Gilford Public Library

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Gilford Public Library

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Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 16, 2020


      INTERLIBRARY LOAN IS BACK! It’s been half a year since the statewide library lending system stopped lending due to the pandemic. Now, enough libraries are operating to allow for sharing. That means that the books available to Gilford Public Library card holders has expanded 100 fold once again!

     Some other states have huge library systems that cover greater metropolitan areas or whole districts. Not so much in New Hampshire. Most New Hampshire public libraries, like ours, stand alone as a town organization. Does this mean you are limited to the collection housed in your town library’s building? NOPE. New Hampshire libraries get along as well as books on a shelf and we have a network of vans based at the New Hampshire State Library that zip around all week bringing materials to and from libraries. We call it ‘Interlibrary Loan’ and it is an asset for you!

     Here’s how it works: Snoopy wants to read a book and checks the library catalog. Oh no! It doesn’t look like the Gilford Public Library has a copy! The story doesn’t end there, because Snoopy knows that the Library always wants to help get people the books they need. Snoopy emails (or calls, or texts, or asks at the desk) asking Woodstock the librarian if there is a way to borrow the book. Woodstock takes a look at the library resources and decides whether to buy a copy for the library or to borrow it from another library. Woodstock decides to borrow it from another library, so they look at the NHAIS ILL catalog and find out that 15 NH libraries have copies! After asking to borrow, one of the 15 libraries gladly sends their copy to Gilford Public Library, and Woodstock calls Snoopy to let him know that the book is ready. Snoopy does a flip in excitement! 

     Sometimes people think that it’s too much trouble to borrow from other libraries. It isn’t. The state van is coming anyway, and it only takes a couple minutes for the librarians. Next time we don’t have what you’re looking for, let us see if we can get it!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 10, 2020


The eastern coyote is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma for most of us living in New England. Misunderstanding breeds fear, especially when we hear about tragedies of lost pets or livestock. Two means of overcoming misunderstanding are communication and education, which is why we’ve invited Chris Schadler back to talk about the behaviors of eastern coyotes TONIGHT, Thursday, September 10th, from 5:30-6:30pm. Schadler has a M.S. in conservation biology and has 30 years of wolf and coyote research, sheep farming, pet rearing, and teaching experience. Schadler argues that eastern coyotes behave predictably and sensibly, giving participants a chance to solve the riddle. 

The story begins with how the eastern coyote arrived in New England in the mid 20th century--It’s migration and behavior driven by human factors. The story continues as the eastern coyote becomes the local apex predator, a critical part of the wild ecosystem. Schadler will describe how the eastern coyote has become the most persecuted carnivore in North America, and how it survives just out of sight. 

Schadler believes that coexistence with eastern coyotes is a better option. It’s possible with a fundamental understanding of eastern coyote behavior and the flexibility to tweak our own behaviors in regards to pets and livestock. 

Tune in to tonight’s program by signing up for the limited in-person seating at the Library, requesting a link for the Zoom meeting, or by tuning in to the livestream on Facebook. Be ready for an informative and interesting presentation!

Sign up at the same time for another presentation on Tuesday, September 15th at 5:30pm called Colorful Journey. Sue Anne Bottomley has drawn a scene from all 234 towns and cities in New Hampshire! Now she’ll share her adventures visiting each location and authoring her book compiling it all. We’ve got new and fascinating programs happening at the Gilford Public Library, so take a look at the calendar and don’t miss a thing! 

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 27, 2020


     People are talking about work. The work force has been shaken up over the last few months, to say the least. What with pandemic-related furloughs, layoffs, and the remote work boom, people are thinking about work and their careers differently. But there are so many unknowns--so many questions! 

     Connecting people with the information they need to find and apply for employment is a major aspect of library service. Finding the right opportunity is its own challenge. Even knowing the right search terms can make all the difference. Fortunately, there are books and reliable online resources that can help job-hunters find the right posting.

     Once a posting has been found, it's time to apply. Many businesses expect applicants to have a digital resume and to apply online. The Library computers are frequently used to write resumes and to apply remotely. Librarians can help applicants avoid predatory paid services and navigate scams, of which there are a lot! Writing resumes and applying for work can be done for free.

     The same holds true for educational and professional training opportunities. The Library has books neatly comparing colleges, universities, scholarships, and more. There are multiple online tools that do the same, but it's important to check the source of their information. We say that a lot, don’t we?

