularly comprehensive. This is the first time the library has offered digital music and we are doing it right. Browse through a genre, find a new band to love and listen to a whole album immediately. Use the same app to stream videos or to listen to a book without having to brave icy roads to get to our building. It is just, so, convenient!

Services like these don’t replace other paid services, just like they don’t replace physical books, but they are another option to complement the rest. At this point, the Library goes way beyond the physical space it occupies. Hoopla, Overdrive, the accessibility of the staff, and all the other services available on our website make sure of that. Patrons can use the Library from here, from home, and on the road. Whatever your lifestyle, find out how the Library can be useful to you.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 23, 2018
           Mark: Today is a day for empowerment, for mutual support, for positivity, and validation. Today, like every day, is a good day to hear what women are thinking, and to celebrate womanhood. Kristin Maslow will host a new women’s group here at the library. It will be a place where woman of any age can gather to share their experiences and thoughts without judgment. Kristin, what is ‘Women’s Circle’?
          Kristin: Women’s circle is place for women of any age to come to find a community of women willing to share and listen. It is a safe place, where women can express themselves, be honest and open. It is a place to connect, without reservation, and in the confidence of the group.
          Mark: What is special about a group specifically for women?
          Kristin: I believe that magic happens when women come together in a circle. There is a primal connection that we all have as women, that comes from being connected to the Earth, our hearts, and the way we interact. Sometimes it's challenging in the modern world, which still has patriarchal structures, to be honest about experiences of women and about expectations. I believe that women have a way of understanding one another.
          Mark: What can someone expect to find when they come? What will you talk about? Will there be snacks?
          Kristin: Yes, there will be light snacks! We’ll start with a simple meditation to help people become thoughtful and focused. We’ll check in with how everyone is feeling. Sharing is core, often times in a circle like this there will be common themes, and we will dwell on those. The discussion will flow from what people are thinking and feeling.
          Mark: Kristin, thank you for starting this group. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
          Kristin: I am a nurse with my degree from the University of New Hampshire. I’ve practiced for 5 years in various settings. Then I started having babies! I’ve had doula and yoga teacher training, Reiki training, intuitive healing training. So, I’ve sat in many circles, especially with women.
          Mark: Kristin, thanks for chatting with me. What would you say to a woman thinking of coming?
          Kristin: I’d say hooray! Thanks for joining us. I would love to have a diverse circle. Diversity adds depth, so please come and talk with us.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, 1/18/18
         “Why do people use the library computers? Why don’t they just use their own computers at home?” The person asking was genuinely curious. The answer is: there are many reasons. Some people don’t have computers, some can’t afford them, or can’t afford internet access, some can’t concentrate on work at home, some share their machines with others, and others have questions about how to use the computers they do have. People who are digitally literate can forget that they had to learn along the way. Whatever the reason, private computer and internet access isn’t a given.
           Our internet access gets used a lot. Like, a ton. It's not even just those who don’t own computers or don’t have internet access that use the services. Patrons come to the library to use digital services every day and they have as many questions about laptops, desktops, and smart devices as they do about books. Since 2012, computer usage is up 43%. Almost every user has cause to go online. Patrons connect to the wifi with their cell phones and tablets. Teens do homework, play games, and learn on the computers in the teen room (They also watch Youtube on their phones, learn dances, and occasionally replay a ‘snap’ ad nauseum in a fit of giggles). People print work documents, print tickets to Meadowbrook, they scan recipes, email letters, find hiking maps, do their taxes....
        When you visit the library next time, look around and see all the people busy on machines. The Library is a place to access information, and that is what they are doing. Being able to offer ‘fast’ internet access to all patrons, regardless of their financial or living circumstances is becoming more important everyday.
       Let me give a couple of examples: Many job applications can only be done online--so people come in frequently to apply for work. People stay in contact online. I cannot count the number of older patrons who come in with a new tablet that a relative has given them (“I can turn it on, but how do I use it?” It’s a good question and it needs to be answered). People engage in citizenship online, learning about issues, candidates, and news.
          After all of this explication, it may come as no surprise that librarians the world over watched the net neutrality debate and vote with apt attention. Libraries want the greatest opportunity to offer equal and affordable access to digital and internet services to all patrons, something that is not guaranteed to be possible without net neutrality provisions. Without them, we do not know if new barriers to information and the opportunities therein will be made. We hope the only changes made to internet access help to level the internet playing field for employment opportunities and cat memes alike.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 11, 2018
           The Ancient Reishi, aka Artist Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), Birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus [now Fomitopsis betulina]), Turkey Tail (Trametes [Coriolus] versicolor), and Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) are some of the wild growth mushrooms that Nathan J. Searles harvests. Nathan is certified as a Master Herbalist from the Global College of Natural Medicine and he is an avid mycologist. He and his family harvest mushrooms and other wild-growth materials to ‘wild-craft’ extracts. These extracts have potential health benefits, benefits that Nathan attests to from personal experience and experimentation.
          He gives a detailed account of his experimentation in his book, ‘The Ancient Reishi: an exploration into Ganoderma Applanatum’. He talks about the variety of extraction methods he has tested, harvesting tips, instructions on how to make your own extracts and decoctions, and a great deal more.
          From reading his book or visiting his website,, you get an immediate appreciation for Nathan’s love of the natural world, the wilds, and about the human connection to it. He believes that humans do not stand distinct from nature, rather they are a part of it. He explains that humanity and the world would both benefit from spending more time observing and integrating with the wilderness.
          His appreciation of the natural world comes through in his strict attention to harvesting sustainably, and in his efforts to educating others in how to do the same. These mushrooms grow slowly, taking time to repopulate. He encourages people to only use his extracts when they need it, which helps to stretch supply.
          Mushrooms extracts and blends aren’t the only thing he offers. His website promotes herbal tea blends, herbal extracts and tonics, a soup mix, and his book. He also travels to educate people about potential health benefits of mushrooms. Of course, we had to take advantage of that offer! Nathan will present on ‘Medicinal Mushrooms’ here at the Library on January 16th from 6:30-7:30pm. The program is free and open to the public. Be sure not to miss what is sure to be an informative and interesting presentation.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 4, 2018
           It’s story time! We are going to tell you a story… about story times. Once upon a time, people believed that story times were chances for kids to hear a story be read for them. They might find it interesting. Nowadays, story time is so, much, more. I’m talking with Arielle, the head children’s librarian, about how storytimes work now. Arielle, is storytime just a story?
          Arielle: Nope, not at all. In storytime, there’s a lot going on. We do songs, stories, activities like games and crafts. It all works together to get kids ready for school. Working on their literacy skills is key.
          Mark: Why not call it ‘Literacy Time’ then?
          Arielle: That sounds really boring. When kids hear ‘story’ they are thinking it's going to be something fun. They can use their imagination. They interact with the characters and the storyteller as they listen. ‘Literacy’ is more of a word for parents and educators than for children.
          Mark: What do the parents have to do with storytime?
          Arielle: Well, I like to encourage parents to participate in storytime because the things that we are doing with the kids are things that they can do at home. The songs and rhymes are things they can practice. The way we read and conduct activities is deliberate. Everything, even things that appear casual, especially to the kids, is done with a purpose and is based on studies about child development and learning. Parents can learn these techniques by participating.
          Mark: Can you give me an example?
          Arielle: If I’m doing rhyming for a storytime, I’ll read a bit to let them hear what rhyming sounds like, and then let them try to guess what words are coming next. The kids are eager to get to speak up, and they are practicing the skill without realizing it (Secretly the parents are learning a skill too).
         Mark: I’ve heard some surprise about our baby storytimes. People aren’t really sure what babies get from hearing a story they can’t fully understand.
          Arielle: ‘Early literacy’ is about preparing the brain to be able to learn to read. It not just about letter identification. In storytimes for babies we focus on identification of sounds, of syllables, of rhyme, and to teach parents all of the songs and games that are proven to help with early literacy, so that they can continue at home. We also teach imagination games, so kids can begin to think about narrative structure, always asking them questions.
         Mark: That makes sense. Is there anything innovative going on in storytimes here in Gilford?
         Arielle: Maria, one of our children’s librarians, is ahead of the curve for sure. First of all, her Music and Movement group was busy, loud, and full of new activities that she planned each week based on educational research. Now she is starting a yoga group for kids in two age groups, and they love it! She has training as a yoga instructor for kids, and will be certified soon. It teaches them listening skills (instructions), mindfulness, which has to do with being able to focus, and they learn social skills by working in pairs. It is amazing to see.
         Mark: You’ve told quite the story, Arielle. I can’t wait to see what new trends you implement to keep kids and parents interested and learning.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, 12/28/17
          Ah, here, as Winter is in full swing, I fondly remember the Summer Reading Program. Kids psyched to read new books, keeping track of their accomplishments, and getting rewarded for their enthusiasm. Then, as if the spirits of good reads past had witnessed my reminiscing, I heard about a new program to renew that energy. But it wasn’t a spirit, it was Arielle the Children’s Librarian!
          She has put together a Winter Reading Program. Though totally and completely original, it is almost identical to the summer reading program. The difference is that it takes place right now. From January 2nd to March 2nd kids in grades K-4th can fill out reading logs each week. The goal is to read at least 20 minutes each day. Each week when a child returns a completed log they will get a token prize and be entered into a raffle to be drawn at the end of the program, where there will be three winners.
          March 2nd is no arbitrary day. It is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! It is also known as Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day is cause for a huge celebration, doubly so because of all the reading done during the Winter Reading Program. So save the date now for the party.
          I’m extra excited about the challenge list. The logs will have a checklist with various challenges to encourage kids to try genres they haven’t tried before, to read in different and fun places, and to try different ways of reading. They do not have to do everything, of course, but they can if they want to! From what we have seen, kids love to be given opportunities to try something new or to be silly.
          To top it all off, the Friends of the Gilford Public Library have donated  brand new books for the kids who complete the program. Every kid who finishes the program will get to choose a book to keep.
          I hope we all enjoy some good reads this new year. Let’s make it a good one.
Notes From the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 19, 2017
           The Library smells amazing. Volunteers and patrons are showering the library in cookies and other sweets. The smells from the Holiday Open House are still evident. The teens baked up their own cookies yesterday and before that the children’s room made untold numbers of gingerbread houses. The smells of food only make us think about more food, and of Holiday meals we are about to have or have already had.
          We’ve got new cookbooks abound to keep this delicious train rolling. Where better to start than with ‘The Perfect Cookie: your ultimate guide to foolproof cookies, brownies & bars’ from America’s Test Kitchen. The recipes are straightforward and the pictures, one for every recipe, are brilliant. Sometimes I feel like I can’t parse a cookbook without quality pictures showing me what success looks like, and America’s Test Kitchen delivers. ‘Bravetart: iconic American desserts’ by Stella Parks is another straight forward recipe book filled with classics. It has several recipes of things you never thought to make yourself, like oreos, that will delight family and friends.
          For the imaginative and fanatical there’s ‘Sweet: desserts from London’s Ottolenghi’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. Ottolenghi has a giant reputation for blending unique flavors, both savory and sweet, and this book offers recipes from simple, delicious confections to extreme gourmet cakes. Be prepared to shop for ingredients that you might not keep on hand, but you won’t regret it.
         Moving on to the main course, ‘Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street: the new home cooking’ brings your simple, regular fare new life with advise on ingredients, priorities, and techniques. The idea is to make simple changes to the way you cook on the daily. Another cookbook for general use is ‘Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and unfussy new favorites.’ It’s the kind of cookbook where one recipe looks good, then tastes good, and now you have to try several of them.
        For something that may or may not be different for you, try ‘101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die: discover a new world of flavors in authentic recipes’ by celebrity chef Jet Tila or ‘How To Cook Everything Vegetarian: simple meatless recipes for great food’ by Mark Bittman. ‘Trim healthy table: more than 300 all-new healthy and delicious recipes from our homes to yours’ by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison has an emphasis on cooking for a family with all the various quirks and palets that come with it.
      If you find yourself hurried this season, take a look at ‘The Pioneer Woman Cooks: come and get it! : simple, scrumptious recipes for crazy busy lives’ by Ree Drummond or one of my favorites, ‘Impatient Foodie: 100 delicious recipes for a hectic, time-starved world’ by Elettra Wiedermann. However you like to cook, there is bound to be a cookbook for you here at the library, neatly sorted into categories. All of the librarians cook too, so just ask us for a recommendation! Happy Holidays and bon appetit.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 14, 2017
       Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire [in the library] is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go [except the library], let’s read books, let’s read books, let’s read books! Snuggle up because we have so many new holiday reads, cozy mysteries, and just good books to pick up before we get covered in snow. 
          Let’s start with some rapid fire Christmas books. Catherine Anderson wrote ‘The Christmas Room’ about a widow and a widower who get in a row over their kids, until the misunderstandings subside and it snows. ‘How the Finch Stole Christmas’ by Donna Andrews is a comedic Christmas mystery featuring a hopeful attempt at Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, an actor for scrooge that causes more problems off stage than on, and a shocking number of finches.
       Do you like dogs, busy people, and Christmas? Try ‘Wagging Through the Snow’ by Laurien Berenson. Melanie barely has time for her 5 poodles and her teaching, much less Christmas, the pine tree farm her brother picked up, and the mysterious body they found there. ‘The Ghost of Christmas Past’ by Rhys Bowen is another mystery, but it is set in the early 20th century. The story starts with sadness, dwelling on miscarriages and missing children, but Rhys Bowen can be counted on for an emotional and hopeful ending.
       For more new Christmas fiction try, ‘The Noel’ by Richard Paul Evans, ‘A Snow Country Christmas’ by Linda Lael Miller, ‘A Christmas Return’ by Anne Perry, and if  one mystery isn’t enough, try 18 in ‘The Usual Santas’.
          Taking a break from Christmas, ‘The Secret, Book & Scone Society’ by Ellery Adams is a mystery, but most of the story revolves around a group of women who, for myriad reasons, look for comfort and healing in the poignant book recommendations of their local bookkeep. They band together and share about their individual strife in order to help solve a murder.
        If all of these cozy mysteries are too cozy for you, try Joe Hill’s ‘Strange Weather’ featuring four eerie and supernatural tales. ‘In the Midst of Winter’ by Isabel Allende goes into great depth about the lives of three people with vastly differing life experiences. All of them now living in Brooklyn, combined their histories tell a story of immigration, refugee conditions, life in 1970s Chile and Brazil, and modern day love. Some people find that the ‘novel’ doesn’t tell a continuous story, but is more a collision of biographies. Finally, ‘Her Body and Other Parties’ is a story collection by Carmen Maria Machado that evades description by being bizarre and wide-ranging. These stories are gripping, weird, and fascinating, but otherwise have little in common. I’d recommend it to an adventurous reader.
          Winter is imminent and it’s dark all the time, so be sure to stock up on books for the cold nights ahead.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 7, 2017
          Picture this. It’s Saturday evening on a brisk December day. When the library is normally closed, librarians welcome people into the warmth. There is gentle music being played live, the hearth is burning, and the smell of fresh baked goods and snacks fill the space. The Trustees are there, and the Friends of the Library are bustling around inviting people, volunteering, and helping with the craft for all ages. The Friends have sponsored and planned the whole thing with library staff, helping to make the Library a community space, even when the computers are off. Then Santa arrives, and the kids scream with glee as their parents grin, and the Friends give a new book to every child with a library card.
          Yea, so, that’s actually going to happen on Saturday, December 16th from 5-7pm. We’re calling it the Holiday Open House. The Candlelight Stroll couldn’t happen this year, so the Friends decided to offer another opportunity to enjoy the season as a community. All ages are welcome. For adults, there will be fabulous holiday music played by Contemporary Pianist Deborrah Wyndham, snacks, a craft, and, of course, plenty of conversation. Deborrah’s playing is wonderful to hear. It will make the evening relaxed and comfortable for us all.
          Children can get excited for a craft, snacks, other children to play with, and Santa himself. The Friends have provided for a huge number of brand new children’s books at different age/reading levels and they can’t wait to give them out. They will give out one book per library card, so be sure to sign all of the kids up for a library card before the event.
          The craft is an ornament or magnet made with scrabble letters to say whatever you want to express this season. It's a fun and festive project for adults and kids alike. I want to make one that says “#BookMark”.
           We expect this program to be a major one. This Open House is unique, and the library is being opened in the evening solely so people can gather and mingle. You won’t want to miss it. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 29, 2017
      Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just look up the answer to the age-old question ‘How can I become happy and successful?’ in a book? Well, the literary world is amazing and you can, straight up. There are answers in self-help, religion, psychology, and neuroscience, to start, with plenty of overlap between them.
        Many readers have recognized that self-help books are not only for people trying to fix a specific problem, or people who have a great shortcoming. Plenty of self-help books focus on making use of strengths you already have. I am partial to books that draw upon neuroscientific studies to give advice on how to make the best of our brains.
        “Barking up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker points out that human brains have certain tendencies, and that those tendencies are not always helpful to us. What some parts of the brain think will make us happy and successful won’t. As an example from the book, Barker talks about studies that show that conflicting thoughts are usually different parts of the brain reacting simultaneously. When you see a donut, part of your brain screams “Calories! Sugar! Fat! EAT IT!” and another part says, “I know donuts are unhealthy, so let’s walk away from it.” He explains that it possible to increase your control of impulses through some techniques recommended by neuroscientists (and buddhists, the original neuroscientists). For more Buddhist neuroscience, try Robert Wright’s ‘Why Buddhism Is True.’
       Barbara Oakley came out with ‘Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential.’ This read is empowering because Oakley explains, with neuroscientific support, that plenty of conventional ideas about learning, mental pliability, and ‘bad’ mental traits are misleading and limiting, particularly as they apply to age and background. She explains that if the old dog goes about it the right way, then they can learn new tricks.
       You might be thinking that learning and success are one thing, but happiness is more elusive. Well, maybe. There are several resources to suggest that success, gratitude, giving, and happiness are all tied together. People who are grateful tend to be happy. Happy people tend to be successful, and vice versa. Successful, happy people tend to be grateful, and they give… ‘Happiness’ is hard to quantify, but people try. Meik Wiking is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark, and he recently authored ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.’ The book is adorable in the way an afghan is comfy, but the real message is that, instead of focusing on being happy in the distant future when you have achieved some goals, you can find daily happiness, right now, by making minor adjustments to your home, your habits, and your time. Although Hygge is not a cure-all for serious problems and woes, the idea that simple changes in your immediate environment can help rings true.
       It's a strange question to ask, “How can I be more happy and more successful?” but there are answers out there. Try one out this season and see if it works.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 21, 2017
      Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just look up the answer to the age-old question ‘How can I become happy and successful?’ in a book? Well, the literary world is amazing and you can, straight up. There are answers in self-help, religion, psychology, and neuroscience, to start, with plenty of overlap between them.
        Many readers have recognized that self-help books are not only for people trying to fix a specific problem, or people who have a great shortcoming. Plenty of self-help books focus on making use of strengths you already have. I am partial to books that draw upon neuroscientific studies to give advice on how to make the best of our brains.
        “Barking up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker points out that human brains have certain tendencies, and that those tendencies are not always helpful to us. What some parts of the brain think will make us happy and successful won’t. As an example from the book, Barker talks about studies that show that conflicting thoughts are usually different parts of the brain reacting simultaneously. When you see a donut, part of your brain screams “Calories! Sugar! Fat! EAT IT!” and another part says, “I know donuts are unhealthy, so let’s walk away from it.” He explains that it possible to increase your control of impulses through some techniques recommended by neuroscientists (and buddhists, the original neuroscientists). For more Buddhist neuroscience, try Robert Wright’s ‘Why Buddhism Is True.’
         Barbara Oakley came out with ‘Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential.’ This read is empowering because Oakley explains, with neuroscientific support, that plenty of conventional ideas about learning, mental pliability, and ‘bad’ mental traits are misleading and limiting, particularly as they apply to age and background. She explains that if the old dog goes about it the right way, then they can learn new tricks.
         You might be thinking that learning and success are one thing, but happiness is more elusive. Well, maybe. There are several resources to suggest that success, gratitude (Thanksgiving tie-in!), giving, and happiness are all tied together. People who are grateful tend to be happy. Happy people tend to be successful, and vice versa. Successful, happy people tend to be grateful, and they give… ‘Happiness’ is hard to quantify, but people try. Meik Wiking is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark, and he recently authored ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living.’ The book is adorable in the way an afghan is comfy, but the real message is that, instead of focusing on being happy in the distant future when you have achieved some goals, you can find daily happiness, right now, by making minor adjustments to your home, your habits, and your time. Although Hygge is not a cure-all for serious problems and woes, the idea that simple changes in your immediate environment can help rings true.
        It's a strange question to ask, “How can I be more happy and more successful?” but there are answers out there. Try one out this season and see if it works.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 16, 2017
           Who is she? How has he lived? What do they stand for? Let’s get personal. Let’s get biographical.
          People are fascinating, especially people that other people think are worth reading about. People like Leonardo Da Vinci, which is why Walter Isaacson just wrote about him. Walter draws upon Leonardo’s own writings and tells a story that melds Leonardo’s passion for science with his love for art. There are other kinds of art, like that sought by Emily Nunn in her book ‘The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart.’ After suffering life-shaking changes, she sets out on a road trip to visit friends and family to recenter herself with cooking and eating being the great thing they all had in common.
        Entertainers are fascinating, naturally. People like Whitney Cummings, who wrote a biography called ‘I’m Fine… and Other Lies’ in which the actress tells true stories about her experiences with fame, relationships, and struggling with codependency. Anna Faris claims to be ‘Unqualified’, even to write her own memoir. She had an awkward childhood, awkward dating life, and an awkward Hollywood career. She blends her self-deprecating stories with solid advice for surviving when you are out of your depth. John Hodgman is a hilarious and bizarre personality with deep roots in New England, referring to the Maine Coast in his book title, ‘Vacationland: True Stories From Painful Beaches.’ Aging and rife with privilege, John describes his experiences with stark perspectives and cutting wit. If you like to take walks in graveyards just because they are well kept, then ‘Vacationland’ might be for you.
        There are people that are worth noticing because of their political ideas and influence. Khizr Khan is a new face to much of the world, but he speaks with the certainty of someone who has thought long and often about his beliefs. He recently came out with two books. ‘An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice’ is a memoir covering the history of his family, his own immigration to America, the military sacrifice of their son, and their recent political events. The other book is ‘This is Our Constitution,’ which is a guide book to the American Constitution targeted toward young adults.
        Across the pond is the story of Liliane Bettencourt and the scandal surrounding her legacy and her vast L’Oreal wealth. Tom Sancton wrote ‘The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris’ to explain the complicating ups and downs of courtrooms, headlines, and hidden relationships surrounding Liliane, who recently passed at 94. This work is timely considering the recent ‘Paradise Papers’ leak.
        You can lighten up with success stories like Chip Gaines’s autobiography ‘Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff.’ His winning personality and his unrelenting determination help to remind us that hard and smart work can pay off. Jonathan and Drew Scott tell their own success story in ‘It Takes Two: Our Story.’ Their personalities compliment each other so well they have made two hit shows out of it. In their book, they start at the beginning, explaining how the act really began in childhood.
         This sampling is just a few of the biographies added in the last couple months. There are so many incredible lives to read about, all neatly organized in our biographies section by subject. Browse other people’s lives next time you come in and see our newest biographies right up front!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 6, 2017
        “I’ve can’t find anything to read. I’ve read too many of these formulaic thrillers. Patterson is amazing, and I’m sure I’ll go back to him and his entourage later, but right now I’m tired of it. I want something silly. Something carefree. Something clever.” -paraphrased from a regular at the desk. That’s when I took them to the teen room and showed them not-so-formulaic thrillers, space dramas, time travelers, alternative histories, and vampire romances that don’t take themselves too seriously. There are teen books where there are no super heroes, only villains--books with layers and layers of deceit, where you never really learn what reality is ‘real.’ Adults looking for something different can find it in the teen room.
        There is a stigma to overcome--young adult books aren’t for older adults. NOPE. Put that thought right to rest. Read what you want. If you hold yourself back from trying young adult books, or any book, because you don’t think it’s ‘for you’ is a waste. From what I’ve seen of authors of young adult books, they expect many of their readers to be adults anyway.
        The new shelf is a great place to look. It’s one shelf, right on top of the shelves in the middle of the teen room. You’ll see books like ‘They Both Die at the End’ by Adam Silvera. Death tells two teenage boys that they will die at the end of the day. Looking for some connection, they find each other through an app and live out their last day as fully as they can. You would be amazed at how many people have asked me if they do die at the end, but I’ll not give out any spoilers that aren’t freely given by the author.
        ‘Landscape with Invisible Hand’ by M. T. Anderson will be fascinating if you enjoy art, pop culture, or science fiction. Aliens have arrived and they grace the world with fabulous technologies. At first a blessing, the technologies disturb the balance of labor and economies to the point that the world is in disarray with many struggling for survival. The only currency the aliens will take is ‘classic’ Earth culture, so one couple tries to make it by recording 1950s style dates to emulate true love for the aliens to subscribe to. A quick and imaginative read.
        E’ Lockhart’s ‘Genuine Fraud’ is an 18 year old woman who is quick to fight and quick to change herself to suit her needs. She doesn’t just dress a part, she becomes a different person wherever she goes (across half the world) and the more this heroine adapts, the more she muddles who she ‘really’ is. A story about impulse and identity.
        For gamers, sci-fi fans, and cyberpunk enthusiasts, Marie Lu’s ‘Warcross’ shows a world where all of society has adapted to the use of computers, such that games are an integral part of economies, entertainment, and politics. A hacker gets caught and she is coerced into going undercover in competitive gaming. The world is well thought-out.
        Try Gaby Dunn’s ‘I Hate Everyone But You’ for a story of long-distance friendship told almost entirely in texts and emails. ‘The Librarian of Auschwitz’ is Dita Adlerova, a 14-year old girl secretly reading from a library of eight books in Auschwitz. Antonio Iturbe, the author, does not hold back the horrors of the death camp in this book about life and relationships in horrifying circumstances.
        Try a book from the teen room to shake up the monotony. You can always ask me for a recommendation too!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 2, 2017

“STAND BACK! I’m going to do…. SCIENCE!” said the 5th grader as she added a little extra stuff to the mixture to see what would change. I remember when science had a reputation for being boring and confusing. It was something ‘white coats’ did before they told the world dubious facts. Now, science is in. Its cool, like Fall’s first frost.

As people, companies, and governmental organizations rely more on the results of scientific studies, scientific literacy has jumped into the public eye. Companies rely on studies to learn what works, so they need employees that can conduct studies and others that can read and understand them. It's not just pharmaceutical companies that use science, any results oriented organization looks to such studies to influence policy, and those that don’t are at a disadvantage.

Here is a spot of logic. Premise 1: Quality information promotes quality decision making. Premise 2: I want to make quality decisions. Premise 3: Science provides higher quality information than not science. Premise 4: Scientific literacy is necessary to consistently understand information provided by science. Premise 5: Scientific material is readily available. If premise 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, then--Conclusion 1: Reading scientific material with scientific literacy will promote quality decision making and--Conclusion 2, I should do it! The same is true if you swap ‘I’ out for ‘organizations.’

    The Library helps a lot with Premise 5. With our scholarly databases, like EBSCO, our books, and our access to information from other libraries in the state, we can help people doing research to find what they need. We also help learners with Premise 4 by providing science books for kids that not only teach kids the tools they need, but also encourage them to pursue a scientific career, and to use science to form and defend their ideas. Steve Mould’s book, ‘How to be a Scientist’ does just that, for example.

    Recent juvenile biographies have been particularly cool. So far in 2017 we added ‘Shark Lady’ about Eugenie Clark, ‘Caroline’s Comets’ about Caroline Herschel, ‘Margaret and the Moon’ about Margaret Hamilton (my personal favorite), all of which are in the Science & Tech section. There’s also ‘She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World’ by Chelsea Clinton.

    It’s a bright future for scientific thinking, so come on by the library to learn some scientific literacy or put it to use, and bring the kids!

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 23, 2017
        Phew! We just finished up doing book talks with almost the whole middle school. They like stories, that was clear, though I was amazed at how focused some of their interests were. “Who likes fantasy?”--one set of hands go up. “Who reads realistic fiction?”--another set of hands. On it went as I asked about sports, science fiction, historical fiction… They knew what they liked.
        Though I was glad that they have interests, it was a shame when I saw some eyes glaze over when I talked about a book that didn’t match what they think they would like. Arielle and I handpicked the books we talked about, so obviously they are wonderful to the letter. It pains me to see someone miss out on a read that they might love, or that might have a profound effect on them, just because they haven’t given the genre a chance.
        The same phenomenon happens when adults are trying out the reading challenges. The first ten or so so categories are easy, but then you get to the ‘odd’ stuff. What’s odd to one reader is not necessarily odd to another, however. One person does the High-Fantasy book first, while another leaves it until last. The genre that I think is most divisive is Horror. People love it or hate it, in my experience.
        I don’t mean realistic thrillers where someone is being chased by someone else with a gun. I mean the kind of story where a house has old grudges, where ghosts are in the walls and they don’t like you, where fog is coming over the horizon and it portends death. Horror is fun for some readers--they enjoy the chills, the feeling that something supernatural is happening. For me, I either get scared and hate the feeling, or I embrace my disbelief and mock the story. Nonetheless, the occasional horror keeps me on my toes and keeps me open-minded, especially atmospheric horror.
         So maybe, since Halloween is near, try something different and see how it suits you. “Fever Dreams” is an eerie novel written by Samantha Schweblin. The story takes place in an emergency clinic, where a young woman and a child talk in almost panicked, confused tones as the woman tries to remember what happened to her, and what is happening.
          “House of Furies” by Madeleine Roux is cataloged as a Young Adult book, but it is more than horrifying enough for adults. A young woman leaves a hostile school only to find work in boarding home that is weird, murderous, and vengeful. Those who have been wicked in their past are drawn there to be punished.
          “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid will give you chills, chills that will linger long after you finish reading. The narrator known only as ‘The Girlfriend’ describes a trip she takes with her boyfriend to a family farm, but she has been thinking of ending the brief relationship even before things got strange. Going from snowy roads at night, to a farm with massive, empty buildings in the middle of nowhere, to another place (no spoilers) that would freak out even the most stable minds yields psychological horror in its essence.
        If you’re already a reader of horror, power to you (Pst, try something else)!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October, 19, 2017
      Our display area hosts all kinds of art. Recently, we’ve seen art from Gilford High School students, a model train collection, egg shell art, local photography. It is building a reputation, thanks to Joanne’s work in finding talented artists to share their work and the magnanimity of the artists themselves.
     This month stands out with a collection of paintings by Jill Drew, who catered a themed collection for the library display specifically. Jill had only been painting for six months when Joanne asked her to display her work, but you would never know from seeing it. There seem to be two collections here, one is that of beautiful, flowing gowns, liquid hair, and vibrant colors. The other is a set of portraits, each of which depicts a soldier that fell in U.S. conflict. The dichotomy is stark, but they demonstrate Jill’s eagerness to try new mediums and new materials.
       I asked Jill what motivated her, and her explanation made it clear that motivation is abundant. She started painting beautiful things. As she believes, ‘Love is the inspiration for art.’ She likes to paint emotion into her scenes, especially using a mix of watercolor and acrylic paint called gouache. Word for word, she said, “I have no idea what I’m doing,” but that is the case for any artist that knows they have more to learn and do.
       The fallen soldiers exhibit was conceived for this month’s display because Jill wanted to paint a theme that held meaning for her. She has ‘great respect for our military’ and she thought that commemorating soldiers who have fallen in conflict would reflect that respect. She was right, in that the response of the families has been profound. A mother said to Jill, “You are keeping them alive.” Painting soldiers is profoundly emotional for Jill. She explains, “It’s a simple thing, but it has an impact.”
       She has made prints for the families. Originally she thought about giving the paintings to the families, as giving away her paintings is her favorite thing to do with them, but most families asked that the portraits be shared and displayed so that they could be seen. There are more than 80 fallen soldiers from Maine and New Hampshire from the current conflict, she pointed out, so she has plenty of work ahead.
        Although Jill has only been painting for a year, she has big plans. There are different mediums she would like to try and different subjects to paint. Her kids are either off to college or soon to go, so she has more time to explore her art. Having moved to Gilford with her husband and kids from Maine two years ago, Jill is a welcome addition to the town. We can meet her next week on Thursday, October 26th from 5-7pm during a special ‘Meet the Artist’ session being held right among her art in the display area. Don’t miss the chance to meet Jill!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 12, 2017
         Once upon a time making things yourself was common place. Then, automation rained on the parade, and people just bought what they needed. Now, making things is coming back strong as people are tired of lousy products and waste. We are in the midst of the ‘Maker’ revolution!
         Let’s exaggerate some pros and cons of making things yourself. Pro: You get to make something how you want it, not how some product engineer designed it. Con: You have to go to Michaels, which is a mad house. Pro: You can actually get all your materials online, if you like, and there are millions of fabulously detailed and useful how-to guides. Con: It takes a bit of effort. Pro: Making things is fun, gives you a sense of pride, and makes the item so much more valuable to you. Con: You have to learn something. Pro: You learn a lot.
         Gilford is full of makers. One visit to the farmer’s market will prove that. Talk to Wendy Oellers, who frequently helps children to make fairy houses or jewelry. Ask Molly Harper, the ceramic artist with a knack for figuring out crafts of all kinds. Chat with Kayleigh, who combs Pinterest and other librarian resources for easy, inexpensive crafts to help patrons learn. In the next month she will host Glass Etching, as an example. Teens make crafts and food frequently, with Candy Apple Pops being the next project. Kids have something new almost every week with Abi and the Tuesdays @ the Library club, and BYO Pumpkin Carving is right around the corner.
          If you find yourself with the maker bug, stop by the library for ideas. Makers meet at the library all the time. Fiber Friends, Knit Wits, Nightly Knitting, and Photography Club all meet regularly to work on their craft. They are quite welcoming if you are looking for inspiration. ‘Make Magazine’ is a great resource we have for current projects, especially tech related DIY adventures. ‘The Big Book of Makerspace Projects’ by Colleen Graves is a great place to look for ideas, especially if you want to do something with the family. For younger families, the Children’s Room has several books loaded with useful and educational projects.
       Technology is making making easier. With the ease of finding quality designs and guides, the availability of niche materials, and the motivation of having others making with you, now is the time to try your hand at making!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 3, 2017
       Reading is a cerebral experience. A good book can be exhausting and/or relaxing. It can be stressful, or it can relieve stress. You can ease back with a good book, or struggle with one. Regardless, books put your brain to work. It has an impact on you. Reading has an impact on your brain.
        Yea, yea, a librarian would say that. But where is the science?! “How Does Fiction Reading Influence Empathy? An Experimental Investigation on the Role of Emotional Transportation” by P Matthijs Bal demonstrates there is a correlation between reading fiction closely and feeling empathetic. The effect is more profound if the reader is able to connect with the story.
         Other studies using MRI have shown that descriptive language elicits responses in the areas of the brain associated with the meaning. Words like ‘coffee’ fire up the olfactory areas. Descriptions of pain, physical or emotional, elicit mental responses. When a reader is immersed in a story, their brain reacts in similar ways to how it would react if it was actually experiencing what the words describe.
         What this means is, reading lets you experience things, at least partially, without actually being there. Your brain gets exercised in all of the relevant areas when you struggle with a book. When a character feels elation, you get a piece of it. When a character suffers, you know something about what it feels like.
         Because our brains are physically changed by the way they are used, developing new neurological connections, books change us. They make us more empathetic, more able to see things from other people’s perspectives. They help us to imagine new scenarios. Books, and immersive, well written novels in particular, help the brain to experience life in ways that it couldn’t have otherwise, without actually doing the thing. Only through books have I shared in the experience of casting spells at a dragon, or lived the life of a young African-American girl in 1967, or had tea with Jane Austen--and I remember how it felt.
          So next time you pick up a book, remember, you are what you read.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 26, 2017
        They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom [to read]!” -William Wallace in Braveheart. No need to be so dramatic about the freedom to read right? I mean, who is stopping you?
         A shocking number of people. Throughout history books have been banned, burned, challenged, and censored.  Libraries and schools the world over attempt to fill their shelves with resources that will be of interest, use, and relevance to any of their patrons, but ‘controversial’ books are challenged frequently and with surprising support. The American Library Association reported 323 challenges of books in 2016, and they estimate that 82-97% of challenges are unreported. Almost half of the challenges happened in Public Libraries.
        If you look at the top ten most challenged books of 2016, (just google ‘American Library Association Top Ten Banned Books’) most of them are teen and children’s books. Reasons range from sexual content, to politics, to scandals about the author, to social issues, and a common word used is ‘offensive.’ Why, you might ask, would a public library have ‘offensive’ material in the first place? What good does it serve the public?
        Offensive to one or a few people, or even most people, does not make it offensive to everyone. Some of these books are among the most read in the library. Some number of library patrons find meaning in each of them. Our readers are not homogenous and so our collection is not homogenous. We want people to find the books they want to read at their library, regardless of whether the books they want to read are ‘offensive’ to others in the community.
        Banned Books Week is this week. Banned Books Week is a chance to give banned and challenged books notoriety so that the public is aware that the right to read is still challenged. It is a chance to keep the ongoing pressure of censorship in the public eye, and to remember times when books have been attacked. It is a time celebrate a diversity of materials to help promote new ideas and invite discourse.
        Librarians tend to love Banned Books Week for several reasons, but mostly we love the right to read. Stop by this week to see the displays at the front desk, children’s desk, and the Teen Room. I guarantee some of the challenged books will shock you!
        National Library Card Sign Up Month is almost up. It’s been a big hit this year, and there are a couple of days left if you know someone who doesn’t have a library card. Tell them they can read banned books with a new card!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 21, 2017
      The Middle East. When talking about the Middle East, people often don’t know where to start. It’s unclear because the Middle East is hardly cohesive or simple. Many use the term to describe a set of nations, religions, customs, peoples, and/or histories that are often clumsily grouped together and is changing constantly. Because of the nuances involved, ‘The Middle East’ and terms that are often used to help describe it are prone to equivocation and confusion. It is hard to sum up, but nevertheless the Middle East comes up in conversation constantly.
        Linguistically, it’s a problem. As any librarian worth his paper knows, quality of information is important, so when you don’t understand something, learn! We have books and digital resources galore to help understand the region referred to as ‘The Middle East’. We are also fortunate enough to have educational programs at the library sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.
         Mohamed Defaa will help parse ‘The Middle East’ in a presentation of the same name on Tuesday, September 26th from 6:30-7:30pm. The program description claims that “this multimedia presentation by Mohamed Defaa provides an analytical framework to understand the histories, social identities, and cultures behind this complex concept of ‘Middle East.’” His hope is that attendees will be better equipped to educate themselves and to understand the nuances of the concept.
       Mohamed will explain that the Middle East is not homogenous. Geographic areas in the region have surprisingly different cultures and religious beliefs. Islam, as Mohamed will describe, has four major branches with several more divisions within each branch. Islam, the religion, can be understood apart from Islamism, the political movement (or several movements). Each of these qualifying factors exacerbates the need for precise description. Lumping all of these notions together as ‘The Middle East’ is prone to stereotyping and misunderstanding.
           Mohamed Defaa is certified by the International Center for Educational and Cultural Consulting in Lyon, France. He has been an assistant professor of Communication and Cultural Expression at the University Hassan the Second in Casablanca, Morocco, and a college instructor in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Currently, he is a French and Arabic teacher at Merrimack High School, and an Arabic instructor at Southern New Hampshire University.
          I look forward to learning along with all of you who come out!
News from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 14, 2017
          “Hey Mark, do you ever get tired of reading and writing about books all the time?” NOPE. ‘Books’ is a massive descriptor, covering new and old, groundbreaking and clichéd, light and heavy. There are so many books to read, but that is not the same thing as saying there are so many bananas to eat. It seems like there are books for everything I can imagine, and even better, many things I haven’t (like ‘Gork, the Teenage Dragon’ by Gabe Hudson--read it!). As long as my brain keeps thinking, I’ll not get tired of books.
          We have some new ones at the library (we always do). Some are familiar stories, and some are completely novel. Beatrice Trovato is ‘The Scribe of Siena’ in Melodie Winower’s new novel. Beatrice was a contemporary neurosurgeon with an appetite for linguistics and art, until she was mysteriously transported to 1340s Siena, then a city state. Suspend your disbelief long enough to enjoy the vivid descriptions of the city whose success was abruptly halted by the spread of the Bubonic Plague. With plenty of romance, thrills, and period quirks, it’s worth it.
          ‘The Address’ is another historical fiction by Fiona Davis. For readers who enjoy real estate and the history of homes, ‘The Address’ addresses it thoroughly, telling two intertwining tales 100 years apart. Both stories wholly involve the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan, and the pace is swift enough the keep you from forgetting the stories in between chapters.
          A favorite of mine to come out recently is ‘Fitness Junkie’ by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Janey Sweet is fond of sweets, but it's bad business when the co-founder of a skinny-or-die wedding dress company is seen eating them. She is forced to lose 30 pounds immediately, and so she begins a ludicrous romp through the exotic world of fad diets and weight loss schemes. The book is funny, with Janey making fun of the practices even as she wholehearted partakes. I think many people with a sense of humor will enjoy ‘Fitness Junkie’, but the exaggerations of it will be particularly enjoyable for those who have been occasionally tempted by the fit practice of the month.
          ‘Goodbye, Vitamin’ by Rachel Khong also has humor at times, but it is sobering. After a bad breakup, Rachel expects to relax at her family’s home during the holidays, only to find that her father, a raucous and intelligent figure, has Alzheimer’s disease. She spends time with them to help care for him. It is full time work managing his eccentricities, and over time she has to confront parts of him that she had buried. This is the kind of book where the helper ends up getting helped as much as the helped.
          Some recent big hitters: ‘Charlatans’ by Robin Cook, ‘Seeing Red’ by Sandra Brown, ‘I Know a Secret’ by Tess Gerritsen, ‘Y is For Yesterday’ by Sue Grafton, ‘The Identicals’ by Elin Hilderbrand, ‘Crime Scene’ by Jonathan Kellerman, ‘The Store’ by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo, and ‘Glass Houses’ by Louise Penny.
          If you find yourself tired of books, let us know. There are stacks of fascinating stories our there to hold your interest and we know where they are.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 7, 2017

    Tea, Earl Grey, hot. Star Trek ‘Replicators’ could synthesize almost anything. Today’s 3D printers do not seem too far behind. Need a wrench? Print it. Need a part for your hobby? Print it. Need a 3D model of a dragon for your D&D campaign? Print it. I have a feeling that we will be saying ‘Print it’ a lot as 3D printing technology becomes more common and affordable. Right now, 3D printers are just on the cusp of being viable for households, but they are certainly viable for many workplaces.

    3D printers are capable of printing in a few styles and with a variety of materials, mostly metals and plastics. The advantages of 3D printing are only limited by the imagination, it seems, but most obviously 3D printing will become a time saving and exceedingly customizable process. Instead of working on a physical mold, 3D printers need three dimensional models in certain digital formats. So one can design a digital model that is exactly what one needs, send it the printer, and have it made without ever putting one’s hands on it. Of course, there are already thousands of free or purchasable designs online that can downloaded and printed immediately.

Naturally, it isn’t always as easy as that, yet. There are constraints on the types of jobs that each 3D printer can handle, and they often need finishing work, like cutting, sanding, and painting, but getting custom shapes made out of sturdy materials on the spot is amazing. Adjusting the size, quality, and density or hollowness of the design has a huge impact on how long the print will take and how much material it will use.

    The state library of New Hampshire recently purchased five new Ultimaker 3D printers to circulate to New Hampshire libraries. Whimsy is the affectionately named 3D printer that Gilford will get to borrow. It’ll be here at the library all next week! This compact 3D printer can print materials up to approximately 6’ x 6’, though something that large would take a very long time. Swing by the front desk to see a demo of the thing in action.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 31, 2017
          It’s hot! What a relief that we don’t have to heat our homes year round, because, frankly, it's expensive and a lot of work. Now we can relax, lie back, and just think about the future. The cold, cold future. It’s weird to think about it in this heat, but we know that it is going to get so cold. Winter is coming. If only there was a way to prepare now to help reduce the cost of heating our homes and reducing the work of carrying wood.
          Yes, you have caught on, there is a way! Button up! Plug the holes, line the windows with plastic, consider alternative clean fuel sources. A lot of energy and money can be saved easily by making our homes more efficient. I know that I don’t want to be heading out into the cold trying to treat my windows, so why not get a jump start and do some winterization prep while the weather is fair?
        You can learn all about buttoning up In a workshop sponsored by NHSAVES. Gil Richardson of NH Sustainable Energy Association will share tips and tricks on how to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, such as weatherization, energy audits, and rebates. The program is totally free and open to the public (we are trying to save money after all).
         Weatherization is a catch all term for getting your home ready to reduce waste energy whenever it is isn’t 70 degrees and mild. Ever feel like you are heating the whole state when you feel a draft? The workshop will help to keep your heat in. If you don’t know where to start with increasing efficiency, having an energy audit will show you the variety of things in your home that can be improved (there is always something to do). Even if you are a pro at energy conservation, you can learn about the NHSAVES rebates so that you can get compensated for reducing waste and helping the environment.
        Visit us at the Circulation Desk, call us at 603-524-6042, or email with any questions. Registration is preferred.
Notes from the Library
August 24, 2017
       People ask why we call it Old Home Day. It’s a time to come back to the ‘Old Home,’ the place that you are from, to see what’s changed and what is the same. Gilford may seem like it is bustling at times, but it is small. Children grow up and leave for more metropolitan areas, but some come back to visit, or even to make a new home for themselves. Gilford is the quintessential ‘Small Town America’.
           ‘Small Town America’ applies to most of America, so what’s the big deal? What is there to celebrate about being small and less populated than other places, especially when you have that in common with almost every other town in the world? That is missing the point. Small towns are as unique as they are different.
           Coming back to the ‘Old Home’ is a chance to meet up with people you rarely see or people you used to know. They are different people now, and so are you, so Old Home Day is an opportunity to catch up. It's about meeting new neighbors. The parade is the ice breaker, because everyone is comfortable with kids running around and the floats are a talking point. When you get tired of all that you can wander through the book sale and the myriad vendors. When your blood sugar gets low it's time for pancakes, pie and ice cream, and lemonade.
      Yes, many other towns have similar ‘Old Home Days’, celebrating being small towns in the same way, but they aren’t Gilford (other’s probably spell it ‘Guilford’ anyway). They won’t have the same people, or the exact same home made pies, or ice cream from Sawyers on Lake Shore Road, all of which are nice things worth celebrating.
           The Library will be right there with you. We will be open our regular hours on Saturday morning. The Book Sale and Pie and Ice Cream sale will start on Friday evening from 4-6pm, and then Saturday morning starting at 9am (Pie and Ice Cream will be sold after the parade on Saturday). We are swimming in books, so shopping will be good this year. Both sales are run by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, so power to them for all of their support!
         Old Home Day is good fun in Small Town Gilford. I look forward to catching up with you at the parade!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 14, 2017
         These are amazing! Don Spear has been working on these handmade model trains for much of his life, and his patience and care shows. Don Spear, thank you for bringing your art in for display throughout August. How did you fall into this craft?
         Don: I’ve always liked trains. I saw somebody’s simple layout, much simpler than I have now, and I realized that train making appealed to me. I was on a ship in the coast guard when I built my first piece, ‘The General,’ an old fashioned 1800 era engine on my off time. I built it right in the machine shop on the coast guard ship. ‘The General’ is modeled after an engine that would run on wood.
         Mark: Train modeling has a full history, but the craft is still so niche. Where do you get materials and tools? Did you teach yourself?
         Don: Yes. I just did it, because I could do that. As years went by I got better stuff for it, The best tool that I had was my tweezers. Really! You have to handle the small pieces and the tweezers are perfect. A lot of the stuff that I have, collectibles, I bought through Ebay. There are several companies that sell kits. Usually they are made of basswood. That wood is easy to machine, especially for the structures. The display has basswood, plastic, and metal buildings, engines, and train cars.
           Mark: Can you tell us a bit about the crafting process? How are they made? Do you have any crafting quirks you would like to share?
          Don: You start with a kit, especially for the engines. ‘The General’ is only engine that I have built. All the cars that are on display are ones that I have made. I’ve been collecting since 1958 and many of the building have been gifted to me over the years. I’ve had fun doing it, but I think it's time for me to quit. This is the first time that I am displaying the trains, outside of my basement where the permanent display is. I am hoping to find someone to purchase the set so that it will be passed on.
             Mark: I have heard that you are quite the storyteller. Do you have any quick stories about making model trains to share?
             Don: The story I still get a kick out of: When I was on that ship I was in charge of the machine shop. The Skipper, his Yeoman, and an ensign came down for inspection. We opened all the doors and cabinets, except for one. The Skipper said, ‘Why is that door locked?’ I explained, ‘I have personal things in there that I don’t want others to see.’ The Skipper said, ‘Open it up.’ I opened it and showed him ‘The General’ and said, “I don’t want anyone walking with this, I’ve made it in my off time.” The Skipper said ‘This is wonderful, put it back in and lock it back up!’
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 3, 2017
       “I have an idea”. I get so excited hearing that phrase in the teen room. “Hey Mark, I have an idea. I want to make a pendulum to hold the camera!” “I’m going to make a video slideshow showing off the best things about California.” “Can you show me how to make custom games in Roblox?” “Let’s work together and make a movie about going to the Library!”
        We hosted a Teen Maker Camp a couple of weeks ago and a teen said each of those lines at some point. Through school, their own devices, and modern pop-culture, most of the teens are exceedingly capable with computers and other tech. The teens are brimming with ideas about things to make, but many of them don’t know how to begin, or they aren’t aware of all of the resources available for their projects. So, when you show them new resources like Sculptris, a free and easy to use digital sculpting program, they take to it like a fantasy fan does Harry Potter.
         Some teens wanted to write original stories or fanfiction, so they were given paper, pencils, a computer, and plenty of resources about fan fiction sharing, blogging, and other critical media. A few teens wanted to make videos, so they were offered cameras, a microphone, and Windows Movie Maker. Others wanted to design games or learn how to code, so we showed them a few resources for videogame development.
          We worked on a few group projects in between their individual projects. The science crew of the Nautilus, a ship with two remote submersible vehicles that is mapping the ocean floor off the coast of California, was kind enough to do a live interaction with the students online right in the teen room. The teens asked questions about their favorite discoveries, sea live, and what it's like to live on a ship. I was so grateful to the crew of the Nautilus for sharing their work and for being an inspiration to these motivated teens. We also programmed a Raspberry Pi (a tiny and inexpensive computer) to play retro games using the Retropie software.
            It was a busy week, to be sure, but the teens left with more ideas then they came with. Most importantly, I hope that they realize that the ideas they have are not so far out of reach with the technologies available to them. 
Notes from Library
by Mark Thomas, July 27, 2017
        Alien migration is a blight on our landscape. These foreign species are traveling on vehicles, infesting our habitats, and they get away with it because there is nothing of their kind to fight them. It's been a problem for years, but only the carefully observant can see their influence for what it is. It’s the Invasion of the Upland Plant Species!
        The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands explains that invasive plants are ‘a subset of non-native species whose introduction to an ecosystem has the potential to cause environmental harm.’ They tend to be prolific and their propagation tends to be at the cost of local habitat diversity. Some examples of invasive upland species include honeysuckle, glossy buckthorn, autumn olive, and multiflora rose.
        We need to defend our habitat from honeysuckle and we need to do it now. You can’t fight a war without information, however, so we are bringing in an expert. Douglas Cygan can help educate us. He has been the Invasive Species Coordinator for the NH Department of Agriculture for the past 14-years as well as being a nursery inspector and an Authorized Certification Official for the USDA.  Prior to this he was a Wetlands Permitting Officer for the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) for 2-years, and before that he was a Senior Environmental Manager for the NH Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Environment for 7-years.
         Douglas Cygan is going to visit the library on August 1st from 6-7:30pm. He is going to identify some of the most critical invasive upland plant species in New Hampshire, many of which are relevant in Gilford. He will explain how each of these species impacts local habitat. He will also talk about New Hampshire rules and regulations, identification, and best management practices.
        A lot of work is happening on the front, but many of us aren’t aware of what’s being done or how we can help in the war effort. By educating ourselves, we can help to preserve the New Hampshire habitat of yore. There are many simple tips for New Hampshire residents to help reduce the spread of invasive species. I’m excited to learn them from Douglas Cygan on August 1st!

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 20, 2017
 Mark: Betty (and Jim)! You are back from yet another venture in the far unknown and return to tell about it. It’s good to see you, but it’s even better to hear from you about where you have been. Where did you go?
          Betty: Jim and I went for a walk. Oh, I've been wanting to say that ever since I read "Grandma Gatewood's Walk" by Ben Montgomery, where, when she was 67, Emma Gatewood told her family she was going for a walk and left to hike the Appalachian Trail. She was the first person to solo hike the AT in 1955. That said, our walk was teensy in comparison--we walked 120 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
          Mark: As I understand it, you came back with plenty of pictures, enough to make a presentation out of. Many people want to hear about your trip to the Camino de Santiago, and now is their chance. What have people been asking you?
          Betty: I've found that one way to take a break without revealing exhaustion is to stop and take pictures, so I took lots of pictures. Plus, there were lots of photographic sights on the Camino. Lots. We have had requests to see and hear about what it was like to be a Camino pilgrim and some friends suggested we do a library program--so thanks for having us!
          Mark: Incredible. Well, actually it’s pretty credible because you are giving witness, but your trip sounds amazing. How did it feel? What did you take away from it?
          Betty: It was a great experience and we are still processing "our mini-Camino". It was easy to enjoy the Way because it has several advantages --low humidity, no bugs, we didn't need to carry much etc. We discovered the answers to many questions. For example, how much Spanish did we need to know? Would we be able to walk far enough day after day? What should we carry? How much would it cost? It will be fun for us to revisit the aging, inexperienced couple walking 192 km across northern Spain when we present.
          Mark: It will be fun for all of us. As ever Betty, thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to see the photos to go with the stories! Betty and Jim will talk about her travels and show pictures on August 3rd from 6-7pm at the library.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 13, 2017
       ‘On the road again. I just can’t wait to get on the road again’ (thanks Willie Nelson). Gilford loves to travel. The area is beautiful, but so are a lot of other places. We hear about travel adventures from several of our volunteers and patrons. It feels like collectively we have been everywhere in the world, but of course that can’t be true. As traveled as the world is, it's got more to offer.
      Whenever we see a slideshow of travel pictures, or hear about the bizarre places someone went, what really stands out is what the traveler learned. They learned how to travel well, about the local culture, local history, or something unexpectedly like how their guide ‘Guy’ has a Ph.D in mechanical engineering but he really likes the mountains of Peru. Since the library is partial to learning, I like hearing most about what people learned.
      Recognizing that people in Gilford like to travel and to learn, we asked Jane Ramsey to come and talk about her experiences with Road Scholar. She is the local Road Scholar Ambassador. As they explain, “Roadscholar is a leading not-for-profit organization which provides learning and travel adventures for adults at exceptional value. Created as Elderhostel over 40 years ago, the organization provides more than 5,500 all inclusive programs throughout the Americas and Canada  and in most countries all over the world.”
       Jane has participated in 23 program in the United States, Canada, and Switzerland, so she has plenty of stories to tell. This August, she will be heading up the coast of Alaska on a small ship to learn about the gold rush, its impact on Alaska, and about the wildlife and glaciers. The Road Scholar programs span the globe, touching on history, contemporary culture, all with a focus on educating travelers. They also claim to keep prices low as part of being not-for-profit.
      If you are looking for trip ideas, are curious about how Road Scholar works, or just want to hear about Jane’s adventures, come by the Library next Thursday, July 20th from 6:30-7:30pm to hear all about it. Let’s learn!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 6, 2017
      The summer reading program gives the activity of reading a lot of attention. Parents talk about reading levels, book content, how enthusiastic or not their children are for reading, but a lot of the focus is on developing the skill to read, rather than on how what they read affects them. Some parents would love for their kids to read Shakespeare, or Wuthering Heights, but when a reluctant reader picks up another Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, we smile and think, ‘at least they are reading’.
            There is something to that. We want kids to read and we want them to read things that are good for them. ‘Good for them’ is really subjective and tough to define, so let’s skip past that and talk about something more simple and acceptable. Reading broadens perspectives--awesome. Reading is one of the best mediums for broadening perspectives, I think, because they take you to so many places, into the minds of so many characters, that the variety, the new experiences, and the new ways of thinking can’t help but rub off. Prolific readers come across as wise to me, because they have traveled the world.
       That was melodramatic, but I really love to hear when kids get excited about the places and characters in a book they just read. Now, to broaden your perspective, you have to read a variety of books and authors, if you only read one or two, then you are only getting one or two perspectives.            The 2017 reading challenge is all about encouraging readers to try out different styles of books, something you might not otherwise bother to do. I just finished reading every book by my new favorite author and I was devastated. ‘What am I going to read now?’ I thought, for a moment, before I remembered that I am surrounded by tens of thousands of quality books, most of which would be interesting and worth reading for me.
        Let’s talk about Dave, a reluctant reader I made up just now. Dave may love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and that means that he will probably love several other similar books. Once he has read all of those, he may be ready for books that have a little in common, like another book in a middle school setting, or with an awkward, underdog protagonist. Before you know it, Dave is reading Harry Potter and he is becoming less prejudiced and more socially capable.
         That is quite the jump, but there are studies to prove that reading improves social skills, critical thinking, and helps people to identify with others. According to an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology, “Recent research shows that extended contact via story reading is a powerful strategy to improve out-group attitudes” (Vezzali, L., Stathi, S., Giovannini, D., Capozza, D. and Trifiletti, E. (2015), The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice. J Appl Soc Psychol, 45: 105–121. doi:10.1111/jasp.12279). The treatment of non-magic users (muggles), Voldemort’s demonized prejudice, and the multiple perspectives from the students and teachers at Hogwart’s school help readers to be less prejudiced and to communicate better.
     My advice to young readers, old readers, and to myself is read often, and read all sorts. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 29, 2017
Scientists took some of my biomatter to their lab hundreds of miles away and tested it for weeks. After anxiously waiting, they told me that my genes probably came from northern/central Europe and that I had had turkey for lunch, among other things. That matches well with my family telling me that I’m mostly Polish and Welsh. Thing is, I’m American.
With more and more people searching for genealogical records online, we hear a lot about family history in the context of American history. Compared to many nations, America is young. The cities are young, the states are young, and so people have qualifications on their heritage. Someone could ask, ‘what’s your nationality.’ Well, I’m American, I was born here or I moved here, or whatever. Regardless of how long they or their family have been here, they can qualify their history by saying, ‘I’m part French, part Chinese, part Native American’ or some such detail. America isn’t old enough to satisfy people’s desires to explain their heritage. And yet, during the 4th of July we are reminded about how much has happening in the history of America.
          Ok, but what does this have to do with books and the library? Aside from being a great place to do genealogical research, books at the library can help us to appreciate American History in new ways. The library is always stocking up on books about American history, and most of them are as fascinating as they are niche. John Avlon recently wrote about ‘Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations,’ telling the story of what lead to George Washington’s publication ‘The Farewell’ and the importance behind it. He suggests that his message applies today and that George Washington’s fears have been largely realized over time. For more politics check out the new books by Elizabeth Warren, Condoleezza Rice, and David Fisher.
          I enjoy reading about curiosities I wouldn’t have heard about except through new publications. Kate Moore wrote, ‘The Radium Girls: the Dark Story of America’s Shining Women’ for example. For the carnivorous there is Jeffrey P. Roberts’ ‘Salted and Cured: Savoring the Culture, Heritage, and Flavor of America’s Preserved Meats.’ Anyone interested in the history of medicine and psychology can read ‘No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America’ by Ron Powers. Librarians and bibliophiles can enjoy ‘Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries’ by Kory Stamper.
America’s history is brief when we think about it in terms of family trees, but there are so many compelling stories to read about that flesh out the details. Books like ‘Glass House: the 1% and the Shattering of the All-American Town’ by Brian Alexander tell us about transformations in American culture. Lydia Reeder’s ‘Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Barnstormed It’s Way to Basketball Glory’ on the other hand, tell about a small sports team from a small college at a pivotal time. So stop by the library to learn something new this weekend!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 19, 2017
        Let’s talk about something real. Wonder Woman is amazing. Have you seen the movie yet? It’s been killing it in theaters and I think that there are good reasons why. She is mighty, clever, and indomitable like many superheroes, but she has a few things extra that make her as likeable and as empowering a figure as she is. To start, she finds the notion that there are things she can’t or shouldn’t do because she is a woman laughable… sometimes she literally laughs. She has no problem speaking her mind and advocating for herself. She takes every opportunity to learn and to try something out on her own. She isn’t afraid or bashful about her body, and she takes care of it.
         So Wonder Woman is the perfect hero for girls right? Boys have Batman, and Spiderman, and Superman, and Captain America… and some others, but now girls have Wonder Woman. NO! Haven’t you been reading? Wonder Woman is a great super hero for anyone, full stop.
           Those values can help anyone step up to challenges, be themselves, and improve their lives. It seems that the reason why we automatically think she is a great superhero role model for girls is the lack of popular female superheroes generally. Wonder Woman has almost no real competition. If there were an equal number of female superhero leads to male, perhaps Wonder Woman wouldn’t be so wondrous.
         Superhero movies and comic books are not the only culprits. There is unequal representation among minorities and genders in books and other media, especially among children and teens. I was reading a BBC News article (  about the new Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, and she is worried about the potential for girls to compete. As she explains, girls enjoy reading books with boys or girls as the central characters, but boys generally prefer readings books that feature boys. Sales have shown that books with boy leads are more popular than books with girl leads.
          Lauren Child admits that she doesn’t know the full cause of this, but she believes that some urge boys to avoid reading stories featuring girls. She gets asked by parents if she also writes books for boys, suggesting that her books with female leads aren’t for boys. She explains that her books are for boys and girls (just as Wonder Woman is for everyone).
         Perhaps another day we can talk more about diversity in books, because I would love it if any child could easily find both books they can relate to and books that open their eyes to other ways of thinking across gender or culture. For now, let’s be glad that the Wonder Woman movie exists at all and get excited about Summer Reading starting next week!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 15, 2017
      School is almost out and student brains are about to atrophy. Have you ever noticed that kids forget what they learned all school year as soon as summer starts? Teachers do. It’s like the knowledge is tied to the setting. School means thinking and learning and growing, and everywhere else is for vegging out.
            They call it the summer slide. According to the National Summer Learning Association, children who don’t find educational stimulus in reading and math throughout the summer perform worse than their peers who do, even when they they were on par during the last school year. What's worse is that the effect is cumulative, so if a student repeatedly lacks summer stimulus, they will fall further and further behind as they grow. Low-income families are hit the worst, since they often can’t afford private educational opportunities, camps, and other projects.
        The library can be one of the places outside school where students can keep learning, without the rigidity of a classroom. The Summer Reading Programs are designed to motivate kids and teens in a fun way without pressuring them to read when they really don’t want to. Almost all of the programs are entirely free and awesome.
         Both the children’s and teen’s Summer Reading Programs run from June 26th to August 4th. They are sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Library (Thanks!). Children earn a raffle ticket for every hour they read, which can be turned in for prizes or to enter raffles. There are all sorts of gadgets they can ‘buy’ with their tickets, or they can try to win prizes like tickets to Water Country, Storyland, Santa’s Village, Gunstock, and Canobie Lake Park.
        Throughout the summer there will be sweet programs starting with the Kick-Off party on Tuesday, June 27th from 2-4pm (teens are invited too!). Hampstead Stage company will be performing Beauty and the Beast on June 29th from 3-4pm. Animal lovers can see the Squam Lakes Animal Architects on July 11th from 2-3pm. There will even be a Family Magic Show on July 27th from 6-7pm (for up to 8th graders).
         Teens can work with librarians to set their own reading goals for the summer. Each week they check in they will receive a prize. For completing the program they will go into the raffle for a couple of grand prizes that no teen would want to miss out on. Teens can participate in the Book to Movie Book Club, where we will read books that have become movies and chat about them over food. There will be Book Bonanzas and Teen Maker Camps, so keep an eye out for the calendars to see whats happening.
         Let’s keep kids reading and save their brains! Adult brains aren’t safe either, so consider getting motivated with the adult summer reading program too.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 8, 2017
         Mark: Kayleigh, I’ve been thinking. I’m an adult, more or less. I read as much as I want. I’m not a kid that will read more because I’ll get toys out of it. Why should I join the adult summer reading program?
          Kayleigh: Well, I will admit that we don't have the cool toys like the children or gadgets like the teens, but we do have a cool new setup for this year. Scratch off tickets! Instead of making adults keep track of their books or reading logs or asking them to read certain things (like our 2017 reading challenge) any interested adult can receive a scratch off ticket when they check out. To redeem the tickets, they just have to fill them out and return the ticket the next day they come in.
          Mark: Wait, so adults get to actually scratch off scratch tickets with the scratchy stuff and everything? That is fun. What can you win?
          Kayleigh: You can win candy, bookmarks, cash… cold, hard, cash… or a Wayfarer of Laconia gift card. Of course you could win nothing, but that chance is what is fun, isn’t it?
          Mark: No, I want to win.
          Kayleigh: Even if you scratch a non-winning ticket, you can use those tickets to enter the raffle for the grand prize at the end of the summer. Only the non-winning tickets can be entered for the grand prize. Mark, you can’t win at all because you work at the Library, but aren’t we all winners when we get to read what we want all summer long?
          Mark: I’ll be consoled seeing people’s jubilant faces when they return winning tickets. As Captain Planet explains, with our powers combined we can build a better world. Wait, isn’t ‘Build a Better World’  the summer reading theme?!
          Kayleigh: Yes, but I feel like you are trying really hard to make this ‘Captain Planet’ thing work. While admirable, it's not cutting it.
          Mark: Yeah...
          Kayleigh: Summer reading begins June 26th. It lasts six weeks. There are great programs coming up before, during, and after the Summer Reading Program, most of which are part of the ‘Build a Better World’ program series. Keep an eye out for Islands of Winnipesaukee on June 20th and Restoring the Colonial on June 27th to get things started. We look forward to seeing you participate!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 1, 2017
          I’m a bacterium in bird feces. I happened to land in a splat on your roof. After I cake for a while, it rains and I get swept off the roof. You haven’t repaired that gutter, so I flow right onto your driveway. The water can’t sink through the driveway, so away I flow, right across the hard pack grass and down the hill. Rather than staying on your property, I, like so many other bacteria from other properties, end up in a local water source.
          That’s what happens when you haven’t designed your property to help filter water. Low impact development can help to prevent erosion, flooding, the contamination of water, and to promote healthy gardens. That’s why Lisa Morin from the Belknap County Conservation District will visit the library to help explain what low impact development is, how the benefits are demonstrated, and how to implement tried and true techniques for low impact development.
          Lisa has a great deal of experience with the Environmental Protection Agency recommendations and will make several referrals to their techniques. Lisa explains that ‘the less water you let run off, the less flooding you will get at times of high rain. The more water you keep on your property the less erosion and high water streams. Soil cleans water of pollutants and contaminants before it reaches a stream or other water body.’ She believes that the benefits to our water sources really shows when the effort is community wide. Collective effort to keep water environmentally healthy has community wide benefit, and she noted that it reduces town maintenance costs at the least.
           Aside from learning about water behavior and consequence, I am excited to hear about some DIY projects. Lisa will talk about things like rain gardens, dry wells, water bars, landscape planning, and infiltration steps. She will also mention the NH Department of Environmental Services Homeowners Guide to Stormwater Management.
             Beyond low impact development, Lisa will talk about how to create gardens that healthy pollinator environments. Pollinators need more than food, they require a home habitat. She will talk about some of the projects the different Conservation Districts in NH have done and some of the work being done in Belknap County, not to mention providing resources like plant guides. She’ll cover the basics of what makes for a positive pollinator habitat and what pollinators are the key players in food production (for example: bumble bees and tomatoes). There are a huge variety of native plantings you can use, but not all plant sources are helpful as pollinator sources, due to nursury treatment. So if you are thinking of making your garden more pollinator friendly, be sure to hear about these resources first.
              This program is part of the ongoing Build a Better World summer program series and it is happening this Tuesday, June 6th from 6:30-7:30pm. The DIY Worm Farming Demo is happening next Thursday night too, so get your calendars out!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 25, 2017
          Let’s get back to basics. By ‘basics’ I mean ‘books’ of course, so let’s get back to books. Those who watched ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ can get back to the author’s books by reading ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ by Bruce Cameron. This sequel tells the story of a dog that finds himself as attached to an incidental owner as the owner is to him. As their bond grows, they cannot catch a break, from a ‘No-pets’ apartment to an animal control officer that hates happiness. Eventually the dog makes a wilderness trek home that is wrought with danger and adventure. A warning: Only read ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ if you love your pet dog, comfy stories, and hearts so warm they could heat a neighborhood, otherwise the warm fuzzies will be too much to take.
          If you want something real, then look no further than Jeffrey Lent’s epic ‘Before We Sleep.’ Families went through a great deal in the three decades following World War II, and Lent captures aspects of that struggle in his story about one family and the ties that help them cope. His writing is crisp and satisfying.
          Another family epic is ‘Salt Houses’ by Hala Alyan. A Palestinian family is uprooted time and again following political and military conflicts. Diaspora wears on the family as they gradually comes to terms with the idea that they will never be able to go ‘home.’ Each time they are pushed out of their new house, the family finds attachments in different locations, from Kuwait, to Beirut, to Boston. Alyan’s debut novel gives life to historical conflicts, displaced families, and the lifestyles that unite or divide us.
          Fredrik Backman’s newest book ‘Beartown’ is a story of community and human spirit. A diminished town in the deep woods is downtrodden except for one shining possibility. Their junior ice hockey team made nationals, but a horrifying event divides the town and its grizzled but emotionally fragile residents. Backman makes his characters believable and chillingly easy to empathize with. Besides, everyone loves an unlikely hero.
If you like your fiction far from reality, Lidia Yuknavitch’s ‘The Book of Joan’ is a science fiction like few others. It’s the future and Earth is in shambles, humanity has taken to living in an orbital platform. The protagonist tells the story of what happened on earth--political and ecological devastation that is just feasible enough. What makes the writing unique is the non-stop references to historical characters like Joan of Arc and literary characters like Trinculo of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’ I enjoyed the hypotheticals and the references in equal parts.
          Big name authors have been prolific too, so don’t miss these: David Baldacci’s ‘The Fix,’ Mary Higgins Clark’s ‘All by Myself, Alone,’ Jeffery Deaver’s ‘The Burial Hour,’ Lisa Jackson’s ‘Ominous,’ Iris Johansen’s ‘No Easy Target,’ Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘My Italian Bulldozer,’ James Patterson’s ‘16th Seduction,’ and Danielle Steel’s ‘Against All Odds.’
          There is something for everyone, so stop by for a summer read or ask for a recommendation!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 17, 2017
       I’m hungry. I’ll just flip through this cookbook and pick a filling and healthy meal. Got it, now i’ll go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, and cook! With the advent of modern technology and the availability of resources, sometimes it seems like all of our basics needs are easily met. The question is not whether to eat or not, but what to eat. Hunger is an easy issue to forget, especially in a community where food appears plentiful. In reality, hunger and malnutrition are ongoing problems for some of the population, and children often suffer the most. This is a problem here, in Gilford.
        As part of the ‘Build a Better World’ inspired program series, we are hosting an evening to raise awareness about hunger in our community. This is a chance to benefit a program that is one of the first lines of support for malnourished children.
        All are welcome to ‘A Place at the Table’ on Tuesday, May 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm. There will be a presentation by the Gilford Got Lunch program followed by a screening of the award winning documentary ‘A Place at The Table.’ The film tells multiple stories of hunger and food insecurity across the country, from children to adults with full time work. Gilford Got Lunch will also be collecting non-perishable food as part of their ongoing food drive.
       Gilford Got Lunch is a program devoted to helping provide healthy and nutritious breakfasts and lunches to children when they are not getting school lunch, be it on weekends, school break, and even during the summer. For many children, school lunch is the most nutritious meal they get. Gilford Got Lunch works to help keep children healthy throughout the year.
        According to Gilford Got Lunch, there are around 300 students, including Gilmanton, that qualify for reduced or free lunches. The group functions “under the umbrella of the Gilford Youth Center, in cooperation with the Gilford School District and the Gilford Community Church.” Learn more about them on Tuesday, or visit
        Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned good donation for the Gilford Got Lunch Program. A donation box will also be present beside the Circulation Desk for the remainder of the summer. A list of recommended donations is available at the circulation desk. Please support this hard-working program that fights childhood hunger here in Gilford!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 11, 2017
       Some librarians say that reading is better when you have a real, tangible book in your hands. They believe that words are better or easier to understand when printed in ink instead of on a screen. That’s not me--and I think it would be a tough attitude for librarians to hold as tech literacy improves.
       Many people prefer print, which is wonderful, but as people grow more accustomed to reading digitally I think it will become widely accepted. As I read about reading comprehension between print and digital, several studies suggested that comprehension is tied to which medium readers are more used to, and that someone reading an ebook would have lower comprehension if they believed that reading print was better. Take a look at this article for an idea of what I’m talking about: Myrberg, C. & Wiberg, N., (2015). Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning?. Insights. 28(2), pp.49–54. DOI:
        Some readers want physical books, magazines, and newspapers. Some want digital books on e-readers, news sites, and magazine webpages. Many, myself included, grab whatever medium gives them what they are looking for when they are looking for it. Reading and listening in both formats is wonderful for getting what you want, when you want it (and for the least cost too).
        That’s why the library is filled with print magazines in the reading room, the teen room, and the children’s room. Similar articles can be found online, but the magazines are right there, organized, with a comfy couch and you don’t have to remember your password. If you want to keep reading you can check magazines out to read later. Some of the magazines require paid online accounts, so reading the print at the library is the only way to read for free. Some, like consumer reports, have login information that the library provides--you can read in the library, check the magazines out, or go online, all with access from the library.
        The collection is curated to match patron interests. Most popular are cooking, health, gardening, outdoors, and classic favorites like ‘People,’ ‘Time,’ and ‘The Week.’ As some magazines lose popularity or are discontinued we replace them with up and comers, like ‘Make,’ ‘Nautilus,’ and ‘The Sun.’
        Down in the children’s room there are several nature, family, and unique magazines like Lego Magazine. You can find parenting and homeschooling magazines as well. Teens have a new magazine nook filled with magazines on literature, art, fashion, science, and gaming. Some adults may like the teen magazines too, so take a look at the new display.
        We try to provide several options so that you can read how you want. Books, audio, or magazines, online or offline, here or elsewhere. Just don’t ask me to read it to you unless you can’t read it yourself.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 4, 2017
Mark:  Build a Better World. That’s the Summer Reading Program theme--and it’s a big one. How do you even begin to build a better world? I bet Molly has some ideas. She put together a whole program series inspired by the theme. Molly, how can we build a better world?

