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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 Endowment for the Arts, the years 2002 to 2008 saw the first rise in young adult reading since 1982, when the NEA began their studies. That rise was a cause for celebration, and was in part due to national efforts to get people reading, including National Library Card Sign-up Month, which falls in September.

That NEA report, called Reading on the Rise, didn't just show an increase in young adult readership; it showed that 16.6 million more adults were reading in 2009 than at the beginning of the decade. Here at the Gilford Library, that rise is evident. “I've never seen it like this before,” says librarian Betty Tidd, who has been with the GPL for twelve years. “It's busy all the time, in any weather. This summer reading program was the biggest we've ever had.”

In addition to the various reading initiatives that have been put in place to instill reading, for young adults it may be that the rise in reading is directly linked to the material being published. In the article “Young People Are Reading More Than You,” authors Hannah Withers and Lauren Ross point out that it is “perhaps not a coincidence” that the publication of the Harry Potter series corresponds with the rise in YA reading. That series began a reading craze; the fifth book sold 5 million copies in just the first 24 hours it was available. Since that time, the craze has continued with other series, like Twilight and The Hunger Games. And, as Withers and Ross point out, most of these books are not short. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix “is six pages longer than Anna Karenina,” for example.

As for adults, the explosion of book clubs is partially responsible for the rise in reading, and Oprah has made no small impact in that regard; as reported by Katie Wu in “The Book Club Phenomena,” when Oprah chose Steinbeck's East of Eden it sold 60,000 copies in one hour, and when she chose Tolstoy's Anna Karenina it sold 79,000 copies in one week, which doubled “the book's total U.S. sale since its English publication in 1886.” And it's not just Oprah fans who are reading; “in 1990 there were about 50,000 book clubs in the U.S. By 2000, the number had doubled—low estimates count at least 100,000 book clubs.”

Right now, not only are more people reading, but the world's literacy rates are the highest they've ever been. That's great news, for time and time again studies show the benefits of reading, including “better health, greater social equality, increased economic prosperity,” and increased “social, gender, education, and ethnic equality.”

In the U.S., according to the research company Harris Interactive, 62% of Americans are library cardholders. That's a high number, but considering that there are more public libraries in the U.S. than there are McDonald's, the number can also seem low. So if you don't have a library card, stop by in September to celebrate National Library Card Sign-up Month with us. Not only will you gain access to endless information and entertainment, but you'll also join a community that offers a wide range of clubs, including mahjong, knitting, photography, foreign movies, and more. Happy reading!

Old Home Day

Though it might feel like Old Home Day happens everywhere, the truth is that the holiday is a uniquely New Hampshire tradition. It began with Governor Frank West Rollins, who was haunted by the abandoned farms of our state. Wanting young people to return home and bring life back to these farms, in 1899 he began what was then called Old Home Week as a time to visit, celebrate, and reinvest in our New Hampshire towns.

Over the last 100-plus years that celebration has certainly changed, but still the idea—to visit, celebrate, and reinvest—stands strong. Here in Gilford, 2012 marks our 93rd annual Old Home Day, and it's likely to be a grand one, for it's also Gilford's bicentennial. As a center for the community, the library is one of the main attractions for the celebration.

This year, the library will again host the annual Pie, Ice Cream & Book Sale, and we also have some special events. First, the Gilford Scenes calendar is now back, and will be on sale for $15. The photos were taken by library patrons and chosen by judges out of a batch of more than 50. A limited number of copies of the calendar will be printed, so be sure to arrive early and get your copy!

Also new this year is the silent auction of an antique twin bed from The Balsams. If you've come to the library this summer, you've probably seen the bed on display near the Reading Room—it was placed there in celebration of 2012's Between the Covers Summer Reading theme. If you've seen the bed, you've also likely noticed the wall of Between the Covers photos with many patrons reading their favorite books in the bed. So this year, in addition to treating yourself to pie, ice cream, and some great used books, you can also place a silent bid on that bed.

As always, we're in need of volunteers to help make Old Home Day a success, so if the library is a central part of your community, think about getting involved. There are lots of ways to join—you could bake a pie to donate, help set up for the fundraiser, or help run the sale on Friday or Saturday. Just stop by the library or call to sign up. Children are also invited to help out with (and ride on!) the float—sign up for that will begin on August 15.

The library's Old Home Day festivities will take place on Friday, August 24, at 5:00 p.m. and resume on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. When you stop by, be sure to come browse in the library too; in honor of the bicentennial there will be an exhibit featuring Old Home Day programs from 1967 – 2012, along with old Gilford photos and old Gilford Old Home Day t-shirts. Happy reading!

Notes from the library

In 2006, Nancy Sporborg and Pat Piper decided to go for a hike. They were both in their fifties, and while they had been walking the town sidewalks together for some time, neither had ever hiked much. But after that first hike, they decided to try another, and then another, and then another. Now, six years later, the two women have hiked 273 mountains, including the 48 4,000-footers in New Hampshire, the 67 4,000-footers in New England, and 93 of the 100 highest peaks in New England. On Thursday, August 9, the women will visit the Gilford Public Library with a presentation about their journey.

Following Piper's lead, Sporborg began to write ‘hike reports,' and eventually to post these reports online. As the hikes went on, Sporborg's reports got more and more in depth; no longer were they accounts of how many Power Bars she'd eaten on the way up, or what sort of blisters she'd developed. Instead, they spoke of something deeper.

“Something was happening to me out there,” said Sporborg. “There was something big at work. I was healing wounds … experiencing true joy.” It wasn't long before Sporborg looked at her reports and decided to compile them into a book, It's Not About the Hike: Two Ordinary Women on an Extraordinary Journey. To go along with the book, the women have developed an interactive presentation that they've been touring the state with.

Much like the book, Sporborg and Piper's presentation is an inspirational one. Sporborg points out that while hiking, she and Piper experience “natural splendor” along with the “wrath of the weather,” “steep slides,” and “exhaustion” that all combine to make hiking a beautiful metaphor for life. It was from that idea—that these hikes help the women to work through “universal stories and struggles”—that the phrase It's Not About the Hike came into their minds.

“But you don't have to be a hiker to get something out of the program,” Sporborg said. After all, these two women coined themselves “non-hikers” just six years ago, and the program they've put together is designed for everyone. They'll show slides, short movie clips, play music, and talk with the crowd about their journey and how it has changed and enriched their lives.

