What Goes Out at The Library?

As we prepare for events for our 125th anniversary, I have been going through the Town Annual Reports and the Library section of the report. For many years the report includes the circulation by month and by category.  In the 1940s the report emphasized how much the nonfiction books circulation was increasing as people were preparing for new types of jobs and for the war effort. This is from the Town Annual Report of 1941:

I wondered if this didn’t show the bias of the librarian (or whoever made the purchases) in favor of nonfiction and practical education instead of “recreational” reading. So I went looking to see what goes out in our library now. We certainly purchase more fiction than nonfiction in the adult section as you can tell by the New Book shelves. As I write this 37% of our new books are checked out. Is that because those books have the most “buzz”, the shelves are easy to browse, or are people looking for the newest by their favorite authors?

I could look at the numbers of our books, dvds, audiobooks and ebooks that are checked out, but, really, because we borrow books from other libraries in the SAILS system and even items from other Massachusetts libraries, that would not give an accurate picture of what our people really are reading.

So I’m left with the conundrum: does nonfiction go out less because we don’t order as much or because people now get more of their information from the internet, television and even youtube (which seems to have replaced cookbooks and many craft books.) Our dvd collection goes out a lot, which counts as “recreational.”  If we bought more, more would go out (but we certainly don’t have the space.)



Blind Date with OverDrive

This year those of you who like downloadable books and audios can still take part in the Blind Date with a Book in February.

Below you will read a description of the book. If it looks interesting, just click the link and you will be sent to Overdrive. Unlike the wrapped Blind Date, you will get to see the cover of the book before you download. The numbers do not correspond to the Blind Date display, but the descriptions do.

  1. Place: Earth. Time: Now. Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. What — or who — will be the cause of the sixth? Ebook and Audio.
  2. Place: Colorado Time: Now. With beautiful prose, the author lets you into the lives of people facing death, loss, parent and child estrangement and other aspects of real life. But they take the time to enjoy the “precious ordinary.” Ebook
  3. Place: Earth and space. Time: now. True story of an American astronaut who had spent over 500 days in space. Ebook
  4. Place: Dublin, Ireland. Time: 1960s. Being a woman is not easy in these times. An inspiring story of friendship, hope, and unyielding courage. Ebook
  5. Place: US and the Moon. Time: 50 years ago. Whether you remember the events in this book, or you are interested in space, this author does a great job setting the context of the time and the accomplishment of the men and women who helped us leave Earth. Ebook and Audio
  6. Place: America. Time: 1908. A mission that encompasses dreadnought battleships, Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, Chinatown, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Ebook
  7. Place: United States Time: Now. Two close lawyer friends are on opposite sides of a very public murder trial. Throughout the book, you are left wondering who you can believe as the victim, defendant and all of the witnesses have something to hide…do the defense and prosecuting attorney’s also have hidden secrets or agendas? Ebook and Audio
  8. Place: Phoenix and Los Angeles. Time: 2004. Kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean build an underwater robot for a competition. A story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country. True story. Ebook
  9. Place: New England and the Grand Banks. Time: End of last century. True story of swordfishing and sailing. Ebook
  10. Place: New York and Appalachian North Carolina. Time: Now and beginning of 20th century. You’ll travel between two time periods and experience the lives and loves of two women who are broken but fighting for their place. The setting is so rich you can see every word. Ebook
  11. Place: United States. Time: 1950s. A taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Ebook and Audio
  12. Place: Alaska and Oregon. Time: End of 19th century. Travel where few white men have gone before and experience the heartache of absence from your loved ones and home. Ebook and Audio
  13. Place: Boston and the sea. Time: Now. For readers who enjoy learning about animals or just love animals or are just curious about life. Ebook
  14. Place: France. Time: WWII. An American fighter pilot shot down, a woman turned prostitute as a way to survive, the French resistance — all of these players need each other, but can they trust each other? Ebook
  15. Place: Pennsylvania. Time: Now. If you like romantic books where the author draws you into the story, placing you right into the scene with the characters then this might be the date for you. Ebook
  16. Place: Scotland. Time:?? The annual Edinburgh festival draws six unique and vibrant individuals, who all come together to follow their dreams. Audio
  17. Place: London. Time: Current. Weird, wacky, and on the wild side of wonderful. The author is a character in this mystery as he records a great detective trying to solve a strange murder. Ebook and Audio
  18. Place: Nantucket. Time: Recent. The book is about autism, but also about the amazing sisterhood of women, about rocky marriages, grief, feeling  interminably isolated, and what it takes to make us feel wanted, happy, secure, and loved. Ebook
  19. Place: London. Time: Current. A murder without a body? Or is something else going on? What secrets are the neighbors hiding? Ebook
  20. Place: Northumbria, England. Time: Current. A cold case involving corruption, trafficking, drugs, blackmail, abuse, adoption, and murder that may just end up hitting a little too close to our detective’s home.  Ebook
  21. Place: Norway and Denmark. Time: Now. Two parallel stories: one of two mysterious deaths and the other of the strained relationship between mother and son. How will the stories intersect? Ebook
  22. Place: England. Time: Now. A cozy mystery with jealousy, greed, missing heirlooms, a SECRET ROOM, drugs and two deaths. Ebook
  23. Place: Atlanta with a side trip to Seattle. Time: Now. If you like high-emotion, roller coaster of a story, try this date. Then come to Maggie to talk about the ending!  Ebook and Audio
  24. Place:?? Time: Now. A complicated set of characters with complicated backstories. While this story is weighted with a heavy sadness, it also has equal parts dry humor and wit. Ebook and Audio
  25. Place: England. Time: Well that is the question. If you could do it over, and over, and over, and over, what would you do differently? Ebook and Audio.