     So if you or someone you know is looking for work, an education, or a career change, remember that the library is a multifaceted resource that helps at each step in the process. We’re eager to help applicants succeed!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 17, 2020

     Judge a book by its cover. I didn’t forget the “don’t” in that sentence, I deliberately omitted it! Judge a book by its cover because that’s what the cover is for. As you stand in front of the new book section with hundreds of books dancing before you like in a butterfly lepidopterarium, what else can you do but let your eyes veer to the one with the aesthetic that appeals to you. The dark mystery has a shadowy, uncomfortable bloodstained cover with a shadowy figure in the backdrop for the same reason that the cozy teatime mystery has a bright spring floral theme, to draw the intended reader to the right book. We’re all susceptible to the influence of designers, but with a little self awareness it can become a tool instead of a trap.

     The librarians use covers all the time--readers can do the same. Publishers are incentivized to associate similar books, so noticing cover trends is a first clue as to what kind of reader might enjoy a particular book. The next clue to consider is the inside cover flap. It’s still an advertisement, and an incomplete picture, but together we’re getting an impression of what the publisher wants us to think about the book. The third clue that we use, as both readers and librarians, is to read the first page. At last, we get an impression of what the writing is actually like! It’s only a snippet, and it’s still a hook to reel us in, but it’s the author’s hook this time. 

     Truthfully, we all dismiss most books based on cover, and more still based on the teaser. It’s not fair, but it’s practical. Sure, we’ll miss some gems--the Classics section has some of the least appealing covers in the whole building. You might be thinking, “There’s got to be a better way.” There is. Ask a librarian/friend/Goodreads reviewer for a recommendation to get a head start on the book finding process. 

     However, when you are staring into the kaleidoscope of the new releases without a hint, it’s your first recourse. So next time you find yourself assuming you’ll love a book because of the silly big font on the cover, remember that you might not be wrong.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 13, 2020


     Instead of watching the news at night and feeling the clawing grip of anxiety stopping your heart, why not end the day with something that lightens the mood. Something that lets you giggle like you haven’t in months. Stress and anxiety is it’s own pandemic now, but we can grab moments of sober respite by enjoying something genuinely hilarious--like seeing a puppy get so happy they get the zoomies. A bit of joy has only ever done the body and mind good. The news will be there in the morning.

     Seek professional help, of course, if stress or anxiety are impacting your daily life. Tune in for Mental Wellness Wednesdays at 10:30am on Facebook Live with Dr. Raymond Suarez too. In the meantime, let’s read something so funny we laugh-out-loud in earnest.

     Get a silly perspective with Nathan Pyle’s back to back books ‘Strange Planet’ and ‘Stranger Planet’. They’re a series of one page comics of aliens acting out and describing common human interactions. Every one is immediately relatable, and yet the way they play out has the reader laughing at the bizarre banality of human behavior. Patricia Marx & Roz Chast’s book follows a similar observational style, but it’s formatted as a list of rules for long-term couples. The book is called ‘You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time’, which is a title, rule, and joke all in one. It’s a perfect read for people who have felt the all too nearness of one another during this pandemic.

     ‘Separation Anxiety’ by Laura Zigman is a novel with the teaser line “Judy never intended to start wearing the dog”, and yet the reader knows from the cover that Judy does exactly that. She started wearing the dog to contend with entrenched middle-aged insecurities that are all too familiar for readers. It’s silly, enjoyable, and often moving.

     Samantha Irby writes humor with an autobiographical tact in ‘Wow, No Thank You’. These essays are rife with comedic commentary about places, especially Hollywood, and people, especially Irby herself. She doesn’t hold herself back, so go nuts reading this unfiltered lifestyle comedy.

     Picking up any of these humorous books can remind us that the stress and anxiety of our current state is pandemic. Reading about relatable, and usually silly, daily lives can ease the mental toll and let us laugh. 

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 6, 2020

It is challenging to cognize what it takes to climb the largest mountains in the world. Mt. Washington, for example, is a massive mountain. Hikers look forward to at least 4,000 feet of gain to the over 6,000 ft. summit. It’s known for extreme weather and challenge. Those who have hiked Mt. Washington can appreciate the colossal difference between the Mt. Washington hike, and the technical, death defying climb of Mt. Everest. 