Sporborg and Piper will be at the Gilford Public Library on Thursday, August 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to present It's Not About the Hike. The program is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to join.

Notes from the library

I am fortunate in that most of my days start off with a hike. I love to hike alone by flowing streams and on narrow hiking trails with trees surrounding me. It makes me feel centered and I find that every day is better if it begins surrounded by nature. So, this time of year, I spray on the bug juice and head for the trails. An observant daughter-in-law noticed that one of my wall decorations has more feathers in it every time she visits. This time of year I usually have some wildflowers in rock vases reminding me of my hikes. Or, perhaps I come home with a sighting. Often it's a bird, but on a really, really good day it might be something more. I've seen deer, moose, bear and last summer I saw a bobcat and its mom. I have never seen a mountain lion.

“Over the years many people have claimed to see mountain lions in northern New Hampshire” says author Rick Davidson. “Years ago mountain lions were indigenous to the area but supposedly they aren't here any longer”. Even their name is elusive…cougar, puma, ghost cat or catamount? Take your pick. An individual cat's range depends on food availability--they need 8-10 lbs a day to survive--so their range can vary from 10-375 miles. We do know that one was killed in CT last year, so if they aren't in the state we know they are close.

Davidson is an award winning photographer, sometime guitar player and he has worked on several independent films. From film-making he got the bug to write something set in northern New Hampshire. At first he was thinking it might be a film but he decided to try his hand at fiction. Because he is an avid outdoorsman and fly fisherman he combined many of his interests into “Catamount” a North Country Thriller”. He ran the gamut of rejections before being approached by a local publisher, Breech River Books and now he is working on his second book.

As part of our Get Booked series Rick Davidson will talk about his book and share a slideshow of mountain lion sightings on Tuesday, July 24 at the library meeting room at 6:30 p.m. This program is free and copies of his book will be available for purchase.

Notes from the library

“My theory is that if food tastes great before it goes into the pot, I don't need to work as hard or as long for it to taste great when it comes out,” said cookbook writer and Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch, who will be at the Gilford Public Library for our Get Booked series on Thursday, August 2, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

A busy husband and a father to a seven-year-old boy, as well as a lover of good, healthy, high-flavor food, Hirsch has made it his goal to consistently cook “good food, real meals that we enjoy within the short timeframe.” Hirsch points out that he's not a trained chef, that he never meant to go into the food business, and that he is always short on time. Because of that, he is a firm believer in the idea that nearly all families—no matter how busy—can share good, real food every single day. Hirsch's most recent cookbook, High Flavor, Low Labor, teaches people just that.

“My recipes use robust ingredients,” Hirsch said. “Ginger, soy, chipotles, jalapeños, parmesan, balsamic vinegar.” It's these sorts of ingredients that allow people to not only eat something flavorful at the end of the day, but also to get it to the dinner table fast.

And it's not just good food at dinner that Hirsch is interested in—he aims to feed his family good food at all hours of the day. To that end, he's made it his hobby to pack his 7-year-old son lunches that “he'll eat” and Hirsh will “feel good about.” That hobby transformed into a blog, Lunch Box Blues, that chronicles these nutritious, creative lunches; to date, the blog has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, the Martha Stewart Show, and many other news outlets. Lunches include a banana and peanut butter burrito, mini ham and cheese quiches, blueberry muffin pancakes, plus lots of fruit. Again, though Hirsch doesn't have much time, he writes on his blog that he still wants his son “to eat healthy and be excited for lunchtime.” So far, it seems he's succeeded at that.

All of Hirsch's recipes—those in the cookbook and those on the blog—come about quite spontaneously. “Ninety-five percent of them come from desperation,” he remarked. He thinks about dinner while he's running around, but he doesn't have the time to really sit down and plan. Instead, it's a matter of opening the fridge, seeing what's there, and going through some trial and error. “If it's good, if my family enjoys it, I recreate a written version then test it.”

On Thursday, August 2, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hirsh will be at the library to talk about his life as the food editor for the world's largest news organization; his cookbook and blog; and what he calls his “strange” world of living in rural New Hampshire but working with such food celebrities as Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray.

Notes from the library

Beginning on July 18, the Gilford Public Library will host a four-week Middle Eastern cooking class in which participants will learn to cook “real, home-cooked Middle Eastern food” from scratch. The course is a great opportunity to expand your cooking and cultural horizons, and a great way to just do something different this summer.

“When you buy Middle Eastern food in the supermarket,” says Summer Kalaf, who will lead the class, “it just doesn't taste the same.” True Middle Eastern food, she says, is full of “flavor and spice.” Course participants will experience that first hand; each week, they'll make a different meal, and then eat what they cook and take home what's left over. The menu includes the homemade (and more delicious) versions of some dishes that are already popular in our area, like stuffed grape leaves, tabouli, and hummus, as well as some less-known items like fatayer spinach pies, Syrian fattoush salad, and the famous eggplant dish baba ghanous.

Kalaf, who was born in Kuwait, has been cooking Middle Eastern food “forever.” The idea of leading a cooking class arose when she was teaching Arabic at Laconia's Adult Learning Center; students had heard about her food, and they wanted to learn how to make it. Since that time, Kalaf has led a few cooking classes, and she points out that in these classes students “don't just sit there. If I am stuffing grape leaves, they are stuffing grape leaves. That is how they really learn to cook the food.”

The 4-week course will be run on Wednesdays, from 1:00 to 3:30, beginning July 18. There is a $55 charge, which covers all the food costs. There is a 6-person limit to the class, so if you're interested then sign up early! And if you're interested in learning how to cook a different sort of food, but can't make it to the class, stop by the library and see what books we have. Here's a look at a few.

Born in Israel, Yotam Ottolenghi is a chef who now owns four famous restaurants in London. His cookbook, Plenty, is a truly vibrant book stuffed full with Middle Eastern recipes that are both delicious and easy to follow. (When I took this book home, I made a different dish for nearly three weeks straight. All of them were fantastic!)