Molly: We can build a better world by inspiring people to strengthen their connections with their communities and their environment. This program series can help with that. Our goal is to inspire people to build a better world through skill development, community connection building, and ecological awareness programs. We have a wide range of topics including cooking classes, book discussions, and public presentations.

Mark: Wow, OK. You are serious about this. These programs are already underway, right? There has been a run on our sign ups.

Molly: Several of our recent programs have needed second classes due to huge demand. Beginner cheesemaking and the CPR/AED certification classes have been among the most popular programs. Home Herb Gardens and the DIY Seed Bombs programs have also had second classes scheduled, both of which take place early this Summer.

Mark: Sign ups are required for all of those programs and spots are going quickly. What ties these programs together? Why do you think they have been so popular?

Molly: I think people have real interest in learning new skills like gardening and cheesemaking. We are also part of an extraordinarily supportive community, so programs like Farm to Library and a Place at the Table are expected to draw large crowds. We’ve also tried to cover a wide range of topics and interests with this series.

Mark: What can one expect at those programs?

Molly: Farm to library highlights Winnipesaukee Woods Farm and brings attention to the amazing agriculture and fresh food available in our community. We’ll also be doing a cooking demo with some of the fresh produce! A Place at the Table is a film screening and food drive to support Gilford Got Lunch and to draw attention to hunger and the ways to fight hunger in our community. People can get the details of any of these programs at the library.

Mark: I love it. This will be an exciting season. Any other programs you are excited for?

Molly: I’m very excited about two special presentations in August, but more about those to come. Meanwhile I encourage people to join me for the summer books discussions as all three books highlight immigration and refugee stories. I’ll be leading them so I hope to see you there.

Mark: Building a Better World is no easy task--May the Fourth be with us.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 25, 2017
Mark: As I came in the tech room door this morning, I said hello Dorothy, Helen, and yourself,
Kayleigh. You work here at the library, so I was certain to see you, but Dorothy and Helen are both volunteers, freely giving of their time. Dorothy is helping to find records for new books and selling old books on Amazon for the Bookworm Shop. Helen is covering new books or on her way to shelve books. I walked out into library proper to see Roxie and Nancy already in the stacks shelving, volunteers both. I know that later in the day another Helen will water the plants and Betty will come in to help out a book discussion. Rhonda will be sorting books in the children’s room, which is challenging work--ask anyone. Maybe a few students from the High School will stop by to grab a couple volunteer hours by setting up a display or helping Maria prepare for storytime. Our volunteers are incredible, not that we won’t try our best to give them credit.

Kayleigh: Yes they are! Our volunteers do a little bit of everything. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do half of the things that we can do. Every person that volunteers here does something different, depending on their interests and skills. We have people who make treats for programs, work on our scrapbooks, help out at programs, take care of the magazines, and so much more. Really, without their help there wouldn’t be treats, scrapbooks, tidy shelves, nice book covers, or half of our programming.

Mark: I see what you mean. If you were in charge of watering the plants they would be long dead.

Kayleigh: And if you were in charge of making the cookies, we would all have food poisoning.

Mark: What do you think Dorothy?

Dorothy: Before your insults I was thinking that I love volunteering here because I get to see the books first. I can put my name on books for myself or my grandkids. I can be self interested about that. I’m also a social person, and this is a place where I’ve been able to meet many people. I’ve even had the opportunity to learn some computer skills, where I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Mark: Dorothy, you’re so kind, let’s throw you a party!

Kayleigh: Funny you should mention a party. We like to show our volunteers how much we appreciate their indispensable help. Volunteer appreciation is an annual week long national celebration in April that gives us a chance to show our volunteers how much they mean to us. This years theme is ‘Volunteers plant the seeds of kindness.’ The week culminates in a volunteer appreciation luncheon hosted by the library staff and trustees. If you are interested in being one of the most important parts of the library, a volunteer, fill out an application form at the desk or just talk with me! We will find a way you can help.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 17, 2017
          You can find high quality food and drink in New Hampshire if you try. There are farmer’s markets, restaurants that are proud of where their ingredients come from, and no end of microbrews to be had. Some are right around the corner.
          Hermit Woods Winery is one of the places where you can find top quality drinks in the lakes region. It's in downtown Meredith by Frog Rock Tavern and the new creperie 48 Main Cafe & Creperie. Bob Manley, Ken Hardcastle, and Chuck Lawrence are the founders, and they can be found there making wines, giving tours, and offering tastings. They focus on fruit wines, ciders, and mead. The thing that makes Hermit Woods Winery really stand out, besides the taste, is their devotion to locally sourcing their ingredients as much as possible. When they are not making or enjoying their drinks, they are looking for local ingredients to feature.
             I was there doing a tasting and I loved the sap mead they offered. It had a tanginess that I really enjoyed. As I went to pick up a bottle, Ken Hardcastle, the wineries resident scientist, smiled as he explained that the sugar maple sap came from local trees, some on his own property. The hops in the hop mead came from people he knows personally. They were thinking of growing ingredients right in front the winery itself. These fresh, local ingredients make the wines, and the winery, unique. As Ken Hardcastle explains, “Our wines and ciders are local (as much as possible), vegan (except the honey wines), gluten free, raw, and made from non-certified but mostly organic fruit. We always use whole fruit, never use heat, and always use gentle hand processing. Our wines, meads, and ciders are made with minimal to no chemical adjustments or additions and are styled after the classic dry European grape wines.”
        Hermit Woods Winery didn’t get its name from nothing. The story of Joseph Plummer, the hermit in the woods, is told simply at the winery website: It's a short, charming story--well worth the read.
         Regardless of whether you venture to Meredith or their website, you should definitely consider meeting Bob Manley when he visits the library on Tuesday, April 25th from 6:30-7:30pm. He will explain the fruit wine and mead making process, the steps they take to source their ingredients, and the various flavors they are able to evoke. Bob’s bio can be found on their website too: It’s always a pleasure to learn from someone who is passionate about their craft, so I’m looking forward to Bob’s visit!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 12, 2017

Riddle me this: A woman is capable of reading her book without looking at the book and without flipping any pages. She read the entire thing while she went running, while she made supper, and while she drove her commute. How did she do it? I’ll give you a hint: The whole time the book was strapped to her arm and it had a wire sticking out of it. The answer is: She read an audiobook--borrowed in the Overdrive app and downloaded to her phone so she could listen to it wherever she went.

    Having a real, physical book in your hands is an amazing feeling, but it would get dirty if I crashed into trees with one as I hike and it would get wet if I tried to read it while doing the dishes. Audiobooks, particularly digital audiobooks, open up a world of reading that just isn’t possible otherwise. I know patrons with 2 hour commutes that go through one or two audiobooks a week. I know patrons with visual impairments that thrive on audiobooks and NPR. With a contemporary phone you can store dozens of full audiobooks and thousands of ebooks, all in something you keep on you anyway.

    So it's convenient, free for library patrons, and usable. The only downside for borrowing digital audiobooks and ebooks from the state collection is that you have to wait sometimes. True, they have thousands of copies of the most popular and newest books available for borrowing, but even so, there are patrons across the state looking for the same materials. The state may have twenty copies of David Baldacci’s newest read, but if there are 100 people waiting, it will still take awhile.

    That’s why we supplement the state collection with digital copies just for Gilford Library patrons. Whichever Gilford patrons are among the 100 reserves will get first access to the copies bought for Gilford Library patrons. That is one way that keep wait times reasonable for the most popular books. If you want to read something today, remember that you search for books that are ‘available now’ and you will only see books that can be downloaded immediately. Of course, you could browse our physical audio CD shelves for CDs available now.

    Audiobooks and other digital materials are rising in popularity and I can see why. They are easy to use and easy to manage. Just ask about how to get started. We can also help set you up on Wednesday mornings with Check Out and Expert!

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 5, 2017

         Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, step right up to the spectacle of the age. Only once every year is there a week as grandiose, as magnanimous, and as verbacious as National Library Week. Ok, I’ve gone way over the top. Truthfully, National Library Week is a time to celebrate the importance of libraries in our communities and to discover services you haven’t yet taken advantage of.

Maybe you use the library to find reading or viewing material for your downtime. Maybe you are looking for work and come to use the computers, wifi, or other digital services. Maybe you have a family and you look forward to the children’s, teen’s, and adult programming. Whatever you use it for, it’s there for you and the staff is ready to help.

    This time around we have some special programming and even a bit of trivia. All week long you can have up to $5 in fines waived (excludes other fees) just by mentioning that it's National Library Week at one of the desks. Test your knowledge by grabbing a trivia form at the library and turn it in by the end of the week to get a prize.

Each Day has a peculiar theme: Minty Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Wordy Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Funky Friday. Discover something different at the desk each time you come in. From Thursday to Saturday feast your senses on book themed floral arrangements throughout the library. Books in Bloom is an annual tradition put on by the Opechee Garden Club, and their book/arrangement pairings are impressive.

You can learn to make your own mozzarella and ricotta cheese from home at the beginner cheese-making class on Thursday, April 13th from 5:30-6:30pm. You can learn the technique from a demo and sample some delicious homemade cheeses. Sign up is required with a $5 cost for supplies.

The Children’s Room will have a series of town vehicles visit each day from 10:30-11:30am. Hear a story and check out the vehicles each morning. In order, there will be a fire truck, school bus, police car, front loader, and street sweeper. K-4th graders can sign up to make poetry collages from 3:30-4:30pm on Friday, April 14th as part of National Poetry Month. Teens will have a Pizza and Tie Dye Party on Wednesday, April 12th from 3-4pm. We’ll make some pizza and then tie dye socks while the pizza cooks.

There is something for everyone at the Library, so let’s all celebrate together.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 28, 2017
            New Hampshire has long been seen as a peaceful, pleasant environment for raising families, enjoying nature, and living happily. It is that, but there have been moments of trauma in New Hampshire history that are all the more shocking in contrast to the relative peace. August 19th, 1997 was one of those days.
           Carl Drega, a 62-year-old carpenter, murdered state troopers Scott Phillips and Les Lord in a supermarket parking lot. He went on to kill two others and wounding more that day, before dying himself. The nation was mortified by the deliberate and brutal violence, and the untold questions surrounding that grim day. True crime is simultaneously ugly, relevant, and fascinating. It is hard to look at, but real nonetheless.
              Richard Adams Carey took it upon himself to find answers to the nation’s questions. After years of sleuthing, interviews, and well documented research, he released the story ‘In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town.’ Told with zeal and practiced story-teller techniques, ‘In the Evil Day’ reads smoothly as it immerses the audience in the relevant history and character of Colebrook on that day. Rather than stating the simple facts of the murders and what happened after, Richard takes great effort to explain the long developed grievances and animosity that grew in Carl Drega and the effect that his actions had on Colebrook. Small town New Hampshire legal systems are pivotal in what took place before and after the violence.
            The book is worth a read if you have any interest in true crime, New Hampshire history, or small town legal systems. Hearing the story from the author’s mouth live in the library meeting room is even better. You can hear it when Richard Adams Carey visits the library to present ‘In the Evil Day’ on Thursday, April 6th from 6:30-7:30pm! Richard’s speaks as engagingly as he writes, so the talk will be fascinating whether or not you have read his book.
          Richard currently lives in Sandwich, New Hampshire, and he teaches at Southern New Hampshire University. He has also written ‘Raven’s Children: An Alaskan Culture at Twilight,’ ‘Against the Tide,’ and ‘The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, Caviar, and the Geography of Desire.’ The program is sponsored by the NH Humanities Council.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 23, 2017
          George Santayana explained that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” My favorite mnemonic method for remembering the past is to read historical fictions that embellish it. Sure, I can read a straightforward history, and I do sometimes, but historical fiction brings a slice of time and place to life.
          Take February of 1862 as an example. It was a tumultuous time--do you remember why? The Civil war was just beginning and the fighting was brutal. President Lincoln lost his eleven year old son Willie to fever in the same month and it had a profound effect on him. He suffered from clinical depression throughout the rest of his life. That’s when Lincoln visited his son’s grave and was transported to the ‘Bardo,’ a supernatural realm that blends life and death.
          At least, that last event happened in George Saunders’ historical fiction novel ‘Lincoln in the Bardo.’ Saunders drew upon the fascinating and relatable historic events of Lincoln’s life to tell a timeless tale about love, loss, grieving, and struggle. Though all stories have the potential to offer something lasting, historical fiction begins with something real.
          A poor and proud Korean family struggles to survive and thrive across generations in Korea and abroad in Min Jin Lee’s ‘Pachinko.’ All members of the Kurc family from Radom, Poland are at risk when the Nazis invade in 1939 sending family members into hiding, abroad, ghettos, or concentration camps in Georgia Hunter’s ‘We Were the Lucky Ones.’ In Cushing, Maine, Christina Olson has a complicated relationship with her family and the artist Andrew Wyeth in Christina Baker Kline’s ‘A Piece of the World’--inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting ‘Christina’s World.’
           These historical fiction novels have a lot to offer, and these are just a sampling of the books we’ve added to the collection in the last couple months. Andrew Krivak’s ‘The Signal Flame,’ Paul LaFarge’s ‘The Night Ocean,’ and Jacqueline Winspear’s ‘In This Grave Hour’ are all worth a look too.
          Time to sit down with one of these and read with a cup of… I’ve just remembered that the ‘Basics of Tea’ program was rescheduled for this Tuesday, March 28th from 6:30-7:30pm! Danielle Beaudette of The Cozy Tea Cart (TCTC) ( and certified Tea Specialist will explain the basics of tea, including how it is produced, the varieties of tea, and ways to prepare it. Tea has quite the history, you know.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 16, 2017
          The ‘Tiny House’ movement refers to the making of and living in ‘tiny’ homes. ‘Tiny,’ in that case, means 80-400 square feet. I’m all for living efficiently, but 80 square feet for an entire home seems a little tight. For reference, it’s two queen sized beds and a couple end tables… but that is all the space from wall to wall--so no walking. In reality you might fit a cot sized bed, a two burner stovetop, a sink, a couple drawers, a shelf, a chair, a slide out counter, and an airplane style bathroom with room left over to stretch out. Depending on what you are going for, you could even put the whole get-up on wheels or a trailer.
          Despite the limitations, or perhaps because of them, tiny houses have grown to be more than a novelty. There are television shows, books, and online guides devoted to helping adventurous builders make their custom tiny homes and to see the work of others. I see the appeal in the simplicity, efficiency, and mobility of a tiny house. You aren’t tempted to keep what you don’t need because you literally cannot fit it. On top of that, aesthetics seems to be a major component or the movement, making the tiny home look and feel like a house in most cases.
          Once you have decided that yes, a tiny house is for me, the project is huge. Cramming the essentials of contemporary life into that space is doable, but it takes some planning. That's why Isa Baur from Tiny House Northeast is coming to the Library on Tuesday, March 21st from 6:30-8pm to give a presentation on Tiny Houses. As they explain, “The presentation focuses on the basics of planning for and owning a tiny house on wheels; both its challenges and advantages, offering insights unique from the currently popular tiny house themed TV shows. From approximately ‘how much’ to ‘where to live,’ it addresses options for their general design, and heat, hot water and electricity choices, among other components.” The prospect of living in a tiny house throughout each of New England’s seasons is spectacular, so we will hear about some of that endeavor.
          Isa Bauer is the Project Manager and lead designer from Tiny House Northeast. They do a mix of designing and building tiny houses in New England and New York. Isa has an M.A. in Regional Economic and Social Development with a concentration in Sustainable Development.  She has been a long time owner of a tiny house and is considered an authority. Whether or not I build and move into a tiny house, I’m excited to hear about the process and about people who do. This program is only possible because of the support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, who are putting it on. Thanks, Friends.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 6th, 2017
          Steam rose from Constable Wadsworth’s tea. It fogged both his monocle and the glass eye behind it, but he was too deep in thought to notice. He and Cynthia, majestic in her gown with the blood red corset bodice, examined the scene before them. The Lieutenant’s body was unmarred, his uniform pristine, but he was certainly dead. Could the Dapper Street Killer have used poison? Witnesses said that the Lieutenant had taken a tincture before the poetry reading. The night was yet young, so if the Dapper Street Killer was loose he would likely strike again, and at a high profile event. Constable Wadsworth and Cynthia knew of one event that evening that the killer wouldn’t miss: The Gothic Victorian Tales by Candlelight at the Gilford Public Library on Thursday, March 16th from 6:30-7:30pm.
          As they entered the Meeting Room, they felt an overwhelming energy of excitement. The famed Rita Parisi of Waterfall Productions was in the front of the room in full Victorian costume. With the lit fire, several candles, and her practiced, expert voice filling the space between attendees, they knew the Dapper Street Killer would be drawn here. She was reading a collection of Weird Tales written by Sarah Orne Jewett, a Maine native who has been described as one of New England’s most prolific female writers of the 19th century.
          Having gotten the Gilford Public Library Newsletter and having seen the fliers around town, Cynthia knew they were in for several stories set in the Victorian era with a deep Gothic feel. She knew that they would hear about a stranger who comes to a small town to live in the local haunted house. After that there would be a tale about a very old woman with a mysterious past. Now, Rita had the audience transfixed with the story of a father and daughter embroiled in a family curse.
          The Constable did his best to scan the room for the killer without becoming too immersed in the storytelling. Just then, one of the librarians entered with a look of disbelief. ‘Constable Wadsworth, Cynthia’, he paled, ‘You two are characters from the nonsense I wrote in the weekly article. How…? What…? You aren’t real. There never was a Colonel, and there is no Dapper Street Killer.’ In a moment of contrived 4th wall demolishment, they looked at the perplexed librarian and said, ‘Well it would be a waste to not hear these Gothic Victorian Tales now that we are here.’ All three joined the audience and they couldn’t take their eyes off the fire as Rita continued her tales.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 2, 2017

    I had sweat on my forehead as I tried for the third time to get the sound on the computer to play through the meeting room speakers. Eight teens chatted as they waited for me to finish so we could finally play the game I had promised them. Normally people come to me with tech problems in the moment, so when I’m at a loss I have to go to a working computer… get on google… As I was about to do just that, a teen hit the power button on the receiver and looked at me like, ‘Duh.’

Teens go with technology like fish in water; like engineers with slide rules; like librarians with books. How many of us have asked our nieces, nephews, kids, grandkids, or younger neighbors to help us with our gadgets. They just seem to ‘get it.’

    I think that teen tech proficiency is worth celebrating and encouraging. If you are good at something, practice it until you are great. Teen Tech Week is an annual event that highlights teens involved with tech, new technologies relevant to teens, and specifically the resources that libraries provide to help teens learn and prepare for college and work. Next week we are celebrating Teen Tech Week from March 5th to March 11th by encouraging teens to try out new technologies at the library.

On Tuesday March 7th at 3pm we will be holding a teen tech show and tell where teens can share their favorite websites, games, resources, or even gadgets. A couple representatives from the Gilford High School Robotics Club will stop by to share some their experience with computer programing and robotics with others. This is a chance for teens to show off their knowledge and skills while learning from others.

Wednesday, March 8th from 3-4pm Molly and I will hold a Virtual Reality Workshop where teens can work with us to assemble a version of the Google Cardboard headsets for themselves. These headsets are just cardboard with two refractive lens, but it holds most smartphones in such a way that you can use VR apps and videos. You don’t have to buy a supercomputer to experience virtual reality anymore, so I’m very excited to see what the teens make of these kits.

Speaking of virtual reality kits, the Friends of the Gilford Public Library recently sponsored a virtual reality headset that is now available for circulation. If you have a library card you can come and borrow the virtual reality headset to experiment for yourself (It's plastic instead of cardboard) or to try with the family. We can even explain how to get the virtual reality apps and videos if you come by our weekly Check-Out-An-Expert session on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm.

Technology is such an intrical part of our lives and tech literacy has never been more important. I encourage everyone to learn something during teen tech week, regardless of your age or experience.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 23, 2017

    Have you ever read a James Patterson book and gotten bored halfway through? Have you ever read a short story about a guy with a gun and thought, ‘How can this story have ended already?! It just began!’ Boy, have I got an innovation for you (Can you sense my sarcasm? I’m trying to sounds sarcastic). James Patterson has been releasing books that are shorter than traditional books, but longer than short stories. These 80-150 page long ‘Book Shots’ are quick, decisive reads that are designed to be gripping, and to not overstay their welcome. Sarcasm aside, I think James Patterson recognized that many of his readers are looking for gripping reads that aren’t taxing on time or memory, or even money at $5 each. If I were to use an oversimplified analogy I would say that ‘Book Shots’ are to novels as television episodes are to movies.

    Although Patterson has rebranded ‘novellas’ as ‘Book Shots,’ readers the world over know that novellas are not a new idea. They are short novels that you wouldn’t quite call a short story. I think that the publishing and printing process is partly punishable for partitioning novellas, but with lower printing costs and digital media, that may be changing.

I’d be interested to hear what people think about new storytelling formats beyond the full length novel. I’ve talked endlessly about graphic novels as a novel format, but we also have books told in prose, poetry, and other linguistic styles. Bryan Selznick is the author of young adult books that are told in two parts, one story in imagery and one in words. Many of the teen readers don’t hesitate to jump in and read a ‘book’ that looks more like a poster, or a ‘novel’ that has somewhere between 1 and 200 words per page, depending on the page. Why? Maybe because they are insane, or maybe because they just aren’t as stuck to traditional story formats as us old folks.

Anne Carson put out a ‘book’ of poetry called ‘Float’ that has bewildered most of the readers who have tried it. It is a plastic case with 22 ‘chapbooks’ inside in a variety of styles and shapes. The pieces have no particular order in which they are to be read, so it doesn’t seem like there is a wrong way to read it, nonetheless most readers have gotten the impression that something is wrong. Really, it is just different. You can like it or not like anything else.

    If you have an opinion, feel free to chat with us at the desk. I’d be happy to show off some of our more bizarre items, but I’d be even more excited to imagine what trend is going to come next. Interactive virtual reality choose-your-own-adventure novels sound neat.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 13, 2016

The other day I explained to a family that we are closed on Monday, February 20th for President’s Day, and the littlest girl’s eyes grew as she repeated, ‘PRESENTS Day!’ At first she was disappointed that they were taking home biographies instead of presents, but as they read together she forgot her disappointment. They read the new 1st reader biography of Malala Yousafzai by Shana Corey. They read ‘My Name is James Madison Hemings’ by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Terry Widener. She particularly liked ‘Fannie Never Flinched’ by Mark Cronk Farrell. There are new children’s biographies on Louis Braille, George Washington, Jane Goodall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, E. B. White, and sports stars. Recently, we have been regularly adding new books in the popular Who/What series, including ‘Who Was’ Jacqueline Kennedy, Jeff Kinney, Albert Einstein, and the Three Stooges.

    We have a relatively large biography sections for all ages, and for good reason. People are interesting. Recently, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography ‘Born to Run’ has been popular in Gilford. Trevor Noah’s autobiography has also been popular, though instead of running he was ‘Born a Crime.’ Along with their’s, entertainers Bryan Cranston, Carrie Fisher, Anna Kendrick, Amy Schumer, Brian Wilson and others have been involved in biographies or autobiographies.

    Many biographies about writers have been written by either the writer’s themselves or with other writer’s writing. ‘Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour’ by Richard Zacks is unique in its style, while ‘George Lucas: A Life’ by Brian Jay Jones is not (though what a story!). Pat Conroy, John Le Carre, and Jennifer Weiner all wrote autobiographies filled with vivid stories from their lives as writers with plenty of detail about the ups and down of a writing livelihood. Robert Gottlieb’s autobiography ‘Avid Reader’ is almost entirely about editing, rather than writing, drawing on his lifetime of editing major authors like Toni Morrison. All of the personalities I have named so far are larger than life. Their lives are so large that these books can sometimes feel like a teaser.

Many of the teens pick up adult sports biographies. Recent subjects and authors in sports include: Wayne Gretzky, Carli Lloyd, Julius Achon, and Charles Haley. Medical biographies and memoirs are often liked. ‘Juniper: the Girl Who Was Born Too Soon’ by Kelley French, ‘Swimming in the Sink: an Episode of the Heart’ by Lynne Cox, and ‘Marrow: a Story of Love, Loss & What Matters Most’ by Elizabeth Lesser are each medical biographies with aspects of medicine, relationships, and personal struggle.

Patrons often tell me about how ‘powerful’ a biography they read was. Sometimes because they are real, or because they are told in the first person. Sometimes because an experience you read about is so otherworldly that that you wouldn’t have a clue about what such an experience would be like without reading it. I haven’t even mentioned the new business, political, historical, military, scientific, or even personal biographies that can be found at the library cleanly organized by subject. If you looking for a ‘powerful’ book, try a biography about someone amazing.


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 9, 2017

Notes from the Gilford Library


    Betty Tidd, the likely suspect, is starting a Mystery Book Group at the library. She has the motive: a love for reading and sharing. She has the means: years of experience with book groups and mystery authors. She was even witnessed perusing the shelves for victims. She’s here now, in fact, to help us get hyped for this new addition to the library book group offerings. Betty, thank you for starting this club. Please don’t murder me.

         Betty: Mark, you left out “opportunity”: in the library, with the doors locked and lightening flashing, and, of course, a bat swooping over the book stacks…

         Mark: You… you’re right, of course. You have often hosted our regular book group, come to discussions hosted by other librarians, and you attend the Classics Book Group, so you well know the book discussion groups offered here at the library. Why start a new Mystery Book Group specifically?

         Betty: Everyone that knows me knows I love books and love to talk about them. Since mysteries and thrillers are my favorite genre I wondered if other like-minded- would-be-amateur-sleuths would like to get together to talk about their favorite books. Most mystery readers are also voracious readers and I hope we will all discover new authors together-- but there’s only one way to find out, so let’s do it!

         Mark: What sort of authors and styles can an attendee expect? Is it Harlan Coben as far as the eye can see? Does ‘mystery’ include thrillers, cozy mysteries, and locked room whodunits?

         Betty: That’s a good question. I think it comes down to what the group wants.  When I was very young I started with the Hardy Boys and I will always be grateful my mother handed me a Dick Francis book when I was in my early teens. I love, love dark Scandinavian mysteries and thrillers, and then there are my regional favorites—Archer Mayor probably tops that list.  Whoa, as you can tell, once I start talking about mysteries I have a hard time reining it in. So, back to the Mystery Group--we’ll start with ‘The Expats’ by Chris Pavone which has won several awards (that’s usually a good sign) and then we’ll hear from the group and go from there in April--the plan is to meet every other month.

         Mark: Do you have a special means of damning those who spoil the endings?

         Betty: I’m not spilling the beans this early in the game!

         Mark: I have to say that it sounds like fun. When is the first meeting? Is it alright if I dress up as Sherlock or Watson?

Betty: Personally, Mark, I think you would make a great Sherlock—so, please join us. Costumes, however, are not required—just the love of a good tale. And, it’s no mystery—we are meeting on Thursday, February 23rd from 6:30-7:30.

Mark: Thank you Betty. The books are available at the front desk for borrowing, so hurry up and grab one in time for the discussion

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 2, 2017
All the townspeople looked out their windows to see if the groundhog would see its shadow. Traditionally, if it’s sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and winter will continue. If it’s cloudy, then the groundhog will come out and spring will come early. This time, the town saw a very peculiar thing. The groundhog came out just enough so that she could read ‘Selection Day’ by Aravind Adiga. She didn’t so much as glance around to see if her shadow was there. All the townspeople called out, “Hey, aren’t you going to see if your shadow is there?” Without taking her eyes off the book the groundhog replied, “Why on Earth would I? I just borrowed this new book from the library and it's one of those that you can’t put down. Besides, my shadow is, frankly, mortifying. I’m not about to just go looking for it. Don’t you have meteorologists or something to tell you the weather?” With that, the townspeople collectively shrugged and picked up their own books and e-readers.
          The books they picked up were some of the newest additions to the library collection. The baker was reading Paul Coelho’s ‘The Spy,’ a historical fiction about the singular Mata Hari. Emily, the baker’s daughter, was yawning as she read ‘The Sleepwalker’ by Chris Bohjalian, a thriller featuring parasomnia. The doctor was already in stitches as she read ‘Clownfish Blues,’ the riotous story of an unlikely set of misfits trying to game the Florida State Lottery. The gravedigger, who was always a bit severe, was brooding over ‘Human Acts’ by Han Kang, the realistic tragedy about the death of a young boy during a violent student uprising in South Korea. The emotion in Han Kang’s telling is palpable and relatable (The librarian recommended it, if you don’t mind being sad sometimes).
          Both of the twins had been reading the Gilford Public Library Book of the Week column, so they were just finishing Emily Ruskovich’s ‘Idaho’ and were about to pick up Kathleen Rooney’s ‘Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.’ The village werewolf was reading ‘History of Wolves’ by Emily Fridlund and was pleased to find that it was actually a coming-of-age literary drama with no mention of werewolves, though he had to ask the papersmith for some tissues by the end. Detective Smith, who loves her job, was just getting into John Lescroart’s newest mystery thriller, ‘Fatal.’ The student was finding vindication in Lindsey Lee Johnson’s ‘The Most Dangerous Place on Earth,’ though this complicated and captivating novel about the nuances of living with every advantage in a norther San Francisco high school is certainly written for adults.
          The mayor can’t resist a best seller, so he had Brad Taylor’s ‘Ring of Fire,’ Stuart Woods’ ‘Below the Belt,’ and Jack Higgin’s ‘The Midnight Bell’ in his bag, loving every minute with each of them. The author had always prefered short stories, so she was reading Roxane Gay’s ‘Difficult Women’ and Mary Miller’s ‘Always Happy Hour.’ Both are gritty, quirky, and realistic story collections that demonstrate the complexity of relationships and life’s hardships, and the effects they have on people. The skater punk had her enormous headphones on blocking out any noise the townspeople she was glaring at might make, but instead of music she was feeding her desire to travel to with Derek Miller’s ‘The Girl in Green’ on audiobook.
          The weather was totally forgotten.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 26, 2017

    1. Did you know, the moon used to be composed of a substance that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea? 2. 34% of dogs are allergic to Cheerios. 3. According to a study of 7,804 students conducted at Stanford University, most students have a difficult time distinguishing reliable news from fake or misinforming news. Of those three statements, I can only verify #3. Turns out, it is surprisingly easy to make up news.

The study tested middle school students to see if they could distinguish fake news from substantiated news and the researchers were surprised by the results. When presented with an post, for example, of a stock photo of deformed daisies claiming to be ‘nuclear birth defects’ from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, some students believed that the compelling image was strong evidence about the conditions at that site in Japan even though there was no proof or citation linking the image to the site.

When we are careless about the information we consume, we become susceptible to inaccurate and misleading information that is promoted as true. Worse, when we are careless in talking about what we assume to be true, we run the risk of spreading misinformation. This week, I will try to be as certain with what I write so as not to add to the problem.

I believe the spread of misinformation through fake news is harmful to consumers. I believe this because it seems like having access to reliable information is critical to making educated decisions. I assume that educated decisions are preferable to uneducated decisions or decisions based on misinformation. Therefore, quality of information is important no matter who you are or what you are trying to accomplish.  One of the roles of the library is to help people find quality information.

With the advent of online news sources, proliferation of fake news may be more prevalent than ever. I could post ‘facts’ like #1 and #2 on a ‘news’ website and make it appear reputable without much difficulty. The difficult task is for the consumer.

It is up to us as readers, viewers, citizens, and content creators to be discerning about what media we consume. If we are careful, and if we educate ourselves to better identify fake news when it is presented to us, then we will be better informed. I used to get so angry at my teacher for saying, ‘you may not use Wikipedia as a resource.’ Wikipedia articles are so concise and accessible! Now I know that, though the articles are improving, they are often written by volunteers with unclear qualifications. Instead, go to the bottom of the page and follow the citations for more original sources.

The trouble is that verifying news, especially the news you glance at over a cup of coffee in the morning, is hard… and time consuming... and way less interesting than a Buzzfeed top ten list. It feels like work. Professional fields value detailed citations with reputable sources because the information is useful or not (damaging at worst) according to its reliability. When someone posts a statistic on Facebook it hardly seems as critical, but that information affects us just the same. It’s just so easy to assume its true and that someone else fact checked it before it was published. I say, ‘NO.’ Our standards are higher than that. When someone claims ‘34% of dogs are allergic to cheerios’ without a scrutinized source, I do myself a huge favor just by thinking, ‘hold on, that may not be true.’ Then, if I want to, I can research it further.

With our powers combined, we can fight fake news and improve the information that we base our decisions on. We work to find reliable information all the time at the library, and we have access to some of the best resources to do so, so just ask next time you want to be sure. Ensuring quality and accessible information is kind of our thing. Visit to read the summary of the Stanford University study for yourself.

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 17, 2017

The sun glinted off of its sleek wings as the predator glided over the snow-covered tree tops. The eagle isn’t bothering to hide itself as it flies around Belknap Mountain. It’s showing off its grace… wait… no it grabbed a rodent. OK, it’s showing off its ferocity. It's somewhat macabre, but the eagle with its prey is majestic to see. I wish I could share this instance of natural beauty with others, but I went hiking alone today. If only there was a way to capture an image of nature in the moment.

They call it a camera. With it you can take a bit of that lethal majesty with you when you leave the mountain range, or the field, or the forest, so that you can share it with others or to remember the event later. Take a picture of that fox just off the road or the windswept tree top, but do it carefully because thoughtless nature photography is rarely successful.

Local expert John Gill has long practiced advanced natural photography techniques and he is willing to share his experience with others. As a professional photographer, John has a set of accolades to match his accomplishments, including being named ‘Photographer of the Year’ by the New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association...twice. His photographs have been published in several New Hampshire and national magazines, his prints are hung in many commercial businesses in the area, and he sells prints on his website. Just visit to see some of his work in its exacting detail. I’m particularly fond of his shots of raptors and of the White Mountains.

On Thursday, January 19th, from 6:30-7:30pm (tonight) John Gill will present “Pathways to Better Nature Photography” at the library to discuss ingredients for success in nature photography. If John had witnessed the eagle’s hunt, I’m certain he would have captured the eagle scene impressively. He has several shots of the white mountains and the lakes region that demonstrate his eye for landscape photography, the kind that many of us amateurs have made attempts at. Anyone can take a photograph, and often they will be beautiful, but John Gill hopes to offer us tips and techniques to help us get the most out of what we see.

The program will be geared to amateurs and is free and open to the public. John will demonstrate with side by side comparison shots of quality lighting, focus, subject distinctness, and many other useful metrics. Hearing John talk about the things he looks for in a professional shot of nature is as motivational as it is informative, so don’t miss this unique visit.


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 12, 2017

Bring the water to exactly 210 degrees Fahrenheit (pretty much boiling) and pour it immediately. Steep for precisely 4 minutes, lest you make it too weak or bitter. Cream or sugar can be added to taste, but I prefer this particular blend without. If you haven’t spilled it yet then you have a lovely cup of English Breakfast tea like the one I’m drinking presently.

Just because this cup came out well, don’t suppose that the same process applies to all teas. Some English blends want 200 degree at 3 minutes. Some white teas want to be steeped at 160 degrees for a minute and a half.

‘But Mark, I just drop the white tea bag in my thermos with a rolling boil and take the bag out when I clean the mug the next morning.’ Monster. Not only will the taste be somewhat more bitter or burnt, but you may even get an upset stomach. The thought of it is enough to put me off of my biscuits.

My point is that there is nuance to tea that isn’t always appreciated. There are such a variety of teas based on their global origins, their blending, their production process, and their storing/steeping recommendations, that you wouldn’t believe they are all derived from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. So-called herbal teas that are infusions from [admittedly wonderful] plants like mint and camomile are mere pretenders.

How can you even begin to make your pot of Lipton without knowing the basics of tea? Don’t Panic. Danielle Beaudette of The Cozy Tea Cart (TCTC) ( and certified Tea Specialist will explain the basics of tea and liberate us from our pedestrian ways on Tuesday, January 17th from 6:30-7:30pm. Danielle knows tea. She will explain the places that tea is grown and how it is produced. She will discuss the varieties of teas, how they are unique, featuring three different types of tea for the audience to enjoy during the lecture. As tea is something many of us imbibe daily, I’m looking forward to learning more.



Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 5, 2017

Notes from the Gilford Library


It’s a new year! What does that even mean? Well, Earth travels around the Sun at a regular rate of 365.25 days, so every 365 or occasional 366 days… Really it's an arbitrary opportunity to celebrate Time. If you are still alive (go team) you can evoke change and improvement. At the very least you can have new experiences.

When I say ‘Happy New Year!’ I’m succumbing to the social demands of our society, but I’m also hoping that your future is a positive one. It may be positive or negative regardless of what we do, but while we are still living we might as well do our best to help it along. If only there was somewhere in town devoted to provided resources for enrichment to the public…

Want to learn a language? We have French and German groups meeting weekly. Want to learn to dance? Join Bonnie Deutch’s Line Dancing group. Looking for intellectual stimulation? Come to one of author talks, local presentations, book discussion groups, or foreign movie nights. Want a simple and flexible way to enrich your life whenever you get a chance? Read a book.

We’ve got some new ones that have ‘Improve Yourself’ written all over them--literally in some cases. The titles are so intriguing that I’ll mad lib with them right now. Let's talk about some ‘Books for Living’ (Will Schwalbe) that help us learn ‘How to be a Person in the World’ (Heather Havrilesky). ‘The Big Thing: how to complete your creative project even if you’re a lazy, self-doubting procrastinator like me,’ (Phyllis Korkki) is to have ‘Emotional Agility: get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life’ (Susan David). It’ll take some ‘Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life With Money, Meaning, and Momentum’ (Neil Patel). After all, these are the ‘Tools of titans: the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers,’ (Timothy Ferriss) with which we are sure to succeed.

If you are looking for spiritual empowerment this year, then ‘Seize the day: living on purpose and making every day count’ (Meyer, Joyce) and know that ‘You’re Worth It’ (Danielle Bean). We can all slow down and embrace ‘Present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living’ (Niequist, Shauna). The future is daunting, so ‘Thank you for being late: an optimist's guide to thriving in the age of accelerations’ (Thomas Friedman) and saving us from ‘Whiplash: how to survive our faster future’ (Jōichi Itō).

With these books ‘On Living’ (Kerry Egan) we learn about ‘How to have a good day: harnessing the power of behavioral science to transform our working lives’ (Caroline Webb) by ‘Designing your life: how to build a well-lived, joyful life.’ (William Burnett). Now that you know about these titles, know too that ‘I'm judging you: the do-better manual’ (Luvvie Ajayi), but I believe that you have it in you. Remember, ‘Strong is the new beautiful: embrace your natural beauty, eat clean, and harness your power’ (Lindsey Vonn).


Notes from the Library
by January 9, 2017

Bring the water to exactly 210 degrees Fahrenheit (pretty much boiling) and pour it immediately. Steep for precisely 4 minutes, lest you make it too weak or bitter. Cream or sugar can be added to taste, but I prefer this particular blend without. If you haven’t spilled it yet then you have a lovely cup of English Breakfast tea like the one I’m drinking presently.

Just because this cup came out well, don’t suppose that the same process applies to all teas. Some English blends want 200 degree at 3 minutes. Some white teas want to be steeped at 160 degrees for a minute and a half.

‘But Mark, I just drop the white tea bag in my thermos with a rolling boil and take the bag out when I clean the mug the next morning.’ Monster. Not only will the taste be somewhat more bitter or burnt, but you may even get an upset stomach. The thought of it is enough to put me off of my biscuits.

My point is that there is nuance to tea that isn’t always appreciated. There are such a variety of teas based on their global origins, their blending, their production process, and their storing/steeping recommendations, that you wouldn’t believe they are all derived from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. So-called herbal teas that are infusions from [admittedly wonderful] plants like mint and camomile are mere pretenders.

How can you even begin to make your pot of Lipton without knowing the basics of tea? Don’t Panic. Danielle Beaudette of The Cozy Tea Cart (TCTC) ( and certified Tea Specialist will explain the basics of tea and liberate us from our pedestrian ways on Tuesday, January 17th from 6:30-7:30pm. Danielle knows tea. She will explain the places that tea is grown and how it is produced. She will discuss the varieties of teas, how they are unique, featuring three different types of tea for the audience to enjoy during the lecture. As tea is something many of us imbibe daily, I’m looking forward to learning more.



Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 22, 2016

Felix touched David’s arm and the computer played a piano’s C key. After a quick series of giggles he high-fived Stella to hear a D. I took the control and tapped each of their hands to play ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’--at least as much of it as I could before they shook with laughter and asked to try it. Moments before I had demonstrated with a few bananas, letting them touch each banana for a different key.

These preschoolers and I were playing with the Makey Makey kits we borrowed from the State Library of NH after their regular storytime with Abi. The kit is super simple; it has a control, a usb cable, and several alligator clip wires. With it, you can turn anything conductive enough into a computer input, just like a keyboard or mouse. With one hand holding the ‘ground’ wire connected to the controller and another hand touching the banana that's alligator wire clipped to the ‘spacebar’ input on the controller, you’ve made a circuit that electricity can pass through. If you have an app open where spacebar plays the C key, voila. Let go and the circuit is cut--the sound stops.

There are lots of fun things to do when fruit and people can be buttons. I couldn’t stop laughing when the boy who was the spacebar moved away just when the teen controlling Mario needed him the most. Of course, the first thing the teens thought to do was to play games. It is difficult to play fast or complex games when your friends are the movement keys, but simple games like Mario are perfect. We did some experimentation: metal ruler conducts, wooden table does not. Joey’s sweatshirt doesn’t conduct, but his skin does. A gadget like this doesn’t have to be complex or difficult to understand to be interesting and fun.

We are fortunate to be able to borrow gadgets like these from the State Library of NH. In the past we have borrowed robots, circuitry kits, programming kits, what I can only call super legos, and 3d pens. These things are all up side. Educational, wholesome, and often hilarious, teens and toddler alike enjoy seeing them in action, especially when they have control. With any luck the teens will invent mind-control devices in no time.


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 13, 2016

‘Cozy.’ What a cozy word. Reading cozy things makes me think of fireplaces, warm pies, and knit clothing. If you are reading this in front of a warm hearth with a shawl and some tea cakes then pay attention to the newest releases in cozy reads. If you are frowning because it snowed again and anyway today is the worst, come back next week. You can only read cozy things when you feel cozy, otherwise it comes off as contrived, utopian, or unfulfilling. Manics that can’t feel cozy shouldn’t even try. You also have to be optimistic, but not so optimistic that you can read something without the guarantee of a happy ending. These are safe reads, though they have more nuance than people give them credit for.

Nothing says cozy like Debbie Macomber’s annual Christmas story. This year, ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ has been as popular as ever. The subtle subtitle, ‘a Christmas Novel,’ is there to make sure you get what's going on. I could explain that a bubbly lady tries to share her boundless happiness with those around her, even her tall, dark, handsome, and brusque neighbor. I could explain that they gradually, and ‘surprisingly’ fall for each other, but a secret gets out and they have a quick misunderstanding before living happily ever after. I don’t have to explain that because books like these are redundant. They are redundant in the same way a second helping of vanilla ice cream is redundant. They are redundant in the way that your spouse tells the story you like every time you meet with friends. They are as redundant as this paragraph.

Janet Evanovich’s ‘Turbo Twenty Three’ isn’t that different from the other twenty two, but no expects it to be. When I read the 15th book of the Dresden Files, I expected Harry Dresden to explain that the stakes are really high this time, and then watch as he burns down buildings and feels remorse, again.

The real cleverness is in the titles. It’s a hobby to play book title or nonsense phrase with cozy mysteries. Which of the following are book titles? ‘Hooking for Trouble,’ ‘Drowned by Earl Grey,’ ‘Egg Drop Dead,’ ‘The Glow of Death,’ ‘Death by Darjeeling.’ The only one I made up was ‘Drowned by Early Grey,’ which will probably be taken in a few years. Laura Childs wins the contest with her newest release, ‘Egg Drop Dead’ and her classic ‘Death by Darjeeling.’ Jane Cleland’s new release is ‘The Glow of Death.’ Some others from this Fall with more mundane titles are ‘Family Tree’ by Susan Wiggs and ‘The Wish’ by Beverly Lewis.

If you enjoy cozy reads, some other new releases may be interesting even if they aren’t strictly cozy. Jojo Moyes has been enormously popular and she released ‘Paris for One and Other Stories’ to add to her series. Jeffrey Archer also released another book in his Clifton Chronicles called ‘This Was a Man.’

Grab a cozy read, some hot chocolate or tea, and a shall. It's the best time of year to snuggle with a book.


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 6, 2016

It’s dark at 5 and the air is chilly with a light flurry, but the town residents are prepared. They come out in their ski coats, with scarves and gloves. They come out with their children and put the baby’s hat back on for the 14th time. They come out to see each other, to chat, and to celebrate the winter season together. They come out because it's traditional, and they appreciate their collective history. They come out to stroll in the candlelight.

Alright the melodrama and romanticism is killing me. I’m talking about the Candlelight Stroll, that awesome event that draws Gilford residents together for a celebration of things they love each year. There is food, music, and plenty to talk about. This year it takes place this Saturday, December 10th from 5-7pm and it is dedicated to Robert Henderson Jr., who is missed. Time to hype it up, so get psyched.

The Gilford Community Band will perform a concert in the Gilford High School Auditorium from 4-4:45pm as a prelude to festivities. Officially, the night begins when the Thompson-Ames Union Meetinghouse and Gilford Community Church bells ring.

There will be lots to see all over town, but I’ll be unbiased and start with the Library. Throughout the evening there will be one-way Heritage Farms horse drawn wagon rides from the Library to the Rowe House, children can make a holiday craft in the meeting room, and there will be light refreshments to share. The Line Dancers will perform in the meeting room from 6-7pm for the public and Gilford Elementary students will sing carols in the meeting room at 5:15pm before caroling all the way to bonfire in the village. Incidentally, there will be a ‘huge’ bonfire at the village fields maintained by Gilford Fire-Rescue with s’mores for the making.

While making your way to the fields, look forward to carolers and town criers. Be sure to stop by the Grange, the Union Meeting House, the Rowe House, the SAU Office, the Community Church, and the Library again. Music can be heard all over, including the Gilford Community Church Choir from 5-5:30pm in the Community Church Sanctuary, the First Methodist Church of Gilford and Laconia Hallelujah Chime Choir from 5:30-6pm at the Union Meeting House, followed by Dan Carter on keyboard from 6-7pm, and a sing-along with Jerry Murphy from 6-7pm at the Rowe House. Many of the destinations have refreshments, art, and history to be witnessed.

Oh, and it's totally free. Well, between town voters, charitable donations, and myriad fund raising efforts, it's free to all participants, so no one is turned away because they couldn’t afford it. As you visit these sites you will also see a billion volunteers, give or take, generously offered their time and knowledge to share the night, not to mention the open houses in the village. So put on your traditional hat and let’s have a good time!


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 1, 2016

New Hampshire has history. Well, yea, everywhere has history, but New Hampshire is [generally] proud of its history. In industry, citizenship, and quality of life New Hampshire has a lot going for it. Nowhere is perfect, I cringe at the working conditions of some of New Hampshire’s old mills, there are contemporary drug problems, and there is inequality to talk about, but all told New Hampshire is alright, right? Few people know that New Hampshire was once both a hotbed of abolitionist activity before the American Civil War and one of the sources of slave trade in New England.

Michelle Arnocky Sherburne recently published ‘Slavery & the Underground Railroad in NH.’ The work is well-researched and readable. In it, she describes the complicated relationship New Hampshire residents had with slavery and abolitionist work. As Sherburne explains, Portsmouth was a hub for slave trade in New England. Even after the slave trade was ended, the small black community in Portsmouth was barely remembered. Many of the histories about New Hampshire trade and New Hampshire culture omitted or whitewashed New Hampshire’s involvement in early American slavery. Nevertheless several prominent abolitionists did come from NH to push for reform, and they are well remembered. William Lloyd Garrison, Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, and Stephen Symonds Foster were all New Hampshire residents and each contributed to the statewide anti-slavery movement. The underground railroad was present in New Hampshire, with plenty of evidence of work and risk by supporters of escaped slaves.

The realities of American slavery can be difficult to contend with. I naturally prefer to think of New Hampshire and New England as having always been against slavery as a paragon of civil liberty, but Sherburne tactfully explains that New Hampshire’s history is more nuanced than that.

We are fortunate that Michelle Arnocky Sherburne will be visiting the library for a talk, discussion, and book signing on Tuesday, December 6th, from 6:30-7:30pm. The talk will focus on ‘Slavery & the Underground Railroad in NH,’ which is available at the library for borrowing and in the New Hampshire Room. Before ‘Slavery & the Underground Railroad in NH,’ Sherburne wrote ‘A Vermont Hill Town in the Civil War: Peacham’s Story,’ ‘Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Vermont,’ and ‘St. Albans Raid: Confederate Attack on Vermont.’ The program is free and open to the public, so be sure not to miss this opportunity to learn about New Hampshire history!


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 21, 2016

A persecuted female black slave takes a literal underground railroad to escape;  22 men teach us about the male psyche as they reenact a historic football play; a ‘small bomb’ devastates the lives of locals in delhi; Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes a solitary trek through northern Texas sharing news of the world in the 1870s; Brooklyn is place of hope, opportunity, and extreme danger for the innocent. These are the stories that made it to the finals of this year’s National Book Awards. Most of these stories could be called ‘literary realistic fiction,’ but the ways that they are told are as diverse as the authors. The National Book Awards remind me to be grateful for the staggering quality of novels today. Competition is steep, and the authors that make themselves know seem to have earned their notoriety. These are good books.

Of the finalists, by far the most popular here at the library has been ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead has an apparent empathy with the struggle of his character ‘Cora,’ an escaping black slave woman in the deep south. The novel has a surrealist element in the existence of a literal underground railroad. In her struggle to escape there are elements of hallucinations and ruminations on the various forms of racism. It is an astonishing story, and the surrealist message is all too real.

‘Another Brooklyn’ is another well-liked novel in Gilford. Jacqueline Woodson penned a dramatic telling of life as a young girl in Brooklyn in a then-and-now style. The story is reminisced from the perspective of world-wise adult. 1970s Brooklyn was at once hopeful and terrifying, with opportunities and predators around every corner. The topic is severe, and the writing can come across as melodramatic, but the experiences are grounded in reality.

The one that caught my eye was ‘The Association of Small Bombs’ by Karan Mahajan. The title doesn’t make any apparent sense, so naturally it drew my attention. Indian author Mahajan explores the aftermath of a ‘small bomb’ killing characters in Delhi. A survivor contends with the trauma and PTSD concurrently with fresh bombing plots. Seeing perspectives from terrorists and their victims in the same story is chilling.

I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t heard of Chris Bachelder’s ‘The Throwback Special,’ but I’m glad the awards brought it to my attention. It's a book about the ‘American Male,’ their marriages, their work lives, their ‘friendly’ interactions, and their traditions. The cornucopia of male characters suggests that there are innumerable other types that could have been included, but only 22 could fit. These caricatures meet annually to reenact ‘the most shocking play in NFL history’ of their own will, when in actuality they are reenacting their life stories for the reader.

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd was a solitary traveler sharing ‘News of the World’ with rural towns in 1870s texas in Paulette Jiles’ new book. The story is simple: The rugged loner gets stuck with a orphan, but during their travels they learn to rely on each other, and their newfound relationship gets tested at the end of the road. The telling is far more robust.

These were all worthy contenders, but Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ won the award. We will certainly have a book discussion on it at some point, so keep an eye out. The graphic novel ‘March’ won the award for young people’s literature, a stunning depiction of the civil rights movement.  Now I just have to read them all...


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 15, 2016

I’ll never forget those endless slits of midnight. The unfathomable pits of the monsters eyes. It was feet long, weighing in at 2 pounds, with an all too natural grace. Most horrific of all is the sound… the rattle of its tail causes a shiver of anxiety in the most fearless, because its venom disregards strength and fortitude.

Actually, seeing the timber rattlesnake was pretty cool. It was the snake that Benjamin Franklin based his early symbol for America on. Getting bitten is ill-advised, but the timber rattlesnake is mild-mannered and will do plenty of posturing and rattling to let you know to keep distance before it feels threatened enough to bite. They have been found in 31 states, including a couple spots in southern New Hampshire. Snakes don’t have to be as horrific as people imagine or as terrifying as writers describe.

There is a lot more to the timber rattlesnake than venom bad + bite bad = snake bad. Ted Levin’s new book ‘America’s Snake: the Rise and Fall of the Timber Rattlesnake’ makes an effort to overcome misinformation and misplaced fear about an iconic species that is under duress from human development and poaching. The descriptions of the timber rattlesnake’s habitats are told in vivid detail by a writer who has clearly visited them with senses attuned. He explains how they live, what perils they face, their history as a species.

Ted Levin’s respect for the wildlife habitats is demonstrated time and again in his writing. So too can the reader feel his respect for the men and women involved in conservation and preservation measures concerning the timber rattlesnake. Human activities, for better or worse, are critical to the livelihood of snakes, and so Levin’s writing takes account of our influence.

We asked Ted Levin to visit the library in between his hikes to snake dens to share some of his stories and his knowledge of the Timber Rattlesnake. He is an accomplished author and zoologist, and his appreciation for the natural world amongst civilization is inspirational. He will be here on Tuesday, November 29th from 6:30-7:30pm for a presentation and questions. I don’t think he’s bringing snakes..
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 3, 2016
           Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason… no, nobody thinks about Guy Fawkes anymore. Oh! November 4th is King Tut Day! Yea, pretty lame I know. Why does King Tut need an annual day? I’m sure there are other historical whatsits to mention, but noting a historical event with a verse or a ‘Day’ doesn’t carry the same weight as book--even an eBook.

History is being written as we speak. Literally, new histories are being published constantly to supplement or replace the histories the collection already has. A book on the history of the computer from 1995 doesn’t quite cover everything a contemporary reader is looking for. Some of the books from 2015 are out of date.

We update the collection carefully, with all the fervor tea-addled bookworms can muster. They are not all general histories--many are so niche readers won't know they want to read them until a title or cover catches their eye. We recently added ‘The Perfect Horse’ by Elizabeth Letts, for example, with the subtitle ‘the daring U.S. mission to rescue the priceless stallions kidnapped by the Nazis.’ The story is amazing, but you might not realize the story exists until you see it on the ‘New’ shelf. Some other new war stories include: ‘Finding Phil: lost in war and silence’ by Paul Levy (from Concord), ‘The Morning They Came For Us: dispatches from Syria’ by Janine Di Giovanni, ‘Pumpkinflowers: a soldier’s story of a forgotten war’ by Matti Friedman, and ‘Red Platoon: a true story of American valor’ by Clinton Romesha.

There has been a lot of talk about Tilar J. Mazzeo’s ‘Irena’s Children: the extraordinary story of the woman who saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto’ as it is reminiscent of Oskar Schindler’s famous effort and because Irena took on enormous risk for thousands of strangers. The means that she used to rescue children from the ghetto were as creative as they were dangerous. Most of the children’s families died in the ghetto or in camps like it.

If American history is of interest, there have been several recent additions pertaining to American founding fathers and presidents. Julie Fenster wrote ‘Jefferson’s America: the President, the purchase, and the explorers who transformed a nation.’ Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book ‘Valiant ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American Revolution’ has been popular for several reasons. Philbrick is an established author and historian, the book challenges some long held notions about the inevitability of the American Revolution, and his writing is smooth and engaging even when it is packed with detail. Bill O’Reilly has also been prolific with two new books so far this year.

‘But what if I don’t want to read about wars or American history…?’ Fair question. We get piles of nonfiction covering subjects of all kinds. There are new global histories, biographies, cookbooks, travel books, books on parenting, self improvement, animals (Ted Levin, author of ‘America’s Snake’ is coming to the library), physics, standardized tests… [Mark proceeded to list unendingly and has been restrained]


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 27, 2016

Mark: I don’t get it. Nope, I just can’t understand the appeal of horror. It’s either not that scary, so it’s ridiculous, or it is scary, in which case I chose to be uncomfortable, or its grotesque, and I’m disgusted. Am I right, Kayleigh?

Kayleigh: Okay, I feel like you are a Halloween Grinch, so let me explain. For me personally, I like to read and watch scary things because it’s like an adrenaline rush, I guess? It’s like going through a haunted house. You can watch or read these horrifying things that happen to other people, and know that you are safe and secure on your couch under a blanket or in the movie theater, hiding behind a popcorn bag. I’m not actually in danger of being murdered by a crazy person with a chainsaw, and my house isn’t actually haunted by a clown ghost.