The Gift of Books

Our “big” display for December features the gift of books. We’ve wrapped both children’s and young adult books and labeled them with a descriptive teaser. The books can be read by adults, by children or read aloud to the whole family. As adults we often forget that books that are shelved in the children’s room are good books and can be appreciated whatever your age is.

Several of the library book discussion participants have recommended Kate DiCamillo books as their favorite for our Book Potluck. Over Thanksgiving dinner this year we got talking about books and my sister was trying to remember a book she had liked reading to her kids. After going through suggestions and her describing more about the book — a toy rabbit gets passed from person to person — we realized it was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. This was the very book that had been recommended to me! Other DiCamillo books include Because of Winn Dixie, Tale of Despereaux and Flora and Ulysses.  Here’s DiCamillo’s take on reading: Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.

We suggest these books to you as a gift you may want to share with your family:

Auxier, Jonathan  The Night Gardener
Barber, Antonia   Catkin
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker  The War That Saved My Life
Feiffer, Jules  Bark, George
Foreman, Michael  Memories of Childhood
Myers, Walter Dean   Patrol
Peck, Richard  A Long Way from Chicago
Pinkney, Andrea  A Poem for Peter
Pratchett, Terry  The Truckers
Thompson, Kay   Eloise
Wood, Audrey  King Bidgood's In the Bathtub

Which Children’s Books Stand the Test of Time?

Eunice and I were talking about the number of sets of Little House on the Prairie books that were donated this year. Her daughter loved that series when she was young, but when she read them as a mother, she couldn’t stand them. I reread some Nancy Drew books — I used to get one for my birthday and one for Christmas for several years — and I was disappointed in the writing and the characters. Which books did you read and love as a child would you still like as an adult?

My mother read the Christopher Robin/Winnie the Pooh stories and poems to us from books she had gotten as a child. I loved them then and I loved them when I read them to my children. The same goes for Kipling’s Just So Stories. I still hear my mother’s voice when I read them.  I loved The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett when I was in elementary school, but I don’t remember if I have read it as an adult. I think the Harry Potter books will be loved by the adults who loved them as children, just as the Lord of the Rings series still appeals to the teens who read it when it first came out.

Will most of the Scholastic Book Fair series — Junie B Jones, The Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps — still be “readable” by the adults who loved them as children? I read all of the Childhood of Famous American series (mostly the ones about girls/women.) “The Childhood of Famous Americans series, sixty-five years old in 1997, chronicles the early years of famous American men and women in an accessible manner. Each book is faithful in spirit to the values and experiences that influenced the person’s development. History is fleshed out with fictionalized details, and conversations have been added to make the stories come alive to today’s reader, but every reasonable effort has been made to make the stories consistent with the events, ethics, and character of their subjects.” In other words, they were historical fiction. Nowadays children’s biographies stick more closely to the facts.

Which books did you love as a child? Have you read them as an adult?

Little Free Library Project Looking for Volunteers

Have you seen those little houses on posts/walls with clear doors and FREE BOOKS for the taking inside?  These Little Free Libraries are made possible by volunteers who have taken the time to build, install and through stewardship, maintain them.

The Friends of Richards Memorial Library is looking to sponsor this program and are looking for volunteers to build some boxes, hopefully using recycled/stashed/donated materials.  Plans and pictures of various types are available on the website:  www.littlefreelibrary.org but these are basically small weatherproof cupboards with a roof and placed on a post or wall.  Check out the different types that have been built!

The locations for these need to be somewhere that is easily accessible and for someone(s) to become a steward for each and help maintain the Little Free Libraries.  Locations need to be approved before placement.  These could be by schools, on main neighborhood corners, near senior housing and so forth.  Books for these LLF’s would be provided from what is left after the Annual Book Sale in September.  Collections can also be helped by TOLO (take one, leave one).  Some supporters carry books they’ve finished in their cars and when they stop by an LLF, TOLO!

Friends of RML will sponsor each box by paying the $40.00 registration fee which places the location on a world map, easily searchable.  See the website above and find some nearby!

If you are interested in being a builder, have a location to suggest or would like to be a steward, please contact the Richards Memorial Library at 508-699-0122 and leave a message.  The coordinator of the project will get back to you ASAP.

Friday and Saturday Afternoons are Back

We will be returning to 5 o’clock closing on Fridays and Saturdays starting in September. That means we will be able to have programs on those afternoons. Right now we have a movie showing of RBG, the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, planned for September 7 at 1:30. A series on STEM activities for late elementary/middle school students is in the works as well.

What kind of programs would you like? Select any or all of the types of programs you might like to attend or make a suggestion for something else. (If the poll doesn’t show up, try a different browser or go to http://poll.fm/5zqqw)

Libraries Rock

The theme of the Children’s Summer Reading Program this summer is Libraries Rock. Certainly many of the adults at the library have grown up with rock music whether it was Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Backstreet Boys or Led Zeppelin. That may be why there are many biographies of rock musicians at our library and in the system. Maybe your favorite musician is among them. Mine is. My husband and I fell in love to Fleetwood Mac.

Check out this list: Libraries Rock

On Thursday, July 12, at 6:30 pm, we will be having a program on Led Zeppelin and the early rock influences on that band.

If you have some favorite memories of a rock concert you went to, please share them with us. We will be making a display in the downstairs gallery.