Another great new international cookbook is Easy Chinese Recipes, by Bee Yin Low. This book is filled with typical take-out favorites, but when cooked at home—with Low's simple instructions—the foods take on a new life. And for a summer treat, you could try Paletas, by Fany Gerson—it's a Mexican cookbook filled with ice pops, shaved ice, and other frozen delights. Finally, if you just want to get a clearer picture of how the rest of the world eats, check out What the World Eats, by Faith D'Aluisio and photographer Peter Menzel. It's a fascinating look at twenty-five families around the world as they sit down to eat.

If you're looking for something different to eat, sign up for the class and stop by the library to find a new cookbook!

Notes from the library

“I was a wild and reckless youth,” begins one nun, whose story of the religious life is one of many recorded in Habits of Change: An Oral History of American Nuns by Carole Garibaldi Rogers. Another story begins, “When I was in fourth grade, somehow or other, one day I decided I wanted to be a sister.” In all, the stories of nearly 100 nuns are chronicled in the book, and on Tuesday, July 10, Rogers will be at the Gilford Public Library to discuss her work, along with the process and importance of oral history.

“I'm a journalist by trade,” Rogers said. She pointed out that though she had conducted many interviews before Habits, it had never been in this way. Here, “only the words of the narrator mattered.” That appealed to Rogers: “I didn't know about [the nuns] lives … but I felt it was time for their voices to be heard.”

A journalist who has always been interested in exploring the changing lives of women, Rogers was particularly drawn to the lives of nuns because “they have undergone tremendous change since the 1960s.” Many of the nuns interviewed lived through the shifts that arose with feminism, Civil Rights, and the Vatican II, and Rogers believed that these changes “must have profoundly affected their lives.” She set out to discover if that belief was true.

In each interview, Rogers asked the same three basic questions: Why did you enter religious life? What were some of the crisis points or times of change in your religious life? (Or, put another way: How have you become the person you are today?) Why are you still religious?

“There were times when those interviews were very emotional, and that was difficult,” Rogers said. “But these were emotionally and spiritually mature women. They had spent much of their lives thinking about these things, so it wasn't alien to them to look back upon their lives and talk about what they saw.”

Rogers first conducted the interviews in the 1990s, and she checked back in with the women in 2009. After that set of interviews, she sat down to organize the book in a way that would make sense for the reader, highlight the importance of these nuns' lives, and put their stories in a larger historical context. The result is an astonishing oral history of a way of life that is seldom spoken of.

Rogers, who summers here in Gilford and spends the rest of the year in New Jersey, will be at the Gilford Public Library for this summer's second installment of the Get Booked series on Tuesday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public; all are welcome to join.

Notes from the library

“The way I see it,” says chef and bestselling cookbook author Paula Deen, “there are two great reasons to grill and barbecue outside: the flavor is incredible, and it's just about the most fun you can have making dinner.” Since she's a Southerner, she can cook outside year-round, but here in Gilford our grilling time is limited, which makes it an even more celebratory occasion. And grilling doesn't have to just mean burgers and steak—lots of vegetables, and fruits, for that matter, can find a home on the grill. If you're looking for some inspiration, here's a glance at what you can find at the library.

One of the most interesting new grilling books is The Gardener & the Grill by Karen Adler. The book offers entire meals—like grilled pizza or fish tacos—as well as side vegetable dishes. And, meat and fish aren't ignored either—they're just cooked in recipes surrounded by vegetables. Some highlights of the book include grilled green tomato sandwiches, grilled beets with scallions, grilled gazpacho, and even seared peaches.

Grill This, Not That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding is marked as a “backyard survival guide” that offers more than 100 recipes to help you “strip calories” and “save hundreds of dollars” at the same time. The book includes Tandoori chicken, Chinese spareribs, and shrimp po'boys, all of which look like the sort of food you'd splurge on, but are promised to be both low-cost and low-calorie.

If neither of these books are what you're after, you can always return to Paula Deen, whose most recent cookbook, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible, features an entire chapter on grilling. Her classic recipes include beer can chicken, quick BBQ chicken, and Memphis dry-rub ribs. And, in addition to the standard recipes, Paula offers a bit of history and simple variations on traditional dishes.

Once you find your book, there are also lots of grilling tips to help you. Alton Brown, creator and host of Good Eats on the Food Network, is a great source for some grilling pointers. He owns a total of seven grills—each with its own specialty—and he says that if there's one tip he wants people to remember, it's this: “Flame is bad.” “Flames do nasty things to food,” he says, not the least of which includes depositing “various chemicals that are not good for us.” In addition to keeping the flames away, he also recommends bringing the meat to room temperature before grilling, salting before grilling, and not forgetting to try grilling vegetables and fruits.

If you're looking to improve your grilling skills or to bring some creativity to your summer cooking, stop by the library and see what's available!

Notes from the library

Study after study has shown that reading during summer months increases students' reading, writing, and communication abilities, but studies have also shown that during the summer months, students who lack access to books experience what's known as the “summer slide,” wherein their reading and reading-related skills actually decline.

It is just this loss that the Collaborative Summer Library Program—which creates a national Summer Reading theme and suggested curriculum each year—is designed to combat. And the program does help; one Johns Hopkins study found that “students who didn't read during the summer lagged two years behind their book-reading peers.”

So the aim of Summer Reading is to get books into the hands of children, but also to make reading fun for the child, the family, and the community by offering programs that support and enhance the reading experience. This year's national theme for children is Dream Big; for teens it's Own the Night; and for adults it's Between the Covers.

“It's all exciting!” says children's librarian Tracey Petrozzi, who has put together an incredible list of children's programs for the summer. Some Dream Big highlights include the annual kick-off ice cream social with music by Paul Warnick; a visit from Lindsay and Her Puppet Pals, which are giant, handmade puppets who help Lindsay tell stories; The Magic of the Steelgraves magic show with real doves; and a visit from the Squam Lakes Science Center to explore an animal's nightlife. In addition, as always, children can play the reading board game to track their reading and earn prizes.

As teens read and earn prizes with Own the Night, they'll also have the chance to attend a Hunger Games party, archery lessons, an afternoon of ghost stories, a Zombie Fashion Show, and a homemade pizza party.

Adults can start their summer by reading Between the Covers right here at the library; beginning on Monday, June 18, we'll have an antique bed on display for two weeks. Patrons are invited to stop by, hop in the bed with their favorite book, and have a picture taken. Also on the schedule for adults is the annual Author Series, which features a different author every month, and the Destination Series, which will offer presentations on Poland, New Zealand, and the South Pole.