Mark: Say I wanted to try it out in the spirit of the holiday. How would you recommend I ruin my sleep?

Kayleigh: Well, it’s hard because everyone has something different that scares them. A solid starting point is always Stephen King, who writes a very good horror story. Try “The Shining” or “Salem’s Lot” which both have very Halloween appropriate themes (ghosts/vampires). Shirley Jackson is more classic. She wrote the fabulously creepy short story “The Lottery”, which I will not spoil at all. She also wrote ”The Haunting of Hill House”, which was adapted into 2 movies, both of which the library has. A good horror story for younger readers is Coraline by Neil Gaiman, It’s creepy and unsettling, but an amazing read. A slightly scary movie to watch for the Halloween season is definitely “Hocus Pocus”. It’s actually a little creepy at parts, but mostly fun and hilarious.

Mark: What about for the connoisseur of horror? You know, the reader or viewer that has desensitized themselves sufficiently to endure the terror.

Kayleigh: Well, an absolutely grotesquely horrifying story is Guillermo del Toro’s vampire-esque series that starts with “The Strain”. It is very scary and quite gross. We also have the television adaptation of that series, and it is also quite horrifying, but good! Obviously, if you haven’t read Dracula by Bram Stoker, or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, that should be your first stop. For an extremely unsettling movie, try “It Follows”, a coming of age story wrapped up in a terrifying package. Another that I would recommend for those who are looking to be actively disturbed by human nature is “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.

Mark: We’ve been getting a lot of new and horrific materials, books and DVDs alike. Any new releases that fans should look out for?

Kayleigh: Well, again, it depends on what you want. If you are looking for gross-out body horror, try the “American Horror Story” series on DVD, My favorite season was “Coven”. If you are looking for a good new horror read, definitely try Joyce Carol Oates new collection of stories “The Doll-Master”, or give the debut by Iain Reid “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” a try.

Mark: I’m thinking of ending our horrific ramblings.


Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 19, 2016

       Imagine a book that you don’t read. Instead, the story is compacted into a few hours, with breathtaking visual and audio impressions. The pace is quick, and all of the characters and scenes that the book would leave to your imagination are instead depicted in HD. Yeah, we call those ‘books’ DVDs and the library is brimming with them.

       We get new DVDs regularly, often on the recommendation of patrons watching upcoming DVD release dates. Just like books, some are well written, and some are… entertaining, but there is a viewer for every DVD we get. We also get the gambit of genres, from children’s movies, to horror, to documentaries, to complete TV series, to foreign films (anything by the BBC or ACORN is sure to be popular).

          ‘Free State of Jones’ has gotten mixed reviews, but whether or not the story is historically accurate, the portrayal of a country in Mississippi declaring themselves autonomous from the Confederacy is engaging. ‘Swiss Army Man’ is so bizarre it evades description. Explaining that an addled survivor on a deserted island finds a corpse that he perceives to have almost unlimited utility doesn’t capture the essence of the film. Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar is the ‘Man Who Knew Infinity.’ In this historical depiction of the genius Indian-born Cambridge mathematician, viewers get another perspective on the clash of ideals and the real world.

          Like superhero films? We just got ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘X-Men Apocalypse.’ Like comedy? Recent additions include ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,’ ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,’ ‘How to be Single,’ ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (personal favorite), and ‘Keanu,’ among several others.

           If you’re feeling dramatic we’ve got ‘Blue Bloods,’ ‘Turn’ (Historical drama!), ‘Longmire,’ ‘Narcos,’ and several others. Romantics can look for ‘Mother’s Day,’ ‘The Meddler,’ ‘Love and Friendship,’ to start. Horrific viewers will enjoy the ‘Penny Dreadful’ series, ‘Viral,’ ‘American Horror Story,’ and even classic ‘The Haunting’ from 1963 that was just added. ‘Blood Father’ and John Travolta’s ‘I am Wrath’ are new action films, though younger action fans can look for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Out of the Shadows’ and ‘Warcraft.’

          The Children’s Room has recently added ‘The Jungle Book’ (the new one) and ‘Adventures in Babysitting.’ Soon we will have ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ and ‘The BFG.’ ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is worth a watch at any age, and the soundtrack is stellar.

          They're not books, but DVDs are a worthwhile medium nonetheless. These brief, bright, noisy presentations are worth pulling away from a book for, sometimes.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 13, 2016
Riddle me this: It’s the loudest place in the library, but it's the quietest. It can be the most comfortable place in the library or the most uncomfortable. It has the most realistic books, and the most unreal. What place is it?
          You don’t actually have to guess. The Teen Room is silent until 2:20pm, when it becomes uproarius (until we shush). The Teen Room has a door that closes, shredded memory foam bags, computers for homework, gaming, and playing music, but it also has awkwardness, uncertainty, and untold teenage pressures. The books in the teen room deal with real issues like mental illness, self-identity, loss, and striving, but there are also books where World War I is retold with fabricated creature-zeppelins and city-sized walking tanks. The Teen Room is ludicrous. This week is Teen Read Week so we want to celebrate that.
Adult books push boundaries, don’t get me wrong, but young adult books are truly unbridled. To hold the interest of teens, books must be dense with intrigue, action, and relationships. Most of the teens I have talked to get bored when they are doing fewer than 13 things at a time, so the most popular young adult books tend to layered and complex, even when the language isn’t sophisticated. Take ‘Challenger Deep’ by Neal Shusterman: Here is a story of alternating realities from the perspective of a model student as he falls deeper and deeper into his imagination. Right from the start the reader knows that this is a story of mental illness. What makes the story unique is the portrayal of Caden when he is present and when he is lost in his mind, especially given the reactions of surrounding characters in both places. Everyone I’ve spoken to that has read ‘Challenger Deep’ has remarked on its subtlety, teen and adult alike.
“Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature’ by Sashi Kaufman is another unique young adult realistic fiction about Ben Wireman, a partially deaf soccer goalie that is utterly lost when a friend that had been a pillar in his life finds other things to do. His insecurity is relatable. The way in which he thinks far more about his actions than he lets on will ring true for most readers. Kaufman asks questions about normalcy and the necessary crutch of friendship in this vicarious story.
The only thing that young adult books do as well as vicarious is outrageous. Scott Westerfeld published the second book in his mutant superheroes series. If you enjoyed the show ‘Heroes’ then try the first book ‘Zeroes.’ People of all ages have been reading ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and its sequels by Ransom Riggs. These paranormal stories have a hint of realism being based on an actual collection of historic photographs of peculiar children. For horror, we recently picked up the Asylum Series by Madeleine Roux. If you like your horror more on the weird and clever side and less on the graphic rated-R side, then young adult horror might be for you.
I see adults shy away from the teen room often. Just because the outward target audience is younger than you doesn’t mean you won’t like the book. If you shy away because the entire soccer team just came in with their sweaty gear after practice, then I understand.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 5, 2016
          Mark: What a day to be alive, Betty. What a day to be mortal. What a day to reconcile ourselves to the mortality of our loved ones. There’s no time like the present to discuss end of life issues--our pesky futures are unreliable. Is that why you’ve revived the Being Mortal Series this fall?
          Betty: Yes, it’s a great day to be alive and to be aware of our mortality and the mortality of those we care about—what better time than fall? Well, I suppose during the depths of winter…
          Mark: If we’re still living this winter then we can keep talking. Would you explain again the origin of the Being Mortal Series?
          Betty: The Being Mortal Series began last spring as a response to Dr. Atul Gawande’s ground-breaking book of the same name where he discusses how modern medicine extends life but sometimes at the expense of a patient’s well-being.
          Mark: If people are dying to attend, do they have to have read ‘Being Mortal?’
          Betty: Ha—you are so amusing, Mark. No, they don’t need to have read the book, nor do they have to have come to the previous session.
          Mark: What’s different this time around?
          Betty: We’re bringing in the professionals this fall. Our last session included special guest Donna Tondreau, an experienced hospice nurse.
          Mark: If we get a chance to visit before we shuffle off this mortal coil, when will the meetings take place?
          Betty: At 6:30 PM on Thursday, October 13th, Dr Marianne Jackson, a recently retired physician who lives in Madison, will share her thoughts on how we can have the difficult conversations with our loved ones about end-of-life decisions. It is her strong belief that we can avoid much suffering, conflict and expense by opening ourselves to the choices ahead and I am very much looking forward to meeting her.
          On Thursday, November 10th, 6:30 PM, Lee Webster will share her passion—are you ready for this?—for funeral reform. She is the current President of the National Home Funeral Alliance, a Board Director of the Green Burial Council, and Director of New Hampshire Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy. I know, I know, this sounds dire, but I promise you, Lee is a wonderful speaker and we don’t want to expire before we hear her speak.
          Mark: Thank you, Betty. We make puns for levity but the series is trying to accomplish something real.
          Betty: None of us are going to get out of this existence alive; that’s not news. We’ve all heard horror stories of people miserable and suffering as they near the end of their lives. This series has been an open, informative, and helpful way to connect with others who want to explore some of the better options available today and I hope lots of lively mortals will attend.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 29, 2016
          It’s that article again. The one where I ramble about the new books we’re excited about at the library. It’s like, obviously the library has sweet new books, do we need to incessantly revisit the new materials list? Why would we talk about the timely ‘Behold the Dreamers’ by Imbolo Mbue about the American dreams of a Cameroonian immigrant family and the 1%ers they work for or the new Flavia de Luce novel that Alan Bradley actually named ‘Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d?’ Why even bring up the historical family drama ‘I Will Send Rain’ by Rae Meadows which captures the trauma of the Dust Bowl on families living on the Great Plains, or Thomas Mullen’s gritty story of pre-civil rights Atlanta law-enforcement ‘Darktown?’ Why mention hit new releases like ‘Coffin Road’ by Peter May, ‘Curious Minds’ by Janet Evanovich, ‘Presumption of Guilt’ by Archer Mayor, or ‘Home’ by Harlan Coben?
          Because they are amazing. When you get a chance to read some of them they will speak for themselves. For now, I’ll nod to them with a sentence or two each. The ‘Wonder’ by Emma Donoghue is a one-of-a-kind psychological thriller of an English nurse charged with the caretaking of an apparently miraculous girl who is said to have lived without food for months. As word gets out and tourists flock in, the search for answers will bring peril with the truths. Donoghue wrote with a similar energy to her popular novel ‘Room,’ though ‘The Wonder’ makes its own stage.
          Ian McEwan, a master novelist, came out with his latest ‘Nutshell.’ McEwan is well known for his capable writing, and that is well because few would attempt to write a novel in the shell of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ from the perspective of a nine-month-old unborn child in the womb of a woman plotting murder. He pulls it off.
          Jonathan Safran Foer explores the universal struggle we experience when reconciling our innumerable responsibilities, particularly familial responsibilities, in his novel ‘Here I Am.’ The title is a reference to Abraham’s conflict in the book of Genesis. When a natural disaster stresses a family, they have to sort out how to be dutiful to each other, to themselves, and to who they want to be.
          ‘The Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles follows a russian ‘unrepentant aristocrat’ that is put under house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal in a luxury hotel across from the Kremlin. With decades to think and to watch the streets of the capital, the reader is treated to the Gentleman’s wit alongside cloak-and-dagger mystery.
          There will be more articles like this because there will be more books worth talking about. We’ve barely scratched the surface.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 22, 2016
        Mark: Stars and stones Molly, why have you pulled piles of controversial, oft amazing, oft loathsome books off our shelves and put them on display? I see ‘Of Mice and Men’ sitting right next to ‘Mein Kampf’ and the King James version of ‘The Bible.’ Riddle me this.
         Molly:  Well Mark, we’re working to raise awareness of censorship in our community by celebrating banned book week with the American Library Association.
         Mark: Molly! Why would we celebrate censorship and the banning of books!? Shouldn’t we promote open readership and the Right to Read?
         Molly: ‘By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, banned book week draws national attention to the harms of censorship’ (quote from the American Library Association). By putting these titles on display, we are celebrating them and encouraging patrons to check them out.
        Mark: But censorship can be a good thing! I could ban all the books I dislike and mold the minds of the youth into thinking just like me.
        Molly: While one Mark is fun enough, do you think the world would be any better if it was filled with people who only think and act like you?
         Mark: Point taken.
         Molly:Celebrating the right to read goes hand in hand with celebrating the different interests and perspectives of the many types of people in our world. Censorship limits diversity, hinders learning, and necessitates the tyranny of the censor.
         Mark: Sounds abysmal. How does a book even get banned in most libraries and schools?
         Molly: Books are rarely banned entirely, but often books are challenged because of content, language, or political/religious/social perspectives. While historically many adult books have been challenged, children and teen books have been challenged more often in recent years. Schools and library have review practices for determining whether a challenged material merits banning.
         Mark: So if I want to think for myself and marvel at the books that have been challenged over the years, where should I go?
          Molly: We’ll have a display up highlighting some challenged books from our collection. The American Library Association website has plenty of more information about banned and challenged books, as well as lists. It’s my favorite themed week of the year so feel free to chat with me about banned books and censorship whenever you spot me.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 15, 2016
          We have some heavy art on display at the library. It’s mostly wood, some granite, and as much meaning as you can wrap your head around. Wood and stone are serious mediums to sculpt, but T. Sammie Wakefield has a natural gift and compulsion to turn them into something wondrous. Her sculptures are here throughout September and they have been marveled at by most patrons visiting the library.
          As she explains, she has ‘sawdust in [her] gene pool.’ Her ancestors have worked with wood for much of their lives. Her grandfather had a white oak bourbon barrel stave mill and her parents lived on a tree-farm. Wood has natural defects and qualities unique to each cut which she uses a part of the design. Leveraging the natural beauty of the wood, she is able to make art that wouldn’t have been possible with other mediums. She says that she sculpts as a ‘way of responding to the beauty and lushness of the natural world.’ Sculpture lets her convey complex ideas without words. One of the most breathtaking pieces even has a sign ‘Please Touch’ to encourage us to experience the art.
          Many of the pieces have a natural motif, depicting animals and insects in lifelike poses. The styles vary to emulate the impression that each scene suggests. The down bird resting in a stone nest looks supernaturally soft as wood in contrast. The flowing, curvy knots of another piece of wood support the harsh and speckled lines of a granite slab. Some of the polished wood appears to flow, suggesting movement, even away from the same wood hunk. The variety speaks to Sammie’s talent.
              Sammie has worked as an occupational therapist for much of her life and is still volunteering her time to seating-clinic work with children in Peru. Most of sculptures have been created over the last 36 years. The art on display are in personal or private collections, many of which usually reside in Sammie’s home in Moultonborough. The art will only be on display until the end of September, so be certain to come by and witness the exhibit while it’s still here!
by Mark Thomas, September 8, 2016
           I know you are literate because of evidence too obvious to mention. You probably read voluntarily all the right now. You weren’t always literate. At some point you were taught. Reading is one of the most important activities young students can participate in, but sometimes reading falls to the wayside in lieu of other pursuits. Modern gaming is, frankly, marvelous, then there are sports, TV, gossip, and pulling the hair of siblings all vying for kid’s attention. Reading does have certain advantages, not least of which is that it’s good for the brain. Yup, the brain.
           Many of us would admit anecdotally that reading is good for the brain, helps creativity, improves work and private lives, and will play a large part in curing cancer, but I wanted to find some studies to back those notions up. Specifically I wanted to find out when reading should begin. Abi (our Children’s Librarian) tipped me off about Reach Out & Read, a program promoting child literacy from 6 months to 5 years. According to them, there are measurable benefits to reading to children, with children, or talking to children about books that they have read. Check out their research findings page at to see some of the studies for yourself (reading will be involved). Essentially, reading with children and surrounding them with books helps them to get comfortable with reading and teaches them to love reading. It lets them know that reading is useful for learning, entertainment, as a creative outlet, and as food for thought to discuss with others (like parents and guardians). Before you know it, their brains are even more awesome than before.
           Abi likes brains, so she put together the Family Chapter Book Reading Challenge. Simply, families that read 12 chapter books which meet a set of themes and criteria before the end of the school year will complete the challenge and will be awarded a prize. (the prize is in addition to the brain practice). The stipulations are that each book must be checked out from the Gilford Public Library and they must be read together as a family, either read aloud or read by parent/guardian and child independently and then discussed. We hope to encourage families to read together, to talk about books, and to have books on hand in the house for kids to read when their sibling’s hair isn’t in reach. The prize is gravy.
                What really makes the experience is finding a chapter book that grabs the child’s interest. Series like the Land of Stories by Chris Colfer and the Hero’s Guide by Christopher Healy are comedic fantasy that kids go crazy for. The Judy Moody books by Megan McDonald are popular early chapter books that are realistic fiction. ‘Friday Barnes, Girl Detective’ is a new book series by R. A. Spratt that is a captivating read for slightly older readers. The ‘ I Survived’ series by Lauren Tarshis has been a hit with any reader looking for realistic, historic, or adventurous fiction. These are so many more series to look at in the children’s room, and the children’s librarians are giddy with the idea of helping families find books. Some of our newest additions I’m excited about include ‘Nine, Ten: a September 11 Story’ by Nora Raleigh Baskin, Mary Pope Osborne’s newest ‘Night of the Ninth Dragon,’ ‘Full of Beans’ by Jennifer Holm, ‘Grayling’s Song’ by Karen Cushman, and ‘Lucy’ by Randy Cecil. With books like these, kids will be having so much fun they won’t even notice their brains growing.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 1, 2016

Mark: Rita! Stop reading and help me out. We’re writing the article on Library Card Sign Up Month and it would helpful if you would explain why you exist.

Rita Book: WHY?!

Mark: Rita, you don’t have to scream. Sorry folks, Rita has only existed for a few days so she is still learning decorum and how to be alive.

Rita Book: How come I’m flater than you are?

Mark: Because oversized library cards are still cards--they’re essentially two dimensional. You are the mascot for Library Card Sign Up Month, so it makes sense that you would be an enormous library card.

Rita Book: That make so much sense.

Mark: Rita, What is Library Card Sign Up Month?

Rita Book: Library Card Sign Up Month is more than just the sole reason for my existence, it's an opportunity for people to sign up for a library card in the places they find themselves. I’ll be taking Kayleigh all over town to visit with people and I’ll bring a laptop for her to sign people up for cards...their own cards...they can’t have me.

Mark:  You’ll be taking Kayleigh?

Rita Book: Well, she’ll be driving and carrying me and she’ll do all the talking and stuff but I’ll be in charge. We’ll hit the Gilford Farmer’s Market, Walmart, Town Hall, and other places. We’ll even post about our travels on Facebook so people can keep up with it. I don’t know what Facebook is, but people say it’s nice.

Mark: What do library cards, like yourself, offer people?

Rita Book: We are AWESome… (sorry, excited). With a library card you can check out books, dvds, cds, audiobooks, ebooks, digital audiobooks, try-it-out-kits, a telescope, mobile hotspots, kindles, kids literacy kits, museum passes, and a bunch of other stuff. Then there's all the programming, computer access, printing, notary services, and some other stuff I haven’t learned yet. We work hard. Plus we make a funny beep when we get scanned. OH, and kids can get library cards too with a parent/guardian signature.

Mark: Library Card Sign Up Month sounds like fun. Keep an eye out for Rita as she and Kayleigh travel throughout town. Looking forward to it?

Rita Book: You could say that, and apparently I can too!

Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 23, 2016
             Tragedy and hope are essential parts of almost any story. Problems cause struggle, but possibly we will overcome some of the strife to make life better. In some areas of the southern United States there are shocking numbers of stray dogs in danger of starving or being killed in animal shelters. That’s the tragedy. The hope is the work that Greg Mahle, his fellow driver, and his crew of ‘angels’ do in transporting these stray dogs north to be adopted by eager families. Book ‘Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway’ is Peter Zheutlin’s telling of this remarkable story. Peter put his journalistic experience to work as he followed Greg for over 7000 miles of his ongoing journey so that he could tell that story to the world.
               Greg drives a semi truck with room for up to 80 dogs at a time. He, with the help of suppliers and volunteers en route, helps the dogs to recover from malnourishment, anti-socialization, and exhaustion while traveling north. During any down time he finds homes for the dogs and arranges for them to picked up on the route. His work has transformed many of the shelters and rescue organizations on his path as they rely on him to save the animals from being put down. It’s the kind of work that you hear about and commend, but Peter Zheutlin took it a step further in traveling along the Rescue Road and seeing the struggle first hand. His writing is captivating--he recognizes that this astonishing story needs little embellishment, only someone to help it to be heard. Check out for more information on Greg and his program. They have transported over 55,000 dogs at this point.
          We have ‘Rescue Road’ at the library and you should totally read it, but Peter will also be visiting the library tonight at 6:30 (at least if you are reading this on Thursday, August 25th). He will tell us about his adventure, authorship, and about the work that Greg has been doing. Peter has coauthored several books and is also the author of ‘Around the World on Two Wheels.’ The program is free and open to the public, and is rescheduled from the initial date in June. As all of us librarians are dog lovers and Peter is a New-England best-selling author we are stoked to hear him speak. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 16, 2016
       Alright. It’s the big one. We’ve have waiting anxiously all year for this. Some people have been distracted by the presidential race or the Olympics, but the event that really matters is coming home…and it’s only one day…and it’s old. I’m talking about Old Home Day.
          Old Home Day is a chance for the town to gather, share food, share crafts, share laughs about the ludicrous year we had, and to lament our losses. We also get to see a parade that rivals the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I’ve argued the need for a 60 foot tall blow up copy of ‘The Hunger Games’).
          The theme this year is ‘Cruisin’ the Lakes Region.’ I asked Lura what the float would look like this time around and she said, ‘Shh, we can’t talk about that! We want all the floats in the parade to be unique so it’s entertaining.’ Classic librarian shushing me, but seeing all of the new floats at the start of the parade is something we all appreciate. I can confirm that there will be plenty of kids present and riding the float.
          As is tradition, the Friends of the Gilford Public Library will host the Pie and Ice Cream sale and the Book Sale on Friday August 26th and Saturday August 27th. The freshly baked pies are donated by members of the community and they are ludicrously tasty. The ice cream is donated by Sawyer’s Dairy Bar (Thanks!). You can buy a slice with some ice cream Friday evening 4-7pm and then after the parade on Saturday. The Book Sale will be available at the same time, so you can shop on a full stomach. All the proceeds go to the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, which in turn will be donated to the Library itself for the Summer Reading Program, special materials, and all the other wonderful things the Friends make possible.
          To get this shindig running in the glorious fashion we expect, we need help. The Friends are looking for volunteers to man the Book Sale and the Pie and Ice Cream Sale. We are looking for freshly baked pie donations, laborers, and people to fill a variety of odd jobs. You can sign up for any role or commit to donating a pie at the front desk.
          Old Home Day is a good time all around. I’ve exaggerated how flashy it is, but no one ever regrets a day out to eat, chat, and relax. When you come by, be sure to find me somewhere around the Library to say hello, brag about the bargain you got on books, and to show off your Pokemon Go collection!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, August 11, 2016
          ‘I can’t believe its August!’ ‘Wow, it’s unbelievable how time flies.’ ‘Can you believe summer is almost over?’ Yes. Yes I can believe it because this summer was packed and time was well spent. Many of our patrons take trips during the summer, but the Lakes Region is as much a destination as it is a home. As summer rounds up, I am grateful for all that was accomplished and for all of the good times that were had. The Summer Reading Program was particularly well received—instead of lamenting its end, we want to celebrate its success!
          To that end, on Friday, August 12th from 3-4pm we will have a concert for children. Local musical genius Paul Warnick, will perform children’s songs for k-4th graders. There will be ice cream, books, and plenty of good company. Thousands of books have been read by children in the Summer Reading Program this year, so we want the kids to know that the work (or play, depending on your perspective) they did was worth the effort. Paul has always been popular with children at the library, so we are ecstatic to have him perform again.
          We’ll be drawing the winners for the teen and adult prizes this week. Participation was excellent so we’re proud to be able to present the prizes to such worthy readers. There were way more teens that stuck with the program this year than in summers past, so I’m looking forward to seeing these young readers keep their enthusiasm throughout the school year.
          Kayleigh’s ‘Exercise Your Mind and Body’ program series was a hit with programs like: Flamenco with Isabel Rios, Zumba with Maria, Yoga from the Heart with Sheryl Gauthier, and the local Gilford Hikes. The Exercise Your Mind Author Series was also well liked with visits from MJ Pettengill and Edie Clark. Peter Zheutlin’s visit, author of ‘Rescue Road,’ was rescheduled for August 25th from 6:30-7:30pm. We can also look forward to author and holocaust survivor Kati Preston’s visit on August 16th from 6:30-7:30pm.
          All told the summer was packed and the Library was bustling. Perhaps it is a little shocking to know that the summer is ending already, but I’m excited about the school year (and cooler weather). Believe it or not, winter is coming, and endings come abrup-
​Notes from the Gilford Library
by Mark Thomas, August 4th, 2016
          Have you ever watched someone excel at something and thought, ‘well sure, I could do that if I spent 70 hours a week training, eating a scientifically accurate diet, and if I was born with the natural talent and proclivity for exactly that activity.’ If you have then you’re probably looking forward to the 2016 summer Olympics starting Friday, August 5th in Rio. The Olympics are a chance for athletes to compete at the highest levels while the world watches. Laden with tragedy, triumph, exultation, and drama, the Olympics grips the world for just a couple of weeks. There is much to be said about the Olympics, and it is not all glorious. Let’s take a look at what people have been writing.
          Two books in recent memory have been enormously popular (ok two aside from James Patterson’s Private Series, the latest of which, ‘The Games,’ just came out). Both involving the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the second world war, Daniel James Brown’s ‘The Boys in the Boat’ and Laura Hillenbrand’s ‘Unbroken’ drew readers into a world of trial and perseverance. ‘Unbroken’ tells the story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic Runner turned Air Force bomber pilot. The tale covers his youth, the culture of the 1936 Olympics, and the struggle for survival when stranded at sea. ‘The Boys in the Boat’ follows an unlikely crew of rowers from the University of Washington as they shock the world with their performance in the 1936 Olympics. As total underdogs, they edge out other American teams with sterling reputations and go on to challenge Hitler’s crew. Both stories are epic so ignore your hipster inclinations and read these books!
          ‘Off Balance,’ the memoir by Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu shows a dark side of the Olympics apart from its setting. Her smile for the world was always idyllic, but her training was brutal—her relationships strained or broken. Her story is multifaceted and worth a read if you are interested in the impact the Olympics can have on athletes. Our Library Director, Katherine, recommends ‘Bliss, Remembered’ by Frank Deford. Also about the 1936 Berlin Olympics, this novel offers a griping love affair between an American Olympic swimmer and a German local that is shattered by political strife.
          If you aren’t looking to read these grim and severe books, there are other ways to approach the gaming spirit. Olympic Romance is an entire genre to delve into and we have shelves of sports biographies to peruse. ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Hermann Hesse is a classic by one of my favorite authors. I often recommend Orsen Scott Card’s ‘Ender’s Game’ to teens that are into sports or gaming, but a much more recent hit are Ernest Cline’s science fiction books. ‘Ready Player One’ takes a look at what the world might be like were the human race to embrace escapism in virtual reality. More recently he released ‘Armada’ having to do with gamers controlling space fleets.
          Whether you like to play games and sports in space, on earth, or just like to live vicariously from the living room, there will be plenty to do for the next few weeks.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 28th, 2016
          I looked him in the eyes while his tongue lolled out of his mouth. He was drooling and panting. He was revolting, actually, his whole body slick with sweat, chest heaving. In that dog’s eyes I saw a reflection of myself—haggard, hot, panting, and sweating, surviving the dog days of summer.
          To survive the ceaseless malice of the sun, we need coping mechanisms like shade and books. Chilling books. Several thriller and horror books have come out recently, so grab one if you need a summer read.
           Megan Miranda wrote ‘All the Missing Girls,’ a story about two women who go missing ten years apart. Eerily, the story is told backwards from ‘day 15 to day 1’ and that mechanic is well executed. Paul Tremblay’s ‘Disappearance at Devil’s Rock’ is another story of disappearance, this time of a 13 year old boy, but it has a more supernatural feel. As the boy’s mother tries to cope with his sudden absence, she learns the haunting story about the circumstances of his disappearance, and is filled with dread to see that the story didn’t end on that day. ‘Hidden Bodies’ by Caroline Kepnes is less about victims as it is about a man who has victims in his past. As he tries to make a new life, the bodies that he hid threaten to ruin that prospect, and his old habits may return. With any luck these chilling books of death will keep you alive in this heat.
           Several police procedurals have been coming out with their own take on chilling. Cara Black’s ‘Murder on the Quai’ has to do with a young medical student as she starts to help her father solve a murder investigation. Set in France around the fall of the Berlin Wall, the budding investigator starts to take investigation more seriously than faltering med-school prospects. David Swinson’s ‘The Second Girl’ is a grittier procedural with a protagonist that is more anti-hero than hero. Riddled with short-comings, he doubts himself as he is pushed into investigating not one, but two kidnapped girl cases. The very popular ‘Among the Wicked’ by Linda Castillo is an unorthodox story of a detective who goes undercover among a reclusive and tight-lipped Amish community to uncover the truth about a young girl’s death and rumors about other children in danger. Of course, as the truth comes out, she ends up in more danger than she could have known.
            If you have a supernatural power of your own to help you withstand the burning heat or if thrillers and crime fiction simply aren’t your thing, then look to some other new releases from hit authors. Readers have been raving about Anne Tyler’s ‘Vinegar Girl,’ which is a reimagined take on Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’ Eric Lustbader put out another book in Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series called ‘The Bourne Enigma.’ Some others include: ‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ by Fredrik Backman, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by Nicole Dennis-Benn, ‘Foreign Agent’ by Brad Thor, ‘Night and Day’ by Iris Johanson, ‘First Comes Love’ by Emily Giffin, ‘Falling’ by Jane Green, and ‘Daughters of the Bride’ by Susan Mallery. These are just a sampling of some of the new books we’ve gotten in this summer. Just goes to show how cool the library is (seriously the building has AC) so stop by when you are feeling like a dog.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 21, 2016
          Guitar, voice, and dance combine wondrously in Flamenco, a traditional folkdance style of the Romani from Spain. The art form is breathtaking to behold and it is a bit of rarity to see authentic Flamenco outside of Spain. The Lakes Region is fortunate to have El Arte Flamenco based in Laconia to offer performances in the area with the traditional dances, music, and plenty of discussion about Flamenco’s history. Naturally, we invited them to the library!
          El Arte Flamenco will visit the Library on July 28th for two performances. The first will be for PreK-4th grade children from 3-4pm and the second will be for general audience from 6:30-7:30pm. In both cases there will be music, dancing, history, and audience involvement. Isabel Rios helped set the program up for us, and she will be one of the performers. I asked her a few questions about el arte flamenco, and her responses were encouraging.
          When asked what Isabel loved about Flamenco, she responded, ‘I love flamenco for the music. The singer and guitarist in harmony, the dance, and the costumes. I love its passion and the feelings you can express in the dance movements.’ She does it, she said, because it’s fun, great exercise, and it’s something she and her father can do together. She added, ‘I also see a significant benefit in exposing my own children to a different culture, language, and art. Plus, it’s nice that they know I can do more than make an excellent PB and J.’
          On the history of flamenco, she explained, ‘Flamenco dance is an art form that came from the heart of the gypsy people. It is a way to communicate and tell stories of love and loss, and can be done intensely in either song or dance. Anyone can do it, whether young, old, small or large. All are embraced and encouraged.’ I asked if she would describe her group, El Arte Flamenco, which was founded by her guitarist father, Roberto Rios, as a family business. She responded, ‘Yes! It is something that we are very proud of. I have two older brothers who danced for many years before me. I would always watch them from the side of the stage. I put my career aside while I was starting my own family. As a result, my father had to outsource dancers to take my place. But, when I could, I would jump back in with others. My Dad has recently relocated to the Lakes Region area, so we are back in business!’
          About the presentations, she confirmed that there will be plenty of dancing and music, but also an explanation of the origins of flamenco and a description of key words in the art. They will, ‘be looking for brave volunteers to help with rhythmic hand clapping called palmas, vocal encouragement called jaléo, and a chance for all ages to move their arms and stomp their feet to a flamenco rhythm. We will also have instruments, such as castanets and tambourines for the children to use and make their own music. It will be a fun hour!’
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 15, 2016
        Polly Sanfacon passed away last year. She was a force in town, and her absence has been felt by many members of our community. As a mother, paralegal, planning board member, building committee member, library trustee, and an enormous number of other roles—she exceled. Polly will be remembered at a statue dedication at the Library on Friday, July 15th from 5:30-6:30pm, where the new statue near the library entrance will be recognized. Our Library Director, Katherine, is here to talk about Polly.
          Mark: Hello Katherine. You knew Polly better than most. Can you tell us how you knew her and about her contributions to the town?
          Katherine: Polly was on the Board of Library Trustees that hired me in 2000, that’s where I first met her. She was passionate about both the Library and Gilford and she was very active in all aspects of civic life—we loved her for that.
          Mark: Can you share some of your memories of her with us?
          Katherine: I remember most of all that Polly was fun to be around but she was serious in moving things forward.  She was dedicated in the causes she felt strongly about and was a great listener. Her keen sense of what needed to be done motivated us.  I remember visiting the site of the Bacon House (where the library is now) and standing on the knoll looking around to Belknap Mountain with the church steeple across the way. She and I just smiling at each other because we both knew this is where the library needed to be.
          Mark: Having seen the statue, it is striking. What is the story behind it? Many patrons have been doing double takes as they pull in.
          Katherine: When Polly passed away and we began receiving donations in her memory. I knew we wanted to do something that was going to be around for a long time and that would make a lasting impression. When we decided on a statue of some sort, the bench with a girl helping a little boy read seemed to capture her essence.  She thought reading was elemental in all success and she thought that people should help each other. I know she would be pleased by how it came out. 
          Mark: Thank you for sharing, Katherine. The statue will be dedicated at the July 15th reception. What should we know about that?
          Katherine: The reception is a chance for members of our community to remember Polly, celebrate her life, and to appreciate the statue donated in her memory. Anyone is welcome to attend, but RSVPs are preferred.
          Mark: I’ll be sure to see you there!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, July 7th, 2016
For a couple weeks now I have been visiting the teen room with teens going into the 5th-12th grades to talk about the summer reading program. We have regulars, summer-residents, realistic readers, sci-fi readers, 3-hours-a-day readers and Thursday-night-only readers. The summer reading program is open to all of them. Since one of my responsibilities at the library is teen programming and reader’s advisory, I’ll have to interview myself to get the scoop.
          Mark: Hey Mark, thanks for meeting with me.
          Mark: Didn’t have much of a choice, now did I?
          Mark: Great. So how can you have a Teen Summer Reading Program when teens never voluntarily read?
          Mark: That is a myth, actually, teens read all the time! Though some enjoy ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ many prefer to consume other kinds of books and media. I’ve known teens to read graphic novels, fan fiction (almost exclusively online), articles on websites like ESPN and Reddit, webcomics, teen magazines, and a lot of other things you haven’t heard of. Teens are surprisingly resourceful in finding things that match their interests. That’s why our teen program lets teens come up with their own challenges to complete this summer with input from us. So far they have been enthusiastic.
          Mark: I’m sure I’m misunderstanding you, but the teens make their own challenges? Surely they think one book is a challenge?
          Mark: You are unjustified in your cynicism. When teens get to read what they want, with their own goals, they enjoy it! Some have challenged themselves to read dozens of books, and many are dipping into genres that they haven’t experienced before. This lets them explore our collection and get excited about reading.
          Mark: Fair enough, but do they really come to the library just to complete their challenges?
          Mark: We have weekly programs catered for teens. Maria just held a Zumba class just for teens (plenty of reggaeton). There will be three Book Bonanzas on Fridays in July, where several teens (including the Gilford Youth Center Summer Camp) will be able to pick out books, play games like werewolf and Magic: the Gathering, use library gadgets like snap circuits and 3d pens, do some outdoor activities, and generally hang out together at the library. You and I are running the 3-day Teen Tech Camp for gamers, programmers, and content producers. Molly, who you know has been enormously helpful in developing the entire teen schedule, is running the 3-day Teen Writer’s Workshop for young authors, journalists, and idle page-corner-doodlers. All in all there is plenty for teens to get up to at the library this summer.
          Mark: You’ve convinced me. With some structure and some freedom, teens can be mature and thrive.
          Mark: They’re more mature than you.
          Mark: Pots and Kettles.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 30th, 2016
“I want to see mountains again, mountains Gandalf!” Bilbo Baggins had his priorities right in Tolkien’s ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’—mountains are magnificent. Mountains can be appreciated by walking or running up parts of them in an activity we call ‘Hiking.’ Persons who hike with some regularity are known as ‘hikers,’ and they are a fascinating set of individuals. Many of the librarians are hikers, so I managed to corner one of them during one of the rare occasions that they were indoors. Joanne, why are you a hiker?
Joanne:  Fresh air, exercise, peace, solitude, and awe are words that immediately come to mind.  I have some wonderful friends who love it on the same level which makes it even more enjoyable.
          Mark: I understand that members of our community enjoy the outdoors so much, that they are bringing some rocks and minerals indoors to celebrate the outdoors. Can you tell me about Dan Tinkham’s display?
          Joanne:  Dan is definitely someone who loves the outdoors.  When he sees a rock, a stone, a boulder, a slab of granite, or a pile of sand, he knows the story of how, when, and why it got there.  As a professional hydrogeologist, he has an understanding of natural functions that the rest of us can learn from. There is a story waiting to be told, the geological history of our area.  So for the month of July the exhibit area in the library will be filled with geological wonders and geology maps.
          Mark: He is going to be taking a library group out for a hike, correct?
          Joanne: Yes on Saturday, July 9th we will meet at Lockes Hill parking lot at 9 AM.  After short introductions we will hike the 1.9 mile loop and Dan will lead the way with information, tales, and descriptions. We have asked people to sign-up at the library so we have phone numbers in case there is inclement weather (rain date July 30th).
          Mark: One hike doesn’t make a hiker, though. What other hiking opportunities are there?
          Joanne:  The library is co-sponsoring four other hikes in July with Gilford Parks and Recreation.  The Exercise Your Mind and Body hiking series will be on the following Wednesday mornings: July 6, July 13, July 20, and July 27.  To sign-up and for more info call the library at 524-6042.
          Mark: Brilliant. Let’s not take our mountains for granted. Hike them and treat them with respect. Joanne just left the building and is on the trail behind the library, moving swiftly, so that is all for today! 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 23, 2016
Summer. You have done the spring clean, the kids or grandkids are playing outside, the garden is more or less in-control; It’s time to relax, grab a cold drink, go outside, and do nothing. Well, by ‘do nothing’ I mean ‘read,’ a deceptively productive activity, because there is no better way to spend free time (says the librarian). I’ll run through some our newest titles to help make your free time be the best it can be.
          Let’s talk first about some of the affectionately named ‘Beach Reads.’ Nancy Thayer recently released her new romance, ‘The Island House;’ a young professional is torn between city and country life and city and country men. ‘The Weekenders’ by Mary Kay Andrews is a cozy mystery about island houses and the politics of small island communities. Camille Perri’s debut, ‘The Assistants,’ is a novel that deals with the privilege of bosses relative to their assistants. In this light, cheeky read, Perri will have you rooting for assistants the world over. For action fans, Clive Cussler has released another ridiculous novel called ‘The Emperor’s Revenge.’ Cussler’s over-the-top style is in fine form in this 11th ‘Oregon Files’ installment. I would especially recommend ‘The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper’ by Phaedra Patrick. Telling the quaint and cozy story of an English widower that suddenly breaks his treasured routines to go on an adventure to learn more about trinkets that his wife left behind, Phaedra has the reader charmed at every page. Don’t forget Elin Hilderbrand’s brand new ‘Here’s to Us,’ with women in sun hats lounging on the beach right on the cover.
           If you are looking for a read with more weight, there are several options among new releases. Jo Baker, known for reimagining Jane Austen in ‘Longbourn,’ wrote a fictionalized telling of Samuel Beckett’s life during and after WWII called ‘A Country Road, A Tree,’ and it has been well-acclaimed. ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi is a troublingly well connected set of stories about racial strife that travels from 1700s Africa to present day USA. Although it is a debut, Gyasi’s characters are ferverous and their pain can be felt. I’d also recommend Helen Dunmore’s new release, ‘Exposure,’ as it is equal parts spy, romance, and drama novel, well-researched, and set in 1960s Europe.
          Some readers enjoy posh English settings. For them we have ‘The Cavendon Luck’ by Barbara Taylor Bradford. It is set in 1938 England and it follows the trials of Cavendon Hall and the aristocratic Ingham and the devoted Swann families. Helen Simonson wrote the unique tale of the effect on daily life in England during the start of World War II in ‘The Summer Before the War.’
          In Science Fiction and Horror there are some spicy ones. Terry Brooks continues his Druids of Shannara series with ‘The Sorcerer’s Daughter.’ Patricia Briggs continues her paranormal fantasy Mercy Thompson series with ‘Fire Touched.’ ‘Ink and Bone’ is an eerie new paranormal thriller with elements of premonition, psychosis, and other ominous words starting with ‘P.’ ‘Quiet Neighbors’ by Cariona McPherson is another ominous paranormal story with some less than subtle gravestone symbolism.
          Some other recent additions that are sure to be popular include: ‘The House of Secrets’ by Brad Meltzer, ‘The 15th Affair’ by James Patterson, ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’ by Douglas Preston, ‘End of Watch’ by Steven King, and ‘Valiant Ambition’ by Nathaniel Philbrick. If none of these will help you spend your treasured leisure time, stop by and we will find something that will.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 13, 2016
          Normally I like to start with a lead in but there is no time. The Summer Reading Program is almost upon us and I have a trillion or so programs to talk about, so let’s get at it!
          The focus this year is fitness and wellness, a perfect match for the summer Olympics and a great opportunity for programming at the library.
            The children’s summer reading program slogan is ‘On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!’ Read they will, starting with the kick-off event on Thursday, June 23rd from 3-5pm. As children pick out some books to read over the summer, they can play games, eat, and exercise in the bouncy house obstacle course at the Gilford Youth Center. The rest of the summer reading program will include exercise activities like yoga, karate, and dancing, literacy programs like the Storywalk at the Avis P. Smart Woods and the storyteller Keith Munslow visit, and plain fun programs like an R2D2 visit and a comic strip workshop with Marek Bennet called ‘On your Mark, Get Set, Draw!’ Children will be able to fill out their reading logs to celebrate reading and will be rewarded with prizes and raffles.
           Teens will have more control this summer with their ‘Get in the Game, Read!’ slogan. When teens sign up they can fill out their own custom summer reading contract spelling out the reading they aim to do. Whether they are reading physical books, ebooks, graphic novels, or fan fiction online, it all counts. In addition to incentives for checking in weekly with me or the other librarians, there will be Zumba with Maria, the comic strip workshop with Marek Bennet, a Teen Tech Workshop, Teen Writing Workshop, and three Teen Book Bonanzas.
            Adults enjoy a more cerebral approach with the ‘Exercise Your Mind, Read!’ slogan. There will be a balance of mental and physical wellbeing programs starting with the ‘Race to Summer Reading 5k’ on Saturday, June 25th at 8:30am and a presentation by former Assistant Director of the UNH Campus Recreation Dept. Linda Hayden. One of the best ways to exercise your mind is by reading, so the ‘Exercise Your Mind Author Series’ is sure to be engaging. There will also be a few hiking trips planned as a collaboration between the Library and Gilford Parks and Recreation department. A reading log with several reading goals will be available to fill out throughout summer so that
             The Summer Reading Program itself is sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. Thousands of books are read each summer, and thousands more will be read this time around, so we are grateful for their support. All of the details of these programs are readily available at the library, so stop by, call, email, text, or send a pigeon to find out when their taking place or to sign up!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 9, 2016
Libraries are so wonderful—I would love it if there were little libraries scattered throughout our communities so people could share books wherever they are. Think about it; people could take a book, leave a book, bring their books back, or just bring different books back. We could call them little free libraries!
          Huh? What’s that Katherine? We have two little free libraries already?!
          Two years ago the Friends of the Gilford Public Library and the trustees of the library put together the little free library program here in Gilford. One trustee, Jack LaCombe, took it upon himself to build the libraries. They were installed at the Glendale Docks and at Gilford Beach. Each of them is well stocked with books for borrowing or keeping. Diane Tinkham, another trustee, monitors the little free libraries and restocks them if they get low or swaps out books to keep the collection fresh. She stocks them with books from the Bookworm Bookshop.
          These little free libraries have just been opened up for the season and are well stocked. Next time you are at the beach or putting the boat in the lake for a day ride, feel free to grab a book to read while you’re there. Diane hoped to emphasize that you do not need to leave a book to take one! It’s OK to take a book or two without having one on hand to replace it with. Many patrons donate several books at a time to the library (thank you!) and they tell me often that they are donating so that others will have the chance to read them.
          The little free library trend evolved from a time-old take a book, leave a book tradition. Coffee shops the world over have little corners where a gorgeous stack of books wait for a new reader. As tells it, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin was the first to build an outdoor structure for holding books for the public to use. As he spread his creations around Wisconsin, the movement gained momentum. Soon communities across the US were building little free libraries so that books could be shared with people wherever they find themselves.
          Now, there are over 15,000 registered little free libraries, and potentially many more. There could be several reasons for the popularity of this trend, but I think that the idea of sharing books with others is something that people love. The little free libraries create a space for book sharing that is available to anyone. Diane also wanted me to note that the space is ‘little’ so please do not leave any boxes of books at the little free libraries (we can accept them at the library). There will be a new little free library coming to town soon, so keep an out for that new space as well.
          Our little free libraries have been well used over the past two years and I’m glad to see them open again for this season. Take a look once in a while and see if there’s a new read to interest you!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, June 2, 2016
          I just got back from a hike on the Belknap range, Maria just finished running one of her fitness classes, Joanne will be going on a group hike this evening, and Katherine blew us all away by finishing a ‘quick’ triathlon this morning (or its equivalent in fitness classes). Since this was written in the past, I’m not certain that is how things happened this morning, but it is pretty typical of a Thursday morning.
         Although fitness may not be the first thing you think of when you visit the library, it matters to both the staff and the community. The Library hosts periodic and regular exercise programming, not to mention the assortment of healthy living programs. We have a host of exercise and nutritional resources. This year, we are beginning a new tradition to help encourage healthy living in our community: The Race to Summer Reading 5K.
          To help explain the program and to build the hype, Kayleigh Mahan has kindly agreed to chat with me. Kayleigh, thank you for putting this whole thing together. How did the idea for this 5k come about?
          Kayleigh: Well, since the theme for summer reading is “Exercise Your Mind, Read” it kind of felt like the best time to hold a 5K at the library. The library isn’t just for books, although we have a lot of them. It’s a really good way to get the library more involved in the community, and to encourage healthy living and fitness! It’s a perfect kick-off to summer and summer reading at the library, so if you at all like the library or running, sign up and join us!
          Mark: Is there any bizarre theme for this 5k? Are people supposed to come as zombies, librarians, or zombie librarians?
          Kayleigh: Stop. If people want to dress up, they totally can. I don’t run, but I would imagine that running in sneakers and exercise type clothes would be best, but whatever makes you most comfortable!
          Mark: Will the race take place inside the library?
          Kayleigh: I feel like you did no research on this race, Mark. The race will start outside the library, and travel through Gilford Village and the surrounding neighborhoods to end back at the library. There will be entertainment at the library during the race, and of course the library will be open for people who want to check out books, or just hang out.
          Mark: It sounds like a good time. How does one go about registering?
          Kayleigh: There is online registration available, which you can find on the Gilford Library’s website. We also have paper forms available at the library for people who like them. Also, if you don’t want to run or walk, you can volunteer to help with the race!
          Mark: Thanks again Kayleigh. Everyone is a winner in this race, right? Even if I hobble across the finish line mid-afternoon?
          Kayleigh: I mean, not really. The walking portion of the race is not judged; only runners can technically win this race. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun! Especially because the first 100 people to register do get a t-shirt and a race packet with some cool goodies, so that’s almost as good as winning, I think.
          Mark: Thank mercy.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 26, 2016
          What do ‘Far From the Madding Crowd,’ ‘The Martian,’ and ‘A Walk in the Woods’ have in common? They were all books that were made into movies. Or, if you recognized the titles from their movies, they were all recent films based on books. From either perspective, the stories were so interesting and so well told, they were worth retelling in a different media.
            Sometimes the transition doesn’t quite work (see: ‘The Giver,’ ‘The Golden Compass,’ or ‘Gulliver’s Travels’) but most of the time the attempts are at least worth a watch. In the case of ‘Fight Club’ its author Chuck Palahniuk said that the movie adaptation was a better telling of the story than his own novel was.
              As many new films are based on books, those of us in the know can take the opportunity to read the book beforehand if we haven’t already. Yes, we will probably throw in the odd ‘Well in the book it happened like this…,’ although I recommend caution. Viewers of ‘The Game of Thrones’ show won’t let me live it down now that the HBO series has out-written George R.R. Martin.
          In recent memory, many of the most popular movies have been those based on books. ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy was turned into a movie that I often recommend. The ‘The Revenant,’ based on Michael Punke’s book of the same name, is currently the most popular movie in the collection. Some others include, ‘In the Heart of the Sea,’ ‘The Danish Girl,’ ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ ‘Z for Zachariah,’ ‘Still Alice,’ ‘Room,’ and many, many others.
          It seems like all of the greatest hits in teen books have been made into movies since Harry Potter. Recently we have seen Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, and James Dashner’s Maze Runner series. Each of these series have been high grossing, multi-film sagas with a lot of interest at the library. The ‘5th Wave’ just came out to add another series to the lot. They do make films out of other books besides those set in dystopian societies, like ‘Paper Towns,’ ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’
          Eternal fans of ‘The Notebook’ can celebrate at other Nicholas Sparks books being made into movies; ‘The Longest Ride’ and ‘The Choice’ being the latest releases. I was amazed to find out that eleven of his books have been made into movies. Eleven!
          This trend is only growing. The list of anticipated 2016 films based on books is staggering. We can look forward to Dan Brown’s ‘The Inferno,’ Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You,’ Paula Hawkins’ ‘The Girl on the Train,’ M.L. Stedman’s ‘The Light Between Oceans,’ and several others. Of particular interest is the true memoir by Susannah Cahalan, ‘Brain on Fire.’ Teens will enjoy Ransom Riggs’ ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and the outrageous Newt Scamander’s ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ set in the Harry Potter universe. Children are sure to enjoy the new ‘The BFG’ movie (Big Friendly Giant).
          I, for one, will not complain with the trend. Film makers and producers could do worse than great names in fiction when looking for ideas. In most cases we have both the books and their films at the library, so stop by to enjoy these stories twice!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 19, 2016
         The Summer Reading Program is an enormous endeavor, with guest talks, prizes, books, programs, and unique materials. Running a program as successful as the Summer Reading Program involves several moving parts including the staff, volunteers, and, critically, the financial and volunteer support by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. The Friends finance the entire summer reading program, in addition to a host of other programs and materials throughout the year, without which the program would either not exist, or would cut deeply into the library budget for new materials and programs.
         The support of the Friends is essential to the success of the library, and they are a wonderful group of people to boot. I am pleased to have Blandine Shallow, the new President of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, here to talk about the group, their purpose, and their contributions.
          Blandine, thank you for helping out the library in your role as President of the Friends. How would you describe what the Friends are trying to do?
         Blandine:  The Friends have a definite purpose in helping the library give the best possible service.  The Friends do not only provide support to the Library through annual membership dues and proceeds from the annual pie and book sale held on Old Home Day—the Friends extend the circle of contacts in the community with their eagerness, enthusiasm, and assistance in a variety of ways.    
         Mark: There are so many programs that the Friends support, both financially and with volunteerism. Would you highlight a few for us?
         Blandine:  As you indicated, the Friends provide funding and volunteers for programs throughout the year. This includes: monthly programs, including demonstrations, lectures, and classes; the Annual Summer Reading Programs for all ages with weekly prizes; free and discounted passes to 14 New Hampshire and Massachusetts Museums; and the Annual Old Home Day Pie, Ice Cream, and Bake Sale.   
         Mark: As the new President, what are you excited about in the future of the Friends and the Library?
         Blandine: I look forward to growing our membership. Many of the programs depend on the Friends for funding. For me personally, having moved to this area in 2010, the library has been a great venue to meet people, learn about the area and get involved in the community.   
         Mark: For those who want to get involved, how does one join the Friends? What would you say to them?
         Blandine: The Friends meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. at the Gilford Public Library. The meetings last about one hour and anyone is welcome to attend. For those who cannot attend meetings, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at the library, in the bookstore, and on Old Home Day weekend. If any of these do not fit into your busy schedule, you may want to support us financially by donating anytime during the year or during our annual membership drive.
         Mark: Thank you again, Blandine, for taking the time to share your enthusiasm with the community.
         Blandine: Happy to be here.   
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 12, 2016
            New Englanders are no strangers to seeing worn granite gravestones with etchings scrawled across the front in tiny graveyards around many corners. Who is buried there? What was their story?—because there is a story behind every one, even the toppled and poor stones.
             Author MJ Pettengill came across the Country Farm-Pauper Cemetery in Ossipee, New Hampshire and had the same thought. As she explains on her website, she has dedicated herself to ‘sift through the dust’ to piece together the experiences of forgotten peoples. She is most interested in those people that history documented poorly, believing that their stories inform the present just as the well documented and popular historical figures do. As she says, ‘It is my goal to give voice to those who were silenced.’
            A fascinating task for a fascinating person. Her first book is called ‘Etched in Granite,’ a historical fiction set on a poor New England farm shortly after the civil war. The story is told in three voices of the farm residents. Originally a work of non-fiction, Pettengill’s love for history and her long hours of sleuthing jump off the pages in ‘Etched in Granite.’ She draws upon her own family history and the scattered information about the Abenaki Native Americans to give life to her characters and setting.
           Librarians know more than most about the challenge of digging up information that is apparently lost. When Pettengill visited the Country Farm-Pauper Cemetery in Ossipee with its 298 numbered graves, she resolved herself to finding the names and stories of those buried there. Right from the start she encountered resistance as some of the records were lost in a fire. Others thought that the work was fruitless or that the names and lives of the paupers weren’t worth the trouble. Despite the difficulty, her research helped Pettengill paint a picture of what life was like for ‘paupers’ in 19th century New England. She found that the Civil War and the economic depression that followed it took its toll on the poor, elderly, mentally ill, and socially unwanted in a way that is left out of most contemporary history books.
           Knowing how popular historical fiction, genealogy, and New England history are here in Gilford, we invited MJ Pettengill to the Library to talk about and read her work, sign, and to answer questions we have. The fruit of her research is available to us through her book and this upcoming talk. She will be here on Tuesday, May 17th from 6:30-7:30pm. Books will be available at the event. You can learn more about MJ Pettengill from her website,
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, May 4, 2016
          Rosemary is delicious. Rosemary smells wonderful. Rosemary is abundant. Rosemary may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Wait, what? According to clinical herbalist Maria Noël Groves rosemary and its oils have been shown to benefit cognition, including slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Maria will be at the Library herself on Tuesday, May 10th from 6:30-7:30 to talk about what she calls ‘The Secret Lives of Garden Herbs.’
          The Secret Lives of Garden Herbs doesn’t refer to their penchant for nefarious rendezvous. Instead some garden herbs live a double life as ingredients for taste and for health. The tastes of garden herbs are well known, but the health benefits can be more elusive. Maria teased us with the example that rosemary may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. She also explained that sage can help with hot flashes. Such benefits may occur incidentally as we eat a well-rounded diet, but Maria’s talk will go into more detail about the qualities of particular herbs and how to prepare and apply them.
          Maria Noël Groves is a clinical herbalist based in Allenstown, NH. With almost 20 years of experience with herbs, a CV with a host of qualifications crammed in with tiny print, and a winning personality, Maria has been helping New Hampshire residents to make the most of their garden herbs. She has long been a health writer, and this past March she published her book ‘Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care.’ In her writing she advocates for strategic use of herbal remedies to supplement the healthy operation of the whole body, as well as particular health problems.
          As I read some of what Maria has written, I realized that I often ignore a problem, telling myself that it will go away on its own. Sometimes it does, but ignoring the problem never helps. What helps is being educated about what is going on with problems and symptoms, and knowing how suggested remedies work or don’t work, and their ramifications. Maria recommends a holistic method of treating the problem as well as the symptom. Health issues are not isolated—they exist in the context of a body’s overall health. As such, they can have body-wide effects. It seems that we may be able to treat health problems best when we work to keep the whole body healthy.
          Whether you are a gardener, cook, naturalist, or just everyday health conscious, Maria’s talk should be very interesting. You can find out more about her and her work at 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 25, 2016
Bear with me as I pat us on the back, but Gilford has a relatively healthy relationship with the outdoors. Most people I encounter enjoy the outdoors in some fashion. I meet hikers, runners, gardeners, cyclists, fishers, skiers, and myriad others, all enjoying the staggeringly beautiful environment we live in. Some of the most popular events we host at the library have to do with either participating in the natural world or learning about it. Since it seems so consistent, I wonder how the value was developed. Wendy Oellers-Fulmer believes that the draw to being a Naturalist starts young.
          Wait. How did we get from hiking to being a naturalist? Well, according to Wendy, it’s more like going from being a naturalist to hiking. I interviewed Wendy about her upcoming set of naturalist programs and she was kind enough to let us in on her passion. As Wendy explains, a naturalist is someone who studies the natural world through observation—that’s all. By being exposed to the natural world as a child, as Wendy explains she was, children tend to grow into adults that appreciate the outdoors like so many Gilford residents.
          Wendy is something of an expert on the topic. Having been a teacher in Gilford for 19 years (taking her class out weekly) and having been granted national and state awards for environmental teaching we are thrilled that she will be bringing for passion for sharing the natural world with the library community.
             The first group she is running is called the ‘Seedlings.’ Three to five year olds and their caregivers can participate in this three session program meeting May 4th, 11th, and 18th from 1:30-2:30pm with a new outdoors theme each session. Sign up is required and space is limited. There is a $5 charge per session for supplies. In order, the themes are: All About Spring, Tweets and Twitters, and Little Critters. The ‘Seedlings’ will enjoy stories, songs, poems, and outdoor exploration or indoor exploration of natural materials. Elementary schoolers get their chance during early release on Wednesday, May 25th from 1:30-2:30pm when they will search the nearby woods for hidden critter shelters before building their own fairy houses. Sign up is required for that event as well.
           Wendy will be involved with several other projects including the creation of seasonal naturalist kits for borrowing at the library. These kits will introduce children to identifying plants and animals through observation. For parents, resources will be provided to mitigate discomfort or apprehension about venturing outdoors; resources like family friendly trail maps and tick check guides.
         As I chatted with Wendy, sensational words kept flitting about and I felt increasingly positive about time spent outdoors. Wendy wants to help children keep a sense of wonder; she wants them to be curious. As she explains, children are born naturalists, citing the anecdotal evidence that young children tend to be curious and to explore, especially outdoors. The key is encouraging adults to share in that curiosity and to create opportunities.
          By allowing children to explore as they are inclined, they can keep their curiosity long-term. Experiences at that age have an impact, and the children could do far worse than learning about nature in a library setting. Wendy aims to have children witness and puzzle out the ongoing story of the ecosystem that surrounds them. Children can gain a better understanding of the natural world through observation, and that understanding sticks. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 20, 2016
         There is a common saying having to do with April and the showers that happen then and the flowers that tend to bloom afterwards in May. The saying is so common that I don’t want to say it again, but this is the month where gardeners can revel in the wet soil and the sun to come. The library has a plethora of gardening resources for new gardeners and veterans alike, so as you dig in to the prepared earth, consider learning some new tricks for this season.
          Whatever kind of garden you enjoy, be sure that there is a book out there to match. If, for example, you enjoy container gardening with precisely five types of plants per container, then one of our newest books, ‘Container Theme Gardens: 42 Combinations, Each Using 5 Perfectly Matched Plants’ by Nancy J Ondra, is perfect for you. You may think that a book as focused as ‘Container Theme Gardens’ would be limited in what it could offer, but the presentation is breathtaking—it highlights the fact that there is a great deal of beauty and variety that can be created with a few simple ingredients.
        Most of our gardening books are not as niche as that. The ‘Gardener’s Year’ is a recent release that covers a variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs. It goes into detailed explanations about the seasons in which each plant thrives and when to plant them. Many gardeners know that it is not a one-planting-schedule-fits-all deal, so this resource can help to optimize your plant’s growth and ration out your time.
         ‘The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard That Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity’ by Kate Frey and Gretchen Le Buhn is a contemporary resource that addresses the environmental health concern regarding a decline in bee populations. Having biodiversity in your garden ecosystem (I’m using so many buzz words) can offer long-term benefits.
For the hungry among us there’s ‘Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 plans that will change the way you grow your garden’ by Niki Jabbour. Each plan is mapped out by well-known gardeners with a plant list, instructions, and expected yield. Jabbour’s book is useful for the specific instructions, but it can also help to gather inspiration for your own garden.
        If you are the kind of garden that wants a garden that looks less planned, and more like organized chaos, there’s ‘Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big With 150 Plants That Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter’ by Kristin Green. With Kristin Green’s advice, your garden will resemble the rampant jungle you imagined.
      These resources are just a teaser of the gardening books that the library picked up over the past year or so. There are many, many others to help get your garden into shape. We also subscribe to several gardening magazines including Country Gardens, Garden Gate, Birds and Blooms, Better Homes and Gardens, and Horticulture. If you aren’t a gardener, well, you can also visit the library and have a look at our plants!                                        
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 15, 2016
Notes from the Gilford Library
          Have you ever thought to yourself, “where on earth did they get the idea for this story!?” Authors sometimes draw inspiration from archetypes like the lone-wolf detective or the hodgepodge group of adventurers on a quest (see ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’). Some authors look internally to explore their own experiences. Authors of historical fiction, however, blend their experiences and writing strengths with actual places, people, and events in the past.  
         Historical fiction can take the form of a romance, thriller, procedural, or anything else, but they consistently draw upon historic settings and people. ‘Circling the Sun’ by Paula McLain is historical fiction at its finest. Transporting the reader to 1920s Kenya, McLain tells a riveting story of Beryl Markham, the daring aviator, through her trials in career and in love. ‘Circling the Sun’ is this month’s book discussion book, meeting on Thursday, April 21st from 12:30-1:30pm and 6:30-7:30pm. Discussions about historical fiction books can be as much about the true events as the fancified. It’s a discussion to look forward to.
            Several well-liked series are historical fiction. Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles series began set in the 1920s and has reached 1970 in his latest ‘Cometh the Hour.’ His family saga has been following the Cliftons for six books and six decades, with at least one more in the works. ‘The Plague of Thieves Affair’ by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini is the fourth Carpenter and Quincannon mystery series set in 1890s San Francisco. Patrick Taylor wrote his 11th Irish Country novel titled ‘An Irish Doctor in Love and at Sea’ with split story telling between WWII and the decades later aftermath for Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly. Deanna Raybourn just published a starter to a new mystery series set in 1887 London titled ‘A Curious Beginning.’ When the past is your muse, it must be impossible to run out of ideas.
            One of the Historical Fiction series that I am most excited to try out is the Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris, the final installment of which just came out. Before you have to ask, yes the story is about the Cicero, the great stoic, philosopher, and politician of ancient Rome. Apparently you get to witness some of the most momentous events surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire from the perspective of one of history’s greatest figures.
            There are so many other new releases in historical fiction to talk about! ‘Journey to Munich’ by Jacqueline Windspear follows an impromptu secret service rescue mission with heroin Maisie Dobbs in WWII Germany. ‘A Friend of Mr. Lincoln’ by Stephen Harrigan captures an instance of Abraham Lincoln’s life in Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s when he was a sharp and ambitious lawyer. Helen Simonson wrote a novel that has been praised for its depiction of idyllic 1914 East Sussex right as Britain spirals into WWI. I’ll force myself to stop with another favorite, ‘The Relic Master’ by Christopher Buckley. Set in 1517 Europe, Dismas, relic hunter, makes a hilarious living by finding and selling religious relics of questionable authenticity. His travels across Europe are equal parts comedy and rich history.
        These are only a few of the books released this year, not mentioning the walls of books that were printed, and take place, in the past. Present day is well and good and the future can be fascinating, but the past has proven itself to be rich with stories worth our interest.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, April 7, 2016
Next week is a very special week. So special, in fact, it has a name. Next week is National Library Week (April 10th-16th)! ‘That is a made up excuse to celebrate’ you might say, but it’s been acknowledged by so many communities across the United States that, at this point, why not celebrate? I am excited for all the marvelous programming we have planned because I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to be a little extra library-like for a week.
Each day will feature a new library theme. Card-holding participants will get a treat and the warm feeling of involvement. On Movie Monday, just check out any movie. For Tech Tuesday you can check out a computer, like us on Facebook, or check out a techie book. Weird Wednesday encourages you to check out anything besides books or movies (get creative). For Teen Thursday, simply check out any young adult material. Finally, on Fine Free Friday, when you check anything out you will be able to have up to five dollars in overdue fines waived.
The children’s room is where the real party is. Throughout the week children up to fourth grade can participate in a drop-in craft to make a book of their own. Be it 10:30am or 4pm the craft will be available. Each weekday from 10:30-11:30am vehicles from town departments will bring a different town vehicle to the library for pre-k children to see and touch (I wish I was four). I’m talking backhoe loader, school bus, police car, street sweeper, and firetruck. They will start off with a story before having a chance to sit in the vehicles. Thanks to the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, the School District, and the Fire Department for making that possible.
School-aged children will get to hang out at the Early Release Reading Buffet from 1:30-3:30pm on Wednesday. There will be pizza and books galore. That’s positive association if ever I’ve heard of it. This is all in addition to the regular Lego Legion at 3:30pm on Monday and the Tales for Tails reading dog visit on Thursday at 3:30pm.
Teens get to do their thing at Fandom Crafts on Monday from 3-4:30pm. Whatever the teens are fans of, they can make art and wearable crafts in the style of that book/movie/show/band/celebrity/sport…anything, really. We will also be showing a movie on Wednesday from 12:30-2:30pm during early release.  
          Adults get the more serious programming like the Being Mortal Series with Betty Tidd on Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm. This will be the second meeting where the conversation can continue about end of life issues, and new participants are always welcome. For the more serious and stern there will be another Coloring and Mocktails evening on Thursday from 5-7pm. I’m joking, of course, Coloring and Mocktails is a comfortable and casual environment to hang out with new friends and destress.
          Whatever your age or interest, there is something to be found at the library so please be invited to celebrate National Library Week with us from April 10th to 16th!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 31, 2016
        I am very pleased to announce a big change coming to the Gilford Public Library. As of tomorrow, April 1st, the Gilford Public Library will truly enter the digital age by merging the physical building and collection with the website (the cloud, if you will). The staff will become disembodied resources in cyberspace. The actual library, collection, and staff will disappear and all of the resources will be available online only. Personally, I am most excited to integrate with the video game collection we plan on expanding.
          THAT WAS AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE! The physical library is not being digitized. I only took the liberty of misleading you because the time of year calls for it and having a laugh now and then does us all good. Let’s talk about some of the books that make us laugh.
          There are several stories to kick us off. ‘Does this Beach Make Me Look Fat’ by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella offers stories and banter between a well-loved mother and daughter. The stories come across as genuine and their jibes are witty. In a completely other direction, Lindsay Faye’s new parody of ‘Jane Eyre’ titled, ‘Jane Steele: A Confession’ takes some of the setting and character tropes of the original and adds a dark, malicious humor to it. Dark humor is popular, and I think that ‘Jane Steele’ will make a splash.
          ‘Texts from Jane Eyre’ by Mallory Ortberg takes a much lighter, and much more ridiculous approach to classics. Imagining texted conversations in modern shorthand between great characters and writers throughout history made me laugh out loud (lol for the savvy) often. Wes Allison’s ‘The Taco Cleanse’ is a parody of diet and cookbooks and is perfect for the reader who is sick of nutritional buzzwords.
          Memoirs can be comedy when written by jocular authors. Jenny Lawson’s ‘Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things’ is certainly filled with levity. Amidst the self-disparaging language and traumatic circumstances, Lawson laughs with the reader. ‘Hyperpole and a Half’ is a personal favorite. Author Allie Brosh put together a graphic novel composed largely of material from her blog and webcomic that does an excellent job of making jokes, celebrating life, while still managing to depict depression in her signature style. Books like hers are one of a kind.
          For non-fiction, have a laugh while reading about comedic expression. Judd Apatow wrote ‘Sick in the Head,’ which is half memoir, half expose about the lifestyles and characteristics of well-known comedians. Being a comedian himself, the interviews are side-splitting. ‘Originals’ by Adam Grant is a new book that looks at the creative process and the creative person in-depth.
          If you are feeling playful and want to have a laugh, give one of our dozens of witty books a try, not to mention the several comedic options we have on DVD. If you know any good jokes, tomorrow is the day, so tell us one at the desk!
Novels and stories:
Jane Steele: A Confession by Lindsay Faye
Does this beach make me look fat? By Lisa Scottoline
The Taco Cleanse by Wes Allison
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Nonfiction about comedy:      
Originals by Adam Grant
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Self Help:
The life changing magic of not giving a f**k
Works Well With Others by Ross McCammon
Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera
Closing Movie:
Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 21, 2016
           Are you the kind of reader who keeps track of what you read, glancing at it proudly on the sly? Are you the reader who wishes you had a few more reasons to get through the list of books burning a hole in the front of your refrigerator or your bedside stand? Are you the reader that’s getting kind of sick of reading the same formulaic thriller or romance and are looking to break the cycle? I bet you are the reader that loves to be involved in every wacky Library program we can come up with.
          Any of the aforementioned, and others, are encouraged to participate in the Gilford Public Library 2016 Reading Challenge. Everyone likes a challenge, especially the kind that you are already passively working towards. This challenge is fun.
          In 2016, read 40 books that match 40 criteria throughout the year to complete the challenge. Simple enough, but so satisfying in action. Just visit the desk after reading a book or three and bring us your challenge form. Show us the book and witness the incomparable bliss of a librarian using a stamp. By the end of the year, if you have finished the entire list of 40 books, you will win a $25 gift certificate to a local establishment and will be entered to win a grand prize!
          The 40 categories are what I like best of all. There are easy and obvious ones like ‘A National Book Award Winner’ and ‘A Book Published in 2016,’ but there are also fun oddities like ‘A Book With a Lead Who Has Your Job’ and ‘The First Book You See in the Library.’ There are plenty of books in the library to match each category and librarians are on hand to help you find one you’ll enjoy.
          Naturally, we have stringent rules for such an accessible challenge. Participants must have a current Gilford Public Library Card in good standing. Each person can complete one challenge (no more, you 80 book-reading maniacs). Each book must be unique (you can use each book for only one category). Lastly, the books and audiobooks must be checked out from the library.
          There is plenty of year left, but the sooner you start the more likely you are to finish. Even if you don’t intend to complete the list, think of all the stamps and banter that will come with filling your titles in. Be the kind of reader you want to be.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 17, 2016
‘Beware the ides of March. The ides of March are come—Ay, Caesar, but not gone. Remember March, the ides of March remember.’
           Ooh the chills. History is fascinating! The 15th of March came and went like any day, but histories and dramatizations give it so much more meaning. Caesar’s murder had an effect on the world, like so many events, and I want to know how! True stories can be as fascinating as fiction, sometimes more so. Today, let’s talk about new non-fiction releases and the learning opportunities they provide.
          One my favorite recent releases is ‘You Could Look It Up: the reference shelf from ancient Babylon to Wikipedia’ by Jack Lynch. Of course a librarian would appreciate a history of information systems, but the differences and similarities between papyrus card catalogs and Google is probably interesting to anyone who has looked something up…ever. ‘In a Different Key: The Story of Autism’ by John Donvan applies a similarly broad historical perspective to autism. Perceptions of autism have changed drastically throughout history, and Donvan helps to compile them.
          ‘Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder’—at least that is what Claudia Kalb explains in her new book ‘inside the minds of history’s great personalities.’ Equipped with what today knows about psychology and mental disorders, Kalb explores the lives of a spectrum of historic figures to evaluate their mental health.
          Paul Kalanithi’s new memoir, ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ has gotten a deal of attention of late, with good reason. Kalanithi was a trained neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer at 36. His unique perspective as a life-saver, now dying, offers insight into what it takes to face death. ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ is also relevant to the library’s new Being Mortal Series.
          There are also several new self-help, political, relationship, and parenting resources on the shelf. ‘The Importance of Being Little’ by Erika Christakis has been lauded as a go-to resource for young parents. ‘American Girls: social media and the secret lives of teenagers’ by Nancy Jo Sales and ‘Untangled’ by Lisa Damour deal with some of the tougher teen issues with a focus on the technologies teens use.
          We recently stocked up on new travel resources including such destinations as Nepal, the Caribbean, Crete, Ireland, Italy, the Keys and Key West, Maui, and New Orleans.  The constant stream of ever popular cooking books continues—a couple of my favorites are ‘One Dough, Ten Breads’ by Sarah Black and ‘Cravings’ by Chrissy Teigen. Some of the ‘Cravings’ recipes are shockingly tasty. ‘Koreatown’ by Deuki Hong has a variety of Korean staples and experimental dishes.
        A new section in the library is the Graphic Novel section, located right before the travel section. Graphic Novels are a pet favorite of mine, be they young adult or adult, so be sure to check the shelf out for something different!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 10, 2016
Notes from the Gilford Library
          Many of the books readers liked best from 2015 are unique. Some are so incomparable to one another, that we would be crazy to try to pit them in a desperate competition to name the champion ‘Gilford Public Library Book of the Year.’ If we were to do that, some might say that the competition would trivialize the nuanced environments of each book. Others might say that it would be ludicrous to ask people to judge a set of books against one another when they have only read a handful, if any of them at all. Those people might be best suited to recognize that the game is so ridiculous, so absurd, that it’s fun. We mad-people can attest to this because Literary March Madness has already begun.
          Mark: Kayleigh, as the mastermind that thought up this mayhem, can you give us the rundown and tell us how the hootenanny began?
          Kayleigh: Well, March Madness is a basketball thing, as far as I can tell. I’ve never been a huge fan of basketball, but I love books and I love contests, so I thought having a March Madness bracket using the best books of 2015 would be something really cool that the library could do. Using Amazon, NPR, Booklist, Goodreads, and more, I created a bracket using the 16 best books of 2015, and patrons were able to take a bracket home and fill it out. It didn’t matter if they had read the book—it could have been chosen based on the cover, the author, or any whim the contestant came upon. It was just important that people choose what they thought would be the best book. Brackets were due on March 2, and now we’ve entered the voting portion!
          Mark: Sounds like fun. If I wanted to be fun too, how could I participate? Is there a minimum madness requirement?
          Kayleigh: No minimum or maximum madness requirement at all. Now that the voting portion has begun, we have a changing display at the library and on Facebook, where patrons can cast their vote for the best book in that round. Round 1 winner was ‘Girl on the Train,’ and Round 2 was ‘Go Set a Watchman.’  Voting on the rotating pairs of books will continue throughout the month, so just visit and enjoy the ‘ridiculous absurdity,’ as you call it, by voting on the display.
          Mark: When the dust settles at the end of the month, what happens? What’s the endgame?
          Kayleigh: After voting on the last pairing in the bracket, the GPL Champion Book of the Year will be declared (to be honest, I really hope that my favorite book wins). The patron who submitted the most correct bracket before voting started, champion included, will win! That patron will receive a wonderful prize basket, so good luck to all entrants!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, March 3, 2016
If you see someone with a raccoon suntan and a grumpy face, it is probably because they are a New Hampshire skier/boarder disgruntled about the winter we are having. A skier’s mood can rise and fall with the level of the snow. Though this winter has not been kind to snowsports, the skiing tradition of New Hampshire is undaunted. We will ski around the bare patches until we skim the Gunstock pond.
          New Hampshire has a long and fascinating history of skiing. It wasn’t always high speed quad lifts and 10m radius parabolic skis. For New Hampshire residents of yore, skiing had been more about exploration and lifestyle than family recreation. It was a practical means of transportation and exercise in some geographic areas. Before the mechanization of skiing, all skiing was backcountry skiing, and the sport was demanding. Later, New Hampshire colleges adopted skiing as a competitive sport and produced several Olympians. We love skiing in New Hampshire and it has had an effect on local culture.
          This is not merely anecdotally true—Professor E. John B. Allen and other historians have documented the history of skiing in NH for lay folk to learn from. I borrowed both ‘From Skisport to Skiing; One Hundred Years of an American Sport, 1840-1940’ and ‘New Hampshire on Skis’ from the library to learn what I could from Allen. His enthusiasm for the sport can be felt in his writing. The photographs and artwork are breathtaking on their own, but the tidbits of history that accompany each piece conveys to the reader a sense of respect for the people who made New Hampshire’s ski culture possible. Allen also wrote ‘The Culture of Sport and Skiing,’ ‘Skiing in Massachusetts,’ ‘New England Skiing,’ and ‘Historical Dictionary of Skiing.’
          Skiers and history buffs alike can rejoice, therefore, because Professor E. John B. Allen will be coming to the library to share his enthusiasm and expertise in a presentation named ‘NH on Skis.’ The presentation will take place on Tuesday, March 8th from 6:30-7:30pm. The talk is sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council (good on them). The program is free and open to the public. If you ski here on that Tuesday night, please leave your skis and poles outside.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 22, 2016
          One of the most fulfilling things about finishing a book is getting to ask yourself, ‘What am I going to read next?’ Best, question, ever.  Sure, sometimes it is given. If you just finished Janet Evanovich’s ‘Top Secret Twenty One,’ then ‘Tricky Twenty-Two’ will beckon, but single novels here and there can do wonders to shake things up.
          The new releases section of the library is a hive of activity, for that reason. Books are coming and going as quickly as we can move them. When looking for that next read, take a few minutes to scan the new section and find some books that you might have otherwise missed.
          ‘This Census-Taker’ by China Mieville, for example, is a puzzling story told from the perspective of a boy in an environment heavy with imagery and humanity. As the boy-narrator explains the environment and events unfolding, several inconsistencies are evident, causing more questions to arise than are answered.
          If you prefer your fiction realistic, ‘The Swans of Fifth Avenue’ by Melanie Benjamin takes the reader to 1950s New York to witness the larger than life encounter of author Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. Their personalities are gigantic, but the setting and their effect upon it really drive the novel.
          Another novel driven by setting is ‘Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist’ by Sunil Yapa. Yapa describes the violent protests at the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle through the perspectives of several characters in the city. The charged environment keeps the emotion high throughout the book.
To lighten the mood, Julia Claiborne Johnson authored ‘Be Frank With Me,’ a silly story about a writer, her genius and socially inept son, and a new caretaker desperate to keep them from ruining their lives. The characters are endearing and their struggles are not as frustrating as they are adorable.
          For something completely different; ‘Black Rabbit Hall’ by Eve Chase will appeal to romantic mystery or supernatural fiction lovers alike. ‘Arcadia’ by Iain Pears is a new time-traveling science fiction for those who like to do puzzles while they read. ‘The High Mountains of Portugal’ by Yann Martel will appeal to readers looking for a timeless story about several kinds of love and loss.
          Highly anticipated novels by popular authors include: ‘NYPD Red 4’ by James Patterson, ‘Blue’ by Danielle Steel, ‘Find Her’ by Lisa Gardner, ‘Depraved Heart’ by Patricia Daniels Cornwell, ‘The Guest Room’ by Chris Bohjalian, and ‘Cometh the Hour’ by Jeffrey Archer.
          The samplings I’ve described are worth looking at, and so are the dozens of other recently added materials. New materials are added constantly, so be sure to look at the new releases sections the next time you’re in town. Enjoy the books!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 18, 2016
           We are all going to die. I don’t mean to be apocalyptic, and we won’t necessarily die all at once, but we will die. I will certainly die. Before I do, however, it might behoove me to get a better understanding of what the deal with death is, and what it may mean for those near to me who are sticking around for a bit. Recently, Atul Gawande wrote an astonishing book about end of life medicine and the effect that it has on patients and their loved ones. ‘Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End’ has helped many people to think about this often uncomfortable topic and to bring it to conversation.
          There has been so much interest in this topic that Betty Tidd is starting a discussion group at the library called the ‘Being Mortal Series,’ which will meet regularly starting March 17th, from 6:30-7:30pm. I’ve invited her to talk about talking about being mortal with us.
          Mark: Thanks for being here and for being alive. Good on you. Why talk about death and end of life instead of, say, steampunk poetry?
          Betty: Thanks, Mark—as you know, I love the library and it’s always great to see you. Not much can compare with steampunk poetry, perhaps not even the riveting subjects of illness, nursing homes, and dying in hospitals—but consider this: No one wants to end up in a nursing home or die in a hospital. What if I told you that options are available to help us avoid those fates? What if I told you there are options for people (no matter their age) who are facing serious illness? Mark, almost everyone has seen a loved-one die in circumstances not of their choosing and I think it’s high time we talked about how to exit this world in the best way possible.
          Mark: Is the Being Mortal discussion group at all akin to the national Death Café trend? At a death café, attendees talk about capital ‘D’ Death over tea.
Betty: The name “Death Café” is pretty off-putting to me…but their objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives', so yes, in that sense this Being Mortal Series will be similar. I envision a group where we will have directed discussions of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. Yes, we can talk about the nitty-gritty details of “leaving” this life—and, I think that’s enough to talk about, without getting into any “after-life” discussions.
          Mark: Can any mortal come to the club? Should they?
          Betty: Oh, yes. We will even take people who enjoy steampunk poetry—whatever that is.
Mark: The first meeting will have to do with Atul Gawande’s book. What will the ensuing discussions involve?
          Betty: This will be a typical book discussion of “Being Mortal,” a not-so-typical book.  Reading the book before is not required, but encouraged. I am looking forward to seeing what others feel they could benefit from in the future, but if everyone is shy, I certainly have some ideas. Let’s talk about it when we meet!
          Mark: There you have it. Don’t be grim, come talk about death. Copies of ‘Being Mortal’ are available for borrowing from the library. Any last words, Betty?
          Betty: Did I mention I love to bake and that I will happily be providing refreshments?
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 8, 2016
          Some people vacation on luxury cruises where they can tan, relax, watch shows, and feast. Some go to European cities to immerse themselves in culture and history. Dan and Carolyn Brown go backpacking, high elevation hiking, or, most recently, to explore the untamed arctic.
          Last August, Gilford locals Dan and Carolyn Brown went on a two week adventure to the arctic. While there, they explored the fjords, glaciers, icebergs, tundra, and wildlife of Spitsbergen/ Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland. They used a guided program, being 2 of 75 passengers on a 230ft ship, to reach estranged locations. Hiking for several hours each day, they were immersed in almost indescribable natural beauty. I say ‘almost’ because they will visit the library on Tuesday, February 16th, from 6:30-7:30pm to describe the trip and to show their breathtaking photographs.
           I got a jump start on the program by interviewing them about their trip. I pestered them with questions, but, really, they could not say enough about their travels. They explained that it was ‘wild.’ Not only was it an exhilarating trip, but the places they visited were almost totally wilderness. The photographic opportunities themselves are reason enough to go. Their amazement with natural wonders and excitement to share their experiences ensures that their visit is highly anticipated.
          The trip did not take much preparation. Most days of their trip involved leaving the ship and hiking on land (or glacier), so their program required some basic fitness. Dan and Carolyn read a mountain of books before hand and they stocked up on warm, water-proof clothing. Where they were going they would have 24 hours of sunlight, 10 degree days, and up to 55mph windspeeds. With the right gear, however, those conditions add to the environment, instead than detract.
           Dan and Carolyn explained that the greatest resources they had were their guides. These employees of Quark Expeditions are experts in a variety of fields. Not only do they know the spots to take their group, but they can answer questions and offer facts about the environments. Dan and Carolyn strongly recommended using a guide service like Quark Expeditions, because they have the quality staff, provide materials like parkas, they have local connections, and they know where to find wildlife. The food they shared, apparently, was delicious—exhaustion is the best seasoning.
           One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to ‘Ittoqqortoormilt,’ a 460 population village in east Greenland. They were the 2nd ship to visit that year. As they described it, the people were so kindly, and their life style so different, that Dan and Carolyn could see themselves living there.
         Dan and Carolyn’s exploration of the arctic sounds and looks incredible, but just as incredible is their enthusiasm for the trip. You can hear the story from Dan and Carolyn themselves next Tuesday night, February 16th, from 6:30-7:30pm.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, February 2, 2016
       If you visit the library at 11am on a weekday, it may seem like there’s an army of jovial librarians hard at work shelving books, straightening shelves, repairing materials, and helping patrons find materials, all with smiles and hearty chatter. That is a ruse, of course—though an army of librarians sounds awesome. Some of us are librarians, but most are volunteers of the highest caliber.
         We have often mentioned the contributions of our volunteers, but enough cannot be said about them. How would you find the exact book you’re looking for if the odd cooking books were shelved next to James Patterson (I’ve seen it happen)? How would you find books if they were stacked to the ceiling behind the circ desk, for that matter? What if the new books were added to the collection without covers or markings? How would we afford the quality of materials and special collections that we have without the support of the book store or the Friends of the Gilford Public Library? How would our programs be possible without volunteers there helping to coordinate, set up, clean up, or even run the programs? How would…
          Ok, I’ll stop myself there. The library could not be as successful as it is without the volunteers. It would have fewer books, fewer services, fewer programs, and would be less helpful to the community. The staff would spend more time shelving and less time helping patrons; more time maintaining existing materials, and less time providing new resources and programs. So, thank you, volunteers, for being so generous with your time.
         If you would like to volunteer, there are innumerable opportunities for your skills to put to use. Kayleigh Mahan is our volunteer coordinator, and she would be happy to work with you. The community of volunteers is friendly, welcoming, and the best kind of boisterous.
         I would also like to thank all our high school volunteers for their time.  We know that high schoolers and teens are always looking for volunteer opportunities for their high school requirement, resume’s, and college applications. At the library, they can find several such opportunities. The National Honors Society members in particular have given a great deal to the library.
          The effects of volunteerism at the library have a broad reach. Collectively, the volunteers help make the library a community center where all demographics are welcome and supported. So next time you see a volunteer reshelving books, think about thanking them for their generous work.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 25, 2016
        “He pulled her close, their lips coming together, and at that moment, he suddenly knew that this was what he’d wanted all along. He’d wanted her, in his arms, just like this, forever.” As I reached this scene in Nicholas Sparks’ ‘See Me’ my eyes rolled down the street. For some readers, this is a sincere and passionate romance. For me, it was comedy. Why would I read a book that I can barely take seriously? I give all for the book club.
          Oh here we go again, more about the library book clubs… While those are always worth talking about, today I want to talk about home grown book clubs. Book clubs take place at libraries, schools, bars, and homes. I read ‘See Me’ to discuss it with some friends over a couple of pints in Portsmouth. I’ve read philosophical articles to discuss with old college roommates by video chat. Book clubs do not have to be organized by schools and libraries; you can host a book club with a couple of neighbors
          So why be part of a book club? In reading articles on the subject, it’s clear that there is no one answer. People attend book clubs for alarmingly different reasons. Some readers attend clubs to appreciate a genre, some go for an excuse to eat and talk with friends, other readers are looking for rigorous scholarship, expecting a deep analysis of the book. Whatever your reason, you can create a book club to suit your needs or find an existing club to attend. Besides, there are other benefits that you might not expect.
        Have you read anything that shocked you recently (these articles don’t count)? How about anything moving or peculiar, or outside your comfort zone? One universal benefit of being part of a book club is that you are likely to read a book that you would not have read otherwise (even within a genre). When you do that, you learn. Our book club members often arrive saying something like, “This isn’t a book I would have picked, but I’m excited to hear what everyone here thinks about it.” We always leave with a better appreciation for the opinions of other readers, and often learn new ways to approach books in the future.
        Although ‘See Me’ was difficult for me to stomach, our discussion showed me that my wanton presumptions about the book were generally misplaced. Sharing the perspective of other readers helps to give a greater appreciation for a renowned author and genre.
        If you are thinking of starting or joining a home grown book club, chat with one of us at the desk about borrowing books for the club. We can likely borrow several copies for your club from other libraries in the state. If you are looking to join a club, we can help you find one. We also have our monthly book club that meets in the afternoon and evening, the classic book group meeting every other month, and the new Book Bites Cookbook Club meeting monthly.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 19, 2015
Mark: Hi Tracey. You have a new cooking program coming up at the library. As a food consumer and occasional kitchen wrecker, I’m excited. What can I expect at your program?