Ed Webster of Massachusetts and an international team made history in 1988 when they planned and followed a new route up the Kangshung Face of Mt. Everest. It was a remarkable venture for several reasons. It’s an 11,000 ft. climb, terrifyingly steep, weather ridden, and deadly. They made the trip without the assistance of oxygen bottles, radios, or Sherpa climbers. There was significant risk that lives would be lost, but their success and survival gives testament to human endurance, ambition, and willpower. 

It’s also notable that Ed Webster survived his venture to the south summit of Mt. Everest, because it means that he is around to tell us the first hand account of that effort. On Thursday, August 20th, from 6-7pm, Ed Webster will show us the vivid photographic tale of the expedition. He’ll talk about the importance of the team, the planning, and the calculation of risk. He’ll talk about the harrowing descent, often thought to be more challenging than the climb, and of the physical toll it inflicted. 

It’s not a story to miss, so don’t! A very small number of people can sign up to join us in-person, physically distancing in the Library meeting room. All others can contact the library to sign up to participate in the Zoom presentation.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 27, 2020


      What is it about cryptids that keeps researchers and enthusiasts coming back legend after legend? The idea that a strange, elusive living thing dances just at the edge of human notice is enticing. There is a storyteller’s flair to the lore.

       The Summer Reading Program theme is ‘Imagine Your Story’, all about myths, legends, and the telling of tales. In keeping with the theme, we’ve invited Filmmaker and Cryptozoologist Aleksandar Petakov to tell us about his investigations in the Bigfoot legend right here in New Hampshire! He has researched strange encounters and eye-witness sightings of ‘Bigfoot-like creatures’ across the Granite state over the past several decades and has produced a documentary short about an Abenaki researcher in the White Mountains. It’s called ‘Shyman of the White Mountains’, and was an official selection of the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival 2017. After telling us all about the Granite State Bigfoot legends, we’ll conclude with a screening of the short film. Aleksandr will also have display materials and copies of his 2018 comic book collaboration with NH-based Mitchell Comics, titled ‘Granite State Bigfoot’. 

       Join us to hear about this bit of local lore on Thursday, August 6th, from 6:30-7:30pm. The program will be a limited in-person presentation with a live stream of the recording on the Gilford Public Library Facebook page. Sign up fast for the limited in-person seats.

       Speaking of legends, we have had a legendary Summer Reading Program! August 6th concludes the Summer Reading Programs, so be sure to enter your final logs by then. Families are invited to dress up and drive through the Candy Land Drive Through from 3:30-4:30pm! Teens can come by the library between 9am and 5:30pm the day before (8/5) to spray paint a square in the children’s parking lot. We’ve done a lot of reading this summer--let’s celebrate!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 23, 2020

     When is the last time you read something that THRILLED you? The ‘thriller’ description might conjure up a particular kind of book. A dark, psychological kidnapping, or someone hunted by the ex they thought had died years ago. It’s not all Ruth Ware chilling tales (though those are excellent). There are thrillers for everyone! You’ll get the real rundown if you tune in to ‘20 Thrilling Books in 20 Minutes’ on Facebook Live July 28th from 1-1:30pm, but let’s get warmed up with some exciting reads right now from BookPage’s ‘Thrills for Every Reader’ list!

     Megan Miranda tells a chilling story of ‘The Girl From Widow Hills’, who was sleepwalking as a child and was missing for days, finally found alive clinging to a storm drain. Twenty years later, she left her old persona in the public eye. She has begun sleep walking again, but this time, with deadly consequences. Another read with a time hop is ‘The Mountains Wild’ by Sarah Stewart Taylor. Maggie D’arcy traveled to Ireland to help the police search for her eerily missing cousin. Decades later, now a homicide detective, Maggie’s cousin’s scarf turns up right as another young woman goes missing. She heads back to Ireland, this time determined to find answers. You know there’s going to be a twist… or do you? Will you see it coming?

     The Green Man is a sympathetic, if ruthless, serial bomber in David Klass’ ‘Out of Time’. He exclusively demolishes targets designed to draw global attention to threats to the environment. The Green Man seems to be uniquely skilled at evading FBI tactics, until Tom Smith applies his own unique skills to the case. Will they find the Green Man before they run out of time?

     Heather Young’s ‘The Distant Dead’ differs from these others, in that the book starts when the deaths have already happened. An orphaned sixth grader finds the burning body of a teacher in the desert. The teacher was his friend, confidant, and comiserator. He and others in the small town are in turmoil over the death, why this mysterious man was murdered, and what it has to do with the traumatic burdens they already bore.