Summer Reading will begin on Monday, June 25th. For a complete schedule of events, along with a Summer Reading brochure, just stop by the library. Happy
Notes from the library

Around here, it's hard to keep your Spanish fresh, but thanks to Rosa Blais and the Gilford Public Library, there's now a weekly conversation group open to all who wish to sharpen and practice their skills. “I'm excited about it,” said Blais, who points out that the plan came about because people were stopping by the library in search of such a group. Starting today, the conversations will take place every Thursday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Blais, who will “casually” lead the conversations, is herself a native speaker of Spanish; she was born in Spain, and moved to the US when she was 9 years old. After that, she learned English, and her family continued to speak Spanish at home. Now she says she has tried to raise her own sons bilingually, “and they certainly have a conversational level.” Those sons—now teenagers—will help Blais lead the weekly conversations.

“I want it to be low-key,” she said, “not too structured.” In the past, she's done this sort of group in a relaxed setting—like a restaurant or café—and she'd like to carry that atmosphere to the group at the library. “Just chit-chat at first,” she said, like introductions and general questions about where people learned the language. “It's always great to hear how people know Spanish … you end up hearing their stories from all over.”

To aid in the “low-key” nature of the group, Blais will bring the Spanish version of popular games—like Trivial Pursuit, Apples to Apples, and Bananagrams—to the conversations. “Hopefully the games will keep it fun,” she said, “instead of intellectual!”

Blais's only rule for the group is this: No English! Though participants might be reluctant to speak only in Spanish, Blais points out that falling back on English will defeat the purpose of the group. That means that though listeners are always welcome, it is important that participants are capable of conversation-level Spanish. Also, due to the potential nature of the conversations, the group is geared toward teens and up. “It would be great if upper-level high schoolers show up,” Blais said, “or even their teachers. It's a great opportunity for the Spanish teachers to speak and practice.”

If you're interested in using your Spanish skills, come by the library on a Thursday from 5:00 to 6:00 and join the group! Also, remember that Spanish isn't the only adult group the library will run this summer; other ongoing groups include the Social Bridge Group, the Mahjong Group, the Rug-Hooking Group, the Write Now Writers' Group, the Knit Wits, and of course the monthly Book Discussion Group. In addition, this summer the library will host two special groups: a six-week watercolor class with painter Mary Lou John, and a four-week Middle Eastern cooking class with cook Summer Kalaf. So no matter what your interests are, stop by the library and see what's going on!

Notes from the library

“Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best,” wrote Dr. Seuss in his legendary Oh, the Places You'll Go! which I recently reread since it's spring, when so many people are in search of the right book for a graduate. “Wherever you go, you'll top all the rest.” But those lines didn't sit right with me; blah, blah, I thought when I read them, that's just not true. However, I still turned the page, and was delighted to find this: “Except when you don't, because sometimes you won't.” It's a welcome surprise—an inspirational book that doesn't mask the “bumps” and “slumps,” the waiting, the loneliness, and the fears that will also surely accompany us in life.

Published in 1990, this little book continues to top the Children's Bestseller lists, particularly from mid-April to Mid-June, when thousands of people purchase it for graduates. Perhaps it's that honest but uplifting look at life that accounts for the book's success; though the book speaks to the troubles that will come, it manages to focus—in part with its pictures and rhythm—on the playfulness and the excitement of life. And on nearly every page, the book offers a faith in the reader that is at once extraordinary and believable.

Anna Quindlen's A Short Guide to a Happy Life is another great book for graduates. This one is a little more serious in tone, takes a little bit longer to read, and is perhaps more suited to the reader who wants some specific advice: turn off the cell phone, look at the view, be generous. “You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life,” Quindlen writes. “Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.” Though this book and Dr. Seuss's both focus on finding fulfillment, this one is not so much about the journey ahead but how to recognize the greatness that already surrounds us. After all, “If you win the rat race,” Quindlen reminds us, “you're still a rat.”

This year, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life? is another big hit for graduates. A remarkably successful businessman, Christensen was disheartened to realize that so many of his former students, while successful in their careers, felt unfulfilled. It seems this discovery came at about the same time when he himself suffered a stroke and cancer diagnosis. Thus his new book, which he wrote after he fought the same cancer that took his father's life. In the book, Christensen creates tools for a “happy, meaningful, purpose-filled life” by setting his personal stories alongside the very same management ideas that led to his business success. Though the final message is quite similar to that of Seuss's and Quindlen's, this book is a good fit for the business-minded readers.

So if you're looking to offer guidance, advice, or support for a graduate this year, stop by the library and take a look at what we have. Happy reading!

Notes from the library

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn ….” wrote Jack Kerouac in his famous On the Road. Today, that book that spoke to and defined an entire generation of readers has been turned into a movie, to be released this month.

In 1949, soon after dropping out of Columbia University, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady left New York City in a Cadillac limousine for the cross-country road trip that would later become the subject of On the Road. The legend of that book is this: Because he didn't want to interrupt his flow of writing, Kerouac cut and taped strips of paper together so that they would move through the typewriter in one continuous flow. The result, after three weeks of furious writing, was a 119-foot scroll; that scroll was On the Road, and not a word of it was ever revised.

However, there's more to the story. “Kerouac cultivated this myth that he was this spontaneous prose man,” says Kerouac scholar Paul Marion, “and that everything he ever put down was never changed, and that's not true.” The truth is that Kerouac was a “supreme craftsman, and devoted to writing and the writing process.” Once that scroll was complete, Kerouac revised for seven years before seeing its publication, and in that time he wrote as many as six drafts of the book.

Still, that “spontaneous” voice was expertly captured in the novel, and its rejection of middle-class American conventions (and literary conventions) awakened a generation. Immediately, the book became a “basic text for youth who found their country claustrophobic and oppressive,” and Kerouac became known as the “Father of the Beat Generation,” that literary and cultural movement that would soon inform the 1960s hippy culture. Today, more than five decades later, the book continues to sell more than 100,000 copies annually.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, at 47 years old. Since his death, much more of his work has been discovered and published. New to the library this month, in fact, is The Sea is My Brother, Kerouac's previously unpublished first novel, written in 1943, when he was a Merchant Marine. Of On the Road, Bob Dylan once said, “It changed my life like it changed everyone else's.” So, before you go see the movie that pays tribute to that book, stop by the library and check out one of Kerouac's books!