Tracey: The Book Bites Cook Book Club will meet monthly. Each month we are going to focus on a particular area or theme that we enjoy in cooking. With the Super Bowl right around the corner, we decided to kick off the program with some dishes to serve when watching football! Typically, we will start with an appetizer, before moving on to a main meal, and closing with a dessert. The program will show attendants how to prepare a whole meal, and will include eating the dishes and recipes to take home. It’ll be a sort of soup to nuts program that will evolve based on the interest and input of participants… and the instructor, of course.

Mark: So it’s not just a cooking club, but a cooking, cook book, and eating club?

Tracey: Exactly. We will be using cookbooks that the attendees can find in the library. The nice part about our collection here in the library is that we have cookbooks for almost any cooking style, ingredients, and materials. I have several cookbooks out now in preparation for the program. Testing the recipes is always fun! So, while every month the participants will learn how to prepare each dish, the best part will actually be sharing in them.

Mark: You are an expert on cook books and cooking materials. What are some of your favorite resources at the library?

Tracey: That’s really nice of you to say, but I am no expert. I do love to cook, however, and I love to ready all about cooking from the cookbooks themselves to the people creating all these wonderful recipes. Some of my favorites include any cookbooks by Giada de Laurentiis of Ida Garten; you will not be disappointed in their recipes. Ruth Reichl is an amazing food writer. I also love the way the Library’s cook book section is categorized.

Mark: I have tasted some of the food you’ve prepared and, wow, it’s good. How did you learn to cook like that?

Tracey: My mother was a fabulous cook. She instilled in me a love for cooking. We were always in the kitchen with her growing up. In college, when living in the dorms, I would cook out of a toaster oven. I have always been reading cookbooks and I enjoy cooking. In fact, I have a couple of cook books by my bedside now.

Mark: What do you hope that attendees to the program will take away from it?

Tracey: Most of all, that cooking can be enjoyable… even if you don’t have a lot of experience or are pressed for time. We’ll share some good food, take some new recipes home, and, I am sure, learn from each other!

Mark: Can any buffoon with a spatula come to the program or is it pros only?

Tracey: I have never heard the term “buffoon with a spatula,” but the program is for anyone interested in cooking, no matter what your level. Remember I am “Mom-trained,” and just have a passion for cooking that I want to share.

Mark: Well, I’m sold. The first meeting is on Tuesday, January 26th from 5-6:30pm, so be sure to sign up soon. Any advice for the amateur cooks of Gilford?

Tracey: As my husband says (and he is a good cook) if you can read, you can cook. Don’t be intimidated, and come join us for some good fun and food!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 15, 2015
At first, I looked at the colored pencils with skepticism. ‘I’m supposed to color these coloring pages? There are no children in the room. I’m an adult, more or less, should I really be coloring?’ I thought. Two hours later I was deeply relaxed and a little euphoric, with a scattering of heinously colored pages before me. I had indulged in a recent de-stressing trend—that of coloring for adults.
          To explain the trend, I went to our resident expert, Kayleigh Mahan. I asked her why she thinks coloring for adults has become so popular. She said, “Activities that are soothing and peaceful will always be popular. Coloring is relaxing. You don’t have to be good at it—you shouldn’t be good at it… it’s coloring. It’s fun; it’s not stressful. You can stop and pick it up anytime.”
It turns out that several people color in their spare time. Kayleigh explained that you can color whenever your hands are free: When watching TV, down time when cooking, or a bit of quiet recovery time after work. A few coloring pages later and you will mellow out. There are coloring pages available for purchase or free to print which depict everything from simple animals to impressionist art.
          Now, you can even color at the library in a monthly program that promises to be the most laid back program we have ever had. Last year had a couple of coloring programs, but demand indicted the desire for a monthly space for patrons to meet, relax, snack, and chat. Yes, there are seasonal snacks and drinks at Coloring and Mocktails to add to the atmosphere, and they are universally delicious.
          Coloring and Mocktails meets on the first Tuesday of every month from 6-8pm. There is no sign-up, all adults are welcome. Snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and coloring supplies are provided. All you need to bring is some stress to shed.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, January 4th, 2016
          The holiday wave is over, but the effect of the several sheets of cookies I ate is not. I suppose it is no coincidence that New Year’s resolutions come on the back of holiday gorging. To work off the ludicrous quantity of cookies I ate, or ‘we ate,’ if you don’t mind being included, we will have to do a ludicrous amount of exercise and healthy eating. That is why there is a bit of a run on our health and fitness materials this time of year.
          Mercifully, we are always on the lookout for new and useful materials for health and fitness. For inspiration, try What Makes Olga Run by Bruce Grierson. Grierson follows the fascinating journey of Olga Kotelko, a runner in her 90s with over 20 world records to her name. By following her tale, Grierson tries to understand what makes Olga so determined and so capable by looking at her personality, health habits, and genetics. What Makes Olga Run can prove to its reader that boundaries can be pushed if the will is there.
          There are several neat books about starting small. Get Up! by James Levine makes the case that our collective health can improve immensely simply by spending less time sitting. Having a stretch or walk can help us to feel refreshed, but it can be difficult to remember that when relaxing at home or at the end of a work day. When I need motivation, I just think of the area we live in. The Lakes Region is gorgeous and I should be spending more time getting up and enjoying it.
          For the motivated, try Jennifer Cohen’s Strong is the New Skinny. The title may be off-putting, but among the workouts and healthy habits she describes is the constant message that your body can be something to be proud of. She emphasizes that being fit is achievable and empowering.
          How we eat is as important as what we do. My favorite new resource is The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Just carrying the tomb is a workout unto itself, but cover to cover it is packed with detailed information about the properties of foods and the ways we prepare them. Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi is as inventive and delicious a vegetable cookbook as you will find. The Hungry Girl Diet Cookbook has plenty more low calorie recipes from now world famous Lisa Lillien. Crazy Sexy Juice by Kris Carr has been crazy popular at the library, probably on account of how delicious fresh smoothies can be year round.
          There are many more books to mention, but there are also fitness DVDs and occasional cooking and fitness programs, all at the Library. Be sure to say hello at the desk, on the trails, and on the slopes!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 21, 2015

          After-school is a wild time in town. The library and community center get an influx of students doing homework, going on the computers, reading, and hanging out with friends. It is wonderful to see the students spending time in constructive environments.
          We are always trying to provide programming to grab the interest of these students and to help them learn—and we are not the only ones. That effort is in in-line with one of the great initiatives that have gained popularity nation-wide; Maker-Space programming! ‘Maker-Space’ is a buzz-phrase referring to providing space and resources to encourage creation and invention.
          So the Children’s Librarian had a fresh idea for a program that will meet three weeks every month specifically for the 8-11 age range. This after-school maker-space program will involve a new project every week it meets and the theme will change monthly. With each new theme we hope to appeal to the interests of another set of students. Just as we have books for a wide variety of interests, we aim to have programming to match.
          As it was, however, the program didn’t involve nearly enough buzz-phrases, so the library sought out some ‘synergistic collaborative innovation.’ After meeting with the Gilford Youth Center, and Gilford Parks and Recreation, we thought that a collaborative effort would make the program even more effective and fun. Depending on the week and the activity, the club will take place at the library, community center, or another site in town. This way, regulars at each location will have exposure to the others, and our combined resources will help to keep the program engaging.
The program will begin this January with the Messy-Art Club. Think splatter paint and cackling laughter. Any students who like art, laughter, or fun should consider attending. February looks like a good time to cook up some concoctions at the Cooking Club (chef hats optional). After that, who knows? We will keep the students on their toes with the variety of themes and activities. If messy art and cooking aren’t of interest, then check back another month for something new. Any student age 8-11 is welcome to sign up for these three session clubs, though there is very limited room.
          The generous support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library will make this program possible. It is free to participate and all of the supplies will be provided. You might be thinking, ‘Wait, an after-school club with activities of all kinds that is organized by the Library, the Youth Center, and Parks & Rec., that’s free?!’ Yup. I’m stoked, psyched, and out-of-my-mind excited for this program.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 16, 2015
       I love a good story. Action packed scenes, riveting characters, mysterious anti-heroes, grandiose charm, absurd adventures in space or gritty realistic war stories—I cannot get enough of them.
         Books are classic, and they are my favorite medium, but stories can be told in several ways. I like to listen to storytellers put personal spins on the tales they tell. I play interactive and immersive video games. Going to the theater is a grand and often emotional experience. For most people, however, film is the only medium that seems to really compete with books.
         If a picture is worth a thousand words, then just think about how many words a film is worth at 24 frames per second. Film is a versatile medium, and the technologies are always improving. One look at the library collection available for loan will give you an idea of the myriad stories and styles that films produce. We have blockbusters, classics, documentaries, foreign films, and an astonishing collection of television shows and mini-series. If you haven’t been borrowing films at the library, then consider taking a look at the collection. Some Gilford residents don’t even know they are here.
Of course, we celebrate film in our programming in addition to our collection. Several events at the library include film screenings. On most Gilford school early release days, we show a movie for elementary schoolers in the meeting room at 1:30pm, and we show a movie for teens in the teen room at 12:30pm.
          The adventurous can look forward to Foreign Movie Night, which meets once a month to watch a foreign film from a different part of the world. Whether you are a cinephile or simply enjoy stories as I do, Foreign Movie Night is a place where you can get your kicks.
          If you have been following Downton Abbey, then you know that the sixth and final season is coming out in January. Join other fans to talk about the series at the Downton Abbey Premiere Tea Party on Tuesday, December 29th from 6:30-8pm. There will not necessarily be popcorn, but there will be fabulous snacks, tea, games, and the opportunity to watch the season five finale. You can sign up for this by calling or visiting the library.
         Whether for entertainment or education, the library has materials to match. If we don’t have a film you are looking for, just ask to put a request in and Joanne will see if we can borrow a copy from another library (this goes for other materials too). She’ll do it with a smile to boot.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 7, 2015
Let’s face it, there is no fighting the overwhelming onset of holiday spirit. If you are invigorated by the season, then power to you, otherwise the best we can do is to go along for the ride. This may mean eating cookies, humming carols, and generally enjoying ourselves. To help us endure the holiday season, here are some books that fit the mood. Forewarning; some of the titles I’m about to discuss have to do with love and family. I attribute it to coincidence.
Let’s start light with Elin Hildebrand’s novel ‘Winter Stroll.’ This sequel to last year’s holiday read, ‘Winter Street,’ makes a caricature of family mayhem when returning characters and their several life struggles collide on Nantucket during the Winter Stroll Christmas tradition. The drama is balanced by the charming setting.
Charming novels are plentiful this time of year, including several by favorite authors. Love story fans can enjoy Richard Paul Evans’ ‘The Mistletoe Inn.’ At the Mistletoe Inn, a writer’s passion for literature and love are blended amidst life turmoil. Debbie Macomber tells a cozy tale of chance love and adventure in ‘Dashing Through the Snow.’ I prefer playing Clue myself, so I’ll mention Anne Perry’s ‘A Christmas Escape.’ Few Christmas stories involve volcanos and murder, but ‘A Christmas Escape’ does and more.
We don’t have to read only Christmas all-stars for our emotional education. Paolo Giordano’s new literary novel ‘Like Family,’ also gets the reader thinking about family, but in a much more somber tone. The narrator and his wife mourn the loss of Mrs. A, a woman who lived and worked with the family since the wife’s first pregnancy. When she suddenly leaves and they learn of her cancer diagnosis, they look back and recognize the hole that she left in their lives. Giordano’s tale of reliance and relationships may be enlightening.
Between me and you, ‘A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding’ by Jackie Copleton is an impactful historic perspective on relationships. Copleton’s debut novel follows Amaterasu Takahashi, a Nagasaki native who lost her daughter and grandson to the atomic bomb. Forty years since, she is widowed and living in Pennsylvania, where a man claiming to be her grandson stirs up potent emotions and memories. ‘A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding’ draws a picture of a life that will appeal to literary fiction, historic fiction, and/or romance fans.
‘The Improbability of Love’ by Hannah Rothschild will probably entertain with its several layers of intrigue and culture. This clever and witty saga of a chef and the valuable piece of art that she stumbled upon will make for attentive reading.
Whatever your style, there are books to match. As we settle in for winter, stop by and ask us for a recommendation based on what you have enjoyed most. With any luck, you will leave with a book or two to compliment this wonderful month.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, December 2, 2015
          December is upon us and it is a great time of year. There is so much to do! Between visitors, December vacation, holidays, final winter preparations (or all winter preparations for us procrastinators), and the first skiing opportunities, there is barely any time for the best activities like reading and library visits. To compete with all of the distractions that vie for our time, we at the Library set out to make December a month where the events are simply too fun to pass up.
          The month has already kicked off with ‘Prepare for the Holidays, Without the Added Pounds’ with Judy Cook and ‘Seasonal Arrangements With Jane Rollins.’ Period enthusiasts can also look forward to another ‘Downton Abbey Premiere Tea Party’ on Tuesday, December 29th from 6:30-8pm. Season six is the last season, so sign up for this final chance to celebrate the series with tea, games, snacks, and classic wit.
          The Candlelight Stroll is a highlight (sorry) of the month for many in town. On Saturday, December 12th from 4-7pm the Gilford Public Library Meeting Room will be a destination of the stroll with a craft, radio presence, line dancing, and cookies!
Cookies are a bit of a theme this December, like every other December, and we have several opportunities to eat them at the Library. We are hosting a ‘Cookie Swap’ for adults on Tuesday, December 15th from 6:30-7:30pm, so sign up to bring your favorite cookies and recipe to share and swap with others.
Some of the kids have told us that cookies and hot cocoa go together, so we decided to give it a go at the ‘Drop-In Cocoa and Coloring: For Adults and Children.’ Children K-8 and their caregivers are invited to drop by, relax, color, and eat together.
Children are also invited to create gingerbread houses at the Library. Sign up is required and spots are going quickly, so be sure to sign up soon. Preschoolers can create at 10:30am or 1:30pm on Tuesday, December 8th. Elementary schoolers can create at 3:30pm on December 8th or the same time on Wednesday, December 9th.
Food is not the only thing we create at the library: Both children and teens can create holiday presents at the Santa’s Workshops! Teens are welcome to make sharpie mugs, snow globes, necklaces, and more on Tuesday December 15th from 3-4:30pm. Elementary schoolers are welcome after the early release on Wednesday, December 16th from 1:30-3:30pm. In both cases sign-up is required so please contact the library to reserve a spot. These programs are free thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library (Thanks!).
After all of the exhaustingly fun activities this month, children in 4th grade or younger can watch Minions in their PJs with their caregiver on New Years Eve at 10am. I’m sure each of us could use a day in our PJs after this greatest of months.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 16, 2015
           Thank you, authors, for sharing your experiences with us. In reading, we benefit from your insights and struggles, and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful.
          I’d like to express gratitude by talking about some of our favorite books that emphasize the importance of being thankful for what you have, even when it may not seem like much. John Kralik, for one, expressed his gratitude in writing every day for a year before writing 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. John’s memoir explains how down and out his life seemed before he decided to focus less on what he had or wished he had, and more on what he has. His newfound positivity helped to improve his relationships and his life.
          Elizabeth Alexander also wrote a personal memoir that is emphatic about the need for gratitude in the face of hardship in The Light of the World. In her case, she reflects on the joy that her marriage had brought her, even after husband’s premature death. Though she no longer has him to share in her experiences, she is grateful for the time they did have. Through her poetry, Elizabeth is able to convey to the reader that being grateful can help in recovering from loss when you need to the most.
          Tragedy can give us a sharp reminder not to take things for granted. Books about tragedy can remind us even before tragedies occur. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness is a personal memoir by Susannah Cahalan that tells the experience of a rare disease which altered her personality almost overnight. Susannah pieces together her experience of trauma brought on by brain-inflammation by interviewing her family, doctors, and nurses. Despite her illness being apparently mental, the devotion of her divorced parents, her boyfriend, and a few clever doctors, the source of her mania is solved and she gradually becomes herself again. Susannah describes how she almost lost everything that she had taken for granted, and came to appreciate her family and medical professionals in the process.
          Several stories can help us to emphasize and to value what we have, whether fiction or non-fiction. Honorable mentions to All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw, Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruegar. I am grateful to these writers for sharing their experiences with us. 
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 9, 2015
New releases are exciting! I am constantly checking best seller lists, upcoming hits, debut talents, as if I had read every book worth reading published prior to November, 2015.
Sometimes, however, a patron comes in looking for ‘Crime and Punishment’ instead of the latest James Patterson, and I’m reminded that some novels have had their quality time-tested. The best of the best we name ‘classics,’ and they are guaranteed to be awesome. After all, their competition is everything written ever, not just those released in the past month or two.
If you haven’t decided what to read next, ask Abi Maxwell, our resident expert on classics and host of the Classics Book Group, for a recommendation and you will not be disappointed. I took the opportunity to ask Abi some questions myself.
Mark: Hey Abi. I know that you read a balance of contemporary and classic fiction, and I’ve loved every book that you’ve recommended to me, how do you decide what book to go for next?
Abi: Well, if I’ve just read an incredible contemporary book, I often read a classic next, because otherwise it’s hard to not be disappointed. But sometimes I want something light, too—I love graphic novels for that.
Mark: Agreed, but classics are… old. How interesting can they really be?
Abi: You should ask the people in our group! I know some of the readers have been bored to death by some of my choices. Classics often create a slower, fuller world, and in that way demand a different kind of attention, I think. Sometimes we’re not in the mood for that. That said, I do love that our group sees enduring themes—emotions from Pride and Prejudice just as relevant today as when they were written at the end of the 18th century, for example.
Mark: What, besides the good old days of yore, do you talk about at the Classics Book Club?
Abi: I try to begin with information about the author, and then about the work itself—what that particular book did that no other book had yet done, either in form or content. Then we move on to general discussion of the book, similar to most book groups, I think.
Mark: How are the books chosen for the club?
Abi: The first list I chose somewhat randomly, based on books that I loved or that other people had suggested. After that, I decided that it would do us well to practice reading classics by jumping to the modernist age for a bit. So, this round (September through March) has been roughly 1915 – 1940. If people are up to it, in the next round we’ll jump back to some Victorian-era books.
Mark: If someone was thinking to attend the Classics Book Group, what would you say to them?
Abi: Please do! Also, don’t be scared. Classics—or at least the ones we’ll read—are generally just really, really good stories. And some of them, like this month’s (The Great Gatsby) read just as quickly as a contemporary book.
Mark: Do you meet at sunrise in the old barn?
Abi: Yes. Also on some Tuesdays evenings at the library, including November 17th at 6:30pm.
          Mark: Thank you for your insight Abi.
Abi: Thanks.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, November 3, 2015
I cut a book the other day.
It was a misprint—who would miss it? I cut it, drew on it, folded it, ripped it, and tore pages out. I did it in the name of art and I will do it again. On August 12th, in fact, teens, Kayleigh and I will use discarded books as crafting materials to make… whatever we want.
We are not the only ones. Bookcrafting is becoming an increasingly popular activity at libraries, schools, and every corner of Etsy and Pinterest. A book shelf is a decoration in its own right, but we can make things with books as bizarre or elegant as we like. And, so help me, it’s fun!
          There may be several reasons bookcrafts are so popular, but I think a few reasons stand out. Old and discarded books are abundant. There’s only so much space in homes, schools, and libraries, and, despite our best care, books wear out. Most crafters will have no trouble finding books to work with. Books are also a versatile medium. I’ve seen things made with books from Christmas ornaments to three dimensional, post-apocalyptic cityscapes. As a bonus, crafts made from books remind us of something we all love—books!
          If you can fold paper then you can bookcraft. With some scissors, glue, Xacto knives, and some imagination you can get fancy. Try your hand at it at one of our events, with friends, or on your own when the cold keeps you in. One can make prints out of favorite book covers, or collage’s out of lettering. You can create decorative staples like notebooks, calendars, and stationary. Stop by to chat with Kayleigh or myself about bookcrafting ideas and resources.
          For adults, Kayleigh will host the ‘Bookcraft: Bookpage Holiday Greeting Cards’ program on Thursday, November 19th from 6:30-7:30pm. Recycled book pages will be used to make festive holiday greeting cards and any other stationary participants would like. Please sign up ahead of time by calling the library at (603)524-6042 or visiting the desk.
          Again, teens in grades 5-12 are welcome to join Kayleigh and myself on Thursday November 12th from 3-4pm to make bookcrafts in anyway desired. There will be plenty of materials on hand, but if you have some discarded books to use, by all means bring them. Hope to see you there; let’s get crafty.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 26, 2015
        All year round we have patrons talking about their favorite seasons. Skiers laugh the cold off through winter. Gardeners rub their hands together each spring. Parents grab beach reads for when they take their kids outside in summer. Autumn seems universally enjoyed, but there is one population that is particularly ecstatic this time of year: Foliage photographers.
          New England is abuzz with photographers walking, hiking, or driving to find the most gorgeous shot. Since the New Hampshire treescapes are staggeringly beautiful, anyone with a point-and-shoot camera in a backyard will take good pictures. To really help us amateurs take it to the next level, I interviewed a couple self-named ‘amateur enthusiasts’ from the Gilford Clickers Photography Club. They had plentiful advice to give, so I hope that sharing will benefit us all.
           “You don’t have to be an art major to do it,’ Charles Bickford explains. The best way to improve is in practice and experimentation. Take a few hundred shots and look at them all. What do you like about some and dislike about others? Connie hopes that amateur photographers will ‘look for the unusual, look all around you, take close-ups as well as landscapes, shoot at different times of day.’ She recommends looking at professional photographs to discern the qualities you are looking for. Don’t let other photographers intimidate you, but learn from them.
          Every photographer’s greatest concern is lighting. For foliage photography, we have to look out for the brightness of the sky relative to the tree line. ‘Fall colors will photograph more intensely in low-light,’ Connie explains. We can adjust the composition of the shot to capture more even brightness, especially when using a phone or point-and-shoot camera, or we can use filters to account for the difference. Charles recommends a graduated filter to even out the bright sky. A polarizing filter will reduce glare.
          The final touch to improve our photographs is in digital editing. Charles uses Photoshop mostly, but he also recommends Picasa as a free service for those new to editing. As a lover of all things digital, I have had some success and a great deal of fun editing photos in Picasa.
          After my conversation with Charles and Connie, it became clear to me that the single best thing for us to do when looking to improve our foliage photography is to join the Gilford Clickers! Each meeting they offer a new seasonal challenge to the members (the last one was foliage photography), discuss their methods, and admire and critique their photographs. It’s a friendly environment to chat about a beloved hobby. They meet monthly on the second Tuesday from 6:30-7:30pm. Have fun clicking!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, October 21, 2015
Can public libraries contribute to individual and community well-being? Yes.
OK, I may be somewhat biased, so let’s think through the question. One look at the Library’s mission statement will show that the Library has community centric goals. Obvious goals include the promotion of literacy, access to information, and the right to read. Beyond that, the Library aims to be a hub of community interaction and personal development.
John Pateman, Chief Librarian of the Thunder Bay Public Library, recently published the article ‘Public Libraries and Well-Being’ online at ‘’ to talk about how libraries contribute to individual and community well-being. Pateman uses a definition of well-being that emphasizes quality education and ‘access to and participation in leisure and culture.’  He explains that both cultural enrichment and leisure promote quality of life and life satisfaction. The evidence he provides support the idea that libraries are centers for readership and social involvement.
In our community, education, history, and leisure are treasured. In fact, most visits to the library pertain to one or more of these purposes. Kids come to play and read (secretly they are learning). Students come to do homework and socialize. Parents come for home-schooling materials and to socialize. Grandparents come to do genealogical or town research and to socialize. And everyone comes to find interesting or entertaining reading, audiobooks, and movies—and to socialize.
We try to meet these needs on two fronts: the collection and programing. Our collection is developed so that any patron visiting the library can find something to enrich their lives. The benefits of reading go without saying, especially in print, but I’ll say anyway that reading can reduce stress, help sleeping, improve concentration, and even, as Pateman explains, improve one’s empathy and health. When combined with programing that goes beyond the collection, my first response doesn’t seem so rash.
Knowing that the resources of the New Hampshire Room, local art displays, and dozens of open-to-the-public programs are all available at the same place makes me believe that libraries can contribute to individual and community well-being. If you aren’t yet convinced, then look to the involvement of volunteers, Friends of the Gilford Public Library, program organizers, and every patron. Thank you for making this community great.
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas October 5, 2015
Think about how often you grab a snack when sitting down with a book or watching a show. Now think about how many times you ate way more of that snack than you meant to. When I relax with a book at the end of the day with a cup of tea and a bag of pretzels, those pretzels don’t stand a chance.
Mindless and distracted eating is something that many of us do to occupy time even when we are not hungry. Being conscious of how much you are eating can help to prevent over-eating, improving your energy and health. After eating a pound of pretzels, even reading is exhausting.
          Mercifully, there are several things we can do to break the habit: Be conscious of your servings, avoid eating when otherwise entertained, and come to the library to hear from Chef and Food Enthusiast Liz Barbour! Liz is a lifelong chef, caterer, instructor, and gardener. She will be presenting “Mindful Eating With Liz Barbour” at the library to help us identify the cycle of mindless eating. Liz’s methods are simple, straightforward, and effective.
          Liz’s experience in cooking and nutrition has been developed in the catering and restaurant scenes in the Boston area since 1992. Her presentation will celebrate healthy, mindful eating with ingredients that satisfy. She often uses ingredients from her own garden for her cooking demonstrations and classes. With all of the home gardens in Gilford, we can look forward to putting them to even tastier use with Liz’s techniques.
           What I’m looking forward to most about Liz Barbour’s visit is the cooking demonstration. Liz will cook two healthy, seasonal dishes with samples for all. If the food is anything like it looks on Liz’s blog, ‘,’ then those pretzels will have to wait for another evening.
          If you ever eat mindlessly or overeat despite yourself, then sign up for “Mindful Eating With Liz Barbour.” Her presentation will be on October 22nd from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. 
Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, September 10, 2015

          One of the most frequently asked questions at the Circulation Desk is “what should I read next?” Sometimes, if I’ve had my coffee that morning, it is pretty easy to come up with a few recommendations. Other days, my mind goes completely blank and I cannot recall a single title! Recommendations can be a challenge, particularly if a patron has just finished a fantastic book and want another just like it – or if they are going through a rough patch and simply can’t find a book they like. But, recommendations have always been one of my favorite parts of working at the library! It’s exciting when you’re able to finally match someone with just the right book they were looking for.
          I’ll admit though, even Librarians with all of our book knowledge sometimes need a helping hand when it comes to recommendations. I thought I would share some of the resources that I turn to when I’m stumped on what to read or recommend next!
          The resources I turn to the most for recommendations on the fly are the booklists available at the Circulation Desk. Listing many recommendations in a number of categories, these booklists are the perfect place to start when you’re looking for your next read. Historical, Mysteries, Thrillers, Literary, Survival and Rescue, and more…there is a booklist for just about every genre. Each trifold booklist is also subdivided into sub-genres to help you narrow down even further what you’re looking for. These booklists are also now available on the online catalog so you can access them and place reserves on desired books from home.
          Another favorite online resource of mine is NoveList. NoveList is also accessible through the online catalog and is a huge wealth of information related to all things literary. I use NoveList frequently to find read-alikes for authors or books that I have enjoyed. The colorful format and easy navigability of the site help you track down items quickly. Novelist is also a great resource for finding book suggestions for kids and teens because you can narrow down your search results by age or reading level. You can access Novelist through a link on the Gilford Library Catalog – just login to your online account using your borrower barcode and your phone number password and click on the Novelist icon.
          Other helpful online resources are Fantastic Fiction and Goodreads.
Goodreads is akin to a Facebook for book lovers and readers. Visitors to the site can create a personal account and build and share booklists with other users! Fantastic Fiction is a broad database of bibliographies for over 30,000 authors and contains information on over 350,000 from both the U.S. and U.K. publishers. I encourage you to try exploring some of these resources and see if any new books make their way onto your reading list! Happy reading!
Notes from the Library
by Mark Thomas, September 1, 2015
Remember when you signed up for your first library card? Did you feel the weight of responsibility and awe at the opportunities a library card offered? If you haven’t yet signed up for a library card, then I can tell you that doing so is empowering. Giving a child their first library card is one of the greatest joys that we have at the library. That’s why Library Card Sign Up Month, September, is one of my favorite months of the year.
          If your young reader doesn’t have a library card, then there is no better time to get one than right at the start of school. The library is a safe place for students to come to hang out, do homework, attend our myriad programs, and, of course, read for the joy of reading! Here is a place where students can be productive and get excited about reading.
          Although we love to see young readers fascinated by the print books, a library card offers much more than the books in our collection. There are ebooks, audiobooks, museum passes, telescopes, educational kits, and such a variety of programs that patrons of any interest will find something to benefit from. Patrons of any age can find use in the variety of technologies and materials available.
          This year, Snoopy is the honorary chair of Library Card Sign Up Month and he has a favor to ask of new library card holders of all ages. He left his library cards somewhere in the library and he needs help finding them! New library card holders will be given a clue as to where he may have left it. Even current library card holders can help Snoopy to find his misplaced cards.
In further celebration of all current teen cardholders, September is also Teen Volunteer Amnesty Month. If overdue fines have kept your teen from checking out materials, this month is the perfect opportunity to give back to the library and wipe your library card’s slate clean! For each hour students in grades 5 and up volunteer during the month of September, $3.00 in overdue fines will be waived. We want you to be able to use your library card so take advantage of this opportunity!
For patrons of any ages, a library card is a powerful tool. If your whole family doesn’t have a library card already, then Library Card Sign Up Month is the perfect time to share that joy and opportunity. We hope to see you at the desk. 
Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, August 24, 2015
As August begins to wind down, the Library is hard at work preparing for Fall programming! In the Children’s Room, we’re looking forward to a very busy September as our first session of storytimes runs from September 7th – October 12th. During each session through the fall and winter months, the Children’s Room will offer 4 programs; Lapsit Storytime, Storytime, Music & Movement, and Bilingual Storytime (English/Spanish).
          Lapsit Storytime is open to children ages two and under with their caregiver. Abi will lead the group in stories, songs, and nursery rhymes. Lapsit Storytime will take place on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:00am. This special storytime will be a drop-in session, no sign-up is required!
          Maria will lead Music & Movement – a fun program for ages 0-5 years (with caregiver). In this special music-themed storytime, children will sing, dance, drum, and learn to make music together while listening to engaging stories. Music & Movement will take place on Thursdays from 10:30 – 11:15am.
          Maria will also lead a new storytime this fall – Bilingual Storytime! Led in both Spanish and English, this storytime is a great opportunity for children to experience another language while listening to stories, singing songs and making a craft. Bilingual Storytime will take place on Fridays, from 10:30 – 11:15am.
          Lura will lead Storytime on Tuesdays from 11:15 – 11:45. Designed for older children ages 3-5, Storytime is a chance for children to fall in love with reading through songs, stories, and rhymes. A fun social outing for younger kids, Storytime has always been a favorite activity of young visitors to the Library!
          Help introduce your child to a love of learning this Fall at the Gilford Library. No age is too young to start listening to and appreciating the many stories and books that fill the shelves of the Children’s Room. Sign-ups for this first session begin on August 24th and sign-up is required to attend Music & Movement, Bilingual Storytime, and Storytime for ages 3-5. If you have any questions about any of this fall’s programs, please stop by or give us a call at (603) 524-6042. 
Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, August 18, 2015
         August 14th marked the end of another busy summer reading program. In addition to the Summer Reading Program itself, the Library also hosted a large number and variety of different programs and activities for children, teens, and adults all summer long. We’ve all been very busy working to keep the schedule full of fun programs, but we’ve all also found the time to read a few books on the side. We’ve decided to share some of our favorite reads of the summer with you in hopes that you will give a few picks a try this fall!
          My absolute favorite book of the summer was The Secret Wonder of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, followed closely by The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. Both debut novels, these books are full of beautiful writing and multi-layered stories. The Secret Wonder of the Earth is set in a small town fraught with the problems associated with nearby mountaintop-removal coal mining operations and local stresses come to an explosive head when a hate crime seriously injures a prominent voice against the mining operations. The Book of Speculation brings to mind a fanciful mixing of Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This novel follows a line of circus performers through several decades as each woman meets an untimely end. At the end of the line is Simon, a young librarian who is drawn into investigating the sad history of the women in his family when a mysterious record of the circus arrives at his door. The novel’s pace quickens dramatically when Simon realizes that his sister may be the next to succumb to their family’s curse. Both impressive debuts, I encourage you to give one – or both a try!
          The most popular staff pick of the summer was Station Eleven by Emily St. John. A runaway hit by a debut author, Station Eleven was a favorite of more than a few staff members. We loved it so much in fact that we’ve decided to do a book discussion on the book this September! Set twenty years after a devastating flu pandemic swept across the world and brought an end to civilization as we know it, Station Eleven follows a young woman who travels between remaining settlements with a small troupe of actors and musicians – all dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. Kristin and the rest of The Traveling Symphony face many harrowing challenges along the road but persist against all odds. Unusual and captivating, Station Eleven is a literary treat that will leave you wanting more.
            Another favorite staff read of the summer was A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell. This magnificent novel is about three unforgettable sisters who revisit their family’s extraordinary legacy in the final days of 1999. Venturing through threads of history, personal memory, and family lore, they set out to weave an account of their lives that stretches back decades. Funny and original, A Reunion of Ghosts is a beautifully written story that redefines what it means to be a family.
            Other staff favorites include The Girls From Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe, The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, and The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly.
I hope that some of these recommendations find their way into your book bag this fall and if you’re ever looking for your next great book to read, try a Staff Pick! We keep a small notebook of our top picks here at the Circulation Desk and it’s a great resource to browse if you’re stuck on what to read next. Happy reading!
Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, August 10, 2015


It’s hard to believe, but the end of the summer is quickly approaching. School supplies are beginning to fill the shelves of local stores, and families are filling the remaining weekends of the summer with last-minute trips and plans. When building your end-of-summer schedule, be sure to pencil in a few more trips to the Gilford Public Library and don’t forget to reserve the weekend of August 29th for Gilford Old Home Day!

Initiated in 1899 by Governor Frank Rollins, Old Home Days have traditionally been a time for townspeople to come together to celebrate and showcase the spirit and nature of New Hampshire’s small towns through parades, fireworks, games, food, and more. Old Home Days have a unique way of connecting people with their local history and with each other.

          Here at the Library we love Old Home Day, and look forward to our Book, Pie and Ice Cream Sales all summer! This year we will once again continue our delicious yearly tradition and will kick off our sales on Friday, August 28th from 4:00 – 7:00pm. The Book, Pie and Ice Cream Sale will continue on Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. A large assortment of hardcover, paperback, children’s and teen books will be for sale under the tent and in the Bookworm Shop. We will also be selling slices of homemade pie and ice cream generously donated by Sawyer’s Dairy Bar. A wide assortment of pies will be available for $4.00 a slice or you can combine a slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream for only $5.00!

           A lot of volunteer help is needed to help the Library get ready for this busy sale. From sorting books, setting up tables, and working as cashiers as well as baking pies and scooping ice cream, our amazing volunteers help to make the yearly sale a success time and time again. If you would like to help out with the book sale or bake pies for the pie sale, please stop by the Library. If you have any other questions about the annual sales, email or give us a call at (603) 524-6042.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, August 3, 2015


          This summer has been another busy one here at the Library! As we enter into the final beautiful month of summer, don’t forget to swing by the Library in between trips to the beach or hikes in New Hampshire’s incredible mountain ranges. The Library has a few more programs for children, teens and adults to finish out this busy summer.

          Looking for last minute plans this evening? Come to the library for a presentation by U.S. Army Veteran Luis Carlos Montalvan and his faithful companion and service dog, Tuesday. Luis is the bestselling author of “Until Tuesday”, a memoir of the personal challenges he and Tuesday each faced before finding comfort in each other. Luis will present from 6:30-7:30 pm. Luis and Tuesday will return on Friday, August 7th for a very special children’s storytime from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. They will share Luis’ children’s book, “Tuesday Tucks Me In”.

          Next, we will celebrate the culmination of another successful Summer Reading Program with a Finale Party for children and their caregivers on Friday, August 14th from 3:00-4:00 pm. There will be games, treats, and prizes for the many child participants in the summer reading program. Friday will also be the last day that adults and teens will be able to submit their reading logs and earn raffle tickets for the final weekly prize, so stop by and earn credit for the last few books on your log!

          The last teen program of the summer will take place on Tuesday, August 18th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. It’s Tech Tuesday and we will be experimenting with a robot that is on loan to us from the New Hampshire State Library. The Recon Rover is a small programmable robot that can make sounds, play back recorded messages, and navigate around obstacles. Teens in this program will learn basic computer programming and program the Rover to complete tasks and follow an obstacle course. This program is open to kids and teens in Grades 5 and up. Please sign up at the Circulation Desk.

          The final adult program of the summer will be an author visit with Katy Regnery on Tuesday, August 18th at 6:30pm. Katy Regnery is the author of The Vixen and The Vet, a modern retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, as well as many other romantic and standalone novels. She has published in both the traditional and independent format. She has donated 50% of proceeds raised from sales of The Vixen and The Vet to Operation Mend, a non-profit benefiting wounded returning solders. She will discuss her books and her writing process during her presentation.

          Finally, the Library program you have been waiting all summer for is just around the corner – our annual Book, Pie, and Ice Cream Sale! Old Home Day is on August 29th this year and we will be continuing our sale once again this year. For more details about this year’s sale, check out next week’s article. We will also be looking for volunteers to bake pies, so start brainstorming some recipes, and as always – happy reading!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, July 28, 2015

One of my favorite parts of the day here at the Library is when the FedEx or UPS driver pulls up with the week’s delivery of new materials. I’ll admit, you get a little taste of Christmas-like anticipation opening up the boxes and seeing what new releases are in stores! Summer is usually a very busy time for publishers and this year is no exception. Between highly anticipated blockbuster releases and impressive debuts or new works by old favorites, there is a large variety of new books set to hit the market this summer. Here are some upcoming releases to keep your eye out for:

Perhaps the most talked-about new book of the summer is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The novel was originally submitted to Lee’s publisher in the mid 1950’s, it was rejected and To Kill a Mockingbird was written and published shortly thereafter. Originally believed lost, the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman was rediscovered in 2014 and was released in hardcover last week.

A couple of other popular contemporary authors have new releases this summer and these three titles would make great beach reads this August! Alice Hoffman, the author of The Dovekeepers, has a new book out titled the Marriage of Opposites, a historical story chronicling a forbidden love on the tropical island of St. Thomas. Paula McLain, the author of The Paris Wife, also has a new historical novel out soon – Circling the Sun. This novel brings to life the captivating woman and record-setting aviator Beryl Markham and transports readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. If you’re more in the mood for a realistic fiction pick, We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh will be released in the first weeks of August. Diffenbaugh’s new novel follows a young struggling mother in San Francisco who is thrust into the challenge of raising her children alone once her parents return to Mexico.

Mystery and thriller fans will have a lot to look forward to this August as well as Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman, and Sandra Brown all have new titles coming out! To get your name on the wait list for these popular titles, stop by the Circulation Desk, or add these or other favorite authors to your “reserve express” list. You can be automatically added to the waitlist for your favorite author’s newest books though this new feature of your online account! To access this list, login to your online account using your card number and full phone number, select the “Reserves/Requests” tab then click on the “receive new books” link at the bottom of the tab.

 Don’t forget, the Summer Reading Program only goes until August 14th so make sure you swing by and get your reading log stamped and raffle tickets filled out before the final drawing! Happy Reading!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, July 21, 2015

Ned Therrien has always had a special connection with trees and the natural world. As a forester for the US Forest Service in the White Mountains National Forest and other National Forests, Ned has had the opportunity to see many different unique trees in diverse ecosystems. It was on a personal trip to Washington and Oregon in 2009 however that first awakened a deep fascination with the world’s largest and oldest trees. Ned, his wife Jean, and a couple of friends visited Olympic National Forest and other national forests, and got their first taste of the “big trees” of the west coast. “Trees have always been important to me,” Ned said fondly, “but there’s something about the ‘big trees’ that’s just fascinating”. After returning from his trip, Ned picked up the book “The Wild Trees: a Story of Passion and Daring” by Richard Preston and the spark that was first kindled on his trip ignited into a passion to seek out and see for himself the big trees of California.

His opportunity came in 2014, when he returned to the west coast with his wife and friends to seek out the biggest and oldest trees he could find. A well-stocked itinerary filled three months of his summer with trips to National Parks and Forests, including the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Park, Sequoia National Park, and Redwood National Park. A favorite trip was to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, home of the “Grove of Titans”, a cluster of ten of the world’s tallest trees. In the parks, Ned trekked and wandered and searched for the oldest and tallest trees he could find. Some memorable trees he found were the John Muir Tree, a now burnt shell of a once massive titan that inspired the famous naturalist, and the Del Norte and Lost Monarch Titans, two of the world’s tallest and most majestic trees.

Simply viewing a couple of his photographs from his travels had me in a state of awe as the sheer size and age of some of the trees he visited is simply astounding. My favorite photograph is of an ancient bristlecone pine tree estimated to be over 3,000 years old. The twisted pine looks like something out of a Dali painting, but there is an inherent beauty in its massive trunk and twisted limbs that is breathtaking. With the colors of a high-altitude desert filling in the backdrop, the image is striking.

Ned has many beautiful pictures from his travels and his stories of the hikes he took to reach some of the ancient trees are just as fascinating as the images are. We are fortunate to be able to host Ned here at the library for a presentation on his search for the “big trees” of California this July. Ned’s presentation will be on Thursday, July 30th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. I strongly encourage you to come to Ned’s presentation and hear the inspiring stories behind his beautiful photographs. If you have any questions about this or any other upcoming events, please email the library at or call us at (603) 524-6042. I hope to see you on the 30th!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, July 13, 2015


            Gilford Public Library’s 2015 Summer Reading Program is off to a great start! We had a huge turn-out for our kickoff party on June 29th and every day we have more people signing up to participate in this fun and easy reading program! The last couple of weeks kicked off the first few programs of the summer including author visits from permaculture enthusiast and farmer Josh Trought, hikers Dan Szczesny (Buffalo) and Janelle (Trough Cookie) and children’s book author Andy Opel. We also enjoyed a spooky evening with paranormal researcher and journalist Jeff Belanger. Believe it or now, the summer programs have only just begun here at the Library. Here is a taste of some of the other great upcoming programs:

On Thursday, July 16th the Library will host a very special presentation by Dan Schroeder on the WWII era. Coming to us from the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Dan will share the Travelling Trunk – a portable museum packed full of stories and items from the war front and the home front during the World War II era. This program is highly recommended to anyone interested in history and World War II era artifacts. Dan’s program will run from 6:30 – 7:30 pm in the Meeting Room.