     The library has copies of all of these books. To borrow them just sign into the library catalog, search for the title, and click ‘reserve’, or give the library a call at 603.524.3042. There are twenty more teasers waiting for you on Tuesday, July 28th. See you then! 


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 16, 2020

Your dog loves you. If you don’t have a dog, your neighbor’s dog probably loves you. A bit of silver lining to the pandemic is that many people were able to spend more time with their pets! One of the only things we love as much as our dogs is the stories about them. So many books and movies featuring our canine companions enrapture our attention. 

One the most prominent authors of dog-centric fiction is David Rosenfelt. His newest book, ‘Muzzled’ continues the Andy Carpenter mysteries. This time, Andy helps a friend handle a dog left behind after an explosion killed his people. OR DID IT? When Andy gets a call from the presumed dead dog owner asking for his beloved companion back, Andy will have to look more closely at what’s really going on. Rosenfelt’s books have all the classic components of a not-too-dark mystery, but the dogs in his stories are world class--making him many reader’s pet author.

It’s one thing to be a lovable and loyal companion, but it’s another thing to be a capable worker. ‘No Ordinary Dog: My partner from the SEAL teams to the Bin Laden raid’ by Will Chesney is about Cairo, the Belgian Malinois military working dog who was a critical SEAL team member in operation Neptune Spear in Pakistan. When his handler, Will Chesney, was terribly injured by a grenade blast, Cairo’s job changed to being Will’s psychological and emotional support. “A Dog Named Beautiful” by Rob Kugler is also about the healing support of a canine companion. US Marine Rob Kugler was stricken with grief when he turned to his dog Bella for support. Shortly after Bella lost a leg to cancer, the two of them hit the road to see what they could make of the time they had left together.

Books are where you get the real story, but being able to see dogs and their behaviors in movies is its own kind of entertaining. So dog-lovers should read Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and then watch the movie too!

After reading about and seeing all these capable and well-behaved dogs, you might be thinking about how sometimes your dog spreads the trash through the house. That’s why we have ‘Dog Training for Dummies’ in our new Pets section. Just remember that even when our dogs roll in scat, they do love us, and we love them.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 9, 2020


         Read about something REAL! Not even talking about realistic fiction. Specifically--NOT fiction. ‘Non-Fiction’ for those in-the-know. At the time of this writing, many of the top non-fiction books are about social justice.

         Coming in at number one on the New York Times Bestselling Non-Fiction list is ‘How to be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X Kendi. Part rational dissection of the phenomenon of racism, part how-to guide for preventing the harm of racism in society and in the reader, Ibram X Kendi’s lucid writing could not be more relevant.

         That’s just the beginning. ‘I’m Still Here’ by Austin Channing Brown, ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by Layla F. Saad, and ‘White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism’ by Robin Diangel are all books to read right now.

         ‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates was the winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2015, and yet here it is on the best-seller list! The book is a letter to the author’s son ruminating on race in America and the course that his life has taken. That this rich and thoughtful book is resurging years after its publication speaks to the relevance of its subject.

         Climbing the ranks is John Bolton’s ‘The Room Where It Happened’. Former national security advisor worked for President Trump for 17 months, and this book is his account of that experience. 

         It wouldn’t be a best-seller list without at least one book about World War II. Chris Wallace’s ‘Countdown 1945: The extraordinary story of the atomic bomb and the 116 days that changed the world’ establishes the groundwork for one the most consequential decisions ever made. 

        ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle is a challenge to describe, because it is both a deeply personal story and a meditation on female empowerment. It has been celebrated for its candid and relatable description of what it feels like to contend with expectations, hopes, and roles as a woman in the world, and how to break out from the forces that try to control. 

         We pay attention to best-seller lists, so we’re likely to have all the books you come across. Get in touch to put one on reserve!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 2, 2020


With physical distancing still in effect, how are you getting your social and mental enrichment? Are you taking care of your mind?! The ‘summer slide’ describes the diminished learning progress in children who spend the summer without educational enrichment, but long periods of doldrum can have an impact on adult brains too.