Notes from the library

“Remembrance is the least we owe,” Madeleine Albright recently said. She was speaking of her new book, Prague Winter, and specifically about the members of her family who were killed by “by gun, gas, or disease” during World War II. And what better way is there to offer remembrance than through a book? What else can reel us right into another life and time, so that not only is the place as real to us as our own home, but so too are the people and the complexities of their lives?

This coming Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day, and in honor of that day, the library has a display of war stories. Spanning hundreds of decades, the books include memoir and fiction set in places as different as the US, Japan, Norway, Hungary, Iraq, and Rwanda. Below are some highlights from that display.

Mentioned earlier, Prague Winter is one of those rare and spectacular books that seems to speak to all sorts of readers, no matter the genre they typically prefer. Albright was already 59 years old, and living a very public life, when she learned that her ancestral heritage was Jewish. Up until that point, she had simply known that she was from Czechoslovakia, and had moved during the war. “The revelation [of heritage] shook my deeply ingrained sense of identity, and prompted me to seek answers to questions I had never thought to ask,” she said. Her new book tells the story of her personal journey, and also “a much wider tale concerning a generation compelled to make painful moral choices amid the tumult of war.”

Steinbeck in Vietnam is another newly released book, and this one shows a little-seen side of a writer who many of us love. Though Steinbeck was most known for his Depression-era work, during Vietnam Newsday sent him to the major combat areas, where he observed life and war, and sent columns home. They are the last works he ever published, and as NPR notes, “these reports shocked readers and family so much that they've never been reprinted — until now.” That's because these columns seem to support the war effort, and this came at a time when protests were spreading. Says Editor Thomas E. Barden, who compiled the book, “People worried about his reputation, saying maybe we should just never speak of these again.” But Barden points out that Steinbeck remains a beloved writer, and that people have the right to judge this work for themselves. “Everything this man wrote should be on the shelf,” he said. “And now it is.” No matter what his political leanings were, Steinbeck was an incredible observer and journalist, and the columns are breathtaking.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, a novel by Ben Fountain, is a contemporary story of America at a time of war, and of one solider, Billy. The novel unfolds during Billy's last hours at home before his return to Iraq. Hailed by the New York Times as an “inspired, blistering war novel” that explores “class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle,” this story offers a real, poignant, and devastating look at our times.

Other powerful new war stories currently on display at the library include Blue Asylum, a novel of women's lives during the Civil War; Outlaw Platoon, a memoir of a solider in Afghanistan; and To End All Wars, a non-fiction account of WWI. So, this Memorial Day, we can all heed Madeleine Albright's advice, and offer remembrance by way of a book.

Notes from the library

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, all by Suzanne Collins, have been at the top of the Gilford Library's Top Ten Requests list for weeks now, not to mention the top of New York Times Bestseller lists. Other than the fact that they've swept the country, the books are of special note because they are for teens and middle graders. That means that kids, many of whom claim to hate reading, are lining up to check these books out. And, the adults are lining up with them.

If your children describe the premise of the books to you, you'll likely be shocked or horrified: a corrupt government rules over a dystopian future of North America, and each year the government chooses children from a random lottery who will compete in the “Hunger Games.” The children whose names are drawn enter an elaborate arena to fight with each other to the death. The game ends only when one contestant remains.

The books are just as gruesome as they sound. Take this passage, for example, told by 13-year-old narrator Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to enter the games in place of her little sister: “My arrow drives deeply into the center of his neck. He falls to his knees and halves the brief remainder of his life by yanking out the arrow and drowning in his own blood.” The violence is all the more palpable because the story is so well-written; it resists all simplicities, and instead lets individual characters be both good and evil, and even lets love be complicated. But alongside this violence and uncertainty, the story is also fun, and impossible to put down.

“Those books made me want to read all through the night, I wanted to carry the books to the dinner table,” said 13-year-old Tasha Tyler, an avid reader who claims that The Hunger Games trilogy has to be her favorite of the year. “They're just so great,” she said.

When I asked her about the violence, at first she said that it wasn't so prominent. “Katniss,” she said, “is just awesome,” a self-sufficient character who “you just know is going to join the rebellion.” Pretty soon Tasha was relating horrific scenes from the book, each to describe Katniss's strength. Eventually Tasha stopped and said, “The books are pretty scary, actually. They're morbid. It's really sad, actually, that we all want to read them.”

When she said that, Tasha unknowingly hit on just what critics say about these books: “An overt critique of violence,” wrote Katie Roiphe in the New York Times Book Review, “the series makes warfare deeply personal, forcing readers to contemplate their own roles as desensitized voyeurs.”

It seems that was part of Collins's goal with the books. “One night, I was lying in bed, and I was channel surfing between reality TV programs and actual war coverage,” Collins told the School Library Journal. “On one channel, there's a group of young people competing for I don't even know; and on the next, there's a group of young people fighting in an actual war. I was really tired, and the lines between these stories started to blur in a very unsettling way.”

Collins herself grew up painfully aware of war; at age six she watched her father leave for Vietnam. Eventually, the family moved to a base in Brussels, and there her father would take every opportunity to educate her about the horrors of war. That, she told the New York Times, is what she's doing now. “If we wait too long [to educate children], what kind of expectation can we have? We think we're sheltering them, but what we're doing is putting them at a disadvantage.”

And this point is not lost on young readers. “I think there's truth to the books,” said Tasha. “I can see this kind of future. And,” she went on, “it's sad, but maybe people have a hunger for seeing this sort of thing, for seeing if people can survive. Maybe it's because we're related to animals, because some of them are so vicious. But the books are amazing!” Tasha added, “And I can't wait to see the movie.”

Notes from the library

In the town where I used to live, there was a wonderful little tea shop called Butterfly Herbs. Tea-filled glass jars lined one wall, and you could choose any variety you wanted, take it to the counter, and then have a pot made for just one dollar. You could take your pot to a booth or sit at the counter and drink, and you could always get a refill of hot water—at no charge—which meant that your one pot could last for hours. And I indeed spent hours there; I went alone to read or just get out of the house, I went to meet with various friends, and when family came to town, I always took them for a pot of tea.