On Saturday, July 18th, the Gilford Public Library will host the fifth of its ongoing series of Community Tech Talks: Digital E-books and Audiobooks! The Tech Talk will run from 1:00 – 2:00 pm at the Library Meeting Room. This month’s Tech Talk will focus on the New Hampshire Downloadable Books consortium, and on how to download free ebooks and audiobooks using Overdrive. All you need to access thousands of ebooks and audiobooks on your Kindle, smartphone, or tablet is a Gilford Public Library card and a little instruction, we’ll walk you through the entire process.

            On Tuesday, July 21st the Gilford Public Library will host author and weatherman Kevin Mannix for a presentation on his autobiography, Weathering Shame. One of Maine’s leading weathermen for WCSH 6 News Centers, Kevin’s book focuses on his and his social worker wife Linda Rota’s personal journey dealing with shame and stigma. The book chronicles the story of their experiences growing up in homes with parental mental illness and alcoholism. This program will be of interest to those familiar with Kevin’s work as a weatherman, or those who have experienced similar challenging journeys through life. This program will run from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

            Of course, we can’t forget about the many exciting programs for children and teens going on this summer! Children can look forward to a performance by Lindsay and her puppet pals on Thursday, July 16th at 3:00 pm, storytime with a street sweeper on Tuesday the 21st at 3:00 pm, and storytime at the beach on Wednesday at 12:00 pm. The Children’s Room will also have a special visit with dancers from Northeastern Ballet! On Thursday, July 23rd dancers will perform scenes from Beauty and the Beast and teach young viewers a couple of dance moves.

            Teens can look forward to two more events this month. On Tuesday, July 21st from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, kids can learn about simple machines and construction and experiment with Simple Machine kits. These kits are similar to Legos or K-Nex sets, but utilize simple machines like levers and pulleys to create machines with moving parts. There are also still spots open for the Library’s annual teen writing camp! Taught once again by Lani Voivod, this camp is open to kids entering grades 5-8 and will run from 9:00 – 12:00 pm each day from July 27th through the 31st. Teens will learn how to build a story and discover their creative voice thorough journaling, plotting, games, and more. The cost for this week-long camp is $80.00 and registration forms can be found online or at the circulation desk. It’s going to be a very busy summer for all members of the family here at the Library, stop by and join in the fun!


Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, July 9, 2015

We are quite fortunate here in New Hampshire to have access to the incredible variety of mountains that populate the White Mountain National Forest. Avid or amateur hikers alike can find something for their skill level in the Whites and nearly every hike is rewarded with an expansive view to take your breath away.

With this view in mind, a group of local hikers created The 52 With a View list in 1990. Populated with both shorter and more difficult climbs, all of the mountains on the list reward hikers with fine and open views at the summit or on the ledges. The list has since grown to become a popular challenge for hikers in the White Mountains. It is a way for avid hikers to discover different adventures, and for enthusiasts to become stronger and practice for larger peaks. The list also has the ability to change lives, as two hikers, known to the hiking world as Buffalo and Tough Cookie, found out for themselves.

In November, 2011 hiker Dan Szczesny and his nine-year-old ward, Janelle set foot on the trail to Mt. Kearsarge and took the first steps toward a hiking odyssey that would last over a year and change both of their lives. Their epic attempt to complete the 225 mile long trek through some of New Hampshire’s least known wilderness is chronicled in Dan’s book, The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie. This hiking memoir is also a travelogue of two friends and a personal account of what happened when the author and his wife unexpectedly became part-time caretakers of nine-year-old twins. It is an inspiring story of the transformative power of friendship, and hiking.

The Gilford Public Library is pleased to host Dan Szczesny and Janelle for a presentation on their hiking adventures. They will share their experience on the journey and share some of the incredible pictures taken along the way on Tuesday, July 14th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public and highly recommended to hikers, lovers of the outdoors, or anyone looking to be inspired by an amazing tale of family and adventure.

For more information about Buffalo, Tough Cookie, and their continuing adventures together, check out their website at or Contact the Gilford Public Library at or 524-6042 for more information about this program or upcoming programs this summer.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, June 29, 2015

July is shaping up to be a very busy month for the children’s room here at the Library! From author visits and beach storytime to puppets and ballet – there’s something going on every week for all ages! To help you start planning July activities with your kids or grandkids, I thought I would give you a quick rundown of some of the many programs to expect here at the library in the coming weeks.

We’re kicking off July with an author visit from author Andy Opel and illustrator Karen Hayes on July 2nd from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. The creators of the locally popular book, The Witches: A Winnipesaukee Adventure, Andy and Karen will be sharing their newest title, The Mansion: An Old Winnipesaukee Mystery during a special storytime. Set on historic Governor’s Island, this beautifully illustrated historic children’s story is fun for the entire family.

A special series of storytimes will debut this summer at the Gilford Public Beach. Every Wednesday from July 8th through August 1st, one of our children’s room librarians will be at the beach with plenty of exciting books for a mid-day storytime from 12:00-12:30 pm. It’s a great opportunity for kids to take a break from swimming and sit down to listen to a story. Parents and guardians can help themselves to a free book from Gilford Public Library’s on-site Little Free Library while we entertain the little ones.

The story fun continues on Thursday, July 9th with our annual Storywalk at Ramblin’ Vewe Farm! We’ll meet at the Ramblin’ Vewe trailhead off of Boyd Hill Road in Gilford at 10:30 am and take a leisurely stroll through the forest, reading a story posted along the way. Make sure to arrive early, as we’ll head out on the trail right at 10:30 am. The rain date for this walk will be Friday, July 10th. The Storywalk will be hung up until the end of Summer Reading (Friday, August 7th) so be sure to go back and enjoy the story again sometime!

The middle and end of the month will be just as busy as the beginning as we welcome Lindsay and Her Puppet Pals on Thursday, July 16th from 3:00-4:00 pm for a silly performance featuring her jumbo-sized puppets and ballet dancers from Northeastern Ballet will share the story of Beauty and the Beast on Thursday, July 23rd from 3:00-4:00 pm. For more information about these and other summer programs at the library, stop by and pick up a list of events, email, or give us a call. We hope you all are having a good time getting started on filling out your summer reading logs! Great prizes and even more great reads are waiting for you here at the Gilford Public Library. 

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, June 24, 2015

          Environmental studies and sustainable food systems have always been two very strong interests of mine. Learning about new ways to improve the human relationship with the environment and to provide more nutritious and sustainably grown foods for a community are two subjects I find myself drawn to frequently, and I’m always searching for new ways to expand my education. A BA in Environmental Studies and Environmental Policy helped me get started, but as the environmental studies field continues to grow and transform each and every year, I find that there is always something new to learn!

When I first read a review of Josh Trought’s book, “The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm: The D Acres Model for Creating and Managing an Ecologically Designed Education Center,” I was interested in ordering the book for myself. But when I found out that the D-Acres Farm was right here in Dorchester, New Hampshire, I knew we had to bring Josh to the library – and what better time than at the start of the Summer Reading Program!

Josh Trought is the director of the D Acres Farm in Dorchester, New Hampshire. D Acres is a not-for-profit Permaculture Farm and Educational Homestead. The mission of the organization is to function as an educational center that researches, applies and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming. The center strives to improve the human relationship with the environment, and functions as a demonstration farm and example of healthy living. In addition, the organization supports educational activities directed toward improving the quality of life of residents and the larger community.

 Josh's book, "The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm" describes the history, practices, and impact of the D Acres project. It contains a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make a farm or homestead more sustainable and beneficial to the larger community that surrounds it. It is an inspiring book filled with beautiful images of life on the D Acres farm and is highly recommended to anyone seeking new and practical ways to address today’s environmental problems on a community scale.

          As the first official events for adults of the 2015 Summer Reading Program, “Get Booked: Josh Trought and D Acres Farm” will take place on Tuesday, June 30th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Josh will share the inspiration behind his book and talk about what makes D Acres so unique as a farm. He will also have copies of his book available for sale. If you’re interested in learning more about ways that farming and cooperative projects can benefit your community, or if you want to pick up some great new ideas on how you can improve your home farm or garden, this is the program for you! I am very excited to have Josh here at the library and I encourage you to come to the Library and learn something new on June 30th. Please contact the Gilford Public Library at or 524-6042 if you have any questions.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, June 8, 2015


            Music through the ages has always had a unique way of bringing diverse groups of people together. From Louisiana jazz to Appalachian folk and California surfer tunes, a wide variety of different types of music have always been a big part of our culture. America’s musical culture is as varied today as our history has been thorough out the years. American traditional music, also called “roots” music, ties together the broad musical history of America into a category that encompasses bluegrass, country music, gospel, old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues, Cajun and more. For some people, myself included, listening to traditional roots music is a fun way of reconnecting with the past. There’s something about listening to songs that have been played and enjoyed for decades that feels deeply nostalgic.

          A native New Hampshire band is known for their talent for bringing American Roots music and traditional folk songs to life on stage. The Sylvan Roots Band will share their music and fascinating stories about the songs’ histories here at the Gilford Public Library on Thursday, June 18th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. A lively and energetic group, Sylvan Roots plays a variety of music, including familiar covers and traditional roots music. This entertaining and engaging concert is free and open to the public, and highly recommended for anyone who loves traditional tunes.

          To tide you over until the night of the concert, swing by the Library and browse our large collection of music CDs. Music CDs can be checked out for one week and the Library has both adult and children’s’ collections of music. Adult music is divided into more than twenty different categories to help you track down exactly what you’re looking for with ease. I check out items from the Rock and Instrumental sections most often, but it’s also fun to browse through the different sections and see if anything jumps out! I was just browsing the other day and rediscovered The Piano Guys, a talented instrumental group that reworks popular music into beautiful classical renditions. Our largest collections consist of Rock, Pop, Classical, Jazz, and Country music, and we’re always happy to help you track down music by the artists you love.

          Some of our most recent new acquisitions in music CDs include “Stages” by vocalist Josh Groban, “What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” by the Decemberists, “First Kiss” by rapper and country star Kid Rock, and “The Phosphorescent Blues” by The Punch Brothers. “Stages” by Josh Groban is one of the most popular new music CDs this month, and his emphasis on songs from the world’s greatest musicals helps to make this CD particularly interesting. For these and other great music CDs stop by the Library, and we hope to see you at the concert on June 18th! 

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, June 15, 2015


This year’s Summer Reading Program is just around the corner and we’re keeping busy here at the Library planning great programs for kids, teens and adults all summer long.

          This year’s summer reading themes are particularly exciting. The children’s theme this year is “Every Hero Has a Story!” We will focus on community heroes this summer and will have some very special storytime visits from firefighters, police officers, construction workers, and more!

The teen theme is “Unmask!” We’ll unmask hidden talents for writing during our Teen Writing Camp in July, and uncover DIY and science experimentation skills during our Make It! and Tech Tuesday series of teen summer programs.

The adult theme is “Escape the Ordinary! Explore All That the Library Has to Offer”. We have a diverse line up of presenters and musicians planned for this summer, and of course a multitude of new books are on order to keep you busy all summer long!

A collaboration between many different states and libraries, the Summer Reading Program helps encourage children and readers of all ages to spend more time enjoying non-assigned reading during the summer months. The goals of the Collaborative Summer Reading Program are to help young children build reading and language skills, prepare children for success by developing early language skills, motivate teens to read and discuss literature, and encourage adults to experience the joy of reading.

Summer reading programs also focus on the importance of family and individual literacy. The need for literacy and language programs for children and teens is well documented, but the need for good reading role models within families is just as important. Reading aloud to children or grandchildren, encouraging literacy-based experiences and independent reading, and setting a good example are some of the things that you can do to help promote literacy within your own family. Participating in a library Summer Reading Program is also a great way to get your family excited about reading!

The Summer Reading Program kicks-off on Monday, June 29th and will run through August 14th. We’re celebrating the launch of the children’s program with an ice cream social and music with Paul Warnick. The celebration runs from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. Adults and teens, be sure to stop in at the Circulation Desk on kick-off day to pick up your summer reading log and receive a special kick-off treat!

Adults, kick off the summer reading program with a fascinating author visit on Tuesday, June 30th at 6:30pm. Hear from author Josh Trought as he discusses his book, “The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm” and his work developing and running the D-Acres Farm in Dorchester, NH.

Tune in each week to find out about more upcoming Summer Reading Programs and Events, check out the Gilford Public Library website, or sign up for our e-newsletter by emailing The Summer Reading Program is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Library. 

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, June 1, 2015


            Spring is a busy time here at the library. In addition to planning and preparing for our fast-approaching Summer Reading Program, we’re also hard at work cataloging new releases to help fill up your warm spring days with great reading. Plus, it’s never too early to start building your summer reading wish list! Here’s a quick peak at some of the recent and upcoming new releases coming to the Gilford Public Library.

            The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl is an exciting literary historical thriller. Set in London, 1890, this novel follows the exploits of Ben Davenport, an infamous literary pirate whose stolen manuscripts help to fuel a dark literary underground publishing system. On the eve of the twentieth century however, this illegal occupation is beginning to become extinct and it will take one final epic heist of Robert Louis Stephenson’s latest novel to satisfy Davenport. 

            The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows (the co-author of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) is a witty and exuberant novel about an inquisitive young girl whose employment and investigations with the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938 changes her life, and her family’s lives forever.

            If you’re looking for a page-turner, try The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor, a haunting look at the dark and delicate nature of a marriage that takes a disastrous turn after an explosive argument one evening. I just finished it myself and it was impossible to put down!

As we enter into the first warm days of June, it’s getting closer to the time of year perfect for lounging on the beach with a great “beach read”. Start building your list now with some of these upcoming releases: Summer Secrets by Jane Green, The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand, a look at the consequences of gossip between friends, or Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews, a romantic read set in the Florida Keys. We’ll have many more Beach Reads arriving in coming weeks, so stop back in often!           

            New movies are also arriving here at the Library each week. My top recommendations are both based on novels: Still Alice and Serena. Still Alice stars Julianne Moore and follows the story of a linguistics professor and mother who is diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease. Based the novel by Lisa Genova, this powerful award-winning film won’t disappoint. The movie Serena stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in a period drama set against the backdrop of 1930’s wilderness and America’s beginning environmental movement. The film is based on Ron Rash’s novel of the same name. We’ll have both the films and the novels they were based on our shelves, stop by and check one out.

            Hope everyone is enjoying the warm June weather, and happy reading!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, May 26, 2015

            If you have accessed the library’s online catalog anytime in the last week, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some major changes have taken place. We’ve upgraded to a new computer system! In addition to upgrading the system we use on our circulation computers, we’ve upgraded the online public access catalog as well. Our new catalog is very user friendly and has some great new features that our older catalog lacked. It may take a little bit of getting used to because it looks a little different, but we’re here to help.

Accessing our online catalog from home and logging into your account enables you to place reserves, check the due date of your items, or renew soon to be overdue materials. Your online account is a convenient way to stay on top of things from home and our new system makes it even easier! To access the catalog and your account from home, simply go to the Gilford Library Home page at and select the “Browse our Catalog” button in the upper right-hand corner. Once on the catalog, you can begin searching the catalog using the search bar on the upper left, or you can log into your account in the upper right. Use your borrower barcode and your pin (your full seven digit phone number) to log in.

With the new system, you can now customize your notification options from home, so if you want to receive a call when your reserved items come in, but an e-mail when your items are overdue, you can set the notifications up to fit your preferences. Another neat new feature of the new system is reserve deferment. This means that if you are going away on vacation but don’t want to miss out on items you may have reserved, you can select which days you’ll be gone and the system will ensure that your reserves are deferred until you get back. No more missed reserves!

          Reserves in particular are even easier with our new system too. With a feature called Reserve Express, you can sign up to automatically have your name placed on the waitlist for new releases by your favorite authors. No more waiting for the books to arrive in the library before placing your reserve request!

          There are many more new features of our new system that you can explore. To help you get used to navigating the new catalog and exploring your account features, we are hosting a special Tech Talk on Saturday, June 13th. The Tech Talk will run from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and will cover how to use the new catalog and how to customize the features on your account. I’ll be there to help answer your questions and walk you through the process. Please sign up for the Tech Talk at the Circulation Desk with your library card, and feel free to contact the Library at or 524-6042 if you have any questions.


Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, May 18, 2015

The non-fiction section of the Library has always been one of my favorite areas to browse. There are so many varied books tucked away in the non-fiction shelves and many are sometimes overlooked. In today’s computer age, huge amounts of information are available in seconds through the internet, but I hold true to the belief that there are some things that books give you that a computer never will. History is one subject in particular I have always found to be more rewarding to read about in a book, rather than through a quick search online. An added joy in reading about history from a public library is finding the rare treasure of a particularly old copy of a book. Reading about history in a book that is quite literally yellowed by it is a memorable experience that I encourage you to try for yourself. There are also many facts and figures available through these older books that simply are not easily accessible online. Facts about our local history in particular could take a long time to unearth online if you were looking for something specific. A library collection dedicated to local history however, could be just the thing you need for your research!

          A fantastic and often underutilized historical resource at the Gilford Library is the New Hampshire Room. Located next to the Circulation Desk, this small room is full of important documents relating to local history. From individual town histories and reports, to regional and state histories, this collection spans decades. Collections of particular interest to Gilford Residents may be a box containing historical documents related to Kimball’s Castle, or another small box containing several decades worth of Old Home Day programs! The New Hampshire room also holds a small collection of fiction and non-fiction books that depict historical New Hampshire and New England. The more you look, the more you see – surprises await you on nearly every shelf. Stop by sometime and browse through the New Hampshire Room, it’s a great room to explore.

          For even more exploration into New Hampshire’s history, come to the Library on Thursday, May 21st from 6:30 – 7:30 pm for a special program: “Views of the Past: Landscape Prints of 19th Century New Hampshire”. Tom Kokx will share his collection of 19th century prints, which focus on the New Hampshire landscape, from the White Mountains and Lakes Region to the Seacoast Region. Tom will discuss the use and importance of these prints, and will describe the different types of prints and how they were made. This program is free and open to the public. Whether you like art, history, nature, or New Hampshire, this program is for you! Contact the Gilford Public Library at or 524-6042 for more information.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, May 11, 2015

One of my favorite things about living in a small town in New Hampshire is the bounty of fresh, locally grown foods. Particularly in the summer and fall months, Farmer’s Markets and farm stands crop up all over the state. The Lakes Region is filled with great farms and farmers and it can be fun to try produce from many of the different producers across the area. Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables are truly something special, and I believe they taste far better than their supermarket competitors. Just take a bite of the fresh strawberries this summer from Beans and Green’s Farm here in Gilford and you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

          If you have a busy schedule like I do though, you may miss out on making it to some markets during open hours. If you’re interested in obtaining a supply of fresh local foods without having to go out of your way to track down a market during your sparse free time, a CSA might be the way to go! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a growing movement that helps put fresh foods into your hands while helping local farmers earn a much needed profit for all of their hard work. Every summer I purchase a share of a CSA from a local farm; I pay upfront for a share and each week I receive a bag or box of fresh goodies from the farm. One of the most fun things I’ve found about CSA’s is that they can be quite unpredictable.  I’ve been able to sample and cook with veggies that I had never experienced before (kohlrabi anyone?) and I found that having a weekly supply of veggies inevitably led to me eating much, much healthier during the summer months. CSA shares are a perfect way to support your local farmers while filling your fridge with delicious fruits and veggies.

          On May 19th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, the Gilford Public Library will host Aaron Lichtenberg, owner and operator of Winnipesaukee Woods Farm, for an informal Q&A on Farm Shares: Eating Fresh and Supporting Communities. This program is highly recommended for anyone who has questions about participating in a farm share or would like to learn more about what community supported agriculture (CSA) really means. Aaron will provide information about what foods you could expect to receive in a CSA, why supporting local farms is so vital, and how you can sign up for a CSA with his farm or any other local farm. You can learn even more about Aaron and Winnipesaukee Woods Farm online at

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, May 6, 2015

            As I write this, I have the window cracked open next to my desk and the sweet smells and sounds of spring are drifting through my window, pleasantly distracting me from the task at hand. After such a long winter, I’ve been looking forward to a beautiful week filled with sunshine and birdsong – at long last, this week has finally arrived!

If you’re a hiker like me, I’m sure you’re just as excited as I am to have nice warm spring weekends for hiking. Did you know that the Gilford Public Library actually has a collection of local hiking maps available for sale? My favorite map to use is a complete map of the Belknap Range. Our copy was just updated by BRATTS this spring so it will be a valuable resource for those new to hiking the Belknap Range! We also have Hiking and Birding themed try-it-out kits that are perfect for spring explorations. The Hiking Kit contains local hiking maps and a GPS so you don’t get lost and the Birding Kit has local birding guides and a really great pair of binoculars to spy on the birds with.

Speaking of birding…the Library is planning a birding walk to Ellacoya State Park on Saturday, May 9th. Mike Coskren, our trusty birdwatching guide for the last 4 years, will lead a group through the various habitats within Ellacoya State Park, listening and watching for birds that are migrating north. The group will leave promptly at 7:30 am and the walk is expected to take around two hours. Trail conditions may be muddy so please wear appropriate footwear, and bring your binoculars and bug spray. In the event of a rain cancellation, the birding walk will take place on May 16th at the same time. Please sign up at the Circulation Desk for this birding walk so that we know who to call in case the first date gets rained out.

The rest of May and into June will become gradually more full with programs, events and classes.  Summer Reading starts at the end of June and we have plenty to keep you busy until then! Swing by the Library after the birdwatching program for Tech Talk: Google It! Learn about the many different services that Google offers like a calendar, Gmail, Google Docs, and more. Then, pick up a May calendar and see what else we have in store for these next, beautiful weeks of spring. As always, happy reading!


Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, April 27, 2015

            Some of my favorite trips to take around the state in the spring and summer are to New Hampshire’s many small local breweries. Some are quite large (think Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth) and some are quite small (Moat Mountain in North Conway is too small to even offer brewery tours!), but all offer an interesting variety of brews made right here in the Granite State. Even if you’re not a big beer fan yourself, many local breweries are attached to brewpubs or restaurants with astonishingly good food! Check out The Portsmouth Brewery’s brewpub in Portsmouth, NH and you will know exactly what I’m talking about! Before I started visiting local breweries, I didn’t know about the rich history of brewing that New Hampshire has. Some of the earliest craft breweries in the country were located in New Hampshire! Even today, New Hampshire is known across the country for its high number of small craft breweries. Nearly every county in New Hampshire boasts a brewery of some kind.

          In celebration of New Hampshire’s rich beer history, the Gilford Public Library is hosting an engaging program on the history of beer brewing in New Hampshire on Tuesday, May 5th from 6:30 – 7:30pm.  A joint program with the Thompson Ames Historical Society, Brewing in New Hampshire: An Informal History of Beer in the Granite State will be presented by Glenn Knoblock. Glenn will explore the fascinating history of New Hampshire’s brewing industry from Colonial days to today’s modern breweries and brew pubs. Unusual and rare photos and advertisements will document this changing industry and the state’s earliest brewers, including the renowned Frank Jones. Lesser-known brewers and breweries as well as little known “fun-facts” about New Hampshire’s brewing history will also be shared, including the only brewery owned and operated by a woman before the modern era. Glenn will also discuss evidence of society’s changing attitudes towards beer and alcohol consumption over the years. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or a history buff, this program has appeal to a wide audience and will not disappoint. This program is free and open to the public. Contact the Gilford Public Library at or 542-6042 for more information

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, April 23, 2015

For some people the term “Classic Literature” conjures up the somewhat unpleasant memory of sitting in High School English struggling your way through Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis or reading Of Mice and Men for the umpteenth time. I never truly appreciated classic literature until after I had graduated college – at that point I realized that I never would be forced to read a boring classic novel again, and I’ll be honest – I rejoiced a little. But then I found a tattered copy of The Great Gatsby and fell in love with the beautiful old classic story. There is something very refreshing about rereading classics you may have experienced only briefly in school. There are no expectations, no book reports, no grades - only a chance to really take your time and enjoy the incredible writing and careful prose that has made these novels lasting favorites for years.

 With re-reading the classics in mind, the Gilford Public Library has begun hosting a classics book group every other month, led by Abi Maxwell. The next meeting of the Classics Book Group will be on April 28th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. We will be discussing The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. First published in April of 1939, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression. The Grapes of Wrath chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. An iconic novel that has both inspired and outraged readers, John Steinbeck wrote it in just five months.

For me there is something about reading a classic that feels very nostalgic, and I find great interest in reading a novel that has been enjoyed (or criticized) by many generations before me. I find that I want to know for myself what has made a book so enduringly popular for so many years. I encourage you to give classics a second chance like I did, you just might be surprised by how much you enjoy these timeless stories. Happy reading!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, April 13, 2015

This week has been a very busy week at the Library! In addition to being National Library Week, it is also Volunteer Appreciation Week. A truly essential part of what makes the Library run so well, the team of volunteers that work behind the scenes here is irreplaceable.

Did you know that the average new book or movie here at the library will be handled by at least three different volunteers before it is available for check-out? It all starts in the back room with a book delivery- then volunteer extraordinaire Dorothy Piquado enters the bibliographic information for each item into our computer catalog so that our library cataloger can add information easily. Then the book is covered, stamped, and labeled by one of our many coverers (Ruth and John Gill are doing a fabulous job covering books as I write this!). The book is then brought to the Circulation Desk and checked in (I think Sue Goulet just headed to the front desk with a few new books!). Finally the book is shelved by yet another volunteer! Is it Anita’s day today? Perhaps it is Helen or Nancy’s? We have so many volunteers it can be hard to keep track! Of course, we cannot forget about our helpers down in the Children’s Room as well. I went down there this morning and counted over 150 books waiting to be put away! I never truly knew all of the hands that made this process possible until I saw it all in action.

Aside from helping with Library materials, our Volunteers assist in dozens of other ways. Volunteers bake all of the delicious tasty treats we enjoy on Tuesdays, and our Bookworm Shop is managed and organized by volunteers as well (Steve Melbourne and Peter Allen you’re doing a great job!). Volunteers lead several of our programs each week as well; Line Dancing with Bonnie Deutch, Computer Help with Mike Marshall, Knit Wits with Gloria Dublin, and more!

It would take many pages to identify and thank each and every volunteer for all of their hard work and dedication that keeps the Library running, but I hope that a simple thank you to all our volunteers from all of us here at the Library will suffice. You all are truly essential pieces to the Library and we simply couldn’t do it without you!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or would like to learn more about what kinds of jobs our volunteers do for the library, stop by the library and fill out a Volunteer Application. If you are in the library during Volunteer Week, and happen to notice a volunteer working, be sure to thank them for the incredible job they do.


Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper. April 9, 2015

April 13th through the 18th is National Library Week! First sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA), National Library Week is a celebration of libraries across the country. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of the nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

 Here at the Gilford Public Library, we are celebrating with Scavenger Hunts all week long to take you around the Library and see all that we have to offer. From ongoing programs and special presentations to more books and movies than you could ever hope to read and watch, the Library is full of things to do and materials to check out. There will be a scavenger hunt in the Children’s room for the little ones and another hunt for the Adults and Teens upstairs. Turn in your completed scavenger hunt at the Circulation Desk before we close on Saturday and you will be entered into a drawing to win a special National Library Week prize! National Library Week is the perfect time to explore all that the library has to offer and truly embrace this year’s theme: “Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library”.

During National Library Week, the Library will also have two special programs for the kids. On Tuesday, April 14th, from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. we are hosting a Teddy Bear Sleepover. Have the kids bring their teddy bear in for a story and tea party, then set him up to sleep over in the library with his teddy friends!

Come back on Wednesday, April 15th to pick up your teddy bear and find out what happened at the sleepover, then head over to the meeting room for “Your Lucky Day” with singer Eric Herman from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Library, Eric is a returning visitor to Gilford Library and is known for his upbeat performances full of singing and dancing. This program is highly recommended for kids of all ages, and parents too. You won’t be able to stop yourself from tapping a toe and singing along.

Come celebrate National Library Week with the Gilford Public Library all week long. Contact us at or 524-6042 if you have any questions, we look forward to seeing you this week!


Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, April 3, 2015

One of the original 13 colonial states, New Hampshire has had a long time to build a history full of humorous tall tales, fables, and cultural anecdotes. New Hampshire residents are frequently described by “flatlanders” as laid-back, but with a unique Yankee sense of humor.  I’m sure you can easily think of a person or situation in which the “New Hampshire-ness” of a person has resulted in a good chuckle. Our unique state and culture (not to mention our accent!) is something to be proud of, and has been the butt of many jokes and humorous musings.

The Gilford Public Library has hosted a number of popular programs in the past that poked gentle fun at the people and history of the Granite State, and we are fortunate enough to be able to offer another! Our latest program to take a humorous look at our great state and the people who reside here is New Hampshire – A State of Mind. Presented by UNH Professor Carl Lindblade, this program will take place on Thursday, April 9th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. This presentation will highlight Colonial Days, New Hampshire political traditions, its culture, and more! Carl will take our audience through New Hampshire’s uniquely funny history from the time of King George II to the present.

A lecturer in the hospitality management department at UNH and a true New Hampshire native, Carl began his hotel career at the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch and for the past 40+ years has operated 3&4 star hotels. In addition to years of hands on experience he brings a commitment to community and industry service. Among his assignments he was a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, Interim Director of the NH office of Travel and Tourism Development, Innkeeper of the Year, Travel Person of the Year, and Past President of the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association. He enjoys teaching now because he gets a chance to share his many experiences with students.

This program is provided in part by the UNH Speakers Bureau, an outreach service made possible by volunteer speakers from among the faculty and staff who teach, conduct research, study and work at UNH. This program is free and open to the public. Contact the Gilford Public Library at or 524-6042 for more information.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, March 23, 2015

April is National Poetry Month and libraries across the country are celebrating in many ways. Poetry readings, poetry writing workshops, even poetry parties! The possibilities are endless. National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and has since grown to be one of the largest literary celebrations in the world. National Poetry Month celebrates poets everywhere and poetry’s vital place in our culture as a creative, expressive outlet and serves to draw attention and support to poetry programs and emerging poets.

Here in New Hampshire our Poet Laureate, Alice Fogel, has been urging local libraries to celebrate National Poetry Month with Poetry Parties!  In a letter sent to New Hampshire libraries, Alice invited all libraries to join in celebrating our collective imagination by hosting a poetry party during the week of April 5th – 12th. This April Poetry Party is a chance for people of all ages to come together to simply read, recite, or listen to poems they know and love. No is writing involved—just an hour or two of sharing poems by local or famous or individual poets.

Gilford Public Library will be hosting its Poetry Party on Tuesday, April 7th from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Refreshments will be provided so all you have to bring is a poem to share or ears to listen! Join in this state-wide celebration of poetry and share a poem that you enjoy! I’ll be there to share a few of my favorites and I look forward to hearing yours!

The Library is also fortunate enough to offer a second poetry program during National Poetry Month with Alice Fogel herself! Alice will present Strange Terrain: How Not to “Get” Poetry and Let It “Get” You, on Thursday, April 23rd from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Alice will walk you through eight simple steps toward understanding and appreciating more elements of poetry than you ever thought you could. She will also help you develop your own confident relationship with poetry’s shapes, words, images, sounds, emotions, mysteries and more. This program is provided by a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council and is free and open to the public. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in better understanding poetry, and to anyone looking for an interesting night out at the Library! I know I’ve had trouble “getting” some poems in the past, and a chance to learn more about understanding poetry from Alice Fogel herself is not to be missed!

Contact the Gilford Public Library at or call us at 524-6042 if you have any questions. I encourage you to stop by the Library during the month of April and browse through a book of poetry. The poetry section starts at 811 in the non-fiction section, I’ll see you there!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, March 16, 2015

          Have you ever seen a moose? Great, lumbering beasts that vaguely resemble deer but with a majesty all their own, moose are native to New Hampshire. Moose are most frequently seen at dusk or dawn in the vicinity of the wetlands they call their home. I’ve been fortunate enough to see several moose in my life, having lived close to wetlands for a number of years. They never fail to impress me with their sheer size and somewhat comical appearance. With large noses, long gangly legs, dinner-plate sized hoofs, and broadly stretching antlers, moose are certainly something to look at! If you’ve never seen a live moose, come to the Library and see the next best thing – moose photography! Photographer Rick “The MooseMan” Libbey will be at the library on Tuesday, March 24th from 6:30 – 7:30pm to present stories and photographs of his experiences with moose.

          A self-taught wildlife photographer since 2009, Rick is best known for his incredible photographs of moose. Rick has a rather unique approach to photographing wildlife – he flies in by floatplane to wilderness settings and explores and shoots by kayak once there. His immersive approach to photography has resulted in many absolutely stunning images of moose in their natural habitats. With many of his photographs come incredible stories as well.

           Rick grew up on a dairy farm in the beautiful Blackstone Valley area of Massachusetts. He spent much of his youth in the woods exploring nature and was given his first camera when he was 10. Rick is completely self-taught and shot with Nikon film cameras for many years before making the transition over to Nikon digital cameras. At 62 years old, Rick is determined to spend a few more decades kayaking with the moose and following his soul-fulfilling passion.

            So if you’re a moose-watcher yourself, or are just interested in an evening filled with incredible photography and stories, come on out to the Gilford Library on March 24th and meet the MooseMan!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, March 12, 2015

          The Gilford Public Library website is a great resource not only for checking in on upcoming events or logging into your Library account, but for getting you started on research as well! Through the Library website you can access a wide variety of different databases and other helpful sites. Whether you are interested in learning a new language, downloading free e-books and audiobooks, researching your family’s history, looking for book recommendations, or searching for scholarly articles about a subject of interest, the Library’s online resources are a great place to start.

          One of my personal favorite resources to use, besides the NH Downloadable e-books database, is the free language learning software. In the past the Library has offered access to Mango Languages and this year we are introducing a new program as well – Transparent Language Online. Transparent Language Online gives you access to 80 different languages which are taught in conjunction with cultural and social connections to provide a more immersive learning experience. Both Transparent Language and Mango are very easy to use; all you need to do to start learning is click the link on the Library’s home page, set up a free account, and begin! I’m currently working on touching up on my Spanish; the site is very interactive and intuitive, and it is very interesting to get some of the cultural background behind the language you’re learning!

          I also enjoy using the Library’s geneology databases to look up information about my family’s history. The best geneology resource I’ve found through the Library is Ancestry LE. Ancestry Library Edition is a huge subscription database that may be accessed in the library on our public computers. FamilySearch and Cindi’s List are other smaller databases that can be accessed from home.

          If you’re interested in using online resources to help choose your next book, check out NoveList. I use NoveList frequently when I’m at the circulation desk to look up read-alikes and book suggestions. You can access NoveList from home through the Library website; all you need is your borrower barcode to log in. If you find an interesting title, head over to the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium and see if an e-book edition is available for download!

          Other popular online resources include Consumer Reports Online, which can be accessed within the Library, and EBSCO, a full text database of scholarly publications that is the perfect starting point for research of many kinds. You can access EBSCO from home; use your barcode to log in.

          To access links to all of the mentioned databases, and to see the Library’s other offerings, go to the Library’s website and click on the “Reference & Research” tab. Have your library card handy because you will need it to access some of these databases, and feel free to give the Library a call if you need help accessing any of the online resources.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, March 3rd, 2015

         The sun is shining brightly today and from inside the Library it almost feels like spring is on its way. Take a step outside however, and the brutal cold that has been ever present the last few weeks still persists to bite at your nose and hands. With such a long cold winter, I’m sure that many of you have spent a considerable amount of time inside. I know I’ve spent several long cold days curled up by the fire with a book! If you’re like me, you’ve already plowed through the stack of great fiction you stockpiled beside your reading chair at the first sign of snow. If you’re in need of some fresh reading material to get you through these last few chilly weeks of winter, head on over to the Library and check out our new releases!

         Several popular authors have new releases this month including Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel, Mightier Than The Sword by Jeffrey Archer, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. If you’re more in the mood for a mystery, try Hush, Hush by Laura Lippman, The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel or J.D. Robb’s newest – Obsession in Death.

           A few lesser known and debut authors also have had some exciting new releases in the last few days and weeks. If you’re a thriller fan, give The Swimmer by Joakim Zander a try. It’s a fast paced read that follows a deep-cover CIA agent as he races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew. It’s a great pick for fans of John Le Carre or Stieg Larsson. If you’re a historical fiction fan, try A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott, a riveting novel that takes you behind the scenes of the filming of Gone With The Wind.

           I just finished a new book titled Green on Blue by Elliot Ackerman, a stirring debut novel about a young Afghan orphan facing the intractable consequences of war. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of Kahled Hosseini’s novels. Next I’ll be reading The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman, a dystopian debut that follows a young girl through the ruins of a future America as she searches for a cure for her brother’s mysterious disease.

            I hope you’re able to find a few more books to last you through the last brutal weeks of winter! If you need help picking out your next great read just ask for a recommendation at the Circulation Desk, we’re always happy to help! Happy reading, and stay warm!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, February 23rd, 2015

           A debut novel is the first novel an author has written. A lot of time, sweat and tears go into an author’s first novel, and a debut novel can sometimes make or break an author’s career. Sometimes a debut is a hit, and launches an author into a much anticipated series or unique direction. Or sometimes a debut is very different from the rest of that author’s work because he is still trying to find his voice. I personally love to read debut novels because I like to try out different authors. I read a lot of popular, established authors as well, but there’s always something a little more exciting about reading a debut – it’s like uncovering a hidden gem, or window shopping for a new favorite. I also read debuts because I like to support emerging authors – publishing a first novel is a gamble, and novelists rely on people actually reading their work to get recognition.          

          Several notable debuts have been published in just the last few months. My favorite book of the year so far, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, just so happens to be a debut! Set in a coal town deep in the heart of Kentucky, this coming-of-age novel follows a young boy and his friend, through a fateful summer that changes their lives forever. When a prominent voice against mountaintop removal falls victim to a hate crime witnessed by one of the boys, they are thrust into a fight for survival in and around their isolated town. A multi-layered, sweeping story, this is a novel I simply couldn’t put down.

          Another notable debut you may have heard of is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, a fast-paced psychological thriller perfect for fans of Gone Girl. A young woman who rides the train daily becomes deeply immersed in the investigation of the disappearance of a woman she used to watch from the train, but soon finds herself in over her head.

          A few other debuts I encourage you to check out are Descent by Tim Johnston, a riveting literary thriller set in the Rocky Mountains, and Black River by S.M. Hulse, a western about a man’s past that comes back to haunt him. Reading your old favorites and popular titles is certainly not a bad thing, but I challenge you to try something different every once in a while. Pick up a book you’ve never heard of before, or try out an emerging author – you just might be surprised by what you find!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, February 19, 2015

The Library receives new shipments of newly published books every week, and with many popular authors publishing several books a year, our collection is constantly growing. The demand for newly published books by popular authors can be huge and despite purchasing multiple copies, the Library still can have a short waitlist for many popular titles. If you come to the library hoping to get a copy of those super popular titles, you may want to look at e-books as another option. The Library is a member of the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium and uses Overdrive Media to provide free copies of thousands of e-books and audiobooks to its patrons. What you may not know however, is that Gilford Public Library is also a member of the Overdrive Advantage Program.

A common complaint with New Hampshire Downloadables is that, just like here in the library, popular titles may accrue long waitlists. The Overdrive Advantage Program helps to avoid this problem by enabling libraries to purchase special digital copies of new or popular titles solely for their own patrons use! Every week at the Library we look at what ebooks are the most popular, and how many of our own patrons are on the waitlists. We then build a list and order copies through the Overdrive Advantage Program for our own patrons’ use. All you have to do to find these titles is log onto the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium website using your Gilford Library Card and look for books with a little orange check-mark in the corner. These marked books are Gilford’s own copies, and you won’t be competing with the entire state for a place on the waitlist.

Some recent purchases include American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

You can access the New Hampshire Downloadables site through the Books/Audio/Digital tab on the Gilford Public Library website. Log into the website using your Library card and browse the expansive collection of e-books and audiobooks. If you need help learning how to download e-books or audiobooks to your Kindle or e-reader, stop by the Library on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm for Check-Out-An-Expert. If you don’t have a Kindle or e-reader, no problem! Many books on the Consortium offer the Overdrive READ format, where you can read e-books right in your browser, without the need to download. Happy reading!

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, February 10, 2015

With all of the recent snowfall and bitter cold, our quaint little town has begun to look and feel a bit on the Arctic side. As much as I love all of the winter sports and activities that populate the area during this season, I’m starting to get ready for spring. One of my favorite parts of spring is hearing the first songs of the first birds to venture out, and seeing wildlife and green shoots emerge from the melting snow. At this point though, I would settle for looking at any landscape that isn’t buried in feet of snow! If you’re starting to get the winter blues like I am, it might be time to get out of the house and see some uplifting scenery. I’m looking forward to a trip to the Library in a couple weeks to see a special presentation on birding in Alaska!

This presentation, A Passage Northwest: Birding Alaska by Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and Boats), will be shared by Pam Hunt. Pam, a wildlife biologist for the Audubon Society, spent two weeks in August 2012 travelling over a vast area of Alaska. From Pacific rainforest to Mt. McKinley to remote areas on the Bering Sea, Pam logged a lot of miles and saw a lot of birds (plus mammals and scenery). She will share the path of her journey, her experiences, and her images of Alaska’s wild and beautiful landscape in a slide show.

“I’ve been a birder since I was 12,” Pam said. It began when her great-uncle—a wildlife biologist himself—took her to a wildlife refuge in New Jersey. The area was filled with herons, ducks, geese, and more, and it sparked a lifelong interest.

As for birding in Alaska, Pam remarked that it was particularly interesting because up there you get to see the nesting place of many birds that we only see in New Hampshire in the winter. Also, there are many Artic birds and sea birds that we just don’t see here; as well as Asian and European birds that cross the Bering Strait to breed in Alaska but nowhere else.

Pam’s presentation will take place on February 13th from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the Library meeting room. In case of inclement weather, a snow date has been set for February 26th. This program is free and open to the public. Those with an interest in Alaska’s diverse ecology and birdlife, or those looking for a fascinating evening out, are encouraged to attend.

Notes from the Library
by Molly Harper, February 3rd, 2015

          Splashes of pink and red have exploded into bloom all across town in the last few weeks. From children’s room decorations, to towering displays of chocolates and cards in the grocery stores – even my hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts had little pink and red hearts sprinkled across it this morning. Something tells me it just might be time for another Valentine’s Day!

            Although I don’t often read romance or love stories, I can’t help myself during the month of February.  I’ll indulge in a little Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, or if I’m feeling adventurous – E.L. James. This year though, I wanted to look for a love story that was a little different – something that spoke more to a modern look at love through the ages, or maybe a great historical read that involved a love story but wasn’t necessarily about a love story. My tastes were pretty varied this month, but thankfully I was able to track down a few very interesting, slightly unusual love stories from our new materials.

What better way is there to celebrate the love in your life than by making a delicious, thoughtful dinner? Good food has always been the fastest way to my heart and the delicious recipes in Ashley Rodriguez’s new cookbook, Date Night In, are no exception! From delicate, gourmet appetizers to just plain yummy cake, this book focuses on bringing couples together for evenings filled with good dishes and better company. If you’re craving some new recipes to try out on a special someone, make a romantic night of it with help from this book!

            If you’re looking for a more classic love story, check out The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller. The Marriage Charm features friends who made a pact to find husbands. Melody has decided that it’s her turn and her heart is set on Spence Hogan, the burly, charming, local chief of police. Conflicted hearts, handsome men, heartsick women – this novel has it all!

Emma Hooper’s debut novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, moves in a very different direction as it follows the lives of several dynamic characters. Stretching from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion and from trying to remember to trying to forget, this novel is an astounding story about friendship and love, hope and honor, and the romance of last—great—adventures.

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley is a beautiful and inspiring story of a woman diagnosed with cancer who comes to terms with the end of her life while searching for another wife for her beloved husband. At times riotously funny, at other times desperately sad, Before I Go takes an intimate look at a woman and the love of her life as they prepare for their final days together.

Bestselling author Kristin Hannah has delivered another thoughtfully well-written story in her newest book, The Nightingale. Set in the heart of German-occupied, war-torn France during World War II, The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters, separated by years and experience, who each embark on a dangerous path towards survival, love and freedom. Illuminating the women’s experience in World War II, The Nightingale is a sweeping historical read that will be heard to put down.

          From steamy romances, to heartfelt historical sagas and recipes built for two, the Library has a little bit of everything to satisfy your romantic side this February. Stop by this coming week and check out our display for more staff-recommended love stories and romantic reads! We’ll even throw in a few great cookbooks to get you prepared for a date night with that special person in your life. Happy reading!

Notes from the Library
by Abi Maxwell, January 29, 2015

       This month Betty Tidd will retire from the library; tomorrow marks her last day. It won’t be easy for her, though—she loves this library. When I asked her why, exactly, she loves it so much, she raised her arms and said, “This is a place where anyone can come to read any damn book they want and not be judged for it!” I agree with her—I absolutely do—but still I laugh a bit at her response. So she goes on. She says, “I mean it! What other institution is there that is like that? Tell me what else there is!”

          “A bar?” I offer tentatively. After thinking for a moment, she tells me that she doesn’t think a bar is an institution.

          Anyway, that’s not what matters—or maybe it is, because the point is that Betty is emphatic about the library. She believes in books; she is steadfast and unwavering in her belief that they not only enrich but truly save lives.

         But perhaps that’s true of almost anyone who works at a library. What seems particular about Betty is that her enthusiasm for books and the connections they can create in the community is so totally personable. When Betty first came to the library, there were exactly two volunteers. In part, her job was to build that program up. Now, some fifteen years later, the library has over 70 active volunteers who donated more than 5,300 hours last year alone.

          Lately, I’ve been asking volunteers about how it is that our program became so wildly successful. “Betty” is the simple answer that I have received almost every single time. As one volunteer so aptly put it, time and time again Betty has provided patrons with “sense of belonging to the community.” She has made the people who walk through these doors feel needed and valued.

          But how, exactly, does she do that? First, she knows your name, and she seems genuinely thrilled to see you. She also knows what you like to read, and she has become an expert at matching the right book with the right patron. She also knows your hobbies and your skills—if you’re making chocolate or visiting Spain or arranging flowers, she’ll find out, and then she’ll get you in here to do a program to share it with others.

           In short, Betty takes the time to draw people out. I know she does—she did so with me. When I moved to Gilford, she shepherded me into this library and gave me a volunteer job to do and very quickly she made me a part of this community. And in my five or so years here, I have watched her do the same with so very many people.

          “When she’s not there,” one patron said, “something’s missing.” It’s true. Betty will be greatly missed. But we are fortunate and excited to welcome Kayleigh Mahan, who comes to us from Maine with a master’s degree in library science with a particular focus in public libraries.

          And, Betty assures us that after a year, she’ll be back to volunteer. 

50 Shades of Radio
by Abi Maxwell, January 20, 2015

            When radio personality Mike Morin entered the 5th grade, he stopped taking the school bus and started being driven to school, and that experience changed his life. “We’d listen to morning radio in Detroit,” he said, “and those people were having fun.” From that moment on, Morin knew how he wanted to spend his life. Now, some forty years later, Morin has retired from radio and written a book of the highlights of his career, Fifty Shades of Radio: True Stories of a Morning Radio Guy Being Wired, Tired and Fired. He’ll be here to tell those stories on Thursday, January 29th, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

            Radio, Morin points out, is a wonderful medium in which a voice can “create pictures for people.” He said, “I tell the story, and they do the work, they fill it in. It’s a very personal way to communicate with people.”

            Over the course of his career, Morin certainly did put stories into people’s heads, and it turns out he did more than just speak in order to do so. In an effort to fundraise for an organization, he was once buried alive and simultaneously broadcast on the radio; on another occasion, he was frozen under 5,000 pounds of ice.

            “People were always asking me about my stories,” Morin said, and it was because of their insistence that he decided to sit down and write his book, Fifty Shades of Radio. And though most of the stories in the book were originally told—or experienced—on the radio, Morin says the shift to the written format was “not difficult at all.” In part, that’s because he’d saved clippings from the events of his career, and, of course, there are hundreds of tapes.

            However, the ease of the format was also due to the fact that in addition to being a “radio guy,” Morin has also spent years writing professionally, most often as a humor columnist. Currently, he continues to write a weekly humor column for the Nashua Telegraph, and in 2013 he was honored with the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

            Morin will be at the Gilford Public Library for what promises to be a lively and humorous event on Thursday, January 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and all are welcome and encouraged to join. Following the program, his book Fifty Shades of Radio will be available for purchase and signing.

Notes from the Library
by Abi Maxwell, January 15, 2015

For almost two years, library patron Bonnie Deutch has been leading a line dancing group here at the Gilford Public Library. The group meets on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., and is always on the lookout for new members. And, they’re always up for more dancing; on Friday, February 27th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Bonnie and her group will host a Pie and Line Dancing Social.

Last week, I stopped in on Wednesday morning to see how the line dancing group was going along. When I did, Bonnie turned to the group and asked them to describe their weekly dance meetings.

“Fun,” almost all of the week’s participants said, nearly in unison.

“It’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” one dancer added.

“I always feel graceful here,” another woman said.

“Most of them are in Florida now,” Bonnie told me. Still, that morning she had ten dancers, only one of whom had prior dancing experience. But to watch them, you wouldn’t know it.

“If there’s a beginner,” Bonnie told me numerous times, “then that’s where we start. I give the others a bit to dance it out, and then we slow down for the beginner until everyone’s caught up.”

Dressed in bedazzled cowgirl boots and an embroidered denim shirt, Bonnie Deutch’s enthusiasm for line dancing virtually jumps off of her. She dances all over the state, with all sorts of people, and yet she’s always looking for still more people and more places to dance. And, she talks about dancing wherever she goes.

“There’s a stigma,” Bonnie points out regretfully—at least in New England there is. Namely, it’s that if you don’t like country-western, then line dancing is not for you. Yet the fact is that line dancing is simply a choreographed set of repeated steps, in which the dancers—regardless of gender—line up in a particular way. The Electric Slide is a line dance. So is the Macarena.

“I was on a plane last week. Sat next to a Harvard chamber orchestra professor,” she said. The two discussed a study Bonnie had recently read, which shows that the bass in music is soothing. “He’s coming at this from orchestra, I’m coming at it from line dancing,” she says. “The end is the same. The music is good for people.” She goes on, “I want to give people a skill they can put to any music. Like on Christmas. We had a five year old dancing, so his father sang him Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the steps.”

As for why she dances, and why she wants others to join her, Bonnie’s list is long: exercise, relaxation, fun, companionship, skill, health, strength, memory. “And it’s free,” she said. “You don’t have to pay, and you don’t have to wipe down a machine.”

New members—both beginners and advanced dancers—are welcome and encouraged to join this lively group on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. here at the Gilford Public Library.

In addition, if you just want to stop in and give it a try, join us on  Friday, February 27th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., for the Pie and Line Dancing Social for a quick lesson, a pie swap, and lots of dancing. You just might find that it’s just the thing to get you moving this winter!  

Notes from the library.
by Molly Harper, January 8, 2015

Have you ever read a book that was so well written or whose characters or plot were so memorable that you had to immediately read the book again? Or have you ever read a poem so well-articulated that you could picture the image or setting moving across your mind? A well written piece of work is something very special – and something into which countless hours of hard work were poured. Beginning a piece can be a daunting task, and revising a piece you have worked hard on can sometimes be even more difficult. Sometimes what you need most is a second set of eyes to read over your writing, or a second person to bounce ideas off of. Whether you write fiction, poetry, or are trying to put together a draft of a research paper, report or resume, help with writing is usually much appreciated!

The Gilford Public Library has begun a new program with all kinds of writers in mind: Check-Out-A-Expert; Writing Help with local author Abi Maxwell. Abi is the author of Lake People, a hauntingly beautiful novel published in 2013. She holds two master’s degrees in writing and has taught writing at the college level. She has also hosted writing workshops here at the Library in the past and is passionate about writing regularly. She recently said, "I think that everyone can learn to write well – I think of writing as a sport, one that you have to shop up and practice for”. If you would like some help honing your writing skills or fine-tuning a piece of work, sign up for a session with Abi through Check-Out-An-Expert.

Abi will be available for writing help on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00 – 5:00 pm for half-hour blocks. Blocks will be non-renewable and are open to adults and teens in Grades 5 and up. Bring any type of writing – schoolwork, resumes, fiction, poetry, or family histories – and Abi will work with you one-on-one to revise work and improve your writing skills. She is also available for any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming to an actual draft.

Abi said she began this program because: "I love libraries, and the fact that they are an opportunity for all people to learn for free! I want to support that philosophy as much as I can”. On writing, and on developing writing skills Abi had a few inspiring words; "Most people need to write for some part of their lives – work, personal communications, etc. – but it’s also a skill that I believe can truly enrich a life. It can help you figure out what you think and believe, it can clear your mind, and it can be a great gift to others in your life”.

So whether you’re looking for a final set of eyes on an upcoming paper, or want to start writing fiction or poetry on your own, Abi is available as a great resource to take advantage of. Her many years of experience with writing combined with her passion to help others become better writers insure that your time will be well spent! We hope to see you at the Library!

Candlelight Stroll
By Molly Harper, December 1, 20143

Next Saturday will be a busy evening here in Gilford Village as it’s once again time for Gilford’s annual Candlelight Stroll! Now in its third year, the Candlelight Stroll is designed to be a relaxing evening for all members of the family, and a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle that usually accompanies this time of year. The Candlelight Stroll is an opportunity to step back in time and enjoy the beauty of a candlelight stroll through the village, with festive music, crafts and activities for the kids, and horse-drawn wagon rides. Combining some of the most favorite of holiday traditions, the Candlelight Stroll is becoming a favorite yearly tradition itself here in Gilford.

The Candlelight Stroll will take place on Saturday, December 13th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Hundreds of lights will line the street from the 1857 Grange building at 8 Belknap Mountain Road to the 1838 Rowe House at 88 Belknap Mt. Rd. The road will be closed to traffic, but plenty of free parking will be available in the elementary school parking lot beside the Rowe House and in the Gilford Community Youth Center/Church and Library parking lots at 8 Potter Hill Road.

Throughout the village will be a number of historic sites to visit, including the 1857 Grange building, the 1836 Village Store, the 1834 Meetinghouse, and the 1838 Rowe House. Bring the family by and take a step back in time to see what life in Gilford was like back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Once again there will be fresh cookies baking in the wood stove in the Grange kitchen and many sites will also have refreshments, demonstrations, or crafts for the kids!

There will also be a large bonfire with s’mores at the Village Field and carolers from the area and the Middle and High School will be around to set the mood.

This year is also busier than ever here at the Library! You can catch a ride on the horse and wagon here, or try your hand at line dancing in the downstairs Community Room. If you have any little ones with you, bring them by the Library’s Children’s Room and make a holiday ornament.

The Candlelight Stroll is free and open to all. A schedule of events will be available at any of the open buildings. For more information, contact Kathy at xteachkl@metrocast.netor Katherine at 524-6042 or, or stop by the Gilford Public Library!

Holiday Reads
By Abi Maxwell, December 8, 2014

Right now, the library is decorated in lights, the trees are up, and there’s even snow on the ground. I think it’s beautiful, but I happen to love winter, and when the cold weather hits, I typically choose an old, serious, and long novel that I’ve always wanted to read, and I work my way through it over the course of a month or so. This year, however, I find myself in a reading mood that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before: I just want something light and relaxing. I happen to know that I’m not alone in this; more often than not, that’s just what patrons are looking for this season. Luckily, the library has an ample amount of new books that fit just that description.

Do you ever sit around asking hypothetical questions that seem to be answerless? If so, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is the book for you. In it, web-comic creator and scientist Randall Munroe poses absurd questions, such as: What if all the water was drained from all the oceans? Or, What if all the lightning in the world struck one single spot? Then, even more absurdly, Munroe goes on to answer the questions using reason and research. The result is a fascinating, funny, and compelling book to peruse.

In addition to sitting around, paging idly through a book, I find that cooking leisurely meals—or at least imagining the meals I could cook one day—can be a good way to relax during the holiday season. Right now, there are lots of great new cookbooks on the library’s shelves, but my personal favorite is Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi. The follow-up to his book Plenty, this cookbook is filled with bright, creative recipes that are organized by cooking method, from tossed to mashed and everything in between. It’s a beautiful book to look at, and its recipes are delicious.

Laughing, of course, is another great way to relax during the holidays, and when I stumbled upon Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg, I laughed out loud over and over again. Using the voices of classic and modern writers and literary characters, from Hamlet to Harry Potter, Ortberg writes satirical, irreverent text conversations that will be hilarious to nearly any reader even vaguely familiar with the characters and writers she impersonates.

And finally, a few books that might be of particular interest to people around here: first, The Islands of Winnipesaukee, by Ron Guilmette and Jay Leccese. To me, this book is an absolute gift, providing beautiful pictures of the lake that I can look at even when it’s frozen and gray out. Also, The Furniture Bibleby Christophe Pourny seems to be just the kind of book New Englanders would love. It includes furniture history and restoration technique, and might inspire a great winter project.

So, if you’re looking to relax this holiday season, be sure to stop by the library, pick a book, and take advantage of our fireplace. And, if you want to really get in the holiday mood while you’re here, remember that we have lots of new holiday stories, including The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans, and Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber. Happy holidays!



Classics Book Club
By Abi Maxwell, December 15, 2014

When my grandmother was a young woman in the 1950s, she and her friends joined the Great Books Foundation, which sent them classic books, plus questions to aid in their discussion. That group changed her life. For the first time since college, she had the chance to discuss the stories and ideas she read, and to connect with others on them. Before she passed away, she wrote down some notes about this period in her life, when literature really drew her out. Recently I read those notes, and it struck me as a shame that such a group doesn’t exist in our town today. So, in memory of my grandmother and in an effort to discuss great books in our community, we are excited to start the Classics Book Group in 2015 here at the Gilford Public Library.

Despite the fact that I have always loved to read, and that I studied literature in college, I remained afraid of the word "classic” well into my twenties. Somehow, it didn’t occur to me that many of the books I had read and loved, like Steinbeck’s East of Eden, or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyrewere classics; instead, I still had the notion that a classic would be a complex and slow-going read. So it was that when, as a graduate student, I was assigned not only Madame Bovary but also a book of literary criticism about it, both to be read over the course of just one week, I was afraid. I remember that I even asked my professor if I understood the assignment correctly (to which she simply said, "Yes”).

Now, some seven years later, I still vividly remember reading that great classic. I sat outside, on the shaded bench in my yard, and I read the book all day long. The next day, I woke early to do the same. I was entirely entranced by that story—it was so full, so rich. "This,” I remember thinking, "is real storytelling.”

Madame Bovarybecame one of my favorite books, and after that experience, I was never afraid of the word "classic” again. When winter break came, I spent it reading Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina, and finally I learned that, among other things, classic novels are simply incredible, timeless stories.

Here at the library, we will begin our Classics Book Group on February 24, from 6:30 to 7:30, with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as our first novel. After that, we will continue every other month throughout the course of the year. We’ll read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath in April, and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights in June. At that point, we will make a schedule for the remainder of the year, taking the group’s reading preferences into consideration. Like any book group, our aim will be to discuss the story and its ideas. However, we’ll also try to touch a bit upon the biography of the writer, the history of the book, and how the book has influenced modern fiction. So, if you’ve ever wished you’d read more of the classics, now is a great time to start! All are welcome and encouraged to join us.

Contra Dancing in New Hampshire: Then and Now
By Abi Maxwell, November 10, 2014

If you grew up in New Hampshire, it’s likely that you’ve been to a barn dance, and it’s also likely that Dudley Laufman, one of our country’s most beloved classic country dance musicians, played the fiddle and called for that dance. Here at the Gilford Library, we’re thrilled to join with the Gilford Historical Society to welcome him for Contra Dancing in New Hampshire, Then and Now on Tuesday, November 18th at 6:30 p.m.

"It all started way back in the day,” Dudley says of his entrance into the dance. "I worked on a dairy farm, and they used to hold dances in the kitchen.” It was in an old farmhouse, and the farmer’s wife called the dances. "There would be a fire in the fireplace,” he says, "and I think it was the combination of wood smoke … and the women in the firelight … I was hooked for life.”

As a young man, Dudley studied agriculture, and while in school he learned to call square dances, and that’s what began his career. Now he’s a seasoned fiddler and caller with more than fifty years of experience. In 2009, Dudley received the nation’s highest honor for folk and traditional arts: a National Heritage Fellowship. And it’s no wonder—in many ways, it was Dudley himself who kept this traditional dance alive in our country.

"Back in the late 60s and 70s, we were the only show in town,” he says. "Dancing had fallen on bad times, and people were using recorded music.”

But he changed that. Rather than offering "real contra dances” in which people take the dancing, which can be complicated, very seriously, or "square dances,” whose name itself turned people—particularly hippies—away, Dudley began to play "barn dances.”

"I let the crowd get rowdy,” he says, and this way, Dudley brought back to life a dance that only a few old-timers still knew. He quickly gained favor with those who wanted to go out and have a good time dancing, and soon he began to get calls to travel for dances. Over time, more and more players and callers began to pop up. Now, it’s thanks to Dudley’s role in this traditional art form that we have spent more than a quarter century dancing at schools, barns, churches, and festivals across New England.

Today, Dudley Laufman and his wife, Jacqueline, play together as Two Fiddles. They’ll be here on Tuesday, November 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., with fiddles, an accordion, and stories to tell for their New Hampshire Humanities Program, Contra Dancing in New Hampshire, Then and Now.

The History of the Belknap Mill with Carol Lee Anderson
By Molly Harper, November 24, 2014

If you’ve spent some time in downtown Laconia, you are no doubt familiar with the Belknap Mill – the large brick building set beside the Winnipesaukee River. Currently serving as a museum, gallery, and function hall, the Belknap Mill is also an important historical relic whose exterior has remained largely untouched since its construction in 1823. One of the oldest surviving brick textile mill buildings in the United States, the Belknap Mill’s historical significance extends far beyond its modest footprint in the city of Laconia. Few know the vast importance and historical legacy of the mill better than local author and historian Carol Anderson.

The author of "A History of the Belknap Mill: The Pride of Laconia’s Industrial Age”, Carol Anderson has studied the diverse history of the mill extensively. Her book encompasses not only the mill’s history but also the industrial history of Laconia. It includes the stories of many French-Canadian immigrants who worked as mill operators and mill workers, and chronicles the ongoing intense battle for the mill’s preservation. Laconia's Belknap Mill thrived in the boom of the Industrial Revolution and swiftly rose to the forefront of the city's hosiery industry in the nineteenth century. Learn from Carol how this early symbol of the Industrial Revolution fought to become the pride of Laconia's industrial heritage today.

Carol Anderson will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, December 2ndfor a special presentation about her book and the history of the Belknap Mill. "A History of the Belknap Mill” is Carol’s third book about local history. Her first book,The History of Gunstock: Skiing in the Belknap Mountains,was published by The History Press in 2011. Shortly after being released, it received the prestigious Skade Award from the International Skiing History Association. Anderson is also the author ofThe New England Life of Cartoonist Bob Montana: Beyond theArchieComic Strip,which was published by The History Press in 2013.

Having researched and written about local histories throughout the Lakes Region for nearly a decade, Carol is an incredible wealth of knowledge about our area’s unique history. Her presentation on the Belknap Mill is part of the Library’s "Get Booked” series of author visits and is free and open to the public. The program will begin at 6:30 pm.

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month
By Abi Maxwell, November 3, 2014

If you’ve ever daydreamed about writing a novel, November is the month to make it happen. If that sounds impossible, just take a look at the statistics: in 2013 alone, an astonishing 310,095 people committed to and succeeded in writing 50,000 words—roughly 150 pages—in just the 30 days of November. That’s thanks to NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit that named November National Novel Writing Month and encourages people from all walks of life to sign up for the challenge. Here at the Gilford Public Library, we’ve joined with NaNoWriMo to offer a variety of writing activities for both teens and adults as they make their way through a month of writing.

Among their many tips for writers, "No plot? No problem!” is one of them. "Quantity, not quality!” is another. For those discerning readers out there, this concept might feel a bit problematic. After all, when we read, both plot and quality matter. Sometimes those elements are all that matter. Yet the fact is that most of the well-written and well-plotted books we pull down from the library’s shelves were once messy, murky, even disastrous drafts. And that is just the sort of draft that NaNoWriMo is after.

The idea is simple: basically, you can’t write unless you actually write. Just turning off your inner critic and getting words down on a page—any words, even "I don’t know what to write”—moves you closer to your vision of a book than not writing ever will.

Novelist E.M. Forster put it another way. He asked, "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” In other words, how can you possibly shape your story if you don’t go ahead and write it first?

If that’s not a strong enough argument for writing in this fast, fearless, and unplanned way, then consider the fact that many NaNoWriMo participants have gone on with their drafts to eventually publish their novels. Bestselling novelists Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) and Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) are among them. I, too, practiced this method—though not just for a month, but over the course of roughly two years—as I worked toward my first novel, and I can’t imagine it would have ever been written otherwise.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, visit, make your commitment, and join us! For young writers in grades 5 to 8, I will lead three hour-long afterschool writing groups on November 4, 18, and 25. For adults, I’ll lead an intensive writing workshop on Saturday, November 22, from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. (sign-up required). These programs are free, and we encourage you to join. Call for details, and happy writing!

Upcoming Concert with Meg Josalen
By Abi Maxwell, October 27, 2014

Pianist and songwriter Meg Josalen didn’t expect to become a musician, but now she’s about to release her second CD, Chances and Happenstance. On Thursday, November 6, Meg will be here at the Gilford Public Library to play her keyboard and sing what she describes as "theatrical pop” music.

Though Meg took classical piano lessons for a brief period as a child, she never did feel an affinity for the instrument, or any instrument, for that matter. "But I always loved music, always,” she says. Still, it was with a certain amount of surprise that, years into adulthood, she found herself not only playing the piano and writing songs, but producing albums, too.

"The entire process has been wonderful and unexpected,” she says. Her first time in the recording studio, she arrived with eleven songs and no lyrics. Her goal was simply to record her music as a gift for her family. Yet as Meg began to play, listeners suggested she sing, too. So she wrote lyrics, and soon she found herself hiring accompaniment. "At first I wanted to hire a singer,” she says, "but then I realized I could sing, too!”

Now, as she finishes her second album, Meg’s musical adventures continue to expand. In addition to various library shows, Meg has been a part of NH’s "Best Of” series; she’s appeared on NH Chronicle; and she’s had various radio spots here in her home state.

Meg will be at the Gilford Public Library to play her original songs, which she describes as "moody, heartfelt, honest, and relatable” on Thursday, November 6, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Dorian Michael at the Library
Be Abi Maxwell, October 14, 2014

Last week, I caught guitarist Dorian Michael on the telephone while he was driving across Kansas in a rain storm, headed toward a gig. "I’ve been traveling like this for decades,” he said. "It’s the only thing I’ve ever done.” Just now, Dorian is on a tour that will take him from California to Nantucket Island, and on Thursday, October 21st, he’ll make a stop here at the Gilford Public Library.

Self-described as "musically restless,” Dorian plays a mix of blues, folk, jazz, and rock n’ roll. He’s been playing since the age of seven, when his parents, in an attempt to give him some culture, put a guitar in his hands.

"I couldn’t put it down,” he says. And since that time, music has been the priority of his life.

Talking to Dorian, one gets the sense that he is one of those rare, shining people who lives purely for his craft. That is no easy task, but he attests that it is a satisfying one. "You have to put it first in your daily life,” Dorian says of a life lived for art. "Lots of other things fall by the wayside. You have to be a little selfish. People have to give you some slack. You’ll lack fancy things. But if you put the music first and the other things second, then you will get your rewards.”

Not fancy rewards, mind you. His rewards are the countless days spent within the music he loves.

"Listen,” he says, "I’m 65 years old. I don’t have stardom ambitions. I’m playing to serve the music itself.”

Though a guitar player at heart, it was actually the Chicago blues and Mississippi Delta singers who first led Dorian to his own musical voice.

"Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters—their music lived,” he says. It inspired him to think deeply about his own sound, and to commit to creating "pure music for regular folks.”

It’s that commitment, plus the fact that he plays an eclectic mix of genres, that keeps him performing at public libraries. There, people don’t generally arrive with attachments to what kind of music they want to hear; they just show up to hear good music, which he will surely deliver.

Dorian Michael will be at the Gilford Public Library for "Traditional Contemporary Guitar” on October 21st from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The show is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, October 20, 2014

Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of year, and October in particular is one of my favorite months. I like the cool nip in the air and the smell of falling leaves, fresh apples in apple pie, and amassing a collection of pumpkins on my front stoop. But most of all I like the spooky reading I always pack into the weeks before Halloween. After a cool walk outside, or an afternoon of raking, my favorite spot to spend October evenings is curled up on the couch with a mug of apple cider and a horror story guaranteed to keep me awake at night. I encourage you to join me in reading frightening fiction in these days before Halloween, though you may need to leave the lights on at night if you dare to try some of the following spooky stories!

This week I’ll be reading Hold The Dark by William Giraldi. Set on the Alaskan tundra, this terrifying literary thriller confronts mankind’s losing battle with nature and questions the mystery of evil in a town plagued by what are believed to be wolf attacks on children. When a returning veteran’s wife goes missing along with his young son, he stops at nothing to uncover the beasts or beast responsible.

If a chilling ghost story is more frightening to you, try Rooms by Lauren Oliver orA Sudden Light by Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Both books tackle the haunting of family estates and the emergence of long buried family secrets as mysterious and dangerous as the spirits that trouble the old homes.

If vampire stories are more to your liking, you’re in luck! The reigning queen of vampire fiction, Anne Rice, has returned with a new book in The Vampire Chronicles series – Prince Lestat. Picking up where Queen of the Damned and The Vampire Lestatleft off, Prince Lestat returns to Rice’s dark world – a world now in chaos as the undead do the bidding of a mysterious Voice. Old enemies and new creatures must come together to solve the mystery of the Voice and find out exactly who-or what-the Voice is, what it desires, and why…

Stephen King, the Master of Horror, once again returns to the genre with his latest book - Revival,a "dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life”. The secrets shared by a new minister in town, his beautiful wife, and a young local boy continue to haunt the boy as he grows into a deeply troubled young man. When he encounters the minister again, their interaction sets off a terrifying race to a disturbing conclusion.

If a good thriller is more your speed, check out Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger, a murder and abduction mystery set within a remote Ojibwe community by the shores of Lake Superior. The line between myth and mystery is blurred as investigators search for answers within a reservation that still holds firmly to old legends and traditions amidst a rapidly modernizing world.

For these and more great reads to get you into a spooky Halloween spirit, stop by the Library! Or if you’re looking for a slightly less frightening way to spend your Halloween, don’t forget about the Library’s annual Halloween Party, on October 31st at 10:30 am. For kids up to 5 years old, we will have a costume parade and plenty of tricks and treats! Stop by and check out the costumes, or check out a spooky book – the choice is yours!

Teen Read Week
By Molly Harper, October 6, 2014

Next week at the library is Teen Read Week! Teen Read Week is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. The overall theme of Teen Read Week is Read For The Fun of It, and each year a sub-theme focuses attention on a specific aspect of teen reading. This year’s sub-theme is Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library.

Here in Gilford, we’re fortunate enough to be able to devote an entire room to teen/young adult fiction, magazines, and graphic novels. With new titles arriving every month, the collection is continually growing and expanding. In addition to offering a wide selection of titles, the Teen Room is a popular space for middle and high school students to spend time after school. The teen room has four computers available for checkout, and tables to spread out and do work on.

Every month on early release the Library also offers programs for students to do after school. In September, I taught a small group of teens how to create simple circuits using conductive and insulating play-dough, a battery pack, buzzers, and LED lights. After the group got the hang of simple circuits, they started experimenting on their own and some of the flashing, buzzing, dough creations were pretty extravagant! Next up on the agenda for teen early release activities is a zombie make-up tutorial on October 15th!

The Teen Advisory Group (TAG) is another way for teens to participate in the library. The Group is newly formed this year and is designed to give teens a greater voice at the library through including them in the planning process for teen programs and helping them become involved in volunteer and community service projects through the library. We plan to meet once a month after school. Joining TAG is a great chance for teens to earn volunteer experience and plan fun and engaging afterschool activities. We’ll also discuss the books teens want to see in the library and TAG members will have a direct role in maintaining the book displays and recommendations in the teen room. The library’s many teen patrons are an engaging and enthusiastic group of individuals; TAG is a great chance for the library to tap into some of the great ideas and energy our teen readers have!

We had a great first meeting in September and our next meeting will be on October 23rd, from 3:00 to 4:00pm in the teen room. The group is open to Grades 6 and up.

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, September 22, 2014

I recently read an interesting definition of what it means to be a Yankee. Living in New Hampshire, I’ve heard the term thrown around a bit and been called a Yank more than a few times myself – but what does it really mean? According to the book I read, a Yankee fits into the following definition; "to someone who lives south of the Mason-Dixon line, a Yankee is someone who lives north of the line. To someone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon line, a Yankee is someone from New England. To people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, a Yankee is someone who eats pie for breakfast.” To Rebecca Rule, New Hampshire storyteller and comedian, pie for breakfast is a perfectly acceptable way to start the day up here in the Granite State. The author of several short story collections about life in New Hampshire, including "Live Free and Eat Pie: A Storyteller’s Guide to New Hampshire”, Rebecca Rule is this year’s selected author for the Lakes Region Reads 2014 community book program.

Rebecca Rule has entertained audiences for years with her wit and unique perspective on the idiosyncrasies and quirks that make New Hampshire and those who dwell here so fascinating and hilarious. From flatlanders to maple syrup to our peculiar accents, Rebecca Rule covers it all with her stories and musings. As part of Lakes Region Reads 2014, Rebecca Rule will be at the Interlakes HS Auditorium on Sunday, November 2nd at 2:00 pm. Her presentation is sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

I just finished Live Free and Eat Pie in preparation for a book discussion here at the library on Thursday, September 25th. Full of great stories and humor, Live Free and Eat Pie was an entertaining and quick read. I’m looking forward to seeing Rebecca’s talk in November! In the spirit of Live Free and Eat Pie, and in celebration of the unique New Hampshire culture Rebecca Rule so uproariously highlights, we have a couple of programs coming up in October. On Wednesday, October 22nd from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, I will be leading a workshop on making apple pie from scratch – you may just get to take some home for breakfast on Thursday morning! Spots will fill up quickly so please sign up at the circulation desk with your library card. On Tuesday, October 28th at 6:30 pm we will host a movie night featuring The Cider House Rules, a drama based on the book by New Hampshire native John Irving. We’ll provide the popcorn!

Movie "Buddies"
By Molly Harper, September 29, 2014

One of my favorite films as a child was Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Produced in 1964, Mary Poppins is a lighthearted musical fantasy film loosely based on P.L. Travers’ book series of the same name. The film was one of Disney’s first to combine live-action and animation, and featured the musical talents of stars such as Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. I watched the film so many times that I knew all of the words to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, and "A Spoonful of Sugar” – and I could probably still sing along to the film today!

When I found out that Mary Poppins was going to be at the center of a new movie featuring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, I was quite excited! Saving Mr. Banks chronicles Walt Disney’s long battle with author P.L. Travers to obtain the rights to translate her beloved book series onto the big screen. Saving Mr. Banks is a fictionalized look behind the scenes of the path to producing Disney’s iconic Mary Poppins film. If you’re a Mary Poppins fan like myself, a Disney fan, or are just looking for a great film for movie night, try out Saving Mr. Banks – or take a trip into the past and rent Walt Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie!

Saving Mr. Banks is just one of the many popular new films the Library has acquired in recent months. With new movies being released every few weeks, the library’s collection is always expanding. Among the most anticipated new releases are the films The Fault in Our Stars and Heaven is for Real. Both films are based on fiction and non-fiction books so these films are sure to attract fans of both the film and print versions of the stories. The library has also recently catalogued Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler’s newest comedy, Blended – where two families unexpectedly become one on a rambling adventure across the African savannah. As a comic book fan, I’m most looking forward to the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier – the second installment in Marvel’s epic Captain America film series.

If you follow television series such as True Detective or The Walking Dead – you’re in luck! The library recently acquired the first season of True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and now owns up through the 4th season of The Walking Dead. Season 5 premieres in mid-October, so now is the perfect time to get caught up!

If you’re looking for something a little lighter than gritty detective stories and zombies, don’t worry! I recommendThe Spectacular Now, a fun romantic comedy that showcases the acting talents of Shailene Woodley, the up and coming star of Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. Or, if you’re interested in non-fiction – try Fed Up, a documentary that takes a critical look of the processed foods industries in the United States. I learned a lot about what is hidden in some of the foods I eat – it’s a real eye-opener!

For these and more new releases, swing by the library! If you’re looking for a new release that we don’t seem to have, consider becoming a Blockbuster Buddy. Library Blockbuster Buddies contract to pay for a specific movie at the library’s price for the library collection. Buddies are the first patrons to check out their selected movie and a sticker on the inside of the case honors the Buddy’s generous donation. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Storytimes Begin!
By Molly Harper, September 1, 2014

It’s that time of year again, the temperature is cooling off and the kids are heading back to school. If you have younger children that aren’t quite old enough for school, you may be looking for some daytime activities now that the summer excitement has died down. Luckily for you, the Children’s room librarians have been busy preparing a fall schedule full of activities for babies, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Storytime, Toddler Time, and Babygarten start up next week, so now is the perfect time to stop by and sign up! Storytime (ages 3-5), Babygarten (birth – 18mo.), and Toddler Time (under 3) are fun and exciting programs geared towards specific age groups. During sessions, we will sing songs, do a themed craft, have a themed snack, and of course - read some great stories! A guided storytime or story-themed activity is a great way to foster a love of reading in children, and for them to meet other children in their age group. Even if children are too young to actually read for themselves, reading aloud to kids has been proven to have a multitude of benefits.

Research evidence shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for creating motivated readers. Reading aloud, particularly to young children, helps to stimulate imagination, expand vocabulary, foster natural curiosity, increase attention spans, and develop early language skills. In a Guardian Teacher Network article, "How to Help Children Discover They LOVE Reading”, author and teacher Neil Griffiths shares suggestions on how to deliver a story well, and capture young attentions. He recommends reading through a story first before reading aloud to plan key moments of emphasis and excitement, and to practice reading in an engaging and expressive tone. He also suggests using your body to its fullest; move about to express mood and use arm and exaggerated facial gestures to illustrate the story. To help attract the attention of children, plan questions to ask throughout the story – even if the child can’t read yet, answering questions about the story and pointing to pictures can help them feel more involved in the activity.

Letting children select the books they want to read is also a great way to get them interested in books at a young age. Whether they are interested in trucks, princesses, or a funny cat with mis-matched shoes, involving the child in the book selection process can help motivate them to seek out even more books.

If you can’t make it to the Library Storytime, try taking home an interactive Literacy Kit. These kits contain resources to encourage reading, role-play, and literacy development. Some favorite kits are the Pirate Fun Kit, Music Kit, Fitness Kit and best of all – the Dinosaur Kit!

Help the children in your life discover a love of reading by visiting the Library for Storytime, and discover what other resources the Library has to offer by signing up for our weekly newsletter by emailing If you don’t yet have a library card, stop by and sign up! September is Library Card Sign-Up month, and the perfect time to start exploring all of the different materials and programs the Library has to offer!

Reader's Advisory
Be Abi Maxwell, September 8, 2014

If you’re a reader, you know the particular satisfaction of recommending a book you love only to watch that reader love it just as much as you do. It is one of the great joys of reading. But when you work at a library, the task of recommending books suddenly opens up beyond the scope of books you enjoy to encompass every sort of book ever published. In the library world, this is called Readers’ Advisory; that is, putting the right book into the hands of the right patron. It is no small task.

Sometimes I daydream about reading every single book in this library, and thereby being sufficiently equipped to speak with almost any patron about almost any book. Of course that’s unrealistic, and thankfully this library staff’s reading habits are diverse: Molly is an expert at teen fiction; Betty has read almost all the mysteries and thrillers in the building; Katherine reads heaps upon heaps of nonfiction; Becky can recommend a wide range of novels, from thoughtful to light, funny reads; Joanne knows inspirational books; I tirelessly read literary fiction. That covers a lot of ground, and it’s not even close to a complete list.

And yet there are still moments when a patron asks for a book and I find myself at a total loss. A light but compelling romance set in the 18th century? Hmm. A fast-paced adult novel about werewolves, but not violent ones? Not my specialty.

This is, in part, why we keep those wonderful tri-fold lists at the circulation desk—if you frequent the library, you’ve likely seen them. They each offer roughly thirty titles within our most popular genres. Nearly all of the titles are new books; some are staff favorites, and others have been widely well-reviewed. It’s also why we have a "Read-Alikes” list—if you like James Patterson, try Jeffery Deaver, and so on.

But what you might not know is that we’ve been working hard to improve these resources. For example, we’ve been compiling lengthy book recommendation lists for every genre, broken down by subgenre. This means that if you tell us you like Vince Flynn, we can tell you that that is an "Espionage Thriller,” and we can then recommend a great title in that category.

In addition, we have now have a binder at the circulation desk that we hope you’ll take a look at. It’s marked Readers’ Advisory; inside you will find lists of popular authors arranged according to their genre and subgenre. So, if you know you like mysteries, you can flip to that section, and then peruse the categories, like "Cozy Mystery,” or "Police Detective.” Also, all the authors are listed in the index, so you can look a name up, flip to that page, and see a list of similar authors. It’s truly a wonderful resource, so we hope you will use it!

And that’s not all—we also offer NoveList, a wonderful Readers’ Advisory resource that you can access through our website with our library card. So, if you’re in a reading rut, and struggling to find what book to read next, please, ask us! We are always delighted to help you find a book. Happy reading
The Gilford Library is 120!
By Molly Harper, August 11, 2014

This year marks a very exciting anniversary for the Gilford Public Library – 120 years! In 1893, a legislative act caused Gilford to lose its public library, one originally located in Laconia. Townspeople immediately took action and appropriated $25 for the establishment of a free public library within the town. Gilford officially opened its first public library the following year, in 1894, when additional funds were appropriated along with a donation of 100 books by the State of New Hampshire. From that day on, the Gilford Public Library has continued to grow and expand under the unwavering support of town residents.

The Library itself has also moved several times before settling into its current position on Potter Hill Road. From a tiny single room in the Deacon Hunter house on Belknap Mountain Road, to the Town Hall, and the corner of Belknap Mountain Road and Cherry Valley Road – the library as grown through the years to the wonderful facility it is today. I may be a tad biased, but I think the Gilford Library is one of the best around! The State of New Hampshire must think so to because the Gilford Library won the title of Library of the Year in 2012. Since the grand opening of the current building in August of 2008, the Library has continued to diversify program offerings and expand our collection. As always, it’s all made possible thanks to an ever supportive community here in Gilford.

In celebration of how far the Library has come since 1894, we will host an anniversary reception on August 19th at 6:30 pm. Classical Guitarist Peter Fletcher will play during the reception and light refreshments will be served. We will also have information about the history of the Gilford Library on display along with a collection of historical photographs. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this celebration of the 120 years of the Gilford Library.

Guitarist Peter Fletcher began studying classical guitar as a child; he made his formal debut into the music world at the age of 15 and hasn’t slowed down since. Best known for his remarkable ability to transcribe complicated piano music into chords for the guitar, he is a smooth and melodic musician with a talent for producing beautiful classical sound. He is constantly looking for ways to expand the realm of classical guitar music to encompass more of the sounds of other instruments. We are fortunate to have Peter play in accompaniment to the Library Reception.

We hope to have you with us as we celebrate 120 years as the Gilford Public Library!

Michael Tougias at the Library
By Abi Maxwell, August 4, 2014

On October 25, 2012, Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail the HMS Bounty despite the fact that hurricane Sandy was on its way. Four days into that voyage, the decision cost his life. Yet Walbridge was a seasoned captain. Why, after years of safe sailing, would he make such a decision? That question led bestselling author Michael Tougias to the Bounty, and in search of answers he wrote Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy. On Tuesday, August 12, Tougias will be at the Gilford Public Library to present his work.

As a writer, Tougias is drawn to survival and rescue stories, and his books read like thrillers. Though they are nonfiction, they keep you on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what happens despite the fact that you might already know. And his presentations—which are as famous as his books—are no different.

"I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm,” Tougias said. "I want people to ask, What would I have done?”

Examining that question is largely what drives Tougias’s work. And it’s not just any disaster that could sustain a book—the story has to have twists and turns and surprises, it has to be character driven, and it has to have some nagging question at its center.

"The topics do find me, though,” he said. In fact, for Overboard!, one of his maritime adventure books, an audience member at a presentation came to him, told him what had happened, and said, "You are the person to investigate this.” It turned out that he was.

Investigation—why and how a disaster and rescue occurred, and what the nature of the people involved was—is never an easy task, and for Rescue of the Bounty the work was particularly challenging. In part, that’s because the disaster was so recent. Also, of the sixteen sailors, two perished in the storm.

"These are serious stories,” Tougias said. "But every now and then I write a fun one.” One such book is The Cringe Chronicles, a father-daughter memoir co-written by his teenage daughter. Another is There’s a Porcupine in My Outhouse, which is a humorous account of his life in Vermont.

Michael Tougias will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, August 12, from 6:30 to 7:30 for an interactive presentation of Rescue of the Bounty: Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy. The program is free and open to the public; copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Stone Walls with Kevin Gardner
By Molly Harper, July 28, 2014

If you’re a native New Englander, or a temporary visitor to the region, you’ve no doubt noticed the long rows of hand-built stone walls that line roadways and fields in rural towns. The remnants of farming days long past, these stone walls – many built from the very granite that has made New Hampshire famous – have lasted through countless hard winters and wet summers. Stone walls can vary greatly in shape, size, and composition – depending on their age and original intended purpose. The unique history and construction of these stone walls is something that Hopkinton, New Hampshire native, Kevin Gardner, is quite familiar with.

A writer, teacher, and tradesman, Kevin has spent nearly forty years as a master stonemason and stone wall builder. He works in a family business that has participated in major restoration projects and training workshops at Canterbury Shaker Village, Acadia National Park, and many other historic sites in New England.

Kevin will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, August 5th at 6:30pm for a presentation on Discovering New England’s Stone Walls and his book, The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls. His informal talk will cover a few of the main topics of his book – touching on history, technique, stylistic development, and aesthetics. He will explain how New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls and will elaborate on the different styles and constructions of stone walls throughout history.

Kevin will also demonstrate the art of building stone walls by building a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop during his presentation. He often brings along his collection of books about stonework, as well as copies of The Granite Kiss. Kevin is also happy to answer questions about stone wall history and construction, so come prepared with any questions you may have about stone walls in your area!

The John Muir Trail
By Molly Harper, July 21, 2014

This coming week brings with it a beautiful weather forecast and yet another exciting presentation here at the library. If you’ve gotten a chance to get out hiking this summer in some of the spectacular weather we’ve had, you know how beautiful New Hampshire can be from the top of a mountain. My personal favorite local hike is Mt. Major – with varied trail difficulties, and a wide open summit just begging for picnics, it’s a great mountain for midsummer hiking.

Danielle Tidd, another local young woman, is an even more avid hiker and mountaineer. In her senior year of high school, Danielle asked for an unusual graduation gift: she wanted to hike the John Muir trail that passes through some of the finest mountain scenery in the US. Stretching from Yosemite National Park and continuing 215 miles through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, King's Canyon National Park, the John Muir Trail ends at the highest peak in continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft. Danielle and her family hiked the trail during the summer of 2013.

Danielle will be at the Library on Tuesday, July 29th to share her adventure as part of the library’s Destination Series of presentations. She, along with her parents, Bill and Melanie, and brother, Michael, will share pictures and stories of their celebratory trek. The program will begin at 6:30 pm.

This is bound to be a great program for anyone interested in hiking or the outdoors, or anyone simply yearning for a little taste of adventure. If you’re inspired by Danielle’s hiking adventures, pick up a map of local hiking trails at the Circulation Desk. We have the entire Belknap range mapped out, as well as the Ossipee Mountains and more! It’s the perfect summer for hiking (and reading!).

Living with Coyotes
By Abi Maxwell, July 14, 2014

Back in the 1970s, ecologist Chris Schadler raised a wolf pup from birth for research with Purdue University. Since that time, she has devoted her life not only to the study of these wild predators, but also to the public’s perception of them. On Tuesday, July 22, Schadler will be at the Gilford Public Library to discuss coyotes and how we can be peaceful neighbors to them.

Living peacefully beside coyotes is something Schadler certainly has first-hand experience with.A sheep farmer in New Hampshire, Schadler has safely guarded her livestock for years, without even the use of electric fencing.

"I created an environment the coyotes would respect,” she says. "The coyotes are territorial animals. I mimicked their behavior.”

As for her success rate? One hundred percent. And that’s not for lack of coyotes, either.

"I bought the farm specifically because of the coyotes,” she says. "I knew the previous owner had been driven out because of them. I knew those coyotes had a taste for sheep.” That fact made her location ideal for experimenting with non-lethal techniques to keep her sheep safe.

Those techniques, which she will discuss at her presentation, were developed after years of research of both wolf and coyote behavior, and were driven by one specific belief: coexistence is possible.

"There’s a boundary that we declare between humans and wild nature,” she says. "But we can’t control nature. So I’m interested in the places where that boundary gets fuzzy and we meet.”

And as for that wolf pup she raised: "Cute as a button, but I was young and idealistic. I forgot that wolves were nocturnal.” She ended up exhausted, covered in nips and scratches. She did, however, learn how to train a dog well.

Schadler will be at the Gilford Public Library for Living With Coyotes in New Hampshire on behalf of Project Coyote, a nonprofit that promotes wildlife conservation and coexistence. The program is on Tuesday, July 22, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Two Authors Cisit Library
By Molly Harper, July 7, 2014

It’s another busy summer week here at the Library as we gear up for not one, but two special presentations! On Tuesday, July 15th , author and diplomat Marshall Adair will discuss his book, Lessons from a Diplomatic Life: Watching Flowers from Horseback. Drawing on his 35 year career as a third-generation diplomat and experiences with the American Foreign Service, Marshall Adair’s book provides readers with a unique combination of autobiography, travelogue, and exposé on the history and politics of US Foreign Affairs. We will learn about his posts in Europe, Africa and Asia, and learn how a long history of challenging diplomatic assignments and challenges has drastically impacted current US affairs and policy. His book has been described as "a unique and invaluable book about life in the American Foreign Service” and "a very engaging reflection on a life fulfilled by service to the United States in a kaleidoscope of countries and cultures, each vividly and insightfully portrayed”. This presentation is bound to be both fascinating and enlightening, and will begin at 6:30 pm.

The second presentation of the week, Get Booked with Author Carole Rodgers, will be on Thursday, July 17th at 6:30 pm - a great evening for those interested in family histories and sweeping memoirs. Carole Rodgers will discuss her book Hidden Lives: My Three Grandmothers. Hidden Lives covers the compelling true stories of three New York City immigrant families – one Jewish, one German, and one Italian – set in three tenement neighborhoods – the lower east side, the south Bronx and hell’s kitchen – during the first decades of the twentieth century. Carole Rogers never met these three women - her grandmothers, but she tells their stories with compassion and love.

Don’t forget to write down the programs you attend on your summer reading log – you can earn an extra raffle ticket for doing so! If you haven’t signed up for the Summer Reading program yet, it’s not too late! For each book you read you can earn a raffle ticket for the weekly prize drawing – the prizes are all Kitchen Chemistry related and filled with great goodies!

Get Booked with Author Douglas Whynott
By Molly Harper, June 30, 2014

The Gilford Public Library’s summer reading program is now entering its third week and alongside checking out some very prolific readers, we’ve seen a couple of great presentations. Next on the agenda is the second visiting author of the summer season – Douglas Whynott. Douglas Whynott is the author of five non-fiction books, including The Sugar Season, Following the Bloom, Giant Bluefin, A Unit of Water – A Unit of Time, and A Country Practice. Whynott has taught writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Columbia University, and presently at Emerson College in Boston. Whynott will share the story behind his newest book, The Sugar Season, at the Library on Tuesday night.

The Sugar Season follows a year in the maple sugar industry as one NH family works to preserve an ancient, lucrative and threatened agricultural art – the sweetest harvest, maple syrup. Whynott will introduce his book and enlighten viewers on The Maple Hall of Fame, the black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security and more. Set in 2012, the warmest year for sugaring in history, The Sugar Season sheds light on everything from the unique biology of Maple trees, to the long days and nights of the farmers themselves, and the multi-million dollar syrup industry that relies on a careful balance of warm days and cold nights in early spring.

With rave reviews from NPR’s Market Place, NHPR’s Word of Mouth, The Boston Globe, and the New York Post, The Sugar Season is a well-informed, honest look inside the world of maple syrup production.

The program will take place in the Library Meeting room on Tuesday, July 8th from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. If you’re familiar with the toils and troubles of the Maple Syrup industry, or simply enjoy a healthy pour of the sweet syrup over your pancakes in the morning, swing by the Library and learn what goes on behind the scenes of the industry, and see exactly what goes into producing the syrup on your table.

The Library has a wide variety of presenters planned throughout the rest of the summer. Be sure to stop by and pick up a program of events, and register for the summer reading program!

"Of Sea and Cloud" Launched at the Gilford Library
By Abi Maxwell, June 23, 2014

My brother Jon Keller was living in the mountains of Montana, leading mule and horse packing trips, when he flew back east one summer for a trip to Maine. He drove farther along the coast than he had ever been, to where the highways and tourists disappear and the landscape begins to look almost arctic. And after that trip, my brother flew back west, packed up, and moved to Maine. He intended to become a lobsterman; what he didn’t know was that he would also write a novel about the trade. Now, nearly ten years later, that novel, Of Sea and Cloud, is complete, and to celebrate its publication Jon will come home to New Hampshire and read at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m.

Set in a small, remote Maine fishing village, Of Sea and Cloudis a lyric, gripping story of a community in turmoil when the globalization of the fishing industry reaches their boats, and one lobsterman is mysteriously murdered. Though fictional, the novel was inspired by Jon’s early days as a stern-man on a lobster boat.

"The captain of the boat loved literature,” he says, "and he’d quiz me on the classics. On Shakespeare, the Greeks, the Russians.”

So, with those great books rattling around in his mind, Jon would spend hours on the boat, just looking at the sea and sky. The beauty and starkness of that landscape struck him, but he was also struck by that old, insular community whose way of life seemed to teeter just at the edge of breakdown as the modern world crept in.

"Something epic was happening here, a community in a cultural tailspin,” he says. "And then it dawned on me one day. I could spend a lifetime on the stern of a lobster boat. But I was a writer.”

After that realization, Jon set to work. He stayed in that small, remote village, but cut back on his fishing hours. He moved into a one-room cabin with no indoor plumbing and only a woodstove to heat and cook on. And, for nearly eight years, he wrote. Of Sea and Cloud is the result of that time. It’s a beautifully written book, evocative of the landscape and true to the people who live there and protect it.

Jon Keller will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the release of his novel. He will read, discuss his work, and sign books. Copies ofOf Sea and Cloud will be available for purchase. All are welcome and encouraged to join us!

Summer Reading begins June 23!
By Molly Harper, June 16, 2014

Pop! Sizzle! Crash! BOOM! We’re kicking off the 2014 Summer Reading Program with a BANG this year! With a busy calendar and new books arriving weekly, we’re excited and prepared to keep kids, teens and adults reading all summer long. This year’s children’s theme is "Fizz Boom Read”, and we have a summer planned that is jam-packed with experiments, workshops and activities to appeal to every little mad scientist. With homemade bouncy balls and binoculars, music with Tom Sieling and Mar, and even a magic show, this year’s summer reading program is bound to be electrifying! We will also have a special storytime with author Cheryl Bloser and the always popular Storywalk at Ramblin’ Vewe will be back again for another year. For a complete list of children’s summer activities, stop by the circulation desk in the Children’s Room

We’re aiming to "Spark a Reaction” with teens this summer with a Teen Reading Program that’s filled with great reads and creative activities. On top of our annual Middle School and High School Writing Camps, we will host Cupcake Wars and a Femo Clay jewelry making class. We will also spend an afternoon playing with "squishy circuits” - a form of electro conductive play dough.An open mic night will be on June 27th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, so be sure to stop by and show off your hidden talents. Spots will fill up quickly for the writing camps so be sure to stop by and sign up soon. Sign-ups for these and many other activities will be ongoing throughout the summer so check the front desk often for the most current list of events.

Adults also have a great summer in store for them! Our theme this year is "Literary Elements” and we are really taking it to heart! With a "Recipe for Summer Reading” Reading Log and "Kitchen Chemistry” prizes, we promise this will be a fun season for reading. We have planned a huge variety of author visits, programs, presentations, and workshops for the summer. With the Destination Series of presenters we will travel to India, Alaska, and along the John Muir Trail in California. We also have a whopping seven authors presenting this summer. In addition to these programs we are also offering a sourdough bread workshop, book discussions, foreign movies, and much, much more. Here to kick off the summer reading fun for adults will be Balladeer, Jim Barnes on Tuesday, June 24that 6:30. Jim is a skilled musician, folk singer, and storyteller who expertly weaves tales with humor, wit, and music. Free and open to the public, this is not a presentation to be missed!

The kids summer reading kick-off with Paul Warnick will be on June 23rd at 3:00 pm, don’t forget to sign up at the circulation desk before to pick up your summer reading log. The summer reading program will run from June 23rdthrough August 8th and a reading log is available for each level of the program. Need help choosing books to read this summer? No worries! We’ve recently updated our suggested reading lists, and we’re always more than happy to help you discover a new author or track down the perfect book.

Pen Names and more...
By Molly Harper, June 9, 2014

Mark Twain, George Eliot, Lewis Carrol, and Robert Galbraith - you may recognize these names as famous authors, perhaps you have even read their works, but did you know that each of these names is actually a pseudonym? Often referred to as a pen name or "nom de plume" in the writing world, a pseudonym is frequently used to conceal the author's identity. One famous example of this is Samuel Langhorne Clements, who wrote under the name of Mark Twain. A pen name is sometimes used if the writer has a similar name to another person or writer, or if their real name is confusing in some way. Some authors who write in different genres or in both fiction and non-fiction will use pen names to avoid confusing their readers, such as mathematician Charles Dodgson, wrote under children's fantasy stories under the name Lewis Carrol. Pen names are also used when an author wishes to disguise their gender. ` Did you know that the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, a coming-of-age story following the boys in two rival gangs, is actually the work of a woman named Susan Eloise? George Eliot, the author of Victorian Era works like Silas Mariner and Middlemarch, is the pen name of Mary Ann Evan. Even the Bronte sisters wrote novels under pen names to disguise their gender!

Publishers will also occasionally ask authors to take a pen name, or will request slight changes to an author’s actual name such as with Virginia Andrews (V.C. Andrews) and Joanne Rowling (J.K. Rowling). Joanne Rowling has also written a novel of crime fiction under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Prolific writers such as Stephen King have used pen names to disguise the amount of writing they produce and avoid flooding the market with their name. King used the pen name Richard Bachman, as an experiment to see if he could achieve success under an unknown name.

Some authors will even adopt multiple pen names for different purposes - Jayne Anne Krentz writes historical fiction under the name Amanda Quick and supernatural romance under the name Jayne Castle. With all of these different alias floating around, it almost makes you wonder if some of your favorite authors may actually be the same person!

Also, if you or someone you know is looking for something fun to do this summer, the Library needs Teen Volunteers to help with the Summer Reading Program.
Museum Passes Available at the Library
By Molly Harper, June 2, 2014


If you’re native to the Lakes Region, or have lived here for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed the swell in population that coincides each year with the arrival of summer. Whether they’re locals returning from a winter down south, or vacationers arriving to their summer getaways, all kinds of people flock to this state in search of warm weather, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes. New Hampshire is truly a beautiful place to spend a summer vacation, and there are things to do across the state for all interests! If you’ve just arrived to the area and are scoping out locations for summer ventures, or if your kids have just gotten out of school and are looking for things to do this summer, swing by the library!

The library has memberships to many local sites and attractions and offers passes for free or discounted admission to all current card-holders. Passes should be reserved at the library for a specific date and must be picked up before you depart on your adventure. A couple of passes do require a refundable $10.00 deposit, but most are available at no cost to the borrower!

Some of the most popular passes include the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, and the Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough. The library also offers a number of passes to historical sites and museums, including the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, a fascinating museum that chronicles American life in the years between 1939 and 1945. Also located in Wolfeboro is the Libby Museum, a museum of Natural History that is fun and informative for all ages. The library also has passes to Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, and The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens in Newbury, the Currier Museum of Art and the N.H. Historical Society Muesum.

New this summer will be a pass for discounted admission to the Children’s Museum in Boston, MA! This expansive museum is filled to the brim with interactive displays and exhibits.

Reservations for many of these passes will fill up quickly so swing by the library and reserve your pass as soon as you have a date picked out. Stop by or give us a call if you have any questions about pass availability and offerings.

Don’t forget, the library offers membership cards for Residents, Non-Residents, and Summer Residents. If you’re interested in using a pass this summer but don’t have a library card yet, swing by and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

Get out and enjoy all that New Hampshire has to offer this summer with a pass from the Gilford Library! These passes are generously paid for by The Friends of the Gilford Public Library.

Spring Reads
By Molly Harper, May 26, 2014

At long last we were are now fully immersed in spring, with summer rapidly approaching. Barbeques, beach visits and road trips await us in just a few short weeks. But vacation usually means travelling for many people, and how prepared are you with reading material for your summer ventures? Start building your list of summer reading now, and you’ll be all set for when you need to jet into the Library before a weekend getaway or flight to visit family this summer!

Several literary giants have new releases this summer, including Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, Invisibleby James Patterson, and The Heist by Daniel Silva. Also to be released this summer is Diana Gabaldon’s much anticipated novel, Written in My Heart’s Own Blood. This novel is the next installment in Gabaldon’s celebrated historical fiction series and continues the saga of the Fraser family as they struggle to remain together despite affairs, betrayals, and war in the 1770’s.

For a lighter read, keep your eyes open for The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank, Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer or The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand, a humorous story about a middle-aged "match-maker” who sets out to right her own wrongs and find love for those closest to her. The novel All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner looks deep into the cracks in a "perfect family” and discovers the story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again.

Many authors are also releasing books in continuation of series this summer. Louise Penny’s newest installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series will be released in August and Janet Evanovich’s next Stephanie Plum story will come out in mid-June. If you’re looking for a grittier historical read, check out Jeff Shaara’s book, The Smoke at Dawn, a novel of the Civil War that begins in 1863 and continues the detailed war saga Shaara started with A Blaze of Glory.

If you’re in the mood for something different, try One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. A contemporary, opposites-attract love story, One Plus One features a delightfully quirky cast of characters and plenty of light humor. Also, keep an eye out for Peter Heller’s newest novel; The Painter. The author of The Dog Stars, Heller’s second novel is a beautiful, suspenseful story of an author frantically trying to outrun his past.

To put your name on the request lists for these great upcoming summer releases, and to find out what other new materials are arriving just in time for summer, stop by the Library or give us a call! Happy reading!

Margaret Wise Brown and "Goodnight Moon "
By Molly Harper, May 12, 2014

Margaret Wise Brown was born on May 23rd, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. She studied English at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia and began writing books for children as a teacher in New York City. She is best known for Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and Big Red Barn. Margaret wrote hundreds of books and stories during her life, and often said that she dreamed stories and then had to write them down in the morning before she forgot them!

Margaret reportedly loved animals and writing books that had a rhythm or rhyme to them. She claimed that she "tried to write the way children wanted to hear a story, which often isn’t the same way as an adult would tell a story”. She also worked closely with her illustrators to "draw the way a child saw things”. A true lover of children and children’s fiction, she once said of writing, "One can but hope to make a child laugh or feel clear and happy-headed as he follows the simple rhythm to its logical end. It can jog him with the unexpected and comfort him with the familiar. Lift him for a few minutes from his own problems of shoelaces that won’t tie, and busy parents and mysterious clock time, into the world of a bug or a bear or a bee or a boy living in the timeless world of a story.”

Margaret Wise Brown died of embolism in 1952, but before she passed away, she hid a collection of poetry at her sister’s barn in Vermont, which wasn’t looked at until over 30 years later. Publisher Amy Gary visited Brown’s sister and learned about the more than 60 manuscripts hidden away in a trunk in the barn. She has since compiled some of these poems together into a collection. Goodnight Songs was published on March 4th, and is filled with Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful lullabies. Accompanied by gorgeous illustrations and an audio CD, the book is a New York Times Bestseller and the perfect book for Margaret Wise Brown fans.

Come to the library and check out one of Margaret’s books in honor of her birthday and contribution to children’s literature. If someone in your family is a child, or if you are a child at heart, you are sure to find delight in the whimsical illustrations and lilting verse of Margaret Wise Brown’s many books.

If you like the Sunday comics...
By Molly Harper, May 5, 2014

Nearly every week as a child, I eagerly anticipated the comic pages from the Sunday newspaper. I loved following the adventures of Calvin & Hobbs, Garfield, Beetle Baileyand Hagar the Horrible. My favorite comic today continues to be Get Fluffy, which chronicles the exploits of an unruly, one-fanged cat and his human and Shar Pei companions. Many people enjoy their comics each week, but do you know where comic strips first got their start? Or what other modern comic and graphic creations have evolved out of the first comic strips?

Believe it or not, American newspaper comics got their start 260 years ago. On May 9, 1754, the first American newspaper cartoon appeared in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette. It showed a snake cut into sections, each part representing a colony, over the caption, "Join or die." This comic is both the earliest known pictorial representation of colonial union in America, as well as the first recognized American newspaper comic. Ben Franklin published this image to make a point about the importance of colonial unity prior to and during the American Revolution.

More modern comic strips didn’t come until many years later in 1896. On October 24th, the New York Journal featured the comic strip, "The Yellow Kid Takes a Hand at Golf”. The "Yellow Kid” began as a single image comic of a young boy dressed in a yellow shirt, standing in a crowd of scruffy dogs. The image was originally printed as a test of US newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer’s newly purchased four-color rotary press, bought for the Sunday supplement of his New York World. The comic was such a big hit that a rival newspaper hired the cartoonist to expand the comic into a weekly strip. Competition for the cartoonist and his comic ensued, and both the comic strip, and the phrase "yellow journalism” were born.

From comic strips arose comic collections and later on, comic books. The comic book industry blossomed in the 1930’s - 1960’s and saw a strong resurgence in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It has since expanded into an empire that now includes films, graphic novels, other comic merchandise, and of course: a devoted following of comic book fans!

Graphic novels are also rapidly gaining popularity with both adults and teens. Loosely defined as "a fictional story that is presented in comic strip format and presented as a book”, graphic novels combine comic content with the length and depth of a fiction or nonfiction book. Popular graphic novels include Persepolis, Maus, and Watchmen, as well as renditions of popular shows and stories such as A Game of Thrones or Batman.

Luckily for you, the Library has a wide assortment of many different comic resources. From collections of popular comics such as Calvin & Hobbs, Zits, Mutts, Owley, and Garfield to an entire bookshelf devoted to graphic novels in the Teen Room, the Library has something for everyone. If you’re a fan of the Sunday Comics section, take a chance and check out a graphic novel, you might just enjoy it! Likewise, if you’re a graphic novel fan like myself, take a step back in time and read some traditional comic strips and see for yourself how the comic has evolved through the ages. Happy reading!

Happy Birthday, Hubble!
By Molly Harper, April 21, 2014

Happy 24thBirthday to the Hubble Telescope! Launched in April 24th, 1990, the Hubble Telescope is the world’s first Space Telescope, and one of the most accurate telescopes in existence. Orbiting 353 miles above the surface of the Earth, the Hubble travels at a speed of 17,500 mph and completes a rotation around the earth in a mere 97 seconds. As it orbits, its mirrors capture light and transmit it into several onboard instruments that process the data and beam it back down to Earth. Prior to the launch of the Hubble telescope, images from ground telescopes were often blurred and obscure, a product of light becoming distorted as it passed through our complex atmosphere. The Hubble Telescope solves this problem because it is located far outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Without atmospheric distortion, the Hubble is able to capture images and reading of far distant, faint objects and masses such as galaxies in all stages of evolution and energy bursts from dying stars. In order to take images of distant, faint objects, Hubble must be extremely steady and accurate. The telescope is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond, or about the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile. The ability of the Hubble Telescope to show us the universe in unprecedented detail has helped make it one of history’s most important observatories. I would say that the Hubble has accomplished a great deal in its mere 24 years!

I’ve always been interested in astronomy, and particularly fascinated by the Hubble Telescope. Occasionally, with the right timing and telescope, it is actually possible to view the Hubble moving across the night sky! As fascinating as the telescope is though, I’m always thrilled when I spot a shooting star.

This weekend I was fortunate to spot not one, not two, but THREE shooting stars! I thought I was just having a particularly lucky night until I found out that the stars I spotted were an early indicator of the Lyrids Meteor Shower, which occurs annually around April 20th – 23rd. Closely coinciding with the anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Telescope (April 24th, 1990), the Lyrids Meteor Show is an average sized shower that peaks at around 20 visible meteors per hours. Meteors radiate from the constellation Lyra and will be most visible on after midnight in a dark location. Although you might not catch this shower, the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower is predicted to peak in the Northern Hemisphere on May 5thand 6th – grab your telescope and take a look! Check out an Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events to learn more about upcoming showers, full moons, eclipses, and planetary appearances.

Don’t have a telescope? Luckily for you, the Library is here to help! The Library has an Orion Starblast telescope that is available for one week loans. The telescope comes with a constellation guide, and different filters and tools for optimize your star-gazing experience. Spring and Summer are also the perfect time for star gazing, as the comfortable weather, and relatively active celestial events combine for ideal gazing conditions. Learn something new about the sky above by checking out a telescope from the Gilford Public Library!

Jedi Knight Training at the Library
By Molly Harper, April 28, 2014

Since the first film, Episode IV: A New Hope, was released by Lucasfilm in May of 1977, Star Wars has captivated audiences and established itself as one of the most significant epic science fiction series ever. Followed by Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in 1983, the film franchise only continued to impress audiences. With the addition of three more films in 1999, 2002, and 2005, an animated film, several video games, and multiple spin-off book series, the Star Wars Empire now stretches across generations and media.

A huge Star Wars fan myself, I was elated to hear that George Lucas, the original producer of Star Wars, had decided to partner with Disney to co- produce yet another film – Episode VII – set to be released sometime in 2015. Co-directed by another science fiction giant, J.J. Abrams, this film has the potential to be the most popular Star Wars film to date. If you’re not familiar with Star Wars, swing by the library and pick up a few to prepare for this upcoming release.

Collectively nominated for more than twenty Academy Awards, the Star Wars films are set "far, far away” in the distant past, in distant galaxies. Chronicling the ongoing struggle between the good, and valiant Jedi and the sinister, evil Sith, Star Wars has something for people of all ages. Epic light saber duels, fantastically imagined alien people and planets, humor, and unforgettable characters make up this incredible series.

Younger fans may be more familiar with the more recent animated films and video games rather than the original films but in my opinion, any Star Wars fan is a friend of mine!

Bring your young Jedi Nights to the Library on Wednesday, May 7th from 1:30 to 3:30 pm for training with a Jedi Master. He will train young Knights (preschool – Grade 4) in the arts of Jedi Force Magic, Laser Balloon Barrages and Jedi Teamwork. The training will culminate in an epic light saber duel with the Jedi master himself. Please sign up in the Children’s Room, and as always – may the force be with you!

Celebrate Earth Day at the library!
By Molly Harper, April 14, 2014

Tuesday, April 22ndmarks the 44th anniversary of the first National Earth Day, and the 44th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. EPA. 1970 was a very important year for the environmental movement, and the movement has only continued to grow in more recent years. Earth Day is the brainchild of a U.S. Senator who was looking for a way to use local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness and focus the nation’s political agenda on urgent environmental issues. He insisted that the first Earth Day’s activities be created not by organizers in Washington, but by individuals and groups in their own communities. Encouraging small communities to become their own motivators for change and action resulted in a strong community environmental spirit that continues in many small towns and cities today.

Here at the Library, we will be celebrating Earth Day all day long with activities for "Green” people of all ages. From 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, drop in on the Children’s Room for a Make Your Own Mr. Potato Head Craft, geared towards ages from Preschool through Grade 4. Earth Day is also Bike or Walk to Your Reads Day at the Library. Walk, run, or bike your way to the Library instead of driving on Tuesday and you will receive a special treat at the Circulation Desk. Enjoy the fresh spring air and reduce your Carbon Footprint at the same time!

While you’re here, don’t forget to pick up a Green Hiker Kit, complete with a local hiking map, gloves, and a trash bag to help clean up the trails as you stroll along. Read the bookmark inside the kit for more ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day and reduce your footprint on the earth.

If you’re new to the Environmental Movement, or are looking to learn more about how you can have a positive impact within your local community, check out our book display. This week we will be filling it with reads focusing on Sustainability, Climate Change, Food Systems, and more.

You can celebrate Earth Day all year long, with help from us here at the Library. If you have books at home that you’re looking to get rid of, don’t throw them out! The Library accepts donations of good condition books, movies, and music CDs. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and don’t forget to READ!

National Library Week
By Molly Harper, April 7, 2014

After a solid week of warmer temperatures and sunny blue skies, it appears that Spring is finally here to stay. Spring at the Library has gotten off to a very busy start and doesn’t show any signs of slowing! This coming week, April 14th -18th is National Library Week. We’re celebrating all week long, and we would love to have you join us!

This year’s theme is Lives Change @ Your Library, and this week is packed full of activities for patrons of all ages. Check out our book display for great reads featuring life changing events or view a Day in the Life of GPL, a video montage composed of snapshots taken throughout a typical day at the Library. National Library Week is also Amnesty Week, and 50% of fines will be forgiven, so if you have overdue books hiding at home, no worries! Stop by and start spring out with a clear account! Every person who checks out an item during the week will also be entered into a drawing for a prize at the end of the week.

My favorite event of the week will take place on Wednesday, April 16th– the Edible Book Contest! Just choose your favorite book and bake or cook an edible rendition of the book. Submit your entry on April 16thbetween 9:00 – 3:30pm. Books and food creations will be on display in the Meeting Room until 4:00pm, when the judging will commence and prizes will be awarded. After the judging, it will be time for a fantastic literary feast!

If you’re looking for something to do with the little ones this week, look no further. On Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, we have some very special guests stopping in during Preschool Storytime. From 11:00 to 12:00 pm each day, we will have a visit from the Police, Marine Patrol, a School Bus Driver, Firefighters, and Snow Groomers! They’ll bring along their vehicles for tours so stop on by with your kids or grandkids and learn about these fascinating members of our community.

While you’re at the Library during National Library Week, don’t forget to take a walk around and check out the Gilford High School student artwork displayed around the library. The student artwork will be on display all month and many of the pieces achieved awards and recognition at the Scholastic Art Awards competition. This impressive work is not to be missed!

Library Volunteers!
By Molly Harper, March 31, 2014

April is slated to be a very busy month here at the library! In addition to being National Poetry Month, April also holds two very special weeks within it. April 6th – 12th is Volunteer Appreciation Week, followed by National Library Week from April 13th  - 19th. Read next week’s article for more information about the wonderful National Library Week activities we have in store, but this week is all about our great volunteers!

          Gilford Library has approximately 75 volunteers, dedicated workers who collectively logged over 5,000 hours of time last year! Some of our volunteers are high school students, or frequent visitors who log a few hours of work per week, and others, like Iris Whitehorn, volunteer because it is a peaceful activity to enjoy during retirement. "We moved to the area in 2005, and I was looking for something to do after retiring,” Iris said, "I’ve always loved reading so I stopped by the old library and asked if they needed any help! I’m happy to do anything, I love it here.” One of Iris’s favorite parts about volunteering is being around all the wonderful people and staff here at the library, a sentiment echoed by the staff and many other volunteers alike.

          Helen Murphy said that her favorite part of volunteering is putting away the books and keeping everything organized, "I like looking out and seeing nice neat stacks!” she laughed, "and taking care of the beautiful flowers”. Helen has been a volunteer at the library since 2006.

          Library volunteers do everything from shelving and covering books, to searching records and helping to maintain the website. Some of our most popular programs, such as Foreign Movie Night, German, French, Lego Club, Line Dancing, Rug Hooking, and more are all run by talented volunteers. We truly would not be able to run without the ongoing help and support of these incredible people.

          In appreciation of all the hard work that our volunteers do for the library, we are hosting a special tea in their honor. All volunteers should have received an invitation to the tea on April 8th, please RSVP at the front desk as soon as possible. The tea will be accompanied by Deborrah Wyndham, a talented jazz and ragtime pianist.         

          Deborrah Wyndham will play again for the public on April 8th at 6:30 pm. A noted and talented pianist, Deborrah has nee featured on NBC, ABC and FOX as well as heard on NPR. She will share traditional jazz and ragtime piano styles that helped shape the jazz we know today. Piano rags by various composers from the Ragtime Era will be performed as well as boogie woogie, stride and late jazz styles and favorites. If you are a music lover, this is not a night to be missed!

          If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or would like to learn more about what kinds of jobs our fabulous volunteers do for the library, stop by the library and fill out a Volunteer Application. If you are in the library during Volunteer Week, and happen to notice a volunteer working, be sure to thank them for the incredible job they do! We’re very thankful for each and every one of our volunteers.


April is National Poetry Month
By Molly Harper, March 24, 2014

This month at the Library we are celebrating poets and poetry with National Poetry Month! National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The concept behind devoting a month to celebrating poetry is to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, living poets, and America’s complex poetic heritage. The Academy of American Poets, through National Poetry Month, seeks to increase the "visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated”. Through publicity, posters, and events, the Academy works hard to share poetry with the public and call attention to the value of America’s poets, both present and past.

          In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Library will be hosting former Poet Laureate John Perrault for a special presentation on Thursday, April 3rd at 6:30 pm. With guitar in hand, John will sing and tell the romantic story of song and poetry, and how the relationship has evolved and changed over the years. From Wordsworth and Emily Dickenson to Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, the partnership of song and poetry has a long legacy that continues into modern music and poetry today. A poet and balladeer, John Perrault is the author of several books and musical recordings. His passion for combining poetry and song is prevalent in his works and he has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, and Poet Lore. He was poet laureate of Portsmouth from 2003 to 2005.

 This program is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Gilford Public Library in conjunction with the New Hampshire Humanities Council. This promises to be an upbeat, informative, and musical program that engages all ages, even those to claim not to enjoy poetry!

Can’t wait until April 3rd to immerse yourself in poetry? Swing by the Library and check out one of our great poetry anthologies or collections. From old classics, to upcoming local poets, there’s a poem for everyone just waiting on our shelves to be read. Also, be on the lookout for poetry in unexpected places around the library, and put a "poem in your pocket” when you check out! Celebrate the arrival of spring with poetry month at the Gilford Public Library.

Spring is here!
By Molly Harper, March 10, 2014

At long last, spring has finally arrived! After a long, cold, snowy winter it feels truly wonderful to step outside without getting blasted with a burst of freezing air, or wading through fresh snow. If you've felt particularly home-bound this long winter, celebrate the start of spring, and venture forth to the Library! Just think, it’s only a few short months now until the Summer Reading program kicks off! It’s the perfect time to get a jump start on all the books you wanted to read this winter, but were too busy shoveling to touch. To help you shake off the last traces of winter reading blues, we have dozens of new books to browse! With many more ordered for the next few months, we guarantee your book bag will remain full as winter begins to melt away.

Check out an exciting thriller to jump-start your spring reading with a jolt of suspense. I recommend Ripper by Isabel Allende orThe Kept by James Scott. Ripper follows a young girl named Amanda, a brilliant teenage sleuth, who must unmask a gruesome serial killer in San Francisco that threatens those that she loves. The Kept is set on an isolated homestead in upstate New York in 1897. When a young midwife comes home to discover nearly her entire family savagely murdered, she takes her remaining son into the wilderness in search of the men responsible.

If you're looking for something a little different, check out Gemini by Carol Casella or Shotgun Love songs by Nickolas Butler. Gemini follows Dr. Charlotte Reese along a path of moral complexity and discovery as she attempts to uncover the identity of a critically injured Jane Doe under her care. Shotgun Lovesongs ventures into the mystery of a small Wisconsin town. As four childhood friends return to their hometown for a wedding, they rediscover the value of friendship, and the true meaning of home.

The Library is also expecting a number of new releases from old favorite authors this spring. Emma Donohue, the bestselling author of Room, returns with Frog Music, a gripping crime story set in San Francisco in 1878. Alice Hoffman, the author of The Dovekeepers, also has a new novel out. Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century.

Don't forget to put your name on the request list for popular new novels by Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Anna Quindlen, Jennifer Chiaverini, and J.D. Robb. Now that the sun is finally out, and the snow is beginning to melt and trickle away, we hope to see you out and about at the Library this spring!

Check out the Library's website, or stop by and pick up a calendar to see what great programs we have in store for you this spring.

Beware the ides of March
By Molly Harper, March 10, 2014

"Beware the ides of March” is a famous line uttered by a soothsayer in William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. You may be familiar with William Shakespeare’s play, but do you know the full significance of this line? This Saturday, March 15th corresponds to the Ides of March on the Roman calendar. Marked by several religious observances, it became notorious in 44BC as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The death of Julius Caesar made the Ides of March significant as a turning point in Roman history, as one of the events that marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

In the oldest Roman calendar, March was actually the first month of the year and holidays observed in March were often New Year celebrations. The Romans also did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month, the Nones (5th or 7th), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st). Julius Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate on the Ides of March. A seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March, Caesar joked that the "Ides of March have come” to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” Shortly after the exchange, Caesar was assassinated. Shakespeare dramatized this meeting in his play, and the warning "beware the Ides of March” was born.

If historical fact or fiction is of interest to you, or if you would like to stock up on some historical novels to get you through the Ides of March this weekend, stop by the library! In acknowledgement of the Ides of March, and the historical significance surrounding this notorious date, we’re dedicating our display to historical fiction this week. Don’t forget to pick up a pamphlet of historical fiction reading suggestions at the front desk, or browse our DVD shelves for great historical films. If you’re interested in an action series depicting the early Roman Republic, check out the Spartacus series! Or, if political drama is more to your liking, try The Ides of March, starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling.

Adventure Reading
By Molly Harper, March 3, 2014

If you spent time around Laconia, NH on Valentine’s Day weekend, you may have had the pleasure of seeing sled dog teams compete in the annual World Championship Sled Dog Derby. Teams of sled dogs pulled a sled and their "musher” along a rigorous 15 mile course along the lake and through the woods. It was a cold but exciting afternoon for all who attended! If you’re a sled-dog musher yourself, or just a winter enthusiast, you have no doubt also heard of a more famous race a little bit further north…the great Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The "Last Great Race on Earth” kicked off on March 1st and runs over 1,000 miles through some of the roughest and most beautiful terrain in Alaska. Dog teams are racing through jagged mountain ranges, and across frozen rivers and dense forests to the city of Nome on the western Bering Sea coast – all while battling the elements in one of the most brutal landscapes in the United States.

A celebration of the long history of sled dog culture in Alaska, the modern Iditarod Trail runs along part of a National Historic Trail that had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns to interior mining camps. In 1925, part of this trail became a life-saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Hard-driven sled dog teams and their mushers delivered the life-saving serums to Diphtheria-plagued Nome.

 The Iditarod Race works to preserve this history and maintain Alaska’s rich culture of sled dog teams and adventurers. The race runs annually, bringing a spurt of activity to the small native villages and more urban areas along the route. You can follow this year’s race online at

If you’re more of an adventurer at heart, and your dogs prefer the warm spot in front of the fireplace to the open trail, have no fear. Here at the library we have plenty of adventure stories to fuel the interests of all our local armchair adventurers.

For a touch of Alaska without the snow and cold, check out John Straley’s newest book; Cold Storage, Alaska. This engrossing story follows a colorful young man who returns to his tiny Alaska hometown after a stint in jail. His arrival may be just what the sleepy town needs, or it may turn the whole place upside down!

If you’re looking for more of a wilderness thriller, try The Bear by Clare Cameron. Narrated by a young girl who must fend for herself and her little brother after a brutal bear attack, The Bear is a chilling and powerful suspense story.

If action-adventure is more to your liking, pick up Clive Cussler’s newest thriller, The Bootlegger or travel to Mars for a truly unusual adventure with The Martianby Andy Weir. A surprising and fast-paced thriller, The Martian follows an astronaut stranded on Mars after an exploratory mission goes terribly wrong.

Don’t forget that the library has a fantastic collection of Adventurer and Explorer Biographies in our non-fiction section. This collection is located in the back of the library, directly across from the cookbooks. From Alaska to the Sahara desert, these incredible and breathtaking adventures of famous explorers are exciting, informative, and may take you to corners of the globe you have never even dreamed of! Happy reading!

Read Across America
By Molly Harper, February 4, 2014

You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.

-Dr. Seuss

I suspect that at some point in your life, you have read a book by the fascinating, and creative man named Dr. Seuss. The author of beloved children’s books like The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, The Lorax, and Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’ books have delighted audiences for generations and continue to be used as tools to teach young children how to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He studied literature and planned on becoming an English professor, but his interest in the doodles he made in the margins of his notebooks developed into a passion to become a cartoonist instead. He published his first book in 1937 and continued writing until 1955, when an educational specialist challenged him to write a book that would help children learn how to read. Seuss was given a list of 300 words that most first-graders know, and proceeded to write a book using only those words – and so The Cat in the Hatwas born. A later challenge from his publisher to write a book using only 50 different words resulted in my personal favorite Seuss creation – Green Eggs and Ham.

The National Education Association honors Dr. Seuss and his many contributions to children’s literature every year on his birthday, March 2, with Read Across America Day. Read Across America is a nationwide reading celebration that brings together thousands of schools, libraries, and organizations to celebrate reading with young people.

If you’re a Seuss fan, or love reading with your children, you are in for a treat next week as the Gilford Library celebrates Read Across America and the birthday of Doctor Seuss. Prepare for a fun-filled morning that will be positively Seussical! We will eat cake and Doctor Seuss themed snacks, play games, do crafts, and we might even have a very special guest visit. Activities kick off at 10:30 am on Tuesday, March 4th and will run until 1:00pm. Prepare yourself and your little readers for Dr. Seuss’s birthday by checking out some of his books today, or by visiting the official Dr. Seuss website at We’ll see you at the party!

Books into Movies
By Molly Harper, February 17, 2014

Since the continued success of blockbuster films such as the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games series, many other authors and producers have partnered up to bring bestselling novels and series to the big screen. From non-fiction memoirs to epic series, more and more books are being adapted into movies and television series.

Some of these popular adaptations have already been released on film, and others are still waiting to hit the theatres. Luckily for you though, the library has the book versions of these memoirs and stories just waiting to be checked out! Have some fun and read the book before you see the movie! While some adaptations follow the book to the word, others may take liberties with the plot – it can be interesting to see what differences arise. Check back in at the Library often to see what new movies or books have come in.

Recent releases on DVD include the popular science fiction flick, Ender’s Game, which is based on Orson Scott Cards epic series. Another popular young adult series, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Claire, is also being adapted into a film series. The first book’s film counterpart, The City of Bones, recently arrived here at the library.

You may be familiar with the HBO series, A Game of Thrones. Did you know that this series is actually based entirely on George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire? If you don’t think you can wait for the third season of this series to be released on DVD, stop by the library and pick up the third book in Martin’s series – the show follows the book almost word for word!

While you’re here, you can also load up your book bag with books that will soon see adaptations in theatres. Non-fiction bestsellers Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel both have film versions in theatres right now. Over the next few months we should also see film versions of the fiction books Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.

Young adult novels have become particularly popular in the film community. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green all have film adaptations in store for release this year. Great novels for both teens and adults, we are in for a treat if the films are anything like the books!

For more books and film adaptations, stop by the library next week and check out our "READBOX” display. It’s like REDBOX, but filled with exciting reads instead!

Aging With Humor
By Molly Harper, February 10, 2014

I’ve often heard that the secret to living a happy life is humor, and further, that the secret to aging well is laughter. Our next presenter knows a great deal about life, laughter, and aging well. On Tuesday, February 18th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, the Library will host a special presentation by author and comedian Mary Lou Fuller. After many years in a business career in Philadelphia and New Hampshire, Mary realized her true calling and turned to creative writing. Since the age of 60, Mary has pursued her life-long dream of writing full time.

The author of four books, both humorous and deeply personal, Mary has written about a variety of subjects, including innkeeping, abusive relationships, family, and the power of friendship in the aging process. In addition to sharing her books, she has travelled across the state sharing the life lessons in her books, and entertaining audiences with her humorous recollections.

A Horse in the Ladies Room is a chronicle of her and her second husband’s 10 years as innkeepers of the Fitzwilliam Inn, one of New Hampshire’s oldest continually operated hotels. The book is filled with humorous and often unbelievable anecdotes about the characters, chaos and charms encountered at the inn. Mary has also written the books Where Lame Donkeys Lie, On The Wings of a Unicorn, and Sisters by Heart – Partners in Aging, a memoir in celebration of twenty years of friendship and the trials of aging.

Now 85 years old, Mary also has a unique and witty perspective on aging. She travels around the state sharing her program, "Aging With Humor”. Her program is free and open to the public and will take place in the Library Meeting Room. Join us for an evening of laughter and insight as Mary Lou highlights some of the finer points of aging well, and aging with humor.

Stop by the Library or check out our website at www.gilfordlibrary.orgto learn more about this program, and see what other upcoming events we have in store.

Library Notes
By Molly Harper, February 3, 2014

Alongside welcoming in the New Year, and adjusting to our new hours, the Library has been hard at work processing a bounty of new material. In addition to keeping on top of popular authors like James Patterson, John Grisham, and Sue Grafton, we also maintain a large collection of up and coming authors, debut novels, music, movies and television series. With new material arriving almost weekly, our collection is constantly expanding and changing, and there is certainly something for everyone in our new releases. Here are some of my top fiction and non-fiction recommendations this month:

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd follows the relationship between a wealthy Charlestown girl, Sarah Grime, who grows up to become a prominent abolitionist, and the slave she is given for her 11th birthday. This novel is highly recommended for fans of The House Girl by Tara Conklin and The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart has been at the top of our request list since its release back in October. The story follows a young boy who develops an attachment to a unique painting after an accident kills his mother. The painting ultimately draws Theo Decker into the art underworld as an adult and into a downward spiral of loss and obsession.

Crime writer Lisa Gardner returns with Fear Nothing, her latest novel about Boston detective D.D. Warren. Recovering after a serious injury, Warren is treated by a physical therapist whose father was a serial killer, and whose family may be the only link to solving a series of horrific murders.

Two other much awaited new releases by noted authors are Still Life With Bread Crumbsby Anna Quindlen and This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash.