“Growing up, I had a girlfriend whose family had tea time every afternoon,” said Children's Librarian Tracy Petrozzi, who will run this year's annual Mother's Day Tea at the Gilford Public Library this Saturday, May 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. “I always tried to make it to her house in time for it,” Tracy said. I asked her why. She was just a kid then, after all, and this was a sit-down affair with adults. For a minute she just looked at me, and then she burst, “It was tea time!” And, after another minute, “It was just wonderful.”

I think anyone who's had the occasion of sitting down with no other purpose than to drink a pot of tea can agree—and people have been agreeing for more than 5,000 years, when tea seems to have first come into existence. Some reasons for this long affair we've had with tea are obvious—it's a good pick-me-up, or, if it's herbal, a good way to relax. But aside from these effects, there's something unnamable that tea can do to a mood or a conversation. In my experience, sitting down to a pot of tea can make it seem like all else in the world has, at least momentarily, dropped away.

For over a decade the Gilford Public Library has been celebrating Mother's Day with this annual mother-daughter tea. This year, in addition to drinking tea out of china in a room that's been transformed to a tea house, mothers and daughters will also decorate and wear lady's hats; listen to a Gilford Historical Society presentation about hats; and, in honor of the Gilford Bicentennial, hear Jane Ellis perform a bicentennial song. Tea and punch will be served, along with an array of tea-time foods. Also, mothers and daughters will have the chance to get their pictures taken together in their hats.

“It's one of my favorite events of the year,” says Assistant Children's Librarian Lura Shute, who has been helping to put on the event for four years. “I get to bring my daughter, and we just get to talk and mingle. It's a great time with her.”

The Mother's Day Tea will take place in the meeting room of the Gilford Public Library on Saturday, May 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you have any questions about the event, just call or stop by the library. Mothers and daughters of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Notes from the library

“The myths and legends of the Holy Grail, the sword in the stone, the knights of the round table, these all have relevance now,” says author and speaker Diana Durham, who will be at the Gilford Public Library on Tuesday, May 8, for Grail Mania: A 21st Century Retelling of a 12th Century Heresy. “The stories encode meaning,” Durham says, and by connecting to that meaning, we can better understand our own lives, and the paths that lie before us.

Though her work, including a book titled The Return of King Arthur (2004), centers upon Arthurian legends, Durham points out that she wasn't always a scholar of these stories. In fact, at the time when the stories came into and changed her life, she only knew “little bits and pieces, the main symbols.” At that point, Durham lived in an intentional spiritual community. “Life can be really intense when you live like that,” she says. “It occurred to me that it was like a quest … we had some horrible adventures, and, sometimes, beauty would emerge.”

That moment, when Durham first thought of her journey as one analogous to a quest, as those of Arthurian legend, defined her career path. “It came to me like a vivid dream,” she says. She sat with the idea for some time, and eventually it became clear to her that her goal was to write a book about the life-changing symbols offered in those legends.

As an example of these symbols and how they resonate today, Durham relates an episode of Perceval's journey. “He's the hero of this one story, and early on he's so naïve,” she says. When he sees a “fearsome” knight with beautiful, shining red armor Perceval declares, in his naivety, that he will claim that armor as his own. “This seems impossible to others,” Durham says. “Of course it does. Our adult logic tells us that he couldn't achieve such a feat.” But in fact he does—and it is only because he is young, and doesn't yet have the sense that his capabilities are limited. “That's this lovely analogy for us,” Durham says. “It reminds us of what we can achieve.”

Though the earliest known mention of King Arthur dates back to before the 11th century, it was the French medieval poet Chrétien de Troyes who gave us many of the stories that we recognize today, and it was his versions that Durham looked to as she wrote her own work. First she wrote a book that investigates “the quest for wholeness, inner strength, and self-knowledge” using the legends. From there she moved on to a play, for, as a poet, she “wanted to explore the myths through a more poetic, literary form.” Since then, Durham has produced an audio version of her play, and given numerous talks and performances throughout the state.

Gilford Library's Grail Mania will explore the story of Perceval's quest for the Holy Grail, some of which will be told by Durham, and some of which will be enacted by audience members. The program is brought to us by the NH Humanities Council, and will take place on Tuesday, May 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public; all are welcome and encouraged to join!


Expanded Check-out-an-Expert

A few months ago, library director Katherine Dormody heard about a library in Canada that came up with a creative way to share the knowledge of its patrons. Since their patrons came from a wealth of cultures, the library began to set up meetings: if you wanted to learn about India, for example, you could come to the library and sit down to have a conversation with someone from India. The program offers a unique, hands-on way of learning, and it makes use of one of its greatest assets: the patrons.

Inspired in part by that library in Canada, and in part by Gilford's own Check-Out-An-Expert program, our library is now expanding its resources with the new Ask-the-Expert program, which offers one-on-one assistance, patron-to-patron, in a variety of areas.

“Everyone is an expert at something,” says Dormody. “And there are just so many talented, interesting people in our community. This is a way for them to share what they know.”

Already, the list of topics you can receive ‘expert' advice on is long. It includes bass and warm water fishing, birding and bird-feeder tips, book mending, knitting and crocheting, hiking the Belknaps, flower arranging, competing in your first triathlon, sewing machine assistance, and more.

Jae Horvath, a student at Gilford Middle School, is our resident Facebook ‘expert,' and so far he's been helping people who did not grow up with computers learn to use this computer tool to keep in touch with their friends and family.

Another popular program began when ESL and adult education teacher Lisa Geer was teaching another volunteer to cover books. “The person happened to be looking for a job, so I just started asking her questions about her resume and interviews,” she says. Librarian and volunteer coordinator Betty Tidd overheard the conversation, and realized that Lisa was quite skilled at this sort of job-coaching.

Now, Lisa has helped a handful of people in our community improve their resumes and prepare for job interviews. Some were in the process of changing careers, and others were just looking to get back into the work force.

“So much of what people need help with is finding the right words. They know what they want to say, but it's a skill to learn how to get that onto paper,” Lisa says.

Facebooking and resume-writing are the programs we've had a lot of response on so far, but you're welcome to learn anything on our list! All you need to do is stop by the library and pick up an Ask-the-Expert flyer, fill out the form, and turn it in at the circulation desk. From there, we'll arrange the meeting at the library. Happy reading!