Popular new releases in Non-Fiction include Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates and The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body by Cameron Diaz.

Several much anticipated movies and television series have arrived at the Library over the past few weeks, and are now ready for check-out! The Butler, Ender’s Game, and Captain Phillips are in house and ready for a movie night. Best of all….drumroll please…..Downton Abbey Season 4 has arrived! Stop by the Library to put your name on the request list for this very popular series, and to check out what else the new release shelves have in store.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, January 27, 2014

Pictures of the distant Alaskan wilderness have always had the ability to take my breath away. Boasting crystal clear lakes, bordered with majestic mountain ranges and rolling hills, and an unbelievably diverse array of robust flora and fauna, the state is among the wildest and most uniquely beautiful in the United States. Travel to and around Alaska’s wilderness can be daunting, but for the right person, a trek into Alaska’s remote mountain ranges is a trip not to be missed, and never to be forgotten.

This past summer, at only 26 years old, Kristin Gates became the first woman to traverse Alaska’s Artic Brooks Range solo. The Brooks Range is a mountain range in far northern North America, stretching 1100km from west to east across northern Alaska into Canada’s Yukon Territory. Reaching an elevation exceeding 2,700 m (9,000 ft), the range is believed to be approximately 126 million years old! As one of the most remote and least-disturbed wildernesses of North America, the mountains are home to many species of incredible wildlife, including Dall sheep, grizzly bears, and vast herds of caribou.

Kristin’ trip took her 1,000 miles across this isolated mountain range. Since there are no roads, let alone hiking trails, north of the Yukon River, she bushwacked and packrafted the entire distance.

Kristin will be at the Gilford Library on Thursday, February 6th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm for a special presentation about her trip into the Brooks Range. She will share stories and pictures of her wild river crossings and daily grizzly bear sightings, and what it was like to travel through one of the last pieces of true wilderness in North America. Kristin will also talk about her next expedition, following the route of the old gold miners up in Alaska. She estimates that this trip should take 2.5 months and will cover over 3,000 miles.

If you’re a traveler yourself, or are looking for a little taste of adventure to get you out of the house this winter, check out Kristin’s program here at the Library. For more information, or to learn about other upcoming events we have in store, stop by the Library or check out our website at


Notes from the Library
By Molly Harper, January 13, 2014

If you’re from New Hampshire, or spend a considerable amount of time here, you’ve no doubt heard the term "flatlander” thrown around. Used to describe someone who "just ain’t from ‘round here”, this Yankee description is quite popular, whether it is used in exasperation, or more fondly. A flatlander literally means someone from the flatter lands, south of the Granite State. But a flatlander can also be a certain state of mind though; a state of mind a local newspaper columnist is well familiar with.

On Thursday, January 23rd the Gilford Public Library will host author and humorist Brendan Smith for a special presentation on Flatlanders and life in New Hampshire. The evening is bound to be full of fun anecdotes and entertaining stories as Brendan recounts his unexpected move to central New Hampshire from New York in the 1980’s. Born and raised in Long Island, only a bagel throw from New York, Brendan was in for quite a surprise when he arrived in central New Hampshire. Life in New Hampshire ended up being more than a little different from life in Long Island. Over the next ten years, Brendan worked hard at adjusting to life in New Hampshire: "from learning to rake his roof, to buying firewood for the first time, to trying to fit into the social setting of an afternoon at the dump, he found that these, and many more adjustments, would not be very easy for this Flatlander”.

Since 1995, Brendan has been recounting these humorous adventures weekly on the pages of The Weirs Times and Cocheco Times. His "F.O.O.L. (Flatlander’s Observations on Life) in New Hampshire” column has proved to be both popular and prolific, as his writing continues today. The very best of his column was recently published into a book, The Flatlander Chronicles.

If you’re a Flatlander yourself, know someone who is one, or are simply looking for an evening of lighthearted fun, check out Brendan’s presentation on Thursday at 6:30 pm.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, January 20, 2014

Since I started working at the library, I’ve noticed that our community is not only full of readers, but it has a considerable number of emerging writers as well! A number of patrons are interested in writing their own books, or have already been writing for some time. Some people I speak to are already published authors, while others record their stories in memo books and wait for their chance to get published. It appears that we may just have a future bestselling author or two in our midst!

If you ever felt like you had a story inside just waiting to be told, or if you have begun writing but are unsure of where to go next, swing by the Library’s upcoming program for emerging writers!

On Tuesday, January 28th, authors Christopher Kellen and Ariele Sieling will host a program on Do-It-Yourself Self-Publishing and Marketing for Indie Authors. Christopher Kellen is a prolific writer who has written short stories, novels, and novelettes. He is currently working on a new military science-fiction/space opera series. Ariele Sieling wrote her first book at the age of eleven and has pursued the art of writing in a variety of forms ever since. She primarily writes science fiction, and works to blend the potential for human capacity and future technology with a little bit of humor.

Both authors are self-published, and urge that self-publishing can be a viable way to publish a book and build a career. During the program, Christopher and Ariele will take a closer look at strategies for creating and selling a book that is both a quality product and affordable for the writer. They will discuss the right and wrong reasons for choosing to self-publish, tips for preparing a book for publication, how to avoid common pitfalls, and the variety of ways to connect with readers. They will also share tips for finding readers and sharing your work. They will focus on platform building, social media marketing, and how to take the first steps to reaching out to those interested in your topic.

This program is designed for current or future self-published writers, or anyone who is interested in learning more about writing and publishing independently. The program will begin at 6:30 pm.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, January 13, 2014

If you’re from New Hampshire, or spend a considerable amount of time here, you’ve no doubt heard the term "flatlander” thrown around. Used to describe someone who "just ain’t from ‘round here”, this Yankee description is quite popular, whether it is used in exasperation, or more fondly. A flatlander literally means someone from the flatter lands, south of the Granite State. But a flatlander can also be a certain state of mind though; a state of mind a local newspaper columnist is well familiar with.

On Thursday, January 23rd the Gilford Public Library will host author and humorist Brendan Smith for a special presentation on Flatlanders and life in New Hampshire. The evening is bound to be full of fun anecdotes and entertaining stories as Brendan recounts his unexpected move to central New Hampshire from New York in the 1980’s. Born and raised in Long Island, only a bagel throw from New York, Brendan was in for quite a surprise when he arrived in central New Hampshire. Life in New Hampshire ended up being more than a little different from life in Long Island. Over the next ten years, Brendan worked hard at adjusting to life in New Hampshire: "from learning to rake his roof, to buying firewood for the first time, to trying to fit into the social setting of an afternoon at the dump, he found that these, and many more adjustments, would not be very easy for this Flatlander”.

Since 1995, Brendan has been recounting these humorous adventures weekly on the pages of The Weirs Times and Cocheco Times. His "F.O.O.L. (Flatlander’s Observations on Life) in New Hampshire” column has proved to be both popular and prolific, as his writing continues today. The very best of his column was recently published into a book, The Flatlander Chronicles.

If you’re a Flatlander yourself, know someone who is one, or are simply looking for an evening of lighthearted fun, check out Brendan’s presentation on Thursday at 6:30 pm.

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, January 6, 2014

Having grown up in a "Library Household", the Public Library has always been a big part of my life. As a toddler, I attended Storytime and other library programs, and as I grew older and learned how to read, I took full advantage of the full stacks of books and movies. As a teen, I used the library as a quiet place to study and as a recent college graduate, I used library resources and technology to find and apply for jobs. The resume that I submitted for my position here at the Gilford Public Library was actually typed and printed on the Library's own machines! As a Library user and supporter, it is easy for me to express my view on the overwhelmingly positive value that the Public Library holds in my community and for me personally.

In an effort to give voice to the many wonderful public libraries like ours across the country, a research effort by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project is working to quantify the role libraries play in people's lives and in their communities. The research is underwritten by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a recent report released by the project contains some uplifting findings.

General findings conclude that surveyed Americans "strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries, and value a range of library resources and services".

The statistics in support of public libraries are staggering:

  • 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;

  • 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;

  • 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;

  • 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.


    Though many library services are seen as important, there are varying levels of enthusiasm for different services. According to the report, Americans strongly value library services such as access to books and media; having a quiet, safe place to spend time, read, or study; and having librarians to help people find information. Other services, such as assistance finding and applying for jobs, are more important to particular groups, including those with lower levels of education or household income. Libraries are also particularly valued by those who are unemployed, retired, or searching for a job, as well as those living with a disability and internet users who lack home internet access.

    One finding I found particularly interesting concerned how aware individuals were of the services libraries offered. The report summarized that despite the fact that libraries are easily available to most, there are large numbers of Americans who say they are not sure about all the services libraries offer.

  • 23% of those who have ever used a public library said they feel like they know all or most of the service and programs their library offers

  • 47% said that they know some of what it offers.

  • About one in five (20%) say they don’t know very much about what is offered

  • 10% say they know "nothing at all.”


    As a fairly large and well supported facility, the Gilford Public Library is able to offer a very broad range of services to its patrons and community members. Between weekly programs for children and adults, computer and technical resources and large collections of books and audio/visual material there is truly something for everyone. Learn more about the services and programs that we offer, and see what the Library can do for you and the community by stopping by or checking out our website at

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, December 23, 2013

Now that winter is officially underway and school vacation has begun, you may be looking for ways to keep your kids or grandkids busy through the next few snowy weeks. As the thermometer dips below a comfortable temperature, and the snow bunnies retreat back inside, consider making up a few mugs of hot chocolate and settling everyone down for a winter storytime. Reading to kids is a perfect, easy way to help build vocabulary skills and can help keep kids "tuned in” to learning even when they are on a break from school. Just like reading through summer vacations, reading during a winter break can help insure that kids retain their reading skills until school begins again. Reading to preschoolers also helps to stimulate their imagination and teach them new words and ideas!

As always, the Library is here to help you with all of your reading needs. In addition to a huge collection of winter themed reading material, the Library will be starting up a reading program for kids to help keep their love of reading alive through these cold weeks ahead.

During the month of January, the Library will run a Winter Reading Program for pre-school and elementary readers (K – Grade 4). Open sign-ups begin the week after New Year’s and the program will run from January 6th through the 31st. All participants will receive a reading log to record the books they read each week. If readers meet their reading goal for the week they will be able to choose a prize from the prize box! Reading goals are 5 books a week for preschoolers or one book a week for elementary readers. At the end of the four weeks, Miss Lura and Miss Tracy will host a celebration in honor of the Chinese New Year and the completion of another great season of reading.

Stop by the Library to learn more, or to pick up a stack of winter themed books to share at your next storytime! As the world outside gets more frosty, keep imaginations alive and glowing by reading to your kids this winter.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, December 16, 2013

With Christmas coming quickly in just a few days, and New Year’s Eve not far behind, the next two weeks are bound to be busy. Between visiting family friends and attending holiday parties, it can be easy to get burnt out - but what better way is there to unwind than with a great book. If you'd like to stay in the Holiday spirit while reading, stop by the Library and check out our collection of great holiday reads. Populated by great authors like Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber, and Mary Kay Andrews, our holiday reads are a fun and festive alternative to your regular reading.

Debbie Macomber's seasonal novel, Starry Night, is about a big-city society page columnist who is tasked with interviewing a notoriously reclusive author who lives in the remote Alaskan wilderness. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected.

Susan Wigg's novel, Candlelight Christmas takes place in Avalon, a postcard-pretty town on the shores of Willow Lake. A single father yearning to be a family man takes his son to the Lake to create the perfect Christmas. What Logan O'Donnell never expects to encounter is a fiery, sharp-witted woman who somehow manages to capture his heart, and the spirit of the holiday.

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews, and Leslie Meier's newest mystery, Christmas Carol Murder, are also bound to be popular to stop by soon and grab your copy!

My favorite part of the holidays is usually getting together with my family to cook up delicious meals and desserts. We've always been a fan of Ree Drummond, "The Pioneer Woman", and her cookbooks and I'm excited to check out her newest collection of holiday recipes. The Pioneer Woman Cooks - A Year of Holidays is packed full of great recipes, pictures, and fun stories about her family.

If you’re looking for last-minute stocking stuffers or the perfect gift for the book-lover on your list, swing by the Library! We have bumper stickers, magnets, key-chains and more. Stop by the circulation desk and pick up a canvas book tote for only $12.00.

Check out the bookworm shop for great deals on gently used books, movies, and puzzles.

If you’re interested in a gift that keeps on giving, consider purchasing a book for the Library in memory or in honor of a book lover in your life. Books purchased as gifts will have a name plate in the special person’s honor or memory and will be added to the Library collection for all to enjoy. Stop by the circulation desk to learn more about this generous gift.

The Library will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas, and will be closing early on New Year’s Eve. We will also be closed on New Year’s Day, so stop by soon to stock up on some holiday reads!

Notes from the library
December 2, 2013, by Molly Harper

This year has been packed full of classes
and activities at the Library, from author visits to book discussions and
crafty workshops, we've had a fun and informative year for all ages. One of the
final activities on this year's agenda is the last book discussion of the year.
This year, we're going to mix it up a bit. Instead of giving all of you
fantastic readers another book that we've picked out, we're turning the tables
– it's your turn to share your best book of the year! Think back over the
months and bring in a few titles of books that stuck with you this year.
Fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks – it's up to you! Did any of the book
discussion books you read this year remind you of a favorite book, or did you
read anything out of the ordinary that surprised you? Bring in the title and
share it with the group! I had a tough time narrowing all of the great books
that I read down to a few titles, but I think I have finally come up with my

My two favorite thrillers of the year were The Never List by Koethi Zan and Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. Heartsick is the first book in a creepy, engrossing series that I just can't stop reading.
The series involves the ongoing, and twisted relationship between Detective
Archie and the serial killer, Gretchen, that he spent years stalking. Archie is
also the only victim known to have survived Gretchen's creative torture and as
much as he wants to move on with his life, Gretchen may be the only person who
can help him solve a series of murders in the Portland area.

Another series I started this year is the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. The first book, A Game of Thrones, has gotten a lot of media buzz due to its companion TV series on
HBO. If you're a fan of the show, or interested in an epic adventure, check out the book. I listened to the books on audio and was instantly drawn into the story. A medieval – like setting, A Game of Thrones is filled with history, battles, royal schemes, espionage, and just a touch of magic and mystery. I highly recommend this series for fans of the Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time
series, or historical fiction in general.

Other favorite books that I read this year were Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, Deep Storm by Lincoln Child, Drop City by T.C. Boyle, and The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
Swing by the Circulation Desk sometime and I'll be happy to tell you all about these great reads!

Stop by the library on Thursday, December 12th at 12:30pm or 6:30 pm for our Best Book Sharing! Share your favorite books of the year and see what others were reading outside of our book group selections.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, November 18, 2013
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away. If your holiday season is anything like mine, it kicks off the week of Thanksgiving and doesn't slow down until after New Year’s! During the holiday season, between planning meals, shopping, traveling to visit family, and spending time with friends, it can be difficult to squeeze in down time for just yourself. It’s important to spend some time relaxing during this time of year though, and the Library is here to help! The Library has a large collection of holiday reads and movies, great for getting you in the holiday spirit, or for reading while in route to holiday parties this season.

          The Library also has a great assortment of holiday cookbooks and recipe collections - check one out and maybe this year you won't be stuck eating Great Aunt Gertrude's fruit cake for the 11th year in a row! One cookbook in particular that I've had my eye on is Sweet by Valerie Gordon. From sheet cakes to homemade chocolate truffles and caramels, this book has dozens of delicious recipes just waiting to be tried out. Another great cookbook for the holidays is Ree Drummond’s latest collection, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, A Year of Holidays.

          Debbie Macomber’s newest seasonal novel, Starry Night, has arrived and we are expecting more seasonal fiction by authors such as Susan Wiggs, Sherry Woods, and Isis Crawford as we get even closer to the holidays. Among the new and recently arrived books are also a number of popular authors and impressive debuts. If you’re looking for thrillers or suspense, John Grisham’s newest book, Sycamore Row is here as well asDust by Patricia Cornwell, and Accused by Lisa Scottoline. Janet Evanovich’s newest book in the Stephanie Plum series, Take Down Twenty, will be arriving in the next few weeks so get your name on the request list early if you’re interested!

          If you’re interested in something a little different, try Amy Tan’s novel, Valley of Amazement. In this book, Violet Miturn, a half-Chinese/half-American courtesan who deals in seduction and illusion in Shanghai, struggles to find her place in the world, while her mother comes to terms with her own choices in life.

          If you or anyone in your family is a Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice Fan, check out Longbournby Jo Baker – a contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice where the servants take center stage and the secrets of the Bennet household come out.


          Take a little time for yourself this holiday season; check out an old favorite or be adventurous and try out a new recipe or author. While the turkey is in the oven, or you're waiting for the in-laws to arrive, curl up in the comfy old easy chair and READ. Happy holidays, and happy reading!

Winter Hiking
By Molly Harper, November 11, 2013

If you drive through the woods of New England this winter, you may be surprised to see a lot of cars in trailhead parking lots. Alongside taking in the natural beauty of the frosty winter world, outdoor enthusiasts are discovering a fantastic winter playground in favorite hiking spots! The popularity of winter hiking has taken off in recent years, in part because advances in high tech gear, such as lightweight snowshoes, make winter hiking easier. No bugs, no heat, and no crowds combined with clear, sparkling views and winter's characteristic deep blue sky make for an unforgettable hiking experience.

Winter hiking can be a very exciting and inspiring experience, but hiking through snow and ice requires a different set of gear and skills from summer hiking. Winter hiking has its own collection of particular challenges as well and hikers should be fully prepared before they embark this winter. Whether you're interested in winter hiking yourself, or prefer to enjoy the winter wonderland through photographs and personal account, the Library is at your service! On Tuesday, November 19th, the Library will host a program on winter by veteran winter hikers Bob Manley and Gordon Dubois.

Bob and Gordon will share their slides and stories about winter hiking in New Hampshire and across New England. They'll provide information on the basics of winter hiking with special emphasis on hiker safety, the use of maps and compasses, cell phones and GPS.

Avid winter hikers, Bob and Gordon share their passion with others through community presentations and an ongoing winter hiking blog at On their blog they write, "We seek to demystify winter hiking for those who have not had the opportunity to experience its pleasures, or have only just begun. And to inspire others, as we have been inspired to venture into the winter wonderland where so few others have dared to travel.” Bob, Gordon, and their website are excellent resources for anyone interested in starting out on a winter adventure and the evening promises to be interesting for hikers and armchair travelers alike!

The Winter Hiking Program will begin at 6:30pm in the Meeting Room. To learn more about Bob and Gordon and their hiking adventures, and to see some of the beautiful photographs they have collected, check out their website. Then stop by the library on November 19th to hear even more about their trips, and learn what you can do to prepare for a long winter filled with awe-inspiring treks.

Holiday reads from the library.
By Molly Harper, November 18, 2013

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away. If your holiday season is anything like mine, it kicks off the week of Thanksgiving and doesn't slow down until after New Year's! During the holiday season, between planning meals, shopping, traveling to visit family, and spending time with friends, it can be difficult to squeeze in down time for just yourself. It's important to spend some time relaxing during this time of year though, and the Library is here to help! The Library has a large collection of holiday reads and movies, great for getting you in the holiday spirit, or for reading while in route to holiday parties this season.

The Library also has a great assortment of holiday cookbooks and recipe collections - check one out and maybe this year you won't be stuck eating Great Aunt Gertrude's fruit cake for the 11th year in a row! One cookbook in particular that I've had my eye on is Sweet by Valerie Gordon. From sheet cakes to homemade chocolate truffles and caramels, this book has dozens of delicious recipes just waiting to be tried out. Another great cookbook for the holidays is Ree Drummond's latest collection, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, A Year of Holidays.

Debbie Macomber's newest seasonal novel, Starry Night, has arrived and we are expecting more seasonal fiction by authors such as Susan Wiggs, Sherry Woods, and Isis Crawford as we get even closer to the holidays. Among the new and recently arrived books are also a number of popular authors and impressive debuts. If you're looking for thrillers or suspense, John Grisham's newest book, Sycamore Row is here as well as Dust by Patricia Cornwell, and Accused by Lisa Scottoline. Janet Evanovich's newest book in the Stephanie Plum series, Take Down Twenty, will be arriving in the next few weeks so get your name on the request list early if you're interested!

If you're interested in something a little different, try Amy Tan's novel, Valley of Amazement. In this book, Violet Miturn, a half-Chinese/half-American courtesan who deals in seduction and illusion in Shanghai, struggles to find her place in the world, while her mother comes to terms with her own choices in life.

If you or anyone in your family is a Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice Fan, check out Longbourn by Jo Baker – a contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice where the servants take center stage and the secrets of the Bennet household come out.

Take a little time for yourself this holiday season; check out an old favorite or be adventurous and try out a new recipe or author. While the turkey is in the oven, or you're waiting for the in-laws to arrive, curl up in the comfy old easy chair and READ. Happy holidays, and happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, November 4, 2013

Each week at the library, we choose a different theme for the display upstairs beside the circulation desk. This display is a great place to stop if you need to pick out a book in a hurry, or if you're looking for something a little different from your normal choices. In honor of Veterans Day this coming Monday, the theme is In Times of War and The Effects of War. Filling the display are biographies, memoirs, and fictional works that either take place during times of war and conflict or examine the wide reaching effects of war. Featuring popular authors such as Kristin Hannah and Nicholas Sparks, as well as noted investigators and Veterans such as David Finkel and Chris Kyle, this week's display has something for everyone.

If you're interested in fiction, I highly recommend three novels. The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P.S. Duffy is a coming of age novel about a family divided by WWI, and set between a village in Nova Scotia and the trenches in France, this novel spans time and distance to deliver a striking story. City of Women by David R. Gillham is set in Berlin at the height of WWII, and follows a woman who was left behind when her German soldier went away to war – and the dark secret she clings to. In The Watch by Joydeep Roy Bhattacharya, a group of beleaguered soldiers in an isolated base in Kandahar are faced with a lone woman demanding the return of her brother's body following a desperate night-long battle. Unsure of her intentions, the already tense camp comes to a boil as the men struggle to decide what to do next.

My top non-fiction recommendation is The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, Brian Castner's tale of two wars. He fought the first in Iraq, while serving two tours dismantling roadside bombs before they exploded. The second battle began when he arrived home and entered the "Crazy”, an inexorable, painful battle against his inner demons. This stunningly honest book alternates between two harrowing realities: the terror, excitement, and camaraderie of combat, and the lonely battle against the unshakeable fear, anxiety, and survivor guilt that he—like so many veterans—carries inside.

I also recommend Tempered Steel by Perry Luckett and Charles Byler, the first biography of Col. James Kasler, who is the only three-time recipient of the Air Force Cross, the second highest medal for wartime valor. Kasler served as an eighteen-year-old B-29 tail gunner in World War II, became a legendary jet ace in Korea, and was so famous in Vietnam that he was known by name in the White House. This book captures the essence of a genuine American hero who fought in three wars and traces the history of the U.S. Air Force during its formative period.

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel follows some of the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion here in the States, after their deployments have ended. Finkel follows the men as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life is like after war. A follow-up to his award winning book, The Good Soldiers, Thank You for Your Service is not to be missed.

Stop by the library and check out one of these books, or browse the display for even more recommendations.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, October 28, 2013

As Veterans Day approaches on November 11th, honoring and remembering past and present Veterans comes to the forefront of many minds. Here at the Library, we are honored to offer a presentation that focuses on a number of New Hampshire men who never returned home after World War II. On November 7th at 6:30 pm, author Amiee Gagnon Fogg will discuss her recently published book, The Granite Men of Henri-Chapelle.

A Nashua native, Fogg grew up hearing stories about her Great-Uncle,PFC Paul Lavoie, who was killed in action in Germany. He now rests among 7,992 WWII soldiers at the Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery in Belgium. After an emotional pilgrimage to the site, she learned that 37 other NH men were also buried there.

"Something beautiful happened while researching my Uncle and that is his name became spoken again on a regular basis. As I walked around Henri-Chapelle and looked at the various crosses, it occurred to me that many of the names may not have been spoken in a long time. When a name begins to stop being mentioned, so starts the process of forgetting the individual. Each soldier buried there and name inscribed on the Missing in Action tablets has a story to share and a name to be spoken. These thoughts filled my mind during our journey back to New Hampshire. Upon returning home, I decided to research and to help tell the stories of the other New Hampshire soldiers buried at Henri-Chapelle with my Uncle Paul”

Fogg reached out to the remaining family and friends of these New Hampshire men, who shared memories, photographs, and an emotional rediscovery of who these men were. In the introduction to the book Fogg emphasizes, "These are not war stories. They are an attempt to illustrate each civilian life before the war as well as capture the essence of the person behind the military rank - to allow each one an opportunity to share his life once again, a life he sacrificed in the pursuit of liberty for his fellow man.”

Join us on November 7th as Amiee Fogg shares her journey toward discovering and telling the stories of the 38 New Hampshire soldiers buried at Henri Chapelle.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, October 21, 2013

Horror, suspense, and dark and unexpected mystery are some genres that come to mind when I think of reading material for the week before Halloween. While my neighbors set out pumpkins and put the finishing touches on costumes, I like to spend my evenings curled up on the couch, scaring myself senseless with a good thriller. Doubtless, I will find a story too scary to let me sleep comfortably, but that's part of the fun of spooky, pre-Halloween reading! I encourage you to join me in this week of chills and thrills, though you may need to leave the lights on at night, particularly if you dare to try any of the following stories:

Stephen King, the reigning Master of Horror, has returned to the genre with his much anticipated and long awaited sequel to The Shining: Doctor Sleep. Dan Torrance, still haunted by his year of terror at the Overlook Hotel, is now middle-aged and uses his remnant shining power to provide comfort to the dying. When he meets a very special twelve-year-old girl, he must confront the demons of his past in order to save her from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

Joe Hill delivers a disturbing novel of supernatural suspense with his latest novel, NOS4A2. Victoria McQueen is the only child ever to escape Charles Talent Manx's twisted world. A kidnapper with a horrifyingly creative imagination, Manx enjoyed taking children for rides to a "playground of amusements” he called Christmasland. An adult now, Vic is desperate to leave Manx's evil behind. Manx on the other hand, has never forgotten Victoria, and will stop at nothing to reach her again.

Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain, is the first book in a chilling series about a damaged cop and his obsession with the serial killer who inexplicably lets him live. Gretchen Lowell tortured Detective Archie Sheridan for ten days, then freed him and turned herself in. When Sheridan is faced with investigating a string of murders, he must face his would-be killer to help hunt down another.

If you're looking for an eerie and original story, check out Help for the Haunted by John Searles. Struggling with the loss of her parents after a horrifying act of violence, Sylvie lives under the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened to their parents. As Sylvie delves deeper into the mystery of their deaths, she learns dark truths about her family's past and the secrets that have haunted them for years.

This week, I'll be reading The Never List by Koethi Zan. This frightening tale follows a young woman several years after escaping three years of captivity in a dungeon-like cellar. Starved and tortured alongside three other girls, Sarah is still struggling to resume a normal life when her abductor comes up for parole. Her only hope of ensuring he remains behind bars is to confront her phobias and the other survivors, and decipher the cryptic letters her captor has been sending her for years.

If you're looking for a slightly less frightening way to spend your Halloween, don't forget about the Library's annual Halloween Party, on October 31st at 10:30 am. For kids up to 5 years old, we will have a costume parade and plenty of tricks and treats! Stop by and check out the costumes, or check out a spooky book – the choice is yours!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, October 7, 2013

Since before I learned my ABC's, I have had a love of books and reading. My early passion for reading I credit entirely to the hours my mom used to spend reading aloud to myself and my siblings, and the Storytimes I would sit in on at the Gilford Public Library. What I remember most about these early experiences is how the stories would come alive with the help of my mother's expressive voice, or the librarian's faces and actions. Once I learned how to read on my own I was unstoppable, and if I wasn't reading to myself or my mother, I would host Storytimes with my stuffed animals and theatrically announce the stories the way I learned from those who read to me. To this day I am thankful that I was exposed to books and storytelling at an early age, and my love of reading has only continued to grow.

Research evidence shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for creating motivated readers. Reading aloud, particularly to young children, helps to stimulate imagination, expand vocabulary, foster natural curiosity, increase attention spans, and develop early language skills. In a Guardian Teacher Network article, "How to Help Children Discover They LOVE Reading”, author and teacher Neil Griffiths shares suggestions on how to deliver a story well, and capture young attentions. He recommends reading through a story first before reading aloud to plan key moments of emphasis and excitement, and to practice reading in an engaging and expressive tone. He also suggests using your body to its fullest; move about to express mood and use arm and exaggerated facial gestures to illustrate the story. To help attract the attention of children, plan questions to ask throughout the story – even if the child can't read yet, answering questions about the story and pointing to pictures can help them feel more involved in the activity. Help to foster a love of books and reading by making Storytime a fun and exciting activity for your child, and sign them up for Storytime at the Library!

Sign-ups have begun for Storytime (ages 3-5), Babygarten (birth - 18mo.), and Toddler Time (under 3). The theme for this fall will be "Leaf Through a Good Book.” As part of the theme we will be working our way through the alphabet - emphasizing a new letter each week. During each Storytime, Babygarten, and Toddler Time, we will sing songs, do a themed craft, have a themed snack, and of course – listen to some great stories! In addition to Storytimes and books for many different levels of reading, the Library also has fun "Literacy Kits” to check out. These kits contain resources to encourage reading, role-play, and literacy development. Some of my favorite kits are the Pirate Fun Kit, Music Kit, Fitness Kit and best of all – the Dinosaur Kit!

Help your child discover a love of reading by visiting the Library for Storytime, and discover what other resources the Library has to offer by signing up for our weekly newsletter by emailing Happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, October 14, 2013

This week at the library is Teen Read Week! Teen Read Week is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens and their families to be regular readers and library users.

Here at the Library, we're lucky enough to have an entire room devoted to teen, or young adult, fiction. The "Teen Room” is full of YA fiction, magazines, and graphic novels. But young adult fiction isn't just for teens anymore!

In recent years, publishers have noticed several changes in the field of young adult fiction. Titles that reflect teen's lives and deal with more relevant and current issues are quickly replacing more frivolous stories. This focus on more current issues and serious writing, and campaigns such as Teen Read Week may be helping to capture the interest of more adult readers.

According to a new study by Bowker Market Research, fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12-17 – known as YA books – are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44, a group that alone accounted for 28% of YA sales. More and more adult writers like James Patterson, Carl Hiaasen, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult have also begun writing young adult fiction, bringing some of their adult readership with them.

I read YA fiction on a regular basis and have found some real gems hidden in the shelves in the Teen Room! Here are some recommendations for adults interested in checking out YA fiction:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is an incredible story, and my top recommendation this week. Hazel faces a terminal diagnosis of cancer and has resigned herself to her fate until an encounter with Augustus Waters at a Cancer Support Group makes her realize that her story has a chance to be rewritten.

In 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Clay Jenson is left a strange package containing several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Sold by Patricia McCormack is the story of a young Nepali girl sold into a brothel to earn money for her poor family. Her life is a nightmare until she gathers the strength to try to reclaim her life.

A thrilling story of survival and friendship, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein follows "Verity” as she is arrested by the Gestapo after a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. She is faced with a choice to confess and betray her country or face a grisly execution.

Come celebrate Teen Read Week with us, and check out what you've been missing in YA fiction!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper on September 30, 2013

Observing a professional glass-blower or lamp worker can seem magical to bystanders. An artist who can both balance a molten globule of glass, while working in color and definitive shapes is definitely one to watch. When I was in college I had the opportunity to take a glass-working class. Although I never developed the particular talent needed to wield this unruly and difficult material, I came away with a great appreciation and respect for those who can work with hot glass. Stacy Weeks Schoell, is a member of that special group of artists with a natural talent for glass working. You may have seen her work this July at the library – a variety of her handmade beads, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets were on display.

Stacy will be at the Library on Thursday, October 10th at 6:30pm to give a demonstration on glass bead making and to talk about her work. For the demonstration she will create some simple beads, and decorative pieces, and will discuss the different techniques, gases and colors she uses as she works.

A crafter all her life, she grew up in Gilford and now lives in Barrington with her family. Her interest in glass work began with a fascination with glass blowing. Twelve years ago she found her true passion in working with hot glass in the art of Lamp work, or Glass Bead Making. "Bead making”, she says, "was a way of glass blowing on a much smaller scale”. Stacy says that the hardest part about the art was the steep learning curve when you start out. Learning the chemistry of the glass and how different glasses, colors, and gas compositions interact was difficult at first. Once Stacy became more comfortable with lamp-working, she began taking classes with artists she admired. Through classes and almost daily practice, Stacy’s talent developed, and glass bead making has grown into her passion. "The most difficult part now is deciding what to do and what type or color of bead to make!” Stacy joked.

Stacy works primarily out of a studio in her home but built herself a small travel bench to be more portable. Although the travel bench limits the size and difficulty of pieces she can produce, it is a great tool for demonstrations and for taking along to craft shows. You can check out Stacy’s work and shop online at, or stop by the Library on October 10th and watch step-by-step as Stacy creates beautiful beads and other pieces.

Notes from the library.
September 23, 2013 by Molly Harper

A friend of mine recently visited the Gilford Public Library for the first time. Not much of a reader, she stopped by to use the computer but soon became transfixed by the hundreds of movies, new and old, that the library has available for checkout. I explained to her that patrons can check out up to six movies at a time, and that the Library stays up to date on new releases. I showed her a special DVD section that holds the Blockbuster Hits, popular new releases that have a three-day loan period. She happily dug out her old, dusty library card and walked away with six movies she had wanted to see for ages!

Among the newly arriving movies are hits like The Great Gatsby, Stoker, and 42, a film chronicling the life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, follows two young boys who form a pact to help a fugitive (McConaughey) evade bounty hunters and reunite with his true love. Other popular new releases include Amour, Oblivion, and The Place Beyond the Pines, a crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling.

Looking for a hidden treasure among the many DVDs? Check out Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about a national champion chess team from an impoverished inner city high school in Brooklyn, or What Maisie Knew, a family drama based off the book by Henry James. I highly recommend The Impossible, an incredible story based on María Belón's and her family's experience of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Not to be missed is The Intouchables, a French film about an aristocrat who hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker after becoming a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident.

The Library also has a wide assortment of different series, including a number of popular BBC series like Doc Martin, Downton Abbey and Pie in the Sky. We also have the Game of Thrones, Call the Midwife, and all six Jesse Stone movies!

This week, I'll be watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the young adult novel by Stephen Chbosky, what about you? For more recommendations, or to browse and request movies stop by the Library. Pick up some popcorn on the way home, and you're well on your way to a great movie night!

Banned Books
By Molly Harper, September 16, 2013

When I was in sixth grade, my class studied Ray Bradbury's classic book Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury's tale imagines a not too distant future, in which television and technology rule and literature is on the brink of extinction. Guy Montag is a firemen, a position that focuses on starting fires to burn books, which have all been declared illegal. Montag never questions his position as a book burner until he meets a young woman with a very different perspective on the value of books.

Bradbury's short novel brings to attention the threats of censorship, and limitations on the freedom to read. Bradbury himself, having grown up under the shadow of Senator Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare and the Cold War, often expressed his fears surrounding the threat of censorship and the "mutilation” of books through expurgation, and other forms of censure. "There is more than one way to burn a book.” He once said, "And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

When I first read Fahrenheit 451, I did not at first understand the significance of censorship, or why the freedom to read was such an important aspect of our society. As I grew older and started choosing more of my own reading material, I began to realize that censorship was present in our world, although not in as severe a form as Bradbury imagined. More than once, I had difficulty finding the books I wanted to read because they had been removed from a collection, or moved to more inconspicuous shelves of a shop. When I learned about "banned books” and found my first list of banned or challenged literary works, I curiously started reading these Banned Books – just to see what all the fuss was about. I celebrated my first Banned Books Week with the Library when I was in Middle School and have been proudly exercising my right to read freely ever since!

Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read through encouraging readers to examine challenged literary works, bringing to light issues of censorship in our country, highlighting persecuted individuals, and promoting intellectual freedom in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Started in 1982 by the American Library Association (ALA) and library activist Judith Krug, Banned Books Week Campaign has worked for the last 30 years to keep the idea of literary freedom at the forefront of Americans' minds.

If you're familiar with Banned Books you may recognize some of these more infamous titles; Lady Chatterley's Lover, Catch -22, and Lord of The Flies but you may be surprised to learn that many other popular, even treasured tales have been challenged during the past and present day. Some of my favorite childhood books: Alice in Wonderland, The Lorax, Harry Potter, and Grimm's Fairy Tales, have all come under fire and asked to be banned from the literary pool. Some books have been challenged for simply containing mild language, or themes of magic, social change, or war.

Here at the Library, we are celebrating National Banned Books Week, and our Freedom to Read from September 22nd through September 28th. All patrons who check out a book that has been challenged or banned in the past will receive a bookmark and a special treat! Stop by and peruse the Banned Books List and see how many books you've read – you may be surprised by the titles present on the list!

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, September 9, 2013

On Thursday, August 29th, the Gilford Public Library celebrated the milestone fifth anniversary of our new building. At a private reception, Library staff gathered with a number of the donors who helped to make the dream of this beautiful facility a reality. Library Director Katherine Dormody opened the reception by thanking all of the donors whose support and contributions have provided for many services and programs over the years. She also referenced how well received the new library has been in the community by citing impressive, record-breaking figures from this year. In July alone, 16,930 items were checked out of the library – the most ever checked out in a single month! The Summer Reading program also displayed an impressive turnout this year, with over 700 sign-ups. The biggest growth this year was in the Adult Program, with over 300 participating patrons – we as a community are doing a much better job at setting the example for our kids and grandkids than ever before!

One of the most frequently conversed topics of the evening was the value that a library holds for a community, and the role that a library plays in bringing a community together. Library lovers and donors Sue and Peter Allen spoke of the Gilford Library as an important community center, stating that they donated because this library is such a great resource for the community in many ways. Former Library Trustee Sue Cutillo expressed similar sentiments, saying that "this has become more than a library; it's really the center of the community”. Steve Cutillo agreed and added that the "new sense of enthusiasm and pride with this facility has made it a wonderful addition to the town and community”.

Another popular topic of discussion looked back on the progress the Library has made in the last five years and how far the Library has come from its early years to becoming the 2012 New Hampshire Library of the Year. Alida Millham, who has been a library patron for over 50 years, laughed happily as she exclaimed; "looking back at where we started and how far we've come – it's just fantastic! The library started as just two rooms, we're very lucky now”. Former Librarian Anita Hewitt spoke about how much more the Library has to offer from when she first started working here. She thanked the new building and all of the donors for making the biggest difference in the Library's ability to offer more services to the community. Diane Mitton, also a former Librarian, proudly voiced that the Library has really been built by, supported by, and embraced by the community - the community and great leadership have made it what it is today.

One of the fastest growing services the Library offers is something we didn't even know about until fairly recent years – Ebooks. The Library uses two different vendors to offer a wide variety of free audio and e-books to patrons – five years ago, e-readers were only beginning to enter the market!

It's to be expected that as time progresses, and technology continues to evolve, the services the Library offers may change and evolve as well. So long as the Library has the continued confidence and support of its many donors, patrons, and community partners, we will continue to serve Gilford and provide the best possible library service. Thanks to all who have helped us to get to where we are today, and we look forward to another five years!

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, August 26, 2013

Since before I learned my ABC's, I have had a love of books and reading. My early passion for reading I credit entirely to the hours my mom used to spend reading aloud to myself and my siblings, and the Storytimes I would sit in on at the Gilford Public Library. What I remember most about these early experiences is how the stories would come alive with the help of my mother's expressive voice, or the librarian's faces and actions. Once I learned how to read on my own I was unstoppable, and if I wasn't reading to myself or my mother, I would host Storytimes with my stuffed animals and theatrically announce the stories the way I learned from those who read to me. To this day I am thankful that I was exposed to books and storytelling at an early age, and my love of reading has only continued to grow.

Research evidence shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for creating motivated readers. Reading aloud, particularly to young children, helps to stimulate imagination, expand vocabulary, foster natural curiosity, increase attention spans, and develop early language skills. In a Guardian Teacher Network article, "How to Help Children Discover They LOVE Reading”, author and teacher Neil Griffiths shares suggestions on how to deliver a story well, and capture young attentions. He recommends reading through a story first before reading aloud to plan key moments of emphasis and excitement, and to practice reading in an engaging and expressive tone. He also suggests using your body to its fullest; move about to express mood and use arm and exaggerated facial gestures to illustrate the story. To help attract the attention of children, plan questions to ask throughout the story – even if the child can't read yet, answering questions about the story and pointing to pictures can help them feel more involved in the activity. Help to foster a love of books and reading by making Storytime a fun and exciting activity for your child, and sign them up for Storytime at the Library!

Sign-ups begin this week for Storytime (ages 3-5), Babygarten (birth - 18mo.), and Toddler Time (under 3). The theme for this fall will be "Leaf Through a Good Book.” As part of the theme we will be working our way through the alphabet - emphasizing a new letter each week. During each Storytime, Babygarten, and Toddler Time, we will sing songs, do a themed craft, have a themed snack, and of course – listen to some great stories! In addition to Storytimes and books for many different levels of reading, the Library also has fun "Literacy Kits” to check out. These kits contain resources to encourage reading, role-play, and literacy development. Some of my favorite kits are the Pirate Fun Kit, Music Kit, Fitness Kit and best of all – the Dinosaur Kit!

Help your child discover a love of reading by visiting the Library for Storytime, and discover what other resources the Library has to offer by signing up for our weekly newsletter by emailing Happy reading!

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, August 19, 2013

It's a bird, it's a plane, no… wait! It's Gilford Old Home Day! Gilford Old Home Day has arrived and promises to deliver a "super” time for its 94th year. Honoring our community's everyday heroes, this year's theme "Super Heroes Among Us”, is one of my favorites. Heroes come in all forms, from the men and women in uniform to the teachers and caregivers and administrators who help to make this the wonderful community that it is. So while you're out enjoying the parade and fireworks, take a little time to thank some of our community's Super Heroes, I know I will!

When I was growing up, my family traditionally gathered at my Grandparents' house on Potter Hill Road for Old Home Day. For as long as I can remember, I've looked forward to Gilford Old Home Day as a family get-together, the final big celebration of the summer…and more importantly, a chance to stock my bookshelf for the coming school year at the Library's annual book sale. And what could be better than great books at low prices? Only pie and ice cream, of course!

The Library kicks off its Old Home Day activities on Friday, August 23rd from 5-7:00pm and on Saturday from 8:00 am – 2:00pm in front of the Library. We will be selling slices of homemade pie and ice cream generously donated by Sawyer's Dairy Bar. A wide assortment of pies will be available for $4.00 a slice, or combine a slice of pie with a scoop of Sawyer's ice cream for only $5.00. The Library's annual book sale will be ongoing throughout the Friday evening and Saturday hours both outside under the tent and in the Bookworm Shop. As usual, a large assortment of hardcover, paperback, children's, and assorted books will be for sale along with music CDs, DVDs and other great deals. Fill your pockets, fill your bag, or fill your car!

Don't forget to look for the Library's float in the parade at 10:00am. We'll have our superhero capes tied and our jet packs ready to blast off! Be sure to wave as we "fly” by!

If you have volunteered to bake a pie or pies for the sale, please drop the pies off in the Library kitchen any time after 3:00 pm on Friday, August 23rd or after 8:00 am Saturday morning.

Looking for something to do with the little ones in the weeks after Old Home Day? Storytime sign ups begin on the 26th for Babygarten, Toddler Time, and Storytime. Sign up early to reserve a spot. See you at the Sale!

Notes from the library.
By Molly Harper, August 12, 2013

One of my favorite summer activities is packing a lunch and taking the Boulder Loop trail up Mount Major. Once at the top, I enjoy a leisurely break and look out across the incredible view of Lake Winnipesauke and the Belknap Range. Even though I can sometimes hear cars, or see boats travelling on the lake, the summit of Mount Major is still one of my favorite "local wildernesses”, and among the most peaceful, beautiful places in the Lakes Region. The beauty of the natural world is something that Ned Therrien knows a great deal about. The final speaker in the Library's Destination Series, Ned will take us on a journey along the Arctic River, and through some of North America's last wilderness areas through his photos and fond recollections. Take the trip with the Library on Tuesday, August 20th at 6:30pm.

Ever kayaked down a swirling Artic River, backpacked across the flower covered tundra, or followed early fur trade routes by canoe? Ned Therrien has! A long-time Gilford resident, Ned has travelled to many wilderness areas as a guide and a U.S. Forest Service Ranger. He has been a participant in more than a dozen expeditions into the far North, and he has a lifetime of experience working and living in the outdoors. His adventuring began in college when he led guided canoe trips for a YMCA camp in Northern Minnesota. After one of these trips he was asked to embark on a 1,200 mile canoe trip into the Arctic. "That original trip, and working with the YMCA really got me started into travelling in the Arctic,” Ned said. "This program will be a compilation of a dozen or so different trips into the far North”.

Ned's interest in following the routes of early explorers and Native Americans was part of his motivation for travelling as often and as far as he did. Ned expressed that he was very interested in the travels of Scottish explorer Alexander McKenzie, who is best known for crossing what is now Canada to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793. "He first attempted the trip in 1789”, Ned joked, "he thought he was going to the Pacific but ended up in the Arctic!” Ned will share some history of early explorers alongside chronicles of his own adventures.

A professional photographer as well as an voyager, Ned has amassed an impressive collection of images of his journeys and travels. He will share a number of these photographs and his experiences with us on Tuesday evening. If you're an adventure enthusiast, a casual hiker or kayaker, or if you simply have a fondness for the beauty of North America's natural wilderness, Ned's photo lecture is sure to please.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or check online at to learn more about Library programs, and upcoming presentations.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, July 29, 2013

With all this rainy weather dampening summer plans, I've made a hefty dent in my summer reading list. If you're in the same boat as me, and are craving some fresh new reads to dive into this summer, or if you're just looking for a few recommendations, look no further! In my search for more material to bulk up my own list, I've come across quite a few promising new releases.

A number of Bestselling authors have introduced new books this summer. Dan Brown returns with Inferno, the next installment of his bestselling Robert Langdon series. Harvard professor Langdon is back in the heart of Italy – this time investigating one of "history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces…Dante's Inferno”. Khaled Hosseini, the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, introduces a new novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in your family. And The Mountains Echoed, "explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another”. Among other notable Bestseller releases are James Patterson's newest, Second Honeymoon, and the latest espionage thriller from Daniel Silva – The English Girl.

Of course reading isn't just for rainy days; the following three titles are emotional, perceptive, and thrilling and make for great beach reads. The Last Original Wife is a funny and poignant tale of one audacious Southern woman's quest to find the love she deserves, from New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank. Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a journey into the trials and tribulations of marriage, faithfulness, and family in her Nantucket-based novel, Beautiful Day. Elizabeth Kelly's dramatic thriller, The Last Summer of the Camperdowns, is set on Cape Cod in 1972. As family secrets unfold, 12 year old Riddle searches for the courage to tell the truth about her wildly eccentric family.

Non-fiction new releases garnering interest this summer include The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, and American Gun: A History of the U. S. in Ten Firearms by Chris Kyle, the bestselling author of American Sniper.

To my list, I've added The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan, a debut novel about a man who awakens in the present day after nearly a century frozen in the Arctic ice, and The Cuckoo's Calling, a crime thriller by Robert Galbraith, a little-know pseudonym of J.K. Rowling.

Alongside many new books and old favorites, the Library also offers a wide variety of audio books and downloadable e-books as well as a multitude of exciting summer programs. Stop by or check out our website to learn more. Happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, August 5, 2013

Last week, before a trip to the beach, I stopped into a local store to pick up a towel and some sunscreen. After a long search, weaving in and out of aisles packed with shiny new binders, pencils, and other school supplies, I finally found the summer materials – already relegated to clearance! Could summer really be over so soon? Although we still have many weeks of warm weather ahead, the summer is starting to wind down, and with it comes the end of yet another season of Summer Reading Programs at the library. It has been a long, busy summer; filled with author visits, trips to far-off lands, balloon artists, musicians and of course, dozens and dozens of great reads and readers.

The Teen and Children's Summer Reading Programs will culminate in a fun-filled finale on Monday, August 12th. Local entertainer Pete Cluett will kick off the festivities at 3:00pm. Pete Cluett is a self-taught singer, songwriter and musician whose lively and humorous performances have entertained in the Lakes Region and beyond for many years. "My favorite part of doing what I do is seeing all the emotion and reactions in the audience. It's a beautiful thing to communicate through music,” Pete said. Pete first got into playing music as a child, and what started out as an enjoyment of all things loud and noisy has evolved into a musical passion. "I really like anything that makes a noise!,” Pete laughed, "I am partial to the guitar because it is very portable, like a concert on the go.” Pete also enjoys writing his own songs and making up new tunes and musical compositions. At the summer reading finale, we can expect a "friendly mix” of his own songs and other popular tunes, as well explanations of the interesting stories behind many of his songs. To preview some of his music, and to read his bio, check out his website at Following Pete will be a delicious ice cream social, with ice cream donated by Sawyer's Dairy Bar, yum!

Adults, you still have a chance to enter your name into the final prize drawing! Included in this "Dig Into Reading” basket is a gift certificate to a local eatery, gardening tools and accessories, a fabulous book, and much more!

The library also still has a few great programs planned for the remainder of August. Check out Author Marina Kirsch on Tuesday, August 13th at 6:30 pm. Her book, Flight of Remembrance: A World War II Memoir of Love and Survival, follows the journey of the Kirsch's father who was drafted into the Luftwaffe in 1941. The final presentation in the Destination Series will take place on August 20th, at 6:30 pm. We will travel through North America's last wilderness areas with professional photographer Ned Therrien. Stop by the library or check out our website to learn more.

Notes from the library.
by Molly Harper, July 22, 2013

August is just around the corner, and although summer is starting to wind down, many families still have plenty of fun trips planned for the remainder of the summer. They may travel to the ocean, go camping, or take a hike up Mount Major…or even, perhaps, Mount Everest. Take a trip with the Library on Tuesday, July 30th at 6:30pm as part of our Destination Series. We'll be travelling to Mount Everest through the photos and recollections of Joe Pratt, who was one of only two Americans to summit Mount Everest from the north side in 2012.

At 29,029' (8,848 m), Mount Everest is the Earth's highest mountain. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas and is host to a multitude of challenges including high winds, sporadic blizzards and rock slides, glaciers, and extremely thin air. Hundreds of people attempt to climb Mount Everest every year, sometimes for the challenge, sometimes for the bragging rights. Joe Pratt, an avid climber since high school, chose to climb the highest mountain in the world as a fundraiser for the eradication of polio.

After climbing Mount Denali in Alaska, Joe focused on Mount Everest. The idea of dedicating the climb to polio prevention came about during a visit to Pakistan with his wife, Lori, where they inoculated young children against polio. On May 20th, 2012, Joe summited and has been using his trip to help raise awareness ever since.

Interested in a trip a little closer to home? Travel below sea level and learn about diving in New Hampshire's lakes and seacoast on Thursday, July 25th at 6:30pm. As part of the Teen and Adult "Beneath the Surface” Summer Reading Program, the Library will host local Scuba Diver Jay Ellingson for a presentation on diving in New Hampshire. Jay has experience diving in many of New Hampshire's lakes and along the seacoast. He will share experiences and pictures, and discuss diving and what you can expect to see beneath the surface in lakes such as our own Lake Winnipesauke.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or check online at to learn more about our Destination Series and the Summer Reading Program and find out where else your summer travels could take you!

It's Summer and the reading is easy...
By Molly Harper, July 15, 2013

On days when it is too rainy to hit up the beach, or too hot and muggy to even want to move, the Library is a great (and cool!) place to spend your summer days. With summer reading programs and activities for children, adults, and teens the Library has something to offer for every member of the family. Teens have a particularly full summer in store for them here at the Library! In addition to participating in the summer reading program and winning great weekly prizes, you can take advantage two awesome upcoming programs.

On Wednesday, July 24th at 1:00 pm, Comic Book Artist Jay Piscopo will host a workshop on drawing and designing comics. The author and illustrator of the comic, The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli, and others, Jay Piscopo has many years' experience and many different characters and stories under his belt. Come try your hand at cartoon art and learn how characters develop from ideas to fantastic artwork. Spaces are limited, so sign up at the Circulation Desk to reserve a spot!

On Friday, August 2nd, you can make your own body into a work of art with the Design Your Own Henna Tattoo Workshop! The art of Henna Tattooing has been practiced for thousands of years, predominantly in India, North Africa, Egypt, and parts of the Middle East, but is gaining popularity in other countries as well. Henna, a plant-derived, pigmented paste is trailed on the skin in elaborate symbolic patterns, leaving a reddish-brown "tattoo” that fades in a few weeks. Sign up early to reserve your space.

Adults, don't forget about the upcoming Get Booked author visits with Edie Clark and Jane Rice on July 18th and 23rd. Edie Clark's new book, What There Was Not to Tell: A Story of Love and War is based on letters Edie's parents exchanged during WWII and seeks to understand the magnitude of war's loss. Jane Rice's book, Bob Fogg and New Hampshire's Golden Age of Aviation is full of fascinating stories of early aircraft, pilots and passengers. Meet an Author and find out about intriguing times in history, both presentations will kick off at 6:30pm in the Meeting Room.

To find out more about upcoming events, stop by, check out the library website, or e-mail to sign up for the weekly newsletter. Happy reading!

Where Every Direction Is North
By Molly Harper, July 1, 2013

On a hot, muggy July day, sometimes the best plan of action is to retreat indoors, crank up the air conditioning and pour yourself a glass of cold water. An even better way to escape the heat is to take a trip to someplace nice and cool…perhaps even to the South Pole! Take a trip with the Library on Thursday, July 9th at 6:30pm as part of our Destination Series. We'll be travelling to the South Pole through the photos and recollections of Fred Kimball, who visited the Amundsen-Scott Station last year as part of his work as a warehousing consultant.

According to Fred, the South Pole is the "coldest, driest, highest place on earth – the combination makes it a very unique environment.” The South Pole is certainly a land of extremes. Fred, who has been tracking the daily temperatures of the Pole, said "the warmest temperature ever recorded was 7° F, and the land is so vast and empty that you can see the curvature of the earth on all sides of you.” With wind chill, temperatures can easily reach -120° F and below. The seasons are sharply divided between 8 months of winter, and 4 months of marginally warmer summer. The average temperature during Fred's visit was -20° F, with a wind chill of -45° F!

Fred will share pictures and stories of his trip to the pole and will talk about the multitude of preparations and complex physical qualification process required by the National Science Foundation prior to departure. He will also share some history of the Amundsen-Scott Station and discuss the men behind the first excursions to the South Pole, whom the Station is named for.

Fred said that although he has done projects all around the world, his trip to the South Pole was "the most exciting, memorable experience in my entire life” and he is very excited to share his story. "I'm one of a small set of people who got to go to the South Pole; it's not a place where tourists can visit. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Beat the heat and visit the South Pole with Fred Kimball on July 9th. Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or check online at to learn more about our Destination Series and find out where else your summer travels could take you!

Notes from the library
July 1, 2013 by Molly Harper

On a hot, muggy July day, sometimes the best plan of action is to retreat indoors, crank up the air conditioning and pour yourself a glass of cold water. An even better way to escape the heat is to take a trip to someplace nice and cool…perhaps even to the South Pole! Take a trip with the Library on Thursday, July 9th at 6:30pm as part of our Destination Series. We'll be travelling to the South Pole through the photos and recollections of Fred Kimball, who visited the Amundsen-Scott Station last year as part of his work as a warehousing consultant.

According to Fred, the South Pole is the "coldest, driest, highest place on earth – the combination makes it a very unique environment.” The South Pole is certainly a land of extremes. Fred, who has been tracking the daily temperatures of the Pole, said "the warmest temperature ever recorded was 7° F, and the land is so vast and empty that you can see the curvature of the earth on all sides of you.” With wind chill, temperatures can easily reach -120° F and below. The seasons are sharply divided between 8 months of winter, and 4 months of marginally warmer summer. The average temperature during Fred's visit was -20° F, with a wind chill of -45° F!

Fred will share pictures and stories of his trip to the pole and will talk about the multitude of preparations and complex physical qualification process required by the National Science Foundation prior to departure. He will also share some history of the Amundsen-Scott Station and discuss the men behind the first excursions to the South Pole, whom the Station is named for.

Fred said that although he has done projects all around the world, his trip to the South Pole was "the most exciting, memorable experience in my entire life” and he is very excited to share his story. "I'm one of a small set of people who got to go to the South Pole; it's not a place where tourists can visit. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Beat the heat and visit the South Pole with Fred Kimball on July 9th. Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or check online at to learn more about our Destination Series and find out where else your summer travels could take you!

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, June 24, 2013

This summer I have filled my schedule with exciting plans. I plan to travel a lot, talk to a few up and coming authors, go to a concert or two, see a few movies, plant a garden, squeeze in some yoga, and read dozens of books. How am I going to do it all? It's easy – I'm participating in the Library's Summer Reading Program, "Groundbreaking Reads”!

To participate in the Adult and Teen Summer Reading Programs, stop by the library and pick up a reading log. For every two books you read you will earn a ticket for weekly drawings for great prizes. At the end of the summer you will be eligible for a drawing for the grand prize! As part of the Summer Reading Program we are also offering a wide variety of great programs and classes for adults and teens.

The "Get Booked” series of author visits returns this year with authors talking to us about their varied, interesting, and wonderful books as well as their writing process. All programs begin at 6:30pm. First in the series is Abi Maxwell, Lake People, on June 27th followed by Edie Clark, What There Was Not to Tell: A Story of Love and War, on July 18th.

For armchair travelers, world explorers and curious locals alike, the "Destination Series” is back. Travel North, South and in-between from the comfort of the meeting room and learn about some of the fascinating trips people in our community have taken. Programs will begin at 6:30 pm. We begin our travels on July 9th with a visit to the South Pole, with Fred Kimball who traveled to McMurto last year.

New this year, the Library is starting its first ever seed-loaning program for adults! Check-out a packet of heirloom seeds at the beginning of the summer, plant away, and check-in your newly harvested seeds at the end of the season.

Also on the agenda this summer is the Laughter Yoga Series, Welcome Home New Hampshire with singer and storyteller Don Watson, and Exemplary Country Estates of NH with NH Humanities scholar, Christina Ashjan. Ongoing classes and programs include monthly book discussions and Foreign Movie night, and much more.

Teens have a full summer in store as well. "Beneath the Surface” is the theme this year and we'll be ‘digging into' many different activities to pass the summer. Sign up early to reserve a spot in the Archery Class on July 2nd from 1-4 p.m. Writing Camp with Lani Voivod will run from July 15 – 19th, stop by the circulation desk to pick up an application form. Later in the summer be on the look-out for workshops on drawing and designing comics, Henna Tattoos, and pottery.

Have some extra time on your hands this summer? Apply to be a volunteer! Volunteering is a great way to help out your community and looks great on resumes and college applications. Teen volunteer responsibilities will include helping with the summer reading program activities in the children's room, putting materials away, and working to keep the library organized.

Find out more about volunteering, and Summer Reading Program activities by picking up a calendar, or signing up for the Library Newsletter by emailing It's time to "Dig Into Reading”!

Notes from the library
June 17, 2013 by Molly Harper

Warm, sunny weather has finally arrived, Bike Week has passed, and the kids are happily out of school - looks like it is finally time for Summer Reading at the Library!

This summer's theme, "Dig Into Reading," inspires readers to 'mine' their personal interests and 'dig around' for all kinds of information, activities and fun at the library. This year's theme for adult readers is "Groundbreaking Reads" and "Beneath the Surface" for teens.

Coordinated by the New Hampshire State Library, the collaborative Summer Reading program helps encourage children and readers of all ages to spend more time enjoying non-assigned reading during the summer months. Did you know that children who read during summer months retain more of their reading skills and are better prepared for school in the fall? Reading is also a great way to relax and unwind, and the perfect way to spend a rainy summer day!

I have always done the majority of my reading in the summer time, curled up in a hammock with a tall glass of iced tea. When I started doing the Summer Reading Program as a kid, the weekly prizes and fun theme was even more incentive to tuck into my stack of books and read the hours away. I'll always remember running downstairs in the Old Library with my reading log clutched in my little hand, eager to see what surprises Miss Anita had in store for me. Summer Reading as a teen helped me out in High School because I was better prepared to tackle the challenging required reading since I had been reading for fun all summer. Keeping the log of the books I read was also a great resource when it came time to do book reports and projects!

The Children's Summer Reading Program kicks-off this Monday, June 24th at 3:00 pm with Paul Warnick. There will be songs, laughter, "dirt" to eat, and books to check out! Readers of all ages should sign up for the Summer Reading Program anytime on Monday and pick up a reading log to be entered into a drawing to win great prizes!

Following the Summer Reading Kick-off next week, we're offering an LED Craft for the Teens on Wednesday at 1:00pm, please sign up at the circulation desk. Abi Maxwell will be returning to the Library on Thursday at 6:30pm to discuss her debut, Lake People, as part of the Get Booked Series this summer.

Tune in each week to find out about upcoming Summer Reading Programs and Events, check out the Gilford Public Library website, or sign up for our e-newsletter by emailing The Summer Reading Program is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Library. Happy reading!

Notes from the library.
June 10, 2013 by Molly Harper.

Some of my fondest memories of my Dad and I involve two things – food, and the great outdoors. One of my favorites takes place on a warm day in early summer – much like what we have been enjoying recently. Decked out in my hiking gear, complete with my little-kid-sized hiking boots and worn backpack filled with snacks. My brother and sister were tromping their way into the wooded trail departing from the Mount Major parking lot. Dad glanced at my siblings before reaching into his pocket, winking and handing me half of a Cow Tail candy. A staple of our summer hikes, the sugary sweet caramel treats were typically a reward at the top of the mountain - to get one before even embarking on the hike was a real treat! As I took the candy and started to nibble on it, Dad winked a final time – then took off with a whoop to chase my little brother, disappearing into the forest with a wild laugh. Whenever I eat Cow Tail candy now, I think of my Dad, and the fun we used to have hiking in the summer.

Celebrate your Dad (and sweets!) on Saturday, June 15th from 10:00 – 1:00 pm at the Library with Dads & Donuts. Treat Dad to a donut and have fun making crafts, reading stories, and hanging out. Dads and Donuts is open to all Dads, Granddads, kids and grandkids.

Let's not forget about the Dads and Granddads in our lives during in the hot summer days to come either. The library has a wide variety of great smoking, grilling, and barbecuing cookbooks. The Book of Burger by Rachel Ray is full of delicious burger recipes, including Adirondack Red Wing Burgers, Garlic-Ginger Salmon Burgers, and the classic Double Bacon Cheeseburger. If Dad is a grilling fan, be sure to check out 100 Grilling Recipes You Can't Live Without by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. With recipes for everything from ribs to bananas (believe it or not!), this book is the perfect companion for summer grilling. Smokin' with Myron Mixon reveals trade secrets of a barbecue master. Learn how to tackle smoking whole hogs, master BBQ chicken, and make the best brisket around.

Make some memories with your Dad this Saturday at Dads and Donuts, and all summer long with great cookbooks and recipe ideas from the Gilford Library.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, May 20, 2013

The Library's Summer Reading Program and balmy weather is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to get a head start on your summer reading! But with so many great books, and much anticipated new releases about to hit the shelves just in time for the warmer weather, it can be hard to choose where to begin– here are some of our recommendations;

Summer Starters:

A great way to start off your summer reading, these emotional, perceptive novels take a deeper look at the complexities of life and the myriad of relationships formed along the way: 

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer follows the lives of six teenagers who bond at a summer camp for the arts the summer after Nixon resigns. As their lives unfold, Wolitzer follows these characters as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. A great read alike for fans of Jeffrey Eugenides, The Interestings is a warm, all-American story of discovery, and the meaning of friendship.

Another great summer starter is Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline. In Don't Go, Scottoline delivers the story of an army medic who survives the war in Afghanistan only to lose his beloved wife in a household accident. Left to raise his baby girl on his own, he discovers that his most important battle may be yet to come.

Blockbuster Hits:

Among the most highly anticipated new releases for this summer are Dan Brown's Inferno, and Khaled Hosseini's newest book; And The Mountains Echoed:

The latest book in Dan Brown's bestselling Robert Langdon series, Inferno finds Harvard professor Robert Langdon back in the heart of Italy – this time investigating one of "history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces…Dante's Inferno”.

Khaled Hosseini, the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, introduces a new novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in your family. And The Mountains Echoed, "explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another”.

Something Different:

Looking for something a little different or unusual? Life After Life by Kate Atkinson explores the question, "what if you could live again and again, until you got it right?” Ursula Todd is born and dies on a cold night in 1910, that same night she is born again and embarks on an unusual live in which she grows, and dies repeatedly as the Second World War approaches. Does Ursula's infinite number of lives give her power to save the world? Find out in Atkinson's "darkly comic and utterly original” novel, Life After Life.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker marvelously weaves fragments of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable into a creative and curious story that follows two mythical beings through the cultures of turn-of-the-century New York. The Golem and the Jinni become unlikely friends and soul mates and their travels through 1900's New York life make for an unforgettable and engaging read.

Library Favorites:

If you're looking for a page-turning drama, try The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, the author of Olive Kitteridge. The Burgess boys escape from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls after a freak accident kills their father and leaves them permanently haunted. Now grown, the Burgess boys are called back to Shirley Falls by their sister - the Burgess who stayed behind.

Fans of Lee Child and Harlen Coben won't be disappointed with Ghostman, the debut novel of Roger Hobbs. A fast-paced crime novel, Ghostman follows the exploits of Jack, a "ghostman” with an expansive knowledge of criminal tradecraft.

Come on down to the Library to check out these books, or for more suggestions to help jump-start your summer reading!

Museum Passes at the library.
By Molly Harper, May 27, 2013

A few weeks ago a friend and I took a relaxing walk through the woods in Holderness. The sun was shining, the birds chirped merrily, and two enormous mountain lions watched our every move from only feet away. Were we frightened? Not at all! It was just another wild day at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Through an interactive combination of live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, and lake cruses, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center "has educated and enlightened visitors for over forty years about our natural world”. Interested in seeing the Science Center for yourself? Stop by the Library and pick up a Library Pass! One of the many passes sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Library, a pass to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is good for two free trail admissions, and up to four additional discounted trail admissions.

The Library offers a wide variety of different passes to local museums and historic centers, courtesy of the Friends. Passes include Strawberry Banke, Castle in the Clouds, the Children's Museum of NH, The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens, Wright Museum, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, and more.

A personal favorite of mine, the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth is comprised of 10 acres of outdoor history museum and exhibits. Showcasing the architecture, heritage plants and foodways, traditional crafts, tools, and clothing of everyday life in the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's, Strawberry Banke is a fascinating place to spend a summer day. With a pass from the Library, admission is free for two adults and up to four children.

Some passes, like Strawberry Banke, do require a small refundable deposit to be held at the library, and passes should be reserved in advance in order to guarantee availability. Passes vary individually but offer free or reduced admission for a set number of people. To reserve a pass for your Museum visit, or to find out more about which passes are offered, call or stop by the Library.

Longer days and warmer weather make summer an opportune time go get out and explore some of the diverse museums and centers that make New Hampshire such an interesting place to live…and you never know, you might even cross paths with a mountain lion or two.

Notes from the library
By Molly Harper, May 13, 2013

After a long snowy winter, the sound of the cheerful chirp of the American Robin is often the first herald of the long-awaited spring. Next comes the eerie coo of the Mourning Dove, the chatter of Warblers and Finches, and the return of Red-winged Blackbirds, Hummingbirds, and many more. But for me, spring has never fully arrived until I have caught sight of my favorite spring bird – the Eastern Bluebird. With a rich rusty chest to complement its characteristic baby-blue wings, the Bluebird is a much awaited symbol of the bright and colorful spring to come.

If you’re a bird-watcher like myself, or simply want to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring we are having, be sure to check out the Library’s 3rd Annual Bird Walk with Mike Coskren on Saturday, May 18th from 8:00 – 10:00 am. The Bird Walk will be at a new location this year, on the Carey Trail at the Meadows property. The walk will be leaving from the Triple Trouble barn right next to Beans & Greens promptly at 8:00 am.

"The trail starts out in a marsh area, followed by a gentle walk into a nice open field, then down to a stream and a swamp. We should be able to see some hawks and water birds, and perhaps a wood duck near the swamp,” said Mike, who walked the path recently. "It was a slow start to the bird-watching season this year, but it should pick up and will be great by the 18th”.

Mike first became hooked on bird watching as a child after seeing the unusual orange plumage of the Baltimore Oriole for the first time. Fifty years, and countless bird sighting later, Mike’s passion for bird watching is stronger than ever. He is excited to lead the walk for his third year in a row and hopes to be able to show people a variety of different birds; "We can expect to see many migratory birds, including varieties of Wood Warblers, Oven Birds, Hermit Thrushes and more. Many of the birds are also in their breeding plumage; it’s the best time of year to see their pretty colors.” Some of the more colorful birds that may be seen on the walk include the Baltimore Oriole, the Scarlet Tanager, and varieties of Grosbeak.

Mike suggests covering up as much as possible for the walk as protection against ticks and black flies – hats and long pants are recommended, as well as sturdy walking shoes. Bug spray is a good idea, and of course – don’t forget your binoculars!

New to bird-watching, or a little rusty after the winter season? Prepare for the walk by checking out the NH Audubon’s Beginner Birder Guide online at An excellent resource for beginner and experienced birders, the guide lists important information for birders, including the ‘Birding Code of Ethics’, and hints about when and where to look to find some of your favorite rare birds. The guide also includes links to the New Hampshire Bird Records website, where you can share your sightings with others - especially the rare species that others may be searching for!

So whether you’re looking for the rarest of the rare, or just hoping for a glimpse of an old favorite, the Library’s 3rd Annual Bird Walk on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00 am promises to be a fun morning for all. I’ll be there looking for the Eastern Bluebird, and I hope to see you there too!


Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, May 13, 2013

When my husband and I first moved back to New Hampshire from Montana, we lived with my grandmother in the village. At the time, I was deep into writing my novel, and I came to the library as a way to get out into the community and take a break from my work. Betty Tidd taught me how to cover paperback books, and I agreed to show up once a week to do that. However, it wasn't long before I started getting messages from Betty.

"The paperbacks are really piling up,” she would say.

"Who is this woman?” I remember asking my husband. "I told her I

would come for one hour on Wednesdays, and she's calling me on a Friday afternoon?” I would ignore the messages, and continue with whatever else I was doing. But, to my astonishment, Betty would keep calling. And so, because I love libraries, and because I had signed up, I would walk down the street and cover those books on any old day.

Now, four years later, as my husband and I prepare for yet another adventure—this time a move to a small island off the coast of Maine—I have been looking around the library and thinking of how it has become something of a home to me. It started in that back room, where I covered books. Unexpectedly, that small act gave me community—because when you spend much of your life immersed in fiction, as I do, it can be hard to know what to talk about with people, but there, in that room, I first met others in this town whose lives are also spent in and deeply affected by what they read.

So when we decided to move, it seemed at first that it would be the library community that I would miss the most. But now, as I wander through the rooms, I realize that this place has truly sustained me in so many other ways. It was in the New Hampshire Room that I researched old stories to inspire my book, and in the Reading Room that I finally wrote the last section of it. In the Meeting Room I had fascinating discussions with people I likely never would have spoken with had it not been for that book group. And all of that is just extra; it's the library collection, after all, that has guided all of that—and my work—for the last four years.

There is, thankfully, a library on the island we're moving to, but it's roughly the size of this library's circulation desk. And so, in the coming years, my small family will be living on Isle au Haut, where I'll write my next book, take incredible advantage of the inter-library loan system, and think often and fondly of the Gilford Public Library.

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, April 29, 2013

"Old, traditional songs are as close as you can get to a community of another time,” said musician and music historian Jeff Warner, who will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, May 14, for Banjos, Bones, and Ballads. "As a friend said, hearing an old song is like having an ancestor whisper in your ear.”

The son of legendary folk music historians Anne and Frank Warner, Jeff Warner grew up immersed in the old, traditional songs of our country, and he now spends his time bringing these songs to life in the US, Canada, and the UK. Though he plays and loves the songs of Appalachia, he says he has developed a particular affinity for the sailor songs of Boston and Portsmouth, and the logging songs from the Northeast's logging camps.

"There aren't as many people preserving those old songs, their old style. I want people to hear them as they were sung,” he said.

Other than an introduction to music from his parents, Warner always had a strong singing voice, and from there he developed his musical skills—the guitar, the banjo, and his real passion, the concertina, which is similar to an accordion. "That was a real turning point,” he said. "I started playing the concertina, and a hero of mine who played it passed on to me his love of traditional singing, and that's when I truly got serious about the music.”

As for the ‘bones', "they really are bones.” Warner said that no one knows how they started as music, "but you can just imagine … if you're a kid in 1790, and you live on a farm, and you want to play music, bones is what you have.” Warner's bones are made of shards from a cow's leg, and they're about eight inches long. "You use two, you hold them in one hand and rattle them together, it looks fascinating and it sounds lovely,” he said.


Like the bones, it's also impossible to tell just how far back the roots of the traditional music stretch, though certainly some of the songs link back as far as 600, 700, and even 800 years ago. However, Warner typically plays the songs that were written in the late 1800s. This is because "to our modern ear, the music gets better then. After slaves were freed and the Irish came over, the music changed. The rhythm, the call and response, the dance melodies—all of it got integrated.” Prior to that, the music is a bit "wordy and esoteric” for a general audience. Besides, Warner simply plays—or ‘inhabits,' as one listener said—the music that speaks to him. "I certainly love it,” he said. "I hope other people will, too.”

Jeff Warner will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, May 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 for his performance of Banjos, Bones, and Ballads. All are welcome and invited to join!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, April 22, 2013

"There are people all over the place who want to dance,” said library patron Bonnie Deutch, who will lead a beginner's line dancing course this spring at the Gilford Public Library. "They'd dance if they had a place to do it.” She says that's part of what's so great about line dancing—you don't have to wait for a partner; you can just go out and join in.

"Sure,” she said, "people think it's all country,” but that just isn't true. "It's Irish, it's old time, it's waltzes. And,” she said, "it's great fun and great exercise.”

Deutch, who's been line dancing for "years and years,” has taught at places like the Mill-A-Round in Manchester and at Pembroke Academy. About the upcoming class that she'll teach, Deutch emphasizes that it is for true beginners. "The most important thing is people say, ‘I don't want to make a fool of myself.' And here they won't. The door is closed. Everyone's a beginner. Everyone's comfortable, everyone's here to have fun.”

As for technique, "Attitude, attitude, attitude” is what Deutch said. "The dances themselves are simple,” she said, "but with different attitudes they can take on whole new lives.”

Deutch's class is designed to teach people how to be "self-sufficient” dancers. "I want to train them to train themselves,” she said. The class will run for six sessions in May and June, and, in addition to the class, Deutch will also teach an after-school line dancing group for children on May 8th.

So, if you're interested in dancing, don't be shy! And if there's something else you'd like to do, stop by and take a look at our calendar, which is really filling up for spring! Some highlights include the next Storytime session, Up, up, and Away; a special program, Banjos, Bones, and Ballads, brought to us by the New Hampshire Humanities Council; our annual Mother's Day Tea; and a spring bird walk. Happy reading!

Notes from the library.
April 8, 2013 by Abi Maxwell

For nearly half a century, libraries across the country have joined together every April to celebrate National Library Week. This year, the theme for celebration is, "Community @ Your Library,” a statement that couldn't be more true. Here in Gilford, the library offers free access to unlimited knowledge, but it's also a great place to meet friends; to join a club; and to come to a special event. Next week, in honor of National Library Week, we'll offer a number of special programs for all ages.

Children are often the focus of library programs, for it's well known that visiting libraries in childhood not only enriches a child's reading and learning skills, but also creates a lifelong library user. So, once again we'll host the town vehicles for the kids to explore. Throughout the week, the children will have the chance to explore a police car, a school bus, a marine patrol boat, and a snow groomer.

For adults, fire deputy Rick Andrews and EMT Scott Davis will lead an indoor workshop, Map & Compass, to help patrons learn to effectively use a map and compass while in the woods and/or on trails. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, April 16, at 6:30, and sign up is required.

In addition to these programs, we'll also hold an Edible Book Contest for all ages. Children's Library Tracey Petrozzi, who will host the event, described it like this: "You pick a book—your favorite or one that you just think would be fun. And then you just create a food item to represent the book.” For example, she said she once saw a child represent Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar by stringing together a chain of cupcakes, and Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree by a standing a stalk of broccoli in a bowl of Jell-O. To be involved, you just have to make your food/book creation and drop it off in the library's meeting room between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17. After that, you can stay to view other entries or return at 4:00 to see the prizes awarded.

To learn more about our National Library Week programs, or our ongoing programs, stop by the library or visit our website. Happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, April 1, 2013

"I really can't separate the natural world from poetry,” said local poet Barbara Bald, who will be at the Gilford Public Library with fellow poet Charlotte Cox for Journey Outward, Journey Inward; Two Perspectives on Poetry on Thursday, April 11, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Held every April, National Poetry Month is an annual celebration organized by the Academy of American Poets that aims to widen our attention to poetry—"to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books,” the Academy says. Largely, their efforts focus on bringing poetry to schools in a creative, positive way, which surely matters.

Bald says, "I've been writing since I was a little girl, and I was fortunate to have super English teachers. These were teachers who spent their summers going to Longfellow's Tavern, to Walden, to all these literary places. And then they'd bring their experiences back with them to the classroom.”

Though Bald was a science teacher by trade, she never lost her love of poetry, "of words, metaphor, philosophy,” but it wasn't until she bought a camp in the north and began to spend entire days just watching the river that she returned to poetry in a very focused way. "I would watch the water striders, or the water itself, and these poems would just come popping up.”

She began to visit The Frost Place on a regular basis, to focus in and revise her poems, and to send them out to get published. It was around this time that she met Charlotte Cox, and the two became writer friends.

Like Bald, Cox said she too has been writing since she was a little girl. "I just always loved words,” she said. "But it wasn't until I retired that I finally decided to start doing the work I always wanted to do.” Now Cox writes all the time. She said, "A scene or phrase or brief scrap of memory will strike me deeply. I'll scribble it down … and I might not come back to it for weeks, but when I do return, I work on creating a more complete, formal poem.”

"Poetry is another way of communicating,” she said. "A deeper way. It uses words to look beneath the surface … to boil down into the essence of things.”

On Thursday, April 11, Barbara Bald and Charlotte Cox will explore two kinds of poems with Outward, Journey Inward—those that look outward, at the natural world, and those that look inward, at personal journeys. Also, after Bald and Cox read their poetry, they will open the floor for guests to share their own. This program is free and open to the public; all are invited and encouraged to join!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, February 18, 2013

Reading a picture book to a child really is one of the more satisfying activities in life, and as many of us know, often it's the pictures—and not the words—that the children enjoy the most. That's why, 75 years ago, the Caldecott Medal was created; given annually, the medal honors illustrators for their significant contributions to children's literature.

If you haven't yet read I Want My Hat Back, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, you ought to stop by the Children's Room and do just that. It's a lovely, understated little book featuring an impossibly deadpan bear who has lost his hat and who, eventually, eats the rabbit who stole it.

"Nobody has seen my hat,” the bear says as he lies down, hopelessly, midway through the book. "What if I never see it again? What if nobody ever finds it? My poor hat. I miss it so much.” Released in 2011, that book won a host of honors, so it was no surprise when its sequel, This is Not My Hat, was nominated for and subsequently won the 2013 Caldecott Medal. The illustrations in both books—and all the others Klassen has illustrated—have a simple yet somehow compelling feel to them; there is so much character in those little animals, and though the colors are often muted, their effect is just enchanting.

Picture books are, of course, a wonderful way to connect with a child, but for those who can't read yet—and even those who can't speak or understand language yet—picture books also offer this miraculous, solitary entrance into another world, and, at the same time, into their own imagination. And, at least some of those images will remain; I know that my mind is still filled with Susan Jeffers' The Snow Queen drawings.

So, if you're looking for something to brighten up your day, stop by the library to check out a Caldecott Medal winner in honor of the award's 75th anniversary. Some of our children's librarians' old favorite Caldecott winners include Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey, and The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Happy reading!

Notes from the library.
By Abi Maxwell, February 25, 2013

In 1955, Theodore Geisel was asked to write a book that would help children learn to read. At the time, he was working as a cartoonist, but he had also written a couple children's books, so he took up the offer. To write the book, Geisel was given a list of 300 words that most first-graders know. Apparently, two words on the list struck him: "cat” and "hat.” Thus our most legendary children's author—Dr. Seuss, of course—was born, along with a book that used only 225 "new reader” words. Now, Read Across America Week is celebrated each year to honor Dr. Seuss's remarkable impact on child literacy. This year, the Gilford Public Library will celebrate with a birthday party on Dr. Seuss's birthday—Friday, March 1.

"My son and daughter learned to read with those books,” said library assistant Becky Vallar. "The rhythm and the rhyme lets the children hear how the words are supposed to sound,” she said, "and that helps them so much. And,” she added, "that makes the reading fun.”

The lively pictures also add to a child's pleasure with these books, and as the story goes, it was these pictures that led Dr. Seuss not only to his career, but also to his wife. According to American Public Media's The Writer's Almanac, "He studied literature and planned on becoming an English professor. But a woman in one of his classes noticed the drawings he doodled in the margin of his notebook … and she told him he should become a cartoonist. He took her advice and also decided to marry her.”

After The Cat in the Hat reached such wide success—selling upwards of 12,000 copies a month—Dr. Seuss's publisher reportedly made a bet with him: "$50 that he could not write a book using only 50 different words.” Seuss won that bet in 1960, with the publication of Green Eggs and Ham, which, according to The Writer's Almanac, "uses exactly 50 different words, and only one of those words has more than one syllable: the word ‘anywhere.'”

The Gilford Public Library's Read Across America Dr. Seuss celebration will take place all day on Friday, March 1, with stories, games, and a birthday cake. All are welcome to help celebrate!

The history of tea
By Abi Maxwell, March 11, 2013

"Tea should really be made with tea leaves,” said historian and University of New Hampshire lecturer Hetty Startup, who will be at the Gilford Public library on Friday, March 15, for Historic Tea Traditions, a talk that will explore tea drinking around the world. "Tea bags,” she said, "though I do use them, are really a copout.”

If you're a tea drinker, you likely know why—the flavors of good tea are so subtle, after all, and their variation according to type and location is as rich and extensive as that of wine. That's part of what makes tea one of the most fascinating drinks in the world, and its serious drinkers so devoted. But it's also the history.

"This country, of course, associates tea with independence,” Startup remarked. It was also a driving force of the opium wars, when England's need for tea was so strong that they even developed new, faster boats in order to get it. "It's a staple,” Startup remarked—and that is certainly why it was one of the most formative commodities in the world. In addition to its vast history, there are also numerous tea ceremonies dictating how and when tea is taken, and this is the aspect that Startup will focus on.

"Morocco has a tradition of having mint tea, Russians take tea black and brewed in a samovar. For tea ceremonies in Japan, it's not necessarily the tea that is significant but all the other aesthetic elements, like the vessels, the seating, all of that is deliberate, and intended to create a special sense of place.”

Startup notes that many of us have tea-drinking traditions, whether or not they are a part of a larger culture, and because of that she encourages participants to bring along their favorite cup and saucer or brew. "That's the most fun part,” she says of the talk. "It's great to hear how others drink their tea.”

As for Startup herself, tea has always been a part of her life, even when she was a small child, and it's always been a ritual as well as a drink. Eventually, it was her interest in the two main cultures—China and India—that produce tea that led her to study the drink.

Her favorite brew? "I take a really regular, strong, British black tea. I also like a lot of herbal teas—Echinacea, peppermint. I admit that I do drink coffee, maybe one cup in the morning, but mostly I am a tea drinker.”

Hetty Startup will be at the library for Historic Tea Traditions on Friday, March 15, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. All are welcome and encouraged to join. Don't forget to bring your tea!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, March 11, 2013

Spring is just around the corner, and it's finally time to venture back outside! When you do, stop in at the library, because we have lots of great new books including a new one from Jodi Piccoult and one from David Baldacci. Here are some others that we're excited about:

Benediction is a new novel by Kent Haruf, who writes about life in Holt, a fictional Colorado town; this time, with Benediction, he explores an aging man's struggle with cancer. His books, including Plainsong, Eventide, and Benediction, are perfect for readers who enjoy beautifully written and quietly compelling stories, like Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist.

Fans of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge will be thrilled to know that her next book, The Burgess Boys, is almost here—it will be released on March 26. This novel, which is rumored to be just as remarkable as her last, explores what happens when family members return to their Maine hometown to confront the old family business that haunts them.

For readers who love a good thrill, we have two great new ones on the shelves now. The Dinner, by Herman Koch, is translated from Dutch and already an international bestseller. It's a dark, absorbing novel that takes place during the course of one dinner, wherein two couples discuss the horrific act committed by their 15-year-old sons. Equally dark and absorbing is Roger Hobbs's debut novel, Ghostman. This deftly written book follows the path of a casino robbery gone horribly awry.

If it's been a long time since you read a short story, you might give that a try, too. Right now there are two new story collections that are so good they're on the bestseller list, which is quite uncommon for short stories. They are Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell, and Tenth of December, by George Saunders. When you read these two books it will come as no surprise to you that Sauders's work has long been a favorite of Russell's—both writers explore strange, otherworldly situations, but somehow end up examining the human condition.

Also, remember that the library has lots of new movies, too. For an artful and unique movie, try Anna Karenina or Moonrise Kingdom. Pitch Perfect is a new comedy, and Life of Pi is an excellent one to watch after reading the bestselling book it was based on. Also coming to the library are Lincoln, Argo, and The Intouchables. When you stop by, don't forget that if what you're looking for is checked out you can always put your name on the waiting list. Happy reading!

Valentine notes from the library...
By Abi Maxwell, February 11, 2013

I think that readers frequently set aside love stories as those for women, and assume that the term romance applies only to Nora Roberts and the like. But it turns out that I really can't think of one novel I've read in the last couple years that wasn't a love story in one way or another. And I don't think that's because of my choice of books, either. From Anna Karenina to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the love story proves a very central part of the human story. So, since it's February, here are some new novels that place love at their center, but just might appeal to all sorts of readers.

Me Without You, by Jojo Moyes, is the story of Will, an adventurous man who is left paralyzed and depressed after an accident, and Louisa, the woman hired to care for him. Their relationship deepens, making this novel a real tear-jerker, yet as Liesl Schillinger of the NY Times Book Review points out, the tears are "redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous. Some situations, [Moyes] forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over.” Set in England, where it is already a bestseller, this novel is an unlikely love story that is impossible to put down.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce, is another unusual love story. This one is about Harold Fry, a retired man who is unsatisfied in his life and marriage. One morning he decides, somewhat randomly, to walk 600 miles to save an old friend. His walk gives him the space to contemplate his life—and to see the various ways he has failed, both as a husband and a father. The novel lets us question how to change a life once it's reached middle age, and ultimately examines love, and the responsibilities that go along with it.

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan—who wrote Atonement, among others—is a literary twist on the Cold War spy novel, and as such it examines that old spy-novel quandary of falling in love despite the fact that you must trust no one in order to survive. The novel follows Serena, a compulsive reader chosen to infiltrate a literary circle because of its possible anti-government ties, and Tom Haley, the young writer she falls for.

Other great, out-of-the-ordinary love stories of the past few years include Vaclav and Lena, by Haley Tanner, The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, and The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Also, there's the classics—Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, Flaubert's Madam Bovary, and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. So stop by the library this February and check out a love story—and note as you search for your book that our catalog now includes our digital records, too! That means that you can search the Gilford Public Library catalog for an audio or e-book, and then just follow the link to download. Happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, February 4, 2013

Afternoons in the kitchen always seem to be especially nice in winter, when the oven can keep you warm, and learning new recipes can help pass the short, dark days. Right now the Gilford Library has some excellent new cookbooks; see below for some of our favorites.

Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery is perhaps the best winter cookbook we have on the shelf, because what could be a better than baking away the cold weather? There's Chocolate Cherry Scones, Crepe Cake, and loaves upon loaves of bread. Librarian Betty Tidd says, "I have been making blueberry muffins for years—and I mean years. And none of them have ever come close to the blueberry muffins in this book!” And, this book is just so stunningly beautiful that it's worth checking out even if you never make a single recipe in it.

Ina Garten's new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust adds to her collection of simple dishes that make an everyday home cook look like a pro. Maybe it's her own story that has allowed her to fill this niche so well: with no previous experience in the food business, Ina Garten bought a specialty food store on Long Island, and from there her career in the kitchen soared. Today she hosts her own TV show on Food Network, and has eight cookbooks in counting. This new one offers complete meals, along with instructions for getting everything on the table—and hot—at once.

Deb Perelman's blog,, features lovely photos of the kind of creative, simple food I can never seem to think of—clementine cake, gnocchi in tomato broth, winter fruit salad. You can browse by recipe, season, ingredient, or style, and now you can browse an actual book, too: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Like her blog, this book is designed for the everyday cook, which she herself is; Perelman has never worked in a restaurant, and she cooks in her tiny Manhattan apartment kitchen. The book is easy to use, and it makes standard ingredients suddenly seem much more interesting.

Finally, if the Fifty Shades of Grey series wasn't enough for you, there's now a cookbook: Fifty Shades of Chicken. Written by F.L. Fowler (ha, ha), the book is a hilarious, tasteless parody of that erotica fiction series. Photos not only of chickens but also their scantily clad chef abound. The recipes include Dripping Thighs, Chicken with a Lardon, and Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken, and the cooking instructions are no less graphic than their titles.

Other new cookbooks include Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, True Food by Andrew Weil, and Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid. So if you're looking to try something new, stop by the library and check out our new cookbooks. Happy reading!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, January 28, 2013

This year the Gilford Elementary School is celebrating reading and community with One School, One Book, in which all elementary grades, and many parents, will read The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, by Betty G. Birney. Though it's a chapter book for children, the story reminds all of us that we need not look far for wonders; that here in our own home wonder abounds. So, in celebration of that book, the Gilford Public Library will host two events in February, one for adults and one for children.

Since the Belknap Range is certainly one of the seven wonders of Gilford, the adult One School, One Book program at the library will celebrate those mountains with Hiking the Belknap Range in Winter.

"It's a wonderful time to hike,” says Peggy Graham, a member of the BRATTS (Belknap Mountain Trail Tenders). "There aren't as many people, the air is crisp and the sky is blue, and thanks to the snow the trail is usually smoother in winter.” Peggy, her husband, Hal, and other members of the BRATTS will talk about winter hiking safety, equipment, and trail recommendations. Also, they'll hand out the updated version of the Belknap Range trail map, a project that was nearly two years in the making.

"The new map is more comprehensive, and has more detail,” said Weldon Bosworth, who created the updated version. "This one is more user-friendly,” he said. Hopefully the map, along with the Hiking in the Belknap Range program, will inspire more people to get out and hike—and remember that this place really is full of wonder—despite the cold.

For the children's One School, One Book library program, we'll make clothespin dolls, which is something that Aunt Pretty in The Seven Wonders of Sassafrass County loved to do. Also, children will have a chance to hang up their own favorite parts of Gilford on the Wall of Wonder, either with a drawing, a photograph, words, or a craft.

The Seven Wonders activities at the Gilford Public Library will both take place in February: the children's program will be held on Wednesday, February 6, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the adult program will be held on Thursday, February 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. All are welcome and encouraged to join.

Amelia is Fifty!
By Abi Maxwell, January 21, 2013

Amelia Bedelia began her job as a maid at the Rogers' household in 1963, and on her first day she was asked to "change the towels,” "put the lights out,” "dust the furniture,” and "draw the drapes.” The Rogers left for the day, and Amelia Bedelia set out to do her work: she found the scissors and cut up the towels so they looked "changed”; she hung the light bulbs on the clothesline; she spread dusting powder on the furniture; and she drew a picture of the drapes. But she wasn't fired—thanks to her endearing personality and her incredible skill in the kitchen, this year marks Amelia Bedelia's fiftieth in the Rogers' home. Here at the Gilford Library, we'll celebrate with a birthday party for this sweet, literal maid on Tuesday, January 29.

Whether or not you have any children, sitting down to read an Amelia Bedelia book is time well spent—you'd be hard-pressed to not laugh as she dresses a chicken in clothing and scatters roses around the living room floor. Written for early readers, these books reflect the literal interpretations common to children, but they also remind us that children's books can be great fun for adults, too.

Peggy Parish, the author of the Amelia Bedelia series, came from South Carolina and began her professional career as an elementary school teacher. In part, it was this experience that inspired the series, though her nephew, who began writing the books after Parish's death, told a telling story about life at Parish's grandparents' home (like the characters in the books, they too were named Mr. and Mrs. Rogers):

"Mrs. Rogers had both a cook and a maid. There was also a young girl whose main job was to look after the children, because she was hopeless as a housekeeper … [One day] the real maid got sick and this young girl had to fill in for her … Mrs. Rogers told her to "sweep around the room.” She did just what she was told: She swept the edges of the room clean, but left the center of the room untouched.”

Apparently, it wasn't the only mistake of language that this woman made, and the visiting grandchildren—Peggy Parish one of them—had a great time laughing with the maid about it.

We'll do the same at Amelia Bedelia's birthday party. That day, we'll read her books, eat a cake in her honor, and maybe even draw the drapes or scatter some flowers around the library. The birthday party will be held on Tuesday, January 29th, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, January 14, 2013

"We're going to get out the silver, the tea, and the crumpets!” said librarian Betty Tidd, who will host A Visit with the Crawleys, the library get-together to watch the season three premier episode of Downton Abbey. "You don't have to come in costume,” she said, "but you can!”

For those of you who haven't gotten wrapped up in the Downton Abbey craze, it's a British period drama that has millions riveted. The show explores the lives of aristocrats and their servants at the Crawley estate, a castle-like home in fictional Yorkshire County. The first season of the series leads right up to the cusp of WWI; the second takes place during the war, when the estate is used as a hospital; and the third season looks into the social changes that occurred once WWI ended.

"It's just so fun to get sucked into another world like that,” said children's librarian Tracey Petrozzi, who came up with the idea of hosting the party. Tracey noted that though she herself is a huge fan, she just isn't sure why the show has garnered a cult-like following. It could be, she said, because of the time period. After all, it's one of immense social change, when Victorian-era values began to be replaced with those of the modern age.

"That's apparent on the show,” Tracey said. "Particularly in this current season. People are marrying outside of their class, they're forced to question their beliefs. That's fascinating,” she said.

A few years ago, anxious for the next season of Downton Abbey to be released, Tracey began reading books that explored early 20th century, aristocratic English life, and she found that she really enjoyed the genre. So, if you're also a fan of the show, you might enjoy some of Tracey's suggestions:

The American Heiress, by Daisy Goodwin. Set during the turn of the 20th century, this novel, like Downton, explores the marriage between an American and English aristocrat.

A Countess Below the Stairs, by Eva Ibbotson. This young adult novel—that's also a great read for adults—takes place just after the Russian Revolution, when a countess fleas her home for England and takes a job as a servant.

The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton. Morton's debut, this novel is set between WWI and WWII, and centers around a mysterious murder at an aristocratic English estate.

Below Stairs, by Margaret Powell. Subtitled "The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey,” this is the true story of the writer's time as a housemaid in the early 20th century.

So, if you're a Downton Abbey fan, you can get ready for the library's A Visit with the Crawleys by stopping by the library and picking up a book. Also, you can check out seasons one and two of Downton Abbey, and if you've already seen that, you might enjoy Upstairs, Downstairs or Call the Midwife. The library's Downton Abbey screening will be held on Tuesday, January 29, from 6:30 to 8:00. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Notes from the library...
By Abi Maxwell, December 31, 2012

After years of pursuing a career as a painter, Julie Otsuka quit. In the time that followed, "I had no idea what to do with myself, except to read,” she said. "That was really my only consolation.” She was having what she called a "creative breakdown,” and it was during this period—when she was thirty years old—that she signed up for a writing workshop, "almost on a lark.” Since that time, she's written two bestselling novels, been nominated for the National Book Award, and won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Asian American Literary Award, just to name a few. This month, Gilford Library's book discussion group will discuss Otsuka's second book, The Buddha in the Attic.

When the Emperor Was Divine was Otsuka's debut. It's the story of the internment of a Japanese-American family during WWII. Shifting between the perspectives of an unnamed mother, father, brother, and sister, the book's spare, careful prose earned Otsuka a reputation as one of the strongest voices in today's historical fiction.

"It's almost an accidental book,” Otsuka said of that first novel. She never set out to write about the war and internment, but the topics "kept resurfacing,” as did the characters. Though Otsuka's own mother and grandmother were interned during WWII, Otsuka researched the subject extensively, since her family spoke "very little” about it. Eventually, her research and writing began to transform itself into her first novel.

The Buddha in the Attic is the follow-up to that first book, though it can certainly be read on its own. This book tells the story of ‘picture brides'—young women brought from Japan to America to marry American men.

"On the boat we were mostly virgins,” the story begins. "We had long black hair and flat wide feet and we were not very tall.” It's that ‘we' voice—which continues for the length of the book—that inspired librarian Betty Tidd to choose it for discussion.

"I just loved that narration,” Tidd said. "That voice gave the feeling of what it was like for a great many of these mail order brides coming over. It just made the emotions so broad,” she said. "And when I talked to a friend who had the opposite reaction to the voice, I knew it would make a great discussion!”

The library will hold two discussions of Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic on Thursday, January 10, from 12:30 to 1:30 and 6:30 to 7:30. Copies are available at the circulation desk, and all are welcome and encouraged to join. Happy reading!

Notes on E-Readers
By Abi Maxwell, December 17, 2012

In the final years of my grandmother-in-law's life, after years of being a voracious reader, her eyesight failed. Thankfully, she could still read large print books, but suddenly her choices were incredibly narrowed. Had a Kindle—which would enable her to enlarge the text of any book—been in existence, her life would have been greatly enriched. Except for the fact that, after a lifetime of library usage, she would have had to buy a number of books that she wanted to read. That's because libraries and publishers still have not figured out a way to negotiate lending, and the issue has gotten so complicated that Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have decided to not sell their e-book titles to libraries; Penguin, in a test run, only sells e-books to libraries in the NY Public Library System, and only six months after publication; and Hachette only sells older titles, at higher prices. That leaves Random House and HarperCollins, which are the only two of the ‘Big Six' that sell all their books, though they, too, have restrictions on their sales. That means that for library users, access to e-books is greatly restricted.

When I first encountered this issue, I thought, What's the big deal? Why do you need to read on an e-reader? Why not just check out a book? But then I remembered my husband's grandmother, and I remembered that it is never our place to judge how someone else wants to read a book. Our role is to encourage reading, and to try to increase access to it.

From the publisher's perspective, when a book is sold to the library, it will eventually get worn out and have to be replaced. However, when an e-book is sold, it will ostensibly last forever. Random House takes care of this by selling on a sliding fee scale—the prices on the less popular books are lower, and the prices on bestsellers are high. For HarperCollins, e-books purchased by libraries can only be checked out 26 times, after which the book must be repurchased.

Though they're not necessarily in support of the terms, libraries generally seem to be thankful that at least two of the publishers are allowing open access to all e-books. However, the American Library Association is understandably upset that access is being denied by the other publishers. "Let's be clear on what this means,” they wrote in an open letter to the publishers. "If our libraries' digital bookshelves mirrored the New York Times fiction best-seller list, we would be missing half of our collection any given week due to these publishers' policies.”

Long known as the "people's university,” libraries exist as the one place where anyone—absolutely anyone—can have access to a free education. And as the ALA pointed out, libraries have a particular concern for "individuals and families who are homebound or low-income.” Thus, "To deny these library users access to e-books that are available to others—and which libraries are eager to purchase on their behalf—is discriminatory.”

Here at the Gilford Library, director Katherine Dormody points out that though she herself prefers old-fashioned books, she thinks it's a "shame that half of the ‘Big Six' do not currently allow libraries to lend their newest, most in-demand titles.” This, after all, is where 80% of library usage comes from. "How are we to purchase materials patrons want? The simple answer is that we can't.” She also points out that though paper copies of bestsellers need to be replaced occasionally, libraries also buy hundreds of books that only ever see a handful of checkouts. Libraries are places of book discovery and as more and more bookstores close, this role has become very important. Publishers have not yet recognized this as they continue to refuse to sell some of their products to libraries.

As the holidays approach, and e-reader sales are higher than ever, more and more people will be coming to the library circulation desk, looking for help finding and loading books. If you are one of those, our Check-out-an-Expert is available on Wednesday mornings beginning January 9.

"Demand for e-books is definitely increasing. I am just hoping the publishers don't continue to lock out access to libraries,” Dormody said.

Holiday Reads
By Molly Harper, December 17, 2012

The snow is slowly drifting down, and with Christmas just around the corner, its finally beginning to look a lot like winter. For me, this time of year has always held a particular sense of comfort – what else can beat curling up next to a glowing fire with a mug of steaming hot cocoa and a good book? With the Christmas tree sparkling in the background, some cozy down time is just what you need to get ready for the holidays. Take some time for yourself this holiday season and tuck into a festive read. Here are some of our favorites:

1.) Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber:

In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.

2.) Christmas at Eagle Pond by Donald Hall:

It's the Christmas season of 1940, and twelve-year-old Donnie takes the train to visit his grandparents' place in rural New Hampshire. In the barn, Gramp milks the cows and entertains his grandson by speaking rhymed pieces, while Donnie's eyes are drawn to an empty stall that houses a graceful, cobwebby sleigh. Now Model A's speed over the wintry roads, which must be plowed, and the beautiful sleigh has become obsolete. As the festivities wind down, the air becomes heavy with fine snowflakes—the kind that fall at the start of a big storm—and everyone wonders, how will Donnie get back to his parents on time?

Donald Hall draws on his own childhood memories and gives himself the thing he most wanted but didn't get as a boy: a Christmas at Eagle Pond.


3.) A Christmas Garland by Anne Perry

The trial of John Tallis equals the white-knuckle best of Anne Perry's breathtaking courtroom dramas. And thanks to a simple Christmas garland and some brilliant detective work, Narraway perseveres against appalling odds, learning how to find hope within himself—and turn the darkest hour into one full of joy and light.


4.) I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Colonel de Luce, in desperate need of funds, rents his beloved estate of Buckshaw to a film company. They will be shooting a movie over the Christmas holidays, filming scenes in the decaying manse with a reclusive star. She is widely despised, so it is to no one's surprise when she turns up murdered, strangled by a length of film from her own movies! With a blizzard raging outside and Buckshaw locked in, the house is full of suspects. But Flavia de Luce is more than ready to put aside her investigations into the true identity of Father Christmas to solve this yuletide country-house murder.

5.) The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel — her keepers, who provide her with food and shelter and visit her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it;" nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Tóibín's tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

Check out these great reads as well, and enjoy some time for yourself this holiday season!

Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhyes Bowen.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin.

Merry Christmas Alex Cross by James Patterson.

What Happens at Christmas by Victoria Alexander.

Twas the Night after Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

Notes from the library...
By Abi Maxwell, December 10, 2012

As the new year approaches, we at the library have decided to look back over our lists and choose the stand-out books that we've read in 2012. Here they are:

Katherine: The Angel Makers, by Jessica Gregson. "It's based on a true story and is beautifully written,” Katherine said. Set in Hungary just after WWI, this novel explores the life of a woman who is perceived as a witch in a village where one man after another is poisoned. "I tend to like books with strong women protagonists and this book was no exception,” Katherine said.

Betty: The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin. "This book has left a strong impression,” she said. "The author made me believe the people were real and that the events were actually transpiring.” Set in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century, this lyrical novel explores the life of an orchardist as he struggles to offer a life to two teenage runaways.

Tracey: Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito and Tina Rupp. A cookbook based around the chefs' ten favorite ingredients—from peanut butter to pumpkin—this one "didn't have one recipe that I didn't want to try!”

Lura: The Talk-Funny Girl, by Roland Merullo. "I was completely engrossed!” Lura said of this novel, which is narrated by a young girl who lives in an abusive home in rural New Hampshire. "The minute I met that little girl I was hooked. I just couldn't get over how strong and resilient she was.”

Molly: The Last Night in Twisted River, by John Irving. "This book was just so different,” said Molly. A sprawling, strange, page-turner full of unexpected twists, this novel explores the life of a young boy who grows up in a logging camp in Coos County, New Hampshire. "It was a long, incredible book that drew me in. It's not often that I get that absorbed,” Molly said. "I couldn't put it down.”

Corey: Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, by David Randall. Exploring exactly what the title suggests, Corey said, "If you are interested in sleep and why we have to do it this is the book for you.”

Becky: I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had, by Tony Danza. This is an account of Danza's year spent teaching 10th grade. "It shows all aspects of teaching,” Becky said. "It shows how hard it is. Basically, if you're a teacher, this book validates you as a person.”

Joanne: Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games, by Lopez Lomong. This is a memoir of Lomong's journey from a child in the Sudanese Civil War to an Olympic athlete. "I like stories of people who make it through against all odds,” said Joanne. "This one is really inspiring.”

Jolene: The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe. When Schwalbe's mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the two of them start a book club in order to spend quality time together. A tribute to both his mother and books themselves, Jolene simply said of this book that, "It is just so good!”

And finally, my pick for this year is Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward. The story of a teenage girl growing up in Mississippi as Hurricane Katrina approaches, this is a fierce and beautiful novel that exposes the realities of rural poverty.

So stop by the library and pick up a book! If you need more suggestions, be sure to take a look in our Staff Picks notebook, which you'll find at the circulation desk.

Notes from the library...
By Abi Maxwell, November 29, 2012

"Photography is personal,” said Gilford resident Connie Moses. "The pictures give you a record of your life.” Moses has two pictures featured in the library's 2013 Scenes from Gilford fundraising calendar, which is on sale for $15 and makes the perfect holiday gift for those who love our town and wish to support our library.

With a stunning cover photo of the fall foliage at dusk, the calendar then moves through the seasons, with a different outdoor Gilford scene to represent each month. "I couldn't choose which photos to submit,” Moses said. "I had so many of Gilford.” In order to decide, Moses put together an album of twelve photos and asked her friends to vote. She then submitted four, and had two chosen—one of the Gilford Community Church, and one of Smith Cove.

John Rogers is another community member whose photos were chosen for the calendar. A native of Gilford, Rogers remembers when the town was filled with dairy farms and dirt roads, and he has some historic photos that document those days gone by. For this calendar, Rogers' pictures include one of a tree's branches laced with ice, and another of a rainbow stretched over Belknap Mountain. "I take a lot of pictures of weather events,” Rogers said. "I keep an eye on the weather. A few years ago, when there were floods, I went out and took pictures of the water rushing over the bridge.” Rogers has been taking pictures for years, and he used to use a 35mm but has since switched to a digital camera. "I don't have a fancy camera,” he said. "Just a regular digital.” Still, his photos prove that he has an eye for spectacular landscapes.

Emery Swanson—who also has two photos in the calendar—said that photography is what made him "finally slow down in life.” He started taking pictures when he was already "well into adulthood,” and he now leads the Gilford Clickers photography club, which meets once a month and always welcomes new members. "To me,” Emery said, "photography is important because a picture can put a smile on someone's face.” He, like nearly all the photographers in the calendar, is self-taught, and thought that submitting photos to the calendar contest would be a fun thing to do, in addition to a great way to practice his skills.

This holiday season, as you search for gifts for loved ones or a calendar for yourself, take a look at Scenes from Gilford. It's a great way to enjoy your town, support your library, and honor the community members who participated in the project. The calendar can be purchased here at the library and at the Town Clerk Tax Collector's Office in Town Hall, and costs just $15. Also, if you're interested in photography, come check out a Gilford Clickers meeting—the next one is set for Tuesday, December 4, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Happy holidays!

Notes from the library...
By Abi Maxwell, December 3, 2012

"Rowling invented one of the most popular heroes of the late 20th century and, in the process, single-­handedly rescued a generation that was in danger of turning away from literature,” wrote New York Times reviewer Amanda Foreman in her review of Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy. That Rowling accomplished such a feat may sound like an overstatement, but it seems to be true: after years of watching young readership decline, in 2009 the NEA reported that beginning in 2002—just four years after the release of the first in the Harry Potter series—more young people were reading than ever before. And since her series, young adult novels have taken on a cult-like popularity—think The Hunger Games or Twilight. So what kind of impact will a writer whose fifth book (Prisoner of Azkaban) sold five million copies in the first 24 hours it was available have on adult literature?

"I don't know if I even want to read her new book,” said Library Assistant and voracious reader Molly Harper. "I loved Harry Potter so much. I grew up with it. I might just want to leave my experience with JK Rowling at Harry Potter.” Library Assistant Jolene Wernig is also a Harry Potter fan, and because of that she said she "really tried” to love The Casual Vacancy, but did not. And the readers at this library are not alone; unfortunately, the reviews of Rowling's new book have not been glowing. It's hard to know, though, how much of this is dependent upon expectation, and how much has to do with the book itself.

In an article in the New Yorker, Rowling mentioned that this book, like all her others, is about morality and mortality, the "two things” that she "obsess[es]” about. She's 47 years old, and she said that she had stored up a lot of "real-world material” that she really wanted to write. "The thing about fantasy,” she said, "there are certain things you just don't do in fantasy. You don't have sex near unicorns. It's an ironclad rule. It's tacky.” So Rowling wrote an adult book, knowing full well that it—and she—would undergo incredible scrutiny. For a writer who has never been known for being comfortable with her fame, that seems to show incredible courage, and commitment to the craft. After all, she could have just sat back and enjoyed her success, knowing that her contribution to literature—and the world—was certainly adequate.

Ask anyone who has read the Harry Potter series what is so great about it, and nearly every answer will have something to do with the ability those books have to lift you right up out of your own world and drop you down in another, grander one. I read part four—all seven-hundred and some-odd pages—one Thanksgiving day, and thanks to the world of that book, did not stop to consider and be sad about the fact that I was home alone on a holiday. Rowling's new book certainly couldn't do that, but what other book could? Sure, books carry me away daily, but the number of books that have carried me away so effortlessly, so seamlessly, and so completely? That is a short list, and I don't think it's a standard that every book should be held up against. I'd like to think of that as I read The Casual Vacancy, and to try, if possible, to judge the book for what it is, and not for what has come before it.

By Abi Maxwell, November 12, 2012

"When I was very young and decided I wanted to try to write as well as I could, I made a great list of all the things I would never have,” said poet Mary Oliver, who has published more than thirty books of poetry and prose. That list included "a house, a good car,” and "fancy clothes.” That was because writers don't usually make money, and because if she was going to be serious about her writing, then she knew that she could not be serious about any other job. Since that time, however, Oliver has won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Oliver's latest poetry collection, A Thousand Mornings, was just released this October. It begins:

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

That observation, of her small life surrounded by such massive beauty, is the mark of Oliver's work. The place she is writing from is the undeveloped tip of Cape Cod that is truly "what the Pilgrims beheld in 1620.” This spot is the center of nearly all her poetry, which gives praise, over and over again, to the wonder of the natural world. This makes Oliver the perfect writer to look to this Thanksgiving, as you slow down and give thanks.

Born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio, Oliver began writing poetry at age 14, and said she turned to poetry because "with words, I could build a world I could live in.” Nearly all of her professional writing life has been spent on Cape Cod, where she wakes each morning at five o'clock and wanders through Province Lands, the 3,500 acre national preserve where she said she once found herself without a pen, and after that went around and hid pencils in various trees.

Oliver's favorite words include "love, mirth, praise, constancy,” and that certainly is evident in her work, which attempts, she said, to "contain both the spiritual life and the life in this world.” She said, "I like to think of myself as a praise poet. [That means] that I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things.”

In the poem The Ponds, she writes:


Still, what I want in my life

is to be willing

to be dazzled --

to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even

to float a little

above this difficult world.

I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.

I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing --

that the light is everything -- that it is more than the sum

of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

This Thanksgiving, as you prepare to sit down with family and friends, stop by the library and check out a book by Mary Oliver—you might just find a poem you'd like to share at the Thanksgiving table.

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, October 22, 2012

For a long time, the word classic scared me away from a book—I believed that if a book was a classic, and particularly if it was a long, old classic, then it was too complicated for me to understand. Thankfully, at one point I had to read Madam Bovary for school, and I found out that I had been terribly wrong in my assumption. I devoured that book—and I learned that it, like most classics, was just a good, full, enduring story about love, betrayal, and secrets. Since that time I have read at least one classic a year, usually in the winter. If you'd like to do the same, this year would be a great year to start, for there are lots of movies based on classics coming out, and it is always fun to read a book and then go see the movie.

After I read Madam Bovary I read that without it, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina would never have been written. So that winter, I spent the month of January reading that book. It was the first Russian classic I had ever read, and I was enchanted by it. Like Madam Bovary, it was not a complicated book—as I had thought it would be—but just a phenomenal story of love and betrayal. The movie based on the book will be released on November 16, and it is well worth reading the book first. Like all Russian novels, it's important to read a good translation, and at the Gilford Library you can check out what is known as the best one available, by Pevear and Volokhonsky.

Though many of us have likely seen the play Les Miserables, reading the book itself is not so common these days. However, Victor Hugo's novel, published in 1862, is considered one of the best novels of all time. Following the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean, the story explores his efforts to escape his past and achieve redemption. The 2012 movie is a musical rendition that will be released in December, which might give you just enough time to get the book read!

If you were one of the many required to read Wuthering Heights in high school, I would encourage you to read it again, because too often we just don't like the books that we have to read in school, but this one really is great. The book was written by Emily Bronte and published in 1847, under the pseudonym Currier Bell, and with its publication she became one of the first female writers in history, after Jane Austen, George Elliot, and her own sister Charlotte Bronte. The story is about a doomed love affair, and the movie based on the book will be released this month.

If you don't want to wait for a movie-tie in to be released, there are lots already available at the library. Some great ones include the movie based on Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which was released just last year, and the numerous BBC renditions of the works of Jane Austen as well as Charles Dickens. So if you're looking for a way to curl up and enjoy the fall, stop by the library and see what we have!

Notes from the library
By Abi Maxwell, October 29, 2012

"I'm interested in the romance of the Lakes Region and the White Mountains,” said historian, writer, and professor Bruce Heald, who has written numerous history books and articles about the area, and who has worked as Senior Purser aboard the M.S. Mount Washington for 46 years. Heald will be at the Gilford Public Library on Thursday, November 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to talk about his most recent book, New Hampshire and the Civil War: Voices from the Granite State.

Heald, who teaches military history at Plymouth State University, wrote New Hampshire and the Civil War after he gained access to hundreds of "original, personal” letters written by soldiers during the Civil War. The letters came from many places, but most from New Hampshire. They detail camp life, battles, imprisonment, and hospital stays, offering first-hand knowledge of what the war was like for New Hampshire men. In addition to these letters, Heald also had the privilege of reading one complete diary that belonged to a solider from Sanbornton, which details day-to-day life during the War. The letters and portions of the diary are in the book, along with Heald's introductions to each volunteer regiment the letters originated from.

"I have fun doing this,” Heald said of his research. "And this topic”—the voices of NH men in the Civil War—"had never been done before.” That's one criterion for Heald, who has written 37 books so far. "If I get an idea,” said Heald, "I ask myself, ‘Is this interesting to other people?'” From there he considers whether or not it has been done before, and if the answer is no, he drafts a proposal for his publisher.

Heald's career as a writer began in 1968, when he realized while working about the Mount that the boat had no travelogue. "I wrote one,” he said, "and then I became interested in the lake, the old boats, the mail boat, and the railroads.” His books include A History of the Boston and Maine Railroad, Railways and Waterways Through the White Mountains, A History of Dog Sledding in New England, Steamboats in Motion, and many more.

During his visit to the Gilford Public Library, Heald will show copies of the original letters, talk about the impact New Hampshire had upon the Civil War, and answer questions. His visit will take place on Thursday, November 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you're interested in our past, this is an excellent opportunity to meet an expert on New Hampshire history. The program is co-sponsored with the Thompson- Ames Historical Society and is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to join!

Banned Book Week
By Molly Harper, October 1, 2012

 What do the Dictionary, The Grapes of Wrath, Little Women, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, and The Diary of Anne Frank have in common? Aside from being books on the Gilford Library shelves, each of these books have once been challenged or banned from schools or libraries across the country! If you're familiar with Banned Books you may recognize some of these more infamous titles; Lady Chatterley's Lover, Catch -22, and Lord of The Flies but you may be surprised to learn that many other popular, even treasured tales have been challenged during the past and present day. Some of my favorite childhood books: Alice in Wonderland, The Lorax, Harry Potter, and Grimm's Fairy Tales, have all come under fire and asked to be banned from the literary pool. I have a hard time imagining my childhood without a worn and friendly copy of Harry Potter by my side! As someone who grew up reading "banned books”, I agree with author Judy Blume's strong words; "It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”

Thankfully for young readers, Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read through encouraging readers to examine challenged literary works, bringing to light issues of censorship in our country, highlighting persecuted individuals, and promoting intellectual freedom in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Started in 1982 by the American Library Association (ALA) and library activist Judith Krug, Banned Books Week Campaign has worked for the last 30 years to keep the idea of literary freedom at the forefront of Americans' minds.

During the week of October 1st through the 6th, Gilford Public Library will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week with Banned Book displays and interactive contests (with prizes for the winners!). All patrons who check out a book during Banned Books Week will also receive a Banned Books Week Bookmark!

Come check out a challenged book or its movie counterpart, review the Banned Books List to see which titles you've read, or find out more about what your Library is doing to protect your First Amendment rights and the FREEDOM TO READ!

Banned Book Week
By Molly Harper, October 1, 2012

 What do the Dictionary, The Grapes of Wrath, Little Women, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, and The Diary of Anne Frank have in common? Aside from being books on the Gilford Library shelves, each of these books have once been challenged or banned from schools or libraries across the country! If you're familiar with Banned Books you may recognize some of these more infamous titles; Lady Chatterley's Lover, Catch -22, and Lord of The Flies but you may be surprised to learn that many other popular, even treasured tales have been challenged during the past and present day. Some of my favorite childhood books: Alice in Wonderland, The Lorax, Harry Potter, and Grimm's Fairy Tales, have all come under fire and asked to be banned from the literary pool. I have a hard time imagining my childhood without a worn and friendly copy of Harry Potter by my side! As someone who grew up reading "banned books”, I agree with author Judy Blume's strong words; "It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”

Thankfully for young readers, Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read through encouraging readers to examine challenged literary works, bringing to light issues of censorship in our country, highlighting persecuted individuals, and promoting intellectual freedom in libraries, schools, and bookstores. Started in 1982 by the American Library Association (ALA) and library activist Judith Krug, Banned Books Week Campaign has worked for the last 30 years to keep the idea of literary freedom at the forefront of Americans' minds.

During the week of October 1st through the 6th, Gilford Public Library will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Banned Books Week with Banned Book displays and interactive contests (with prizes for the winners!). All patrons who check out a book during Banned Books Week will also receive a Banned Books Week Bookmark!

Come check out a challenged book or its movie counterpart, review the Banned Books List to see which titles you've read, or find out more about what your Library is doing to protect your First Amendment rights and the FREEDOM TO READ!

The BIG Read
By Molly Harper, October 9, 2012

The leaves are starting to turn, the pumpkins are growing, and Halloween is just around the corner…get yourself in a spooky mood with Edgar Allen Poe and The Big Read at the Gilford Public Library!

One hundred and sixty-three years after the death of Horror and short story master, Edgar Allen Poe, New Hampshire Libraries are revisiting his fiction as part of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program. The perfect author for chilling October reading, Edgar Allen Poe possessed a wicked imagination that produced classic tales of horror and mystery which continue to trill readers today.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Bringing communities together to read and discuss, The Big Read helps to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. Coordinated by the Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library, NH Reads Edgar Allen Poe is a statewide project that will include more than one hundred events throughout the state in October and early November.

On October 18th, Gilford Public Library will host Book Discussions of Poe's Classic; Tales of Terror and Deception alongside Linda Fairstein's modern mystery; Entombed. Bring a lunch to the brown bag discussion, or join us in the evening for refreshments and conversation! Copies of The Big Read Book Discussion picks are available at the Circulation Desk.

"I love the idea of people being connected in little communities of reading and discussion,” said Rhetta Colon, Discussion Facilitator, "Poe brings in something a lot of people are familiar with, and its interesting what different people notice (in discussions). It should be a lot of fun!”

Notes from the library

For nearly half a year, the Fifty Shades of Grey series has topped NY Times bestseller lists. Here at the Gilford Public Library, the series—which has appeared on the Top Ten Requests since early April—still has a total of 28 requests with 6 copies. But that's nothing compared to a public library in Minneapolis, which in May had a request list of 2,121 and counting. So far, the series has sold more than 10 million copies, making it the most successful erotic fiction and the fastest selling adult paperback novel in history.

Written by first-time author E.L. James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, the trilogy is about the “virginal” college student, Anastasia, who meets and enters a romantic and sexually submissive relationship with domineering billionaire Christian Grey. That subject matter, for some libraries, has proved to be a problem, despite the fact that the series is encouraging millions of people to read.

Across the country, libraries are generally of the opinion that they ought to provide their patrons with those materials that the patrons want, and that it is not in the interest of the librarians to judge and censor what their patrons have access to. However, censorship is not always such a clear issue; aside from a very clear ban on child pornography, the rules of censorship that deem a literary work ‘obscene' and thus legal to censure are somewhat vague. For that reason, despite the fact that erotica is an accepted genre, there are a few libraries in our country, as the NY Times reported, that have taken issue with and banned the Fifty Shades series.

“We have criteria that we use, and in this case we view this as pornographic material,” said Don Walker, a spokesman for the Brevard County, Florida, government, where the books were banned. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is another place where the library refuses to carry the books, stating that they did not “meet the standards of the community.”

But banning a book isn't so simple, as Brevard discovered; the series has since been re-shelved. For one thing, the question of What community? must be asked. For here in our own community, for some the Fifty Shades series is certainly inappropriate. However, for hundreds of others, the series is a compelling read, and one that has encouraged not only further reading, but also use of the public library. In addition, the censorship of one book calls into question so many other books on a library's shelves. Certainly The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is inappropriate to many readers, as is the Harry Potter series for others.

“I believe in providing our readers with what they want to read,” said Katherine Dormody, director of the Gilford Public Library. For her, whether or not to stock the book was never a question. Instead, what she's asking herself is what books to recommend to the readers who loved the series.

Notes from the library

Each year, the NH Library Trustees Association honors one library with the NH Library of the Year Award, and this year we are delighted to report that the Gilford Public Library has won the award!

The Library of the Year Award is based on three criteria: expansion and improvement of services and technology; enhanced services to a previously underserved part of the community; and development of partnerships with other libraries, community members, and community organizations.

In order to apply for the award, library staff members sat down together to discover if and how we had met these requirements. It was a great experience to look back over what has gone on here at the library in the past year; we were pleased to see the long list of events and activities! It's thanks to the volunteers and patrons of the library that we have such extensive community services and activities—without you, none of it would be possible.

If you frequent the library, you may already know the ways we've expanded our services and technology this year. Services include more than ten ongoing adult groups—including a writing group and a bridge group—with new groups always being added at the request and leadership of members of our community. In addition, this year we've expanded the Check Out An Expert program beyond computer usage; you can now “check out an expert” if you want help writing a resume, tying a fly, learning to use Facebook, and more. As for technology, the library offers a Kindle Fire for check-out, along with a GPS and a telescope. Our computers offer access to Mango (to learn a foreign language), and

Each year, hundreds of patrons participate in the Summer Reading Programs simply because it's fun, but what many might not know is that the original goal of the programs is to reach underserved populations. To that end, just before Summer Reading begins, the entire kindergarten, 1st grade, and 7th grade comes to the library to take a tour, get a library card, and check out a book. This allows us to reach children who might not otherwise get a chance to come to the library and read. In addition, throughout the year, the library delivers materials to four local daycares. The result has been that numerous daycares make frequent field trips to the library, and this has in turn has encouraged parents to visit the library with their children. Also, the library offers a service to deliver and pick up materials for those patrons who are homebound.

The NH Library Award will be presented on Friday, September 28, at 11:00. If you're a part of the library, come by and join the ceremony, for it's thanks to you that we can receive such an honor. And, if you're not already a part of the library, be sure to stop in, get a card, and see what's going on!

Notes from the library

“As we talked to the little people at the library,” said Children's Librarian Tracey Petrozzi, “we realized that so many of them just didn't know the old nursery rhymes and fairy tales.” She and Children's Library Assistant Lura Shute felt something should be done about this. “We wanted the kids to know those stories,” Petrozzi said. So, this fall's Storytime series will feature a theme: Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales, and Fables.

But why should children hear these stories? As far as the fairy tales go, in part it's simply because they're so good. The plots are involved and engaging, and though they are simple enough for a child to understand, they work on a complex level, too, refusing to shy away from very real troubles and fears. Also, these stories spark the imagination in an enduring way; I read hundreds of books as a child, but there are none I remember so vividly as Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or The Snow Queen.

In The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim claims that fairy tales offer a child “a moral education which subtly, and by implication only, conveys to him the advantages of moral behavior … through that which seems tangibly right and therefore meaningful to him.” In other words, these stories do not overtly tell a child the difference between right versus wrong, but instead focus on “who arouses his sympathy, and who his antipathy.”

“But they're so gruesome!” is a sentence I frequently hear when speaking to people about fairy tales. It's true—they're really not nice. Hansel and Gretel actually push the witch into the fire, and leave her “to be burned to ashes.” This sort of violence is not typically seen in children's literature, which more often paints a happy, colorful world. But I think that in part, it was the gruesome nature of these stories that made them so compelling to my childhood mind. After all, as Bettelheim points out in his book, children are aware that troubles like crime, violence, and death exist; fairy tales, he asserts, offer a context to make sense of those troubles without letting them become scary. The fairy tales, he says, provide a simple place to “grapple with fears in a remote, symbolic form.”

But that's not to say that all fairy tales are gruesome, nor is it to say that these stories are told only in the interest of helping children. This fall, the Children's Room Storytimes will tell these stories, along with nursery rhymes and fables, just to have a good time. So if you have a child between the ages of 18 months and 5 years, join us in the Children's Room! We have BabyGarten, Toddler Time, and Storytimes each week; sign up is required for some of the sessions, so call or stop by the library for more information.

Notes from the library

Right now, the temperature at the South Pole is -94° F, with a wind chill of -132° F. It is, in fact, too cold to run the South Pole webcam. “It was really living at the bottom of the earth,” said Jean Merchant, who spent five months at South Pole Station. Merchant will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, September 11, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., to give us the sense of what life was like in the coldest place on earth.

“Some people had to go outside every day for their jobs,” Merchant said. “I went out every day by choice.” That's quite an accomplishment, for not only is Antarctica the coldest continent, but it's also the windiest, and, surprisingly, driest place on earth. “It really doesn't snow much,” she said. “There are ice crystals, but not snow.”

In total, it's estimated that Antarctica receives an average of 2 inches of precipitation per year. Ninety-eight percent of the 5.4 million square mile continent is covered in an ice sheet. At South Pole Station, Merchant was 9,300 feet above sea level. According to the National Science Foundation, plant life is limited to “mostly algae, lichens, and mosses.” There are also “a few known species of flowering plants,” and “only microscopic animals (such as mites and worms).”

Merchant went to Antarctica on a five-month assignment, from October 2007 to February 2008, which is Antarctica's summer. That means that she experienced 24-hour daylight, and an average temperature in the –70s.

South Pole Station wasn't Merchant's first time working and living in an extreme, remote environment; she had previously worked on Johnston Atoll, a small island, tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. While there, she met someone who had worked in Antarctic. “I thought, Why not?” After her work in the Pacific was done, Antarctica offered another adventure in which she could stay in her profession—human resources—and continue to support a remote workforce, which she says she really enjoys.

When asked to describe what Antarctica looks like, Merchant said, “Flat,” and laughed a bit; it seems that's a question that is most often asked, and hardest to answer. Thankfully, she has photographs, which she will share with us when she comes to the library for Destination: South Pole. The program is free and open to the public, and will be held on Tuesday, September 11, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Notes from the library

If you regularly come to the library looking for book suggestions, it’s likely that librarian Betty Tidd has recommended Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon a River. “It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year!” Betty has said numerous times. So I picked it up—and quickly found myself simultaneously furious at and in sympathy with its narrator, a young, troubled girl named Maggie Crane. I wanted to keep turning the pages, but I also wanted to throw the book at the wall. This of course meant that Betty and I had a wonderful discussion about the book. Now Once Upon a River is September’s book discussion pick, so if you’re looking for something compelling to read, come and pick it up!

          Writer Bonnie Jo Campbell has one of the more fascinating biographies that I’ve encountered: she grew up on a small Michigan farm where she castrated small pigs, milked Jersey cows, and made chocolate candy. She then studied philosophy, and eventually enrolled in a PhD program for mathematics. She also hitchhiked across the U.S. and Canada, traveled with the circus, and led bike tours in Russia and Belarus. Now she lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she writes and raises goats.

If you look on Campbell’s blog, you’ll find a post that features a photo of a small, makeshift crystal meth operation that she recently stumbled upon in the woods. That she encounters such trouble in her real life is no surprise; her fiction exposes a dark world riddled with abject poverty, drug addiction, and violence. But that is not to say that the books are strictly grim. Rather, with incredible insight and honesty, Campbell writes about the people whom she calls “her clan”—the sort of people she has grown up around and come to understand. She writes about their hardships, but what she finally writes about is their survival. And, she writes about the landscape that has shaped these people, and their necessary interaction with it.

“Survival,” Campbell recently said in an interview with TriQuarterly Review, “in all its forms, is one of my main themes. I am interested in characters whose survival is at risk. A few people give me a hard time for always writing about poor and distraught people, but in my family and my community it is always a point of pride to call someone a survivor.” It is this unfiltered and unflinching look at the need for and efforts of survival that has brought popularity to Campbell’s work; in 2009 her novel American Salvage was nominated for the National Book Award. It was an unlikely pick, for it had been published by a small press, but in addition to the acuity of the writing, the book revealed a slice of American life that is rarely written about.

Living in rural New Hampshire, much of Once Upon a River might seem familiar to readers. In part, I know that’s why I had such strong reactions to the book; the people were real to me, and I could imagine their lives. In the end, I feel strongly ambivalent about the book, but I know it’s an incredible, thought-provoking read, and is sure to make a good discussion.

The book discussions will be held on Thursday, September 13, at 12:30 and 6:30. All are welcome and encouraged to join. Happy reading!

Notes from the library

Working the circulation desk at the library, I frequently hear questions and comments about the impact that all the electronic gadgets have had upon reading. The general assumption is that people—particularly young people—aren't reading much anymore. But it turns out that that just isn't true; in fact, according to a comprehensive study conducted by the National Endow