Notes from the library

In the days of the Beatles and Hendrix, Vietnam, and the Civil Rights Movement, when hippies and protests flooded the country, so too did pollution. “Environment,” according to the Earth Day Network, “was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.” Today, however, that word has become ubiquitous. Largely, that's thanks to Earth Day, which was first celebrated on April 22, 1970.

As Al Gore writes, Earth Day began as a “simple idea for a teach-in” and “exploded into a national event involving 20 million people that changed the course of history.” He's referring to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, which were a direct result of the first Earth Day. Gore goes on to point out that just 25 years after that first day, air pollution was cut by a third; lead emissions were cut by 98 percent; twice as many rivers and lakes were clean enough to swim in; and there were more than 60,000 community recycling programs. Today, that's a reminder that our small steps really do make a difference.

This Sunday marks the 32nd annual Earth Day, and if you're looking for a way to celebrate, try stopping in at the library. You can check out a Kill-A-Watt Energy Detector to discover how much energy your appliances use; you can buy a map of the Belknap Range and go for a hike in celebration of the earth; or, as always, you can check out a book. Here's a list of some of our great Earth Day titles.

A 1962 bestseller, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is known as the book that sparked the environmental revolution both here and abroad. Just one of its accomplishments is that it directly led to the outlaw of DDT. This year marks the 50th anniversary of its publication, and the book is still just as energetic, inspiring, and poignant as it was in the 60s.

Now is the time to start planting seeds and thinking about gardening, which is an excellent way to do your part for the earth. The library has an extensive collection of gardening books to guide you, no matter your experience level. Some great titles for vegetable gardens include The Edible Front Yard, by Ivette Soler; The Heirloom Life Gardener, by Jere and Emilee Gettle; and Small-Plot, High-Yield Gardening, by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan. We also have container-gardening books, and lots of books about how to grow flowers and shrubs.

Reusing old materials that you would otherwise toss out is another fun way to celebrate Earth Day. Today, these recycled crafts are becoming more and more popular—bags sewn from rice sacks, purses woven from chip bags, and bracelets strewn together from old candy wrappers are just some of the items that boutiques sell. To make your own recycled crafts, try Earth Friendly Crafts by Kathy Ross, or Green Crafts for Children, by Emma Hardy.

Just being reminded of the splendor of the natural world is another great way to celebrate Earth Day; it's that wonder, after all, that makes us want to make changes in support of the earth. So when you stop by the library this week, you might check out a book of breathtaking photos from our oversized collection, or perhaps the BBC series Planet Earth. Also, while you're in the library, you can sign up for Gardening Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle, which will be held on May 30, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and will teach participants about how to garden and stretch at the same time.

Happy reading!

Volunteers at the library

Next week marks our annual volunteer party, when people fill the meeting room to celebrate the enormous gift of service that they give each year. As always, this year's party will take place during National Volunteer Week, a week that is set aside not only to honor those who volunteer, but also to inspire others to join in.

Here at the Gilford Library, nearly every week one patron or another remarks that our library is incredible. And it is—not only is the collection expansive, but so are the resources and clubs. Also, the space is inviting, and offers places for kids, teens, and adults to be alone or to work together in groups. None of this would be possible without the work of our 60 or so volunteers.

Last year alone, roughly 5,000 volunteer hours were logged at the library. That means that more than two full years of full-time employment were donated. Some volunteers show up just once a year, some every week, and a few show up every single day. On average, the library sees about 30 different volunteers each week.

“I started volunteering when my kids were at preschool,” says Mike Marshall, who runs the weekly Check-Out-An-Expert program. “I didn't want to just go home, and I love the library, so I thought I'd give some time back.” Mike says that though the library is now an integral part of his life, it wasn't always that way. “It happened when I met my wife,” he says. “She's an avid reader, so I went to the library with her.” Back in those days, he wandered around the stacks, got a library card, and started reading. “And I realized that a library isn't just about reading—it's a great resource for the community.”

As with every volunteer, before he began work he had to sit down with librarian and volunteer coordinator Betty Tidd to discuss his interests. In that conversation, his knowledge of computers and electronics came up.

“Betty thought that was an area where the library needed help,” Mike says. After that, it didn't take long for the Check-Out-An-Expert program to begin. At first, his idea was to teach people that they could look up books on the computer's card catalog, rather than asking the circulation desk. “That idea quickly morphed into general computer questions,” Mike says. Today, he teaches people how to download audio and digital books, how to use their kindles, how to use email or Word, or simply how to operate a computer. “I like the expressions on their faces when they get it,” Mike says. “It's a sense of freedom for them.”

While Mike isn't the only volunteer to begin a program, he's certainly not the norm. More often, volunteers work behind the scenes to keep the library running. Blandine Shallow is one of these indispensible volunteers. She moved to Gilford from the north after retirement, and wanted to get involved in the community. “I finally had time to volunteer,” she says, and since she loves reading, and had worked at a library as a teenager, she thought it was a great place to begin.

Blandine donates roughly 4 hours each week to the library. Her jobs include covering new books and logging donations into the library system. About her time spent at the library, she says, “I like meeting all the people, and I love looking at all the new books!” She remarks that being in the library gives her a chance to talk to others about what they've read, and this, she says, “always opens up new worlds to me.”

This year, National Volunteer Week will be observed from April 15 through April 21. If you've ever thought of volunteering, now is the time to do it. It's fun, it's a great way to become a part of the community, and it's also a great thing to do for the community!

National Library Week

For nearly half a century, every year in April libraries across the country have celebrated National Library Week. This year, the theme for the celebration is You Belong @ Your Library—a theme that holds more truth than it might seem at first glance. After all, it is libraries that have always been the “great equalizer of knowledge,” welcoming all people, and offering access to information no matter a person's class, race, gender, or age. As for the Gilford Library, I'm sure that users will agree that being involved in the library not only provides endless knowledge and entertainment, but it also provides another necessity: community.

When I first moved to Gilford, I wandered into the library with the hopes of volunteering. Betty Tidd, librarian and the volunteer coordinator, was thrilled to have me. Within a few months, I was not only covering books but—because Betty took the time to get to know me and learn about my skills—I was also leading writing workshops. Now, thanks entirely to the library, I have gotten to know the people of Gilford, and have come to feel at home here.

I know I'm not alone in this experience; in the two years that I've been a part of the Gilford Library community, I've met countless people of all ages who come to the library not only for books and media but for a place to meet and talk with others, to learn new skills, and just to spend time in a space that feels good and welcoming. So if you've wondered about the library, or about finding a place in your community, I'd encourage you to take the National Library Week's theme to heart, for you do indeed belong at your library.

For our National Library Week, we'll celebrate with a program for each age group. For adults, we'll offer a scrapbooking workshop, Creating Memories That Last, taught by Liz Ellington of Creative Memories. This program will be held on Tuesday, April 10, and Liz will teach scrapbooking techniques for anyone from beginner to expert.

For teens, we'll run an origami workshop, which offers kids grades 5 and up a chance to create art, have fun, and really focus all at the same time. As for the children, once again we'll have a different guest and vehicle each day of the week, including a fire truck, a school bus, a street sweeper, and a police car. Children will get a chance to explore the vehicles, listen to a story from the drivers, and collect a trading card for the week.

For more information about these programs, just call, stop by, or check out our website. Also, remember that in addition to our National Library Week programs, we also have ongoing groups such as Mahjong, the KnitWits, Write Now Writers' Group, the Clickers Photography Club, and the book discussion group. Everyone is welcome to stop by the library, see what's going on, and become a part of the community!

Notes from the library

Emery Swanson, who leads the Gilford Clickers club, says that his view of photography changed when he took his pictures to a craft fair. “At first, it was just nice to see that people liked what I did. But then I remember seeing people's faces just light up because the picture reminded them of something in their life. The pictures put a smile on their faces,” he says. That, to Emery, is why photography is important.

Of course, photography is also a great way to document a life, and offer future generations a window into the past. So this year, the Gilford Public Library is bringing the Scenes of Gilford calendar contest back as a way to raise funds for library programs and create a piece of art that is both useful and lasting. The contest deadline is June 2; twelve winning photographs will be chosen; and the 2013 calendars will be on sale at Old Home Day in August.

“When I started taking pictures, I started seeing things, looking around. I finally slowed down in my life,” says Emery, who is a great inspiration for anyone who has ever thought of taking up photography. Emery himself didn't begin taking pictures until well into adulthood. When the Gilford Clickers formed, he decided to give it a shot for “something to do.” He just loved the group, and within a few months he had taken the role of president. Today he describes himself as a self-taught photographer who has learned from books, the Internet, and fellow photographers.

So no matter your level of experience, if you're interested in the photography contest then you are certainly encouraged to join. And if you'd like a little feedback and direction on your pictures before you turn them in, the Gilford Clickers club is a great place to go; the group meets once a month and always welcomes new members.

“We very gently critique each other's work,” Emery says. It's a very

beneficial process—members bring photos in to share a new technique, or to ask for guidance about how to make a picture stronger. Each meeting, group members are given a photo assignment, and the following meeting they return with the results. Assignments range from pictures of winter activities to pictures of birds to pictures that make use of a lighting technique. The group has a wide range of attendees, some of whom walked in without ever using a camera before and others who had been taking pictures for years. “It's great fun,” Emery says. “Anyone is welcome.”

As for advice on photos for the contest, Emery encourages people to send in pictures that mean something to them. “You might not think it means something to another person, but if it's beautiful to you then you can share that beauty.” He also suggests taking pictures that people don't see every day, or don't notice. But most of all, he says, “take the pictures that speak to you.”

For more information about the Scenes of Gilford calendar contest, or the Gilford Clickers, just stop by the library or check out our website. Contest entries aren't due until June 2, but spring is a great time to take pictures!

Notes from the library

          Sometimes I’ll pick up a book and suspect from the very first page that it won’t be one I’ll like—maybe I’m not in the mood for that kind of violence, or perhaps the writing strikes me as somehow false. Whatever the case may be, chances are I’ll just put that book down and pick up another. Unless it’s for a book discussion group—then I’m compelled to keep reading. And annoying as that can sometimes be, it’s also what I like about the groups. In them I’m forced (or at least I force myself) to read something outside of my usual interests, and thus see a different perspective.

That’s not to say that the results are always good. In the last year, there have been three books in the library’s book discussion group that I suspected I wouldn’t like; I ended up not liking two of them. But I’m still glad I read them. If nothing else was gained out of the experience, I at least came to see and respect why other readers in the group loved those books.

          This month, the library will discuss Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich. It’s one of those ones that many people might want to put down right away, for the first page exhibits a scene of terrifying violence. But if you turn the page, you’ll see that it’s quite a different book than the opening suggests. And this book was chosen for the very purpose of opening our eyes to a different perspective.

          As so many of her novels do, Plague of Doves takes place on the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation and in the small white community of Pluto that sits just at the western edge of that reservation. At the book’s center is a horrific act of racism that haunts the reservation and the nearby white community. Told in the tradition of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, wherein one story is narrated through the eyes of many different characters, Plague of Doves examines the power history has on our present day struggles, and the complex relationships of full and mixed blood Native Americans and white European American culture. As with all of Erdrich’s work, this novel will open our eyes to a place in our country that is so very different from our small New Hampshire town, and a place that otherwise we would likely never get a glimpse inside of.

          Erdrich herself grew up on a reservation in North Dakota, and her parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs there. Except for one trip to Tennessee, she says she never left North Dakota until “my mother found me a place to go.” That was the year that Dartmouth College decided to admit women and to start a Native American program. Erdrich was accepted, and flew to New Hampshire that fall. That was in 1972; it wasn’t until 1984 that her first novel, Love Medicine, was published. Since that time, she’s written a total of 13 novels, in addition to collections of poetry, short stories, and children’s books. Her work has won the National Book Critics Circle Award and been nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Today she lives in Minneapolis, where she owns and operates an independent bookstore, Birchbark Books.

          In its review of Plague of Doves, the New York Times remarks that Erdrich writes “with sympathy, humor and the unsentimental ardor of a writer who sees that the tragedy and comedy in her people’s lives are ineluctably commingled.” If you’d like to read and discuss this thought-provoking novel, stop by the library to pick up a copy. The discussions will take place at 12:30 and 6:30 on Thursday, March 29th.