Reading is a great way to keep the mind stimulated. It’s a seamless blend of entertainment and education. One way to make the most of your time, as any teacher will tell you, is to talk about what you’ve read! With the 4th of July this weekend, many of us will be gathering with friends and family in whatever safe ways we can--it's the perfect time to get some reading in, and the perfect time to talk about it. Of course, it’s most fun when your family and friends have read the same thing. That would make them co-conspirators, partners in crime, intellectual peers, or, perhaps, romantic connoisseurs, depending on what book you’re talking about. 

Casual conversation about books you’ve read is great. When you take it a step further and plan a date/time to talk about a book--that’s a book discussion group! Yes, the Library is still having Book Discussions, and they work well adapted to physical distancing. We’re Zooming now! July’s discussion book ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ by Jesmyn Ward is the perfect book to talk about because it dwells on topics of family, strife, society, and race. Books like that bloom when they are shared. Physical books can be borrowed for the library, or you can borrow digital copies from our collections. However you read the book, just give us a shout at the library for access to the Zoom discussion on July 30th at 12:30pm.

Just as authors share their thoughts with you, why not share your thoughts with friends, family, and neighbors. At the least tell a library what you thought of your last read!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 25th, 2020


Summer Reading has begun! “Imagine Your Story” is this year’s theme. Reading broadens the imagination by sharing perspectives we might not otherwise understand. It improves our capacity to vividly describe our own personal narratives. Reading makes us more capable and more empathetic, especially when we read a variety of styles, content, and authorship. “Imagine Your Story” is about stories of all kinds--myths, lore, fairy tales, family narratives, and more. Register the whole family for the Summer Reading Program at  if you haven’t already!

Naturally, we have several events to match the “Imagine Your Story” theme. TODAY, Thursday, June 25th, we have a NH Humanities program called ‘How Did Greeks Believe Their Myths’ with R. Scott Smith beginning at 3pm. Participants can register to join the Zoom call or tune in to the live stream on Facebook. Smith is Professor of Classics at the University of New Hampshire, and he will explain the evolving ways that historic Greeks understood the myths and how their understanding influenced populations to follow.

Hear about local lore this Tuesday, June 30th, at 6:30pm with ‘Stories, Stones, and Superstitions of New Hampshire’. Author Roxie Zwicker will take participants on a virtual tour of the legends, lore, and symbolism from a select number of New Hampshire’s burial grounds. Participants can register to join the Zoom call or tune in to the live stream on Facebook. 

For these and more fascinating events, check out the Gilford Public Library monthly calendars!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 18, 2020


Two major things are going on. ONE--the library is open, kind of. Up to 20 patrons can come into the library building (first time in months) and browse the shelves for materials. For all the people who need to see and feel a book before they choose to read it, you can finally get back into the library and look. Safety procedures are in place, of course. We strongly recommend keeping to the 6-ft. physical distancing guideline and wearing a facemask when coming indoors. We care about you and all of our patrons, so please be considerate.

TWO--The Summer Reading Program kicks off this Tuesday, June 23rd! We know that people are dying for fun, social activities to do, and our mostly remote Summer Reading Program is the perfect way to keep the whole family engaged, learning, and playing all summer long. We’ll kick things off with a Facebook Live party at 10:30am with music for all ages played by Paul Warnick. That afternoon, kids and teens can pick up a free ice cream drive-through style at the library. Sawyer’s Dairy Bar is donating the ice cream--Thanks! 

Sign up as you drive through or follow the links on our website to the READsquared site and app. That’s right, we’re going digital for recording reading and activities this year in order to make it as easy as possible for people to participate from home. Feel free to get in touch with the librarians with any questions you have!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 11th, 2020


Crafters, artists, and makers are invited to join the new Gilford Library Community Art Group! This new Facebook-based group will be a place for local artists to share tips and tricks for a variety of art interests. Professionals, amateurs, and hobbyists are all welcome. Participants will have a chance to showcase their work in virtual community galleries and can benefit from Zoom art classes. 

Local ceramic artist and librarian Molly Harper is founding this group to help connect the many talented and prolific artists in the Lakes Region. It’s her hope that participants will share with one another, and motivate each other to greater creative success. 

Molly will host a Facebook Live Kickoff for the Community Art Group on Wednesday, June 24th from 2-3pm right from her studio. Anyone interested is welcome to tune in and participate. 

Those who do will hear about the plans for Zoom classes, DIY projects, and creative resources like Creative Bug (free with a library card). Zoom classes will be sign-up programs with materials provided at the library. Then, from the comfort of home, participants can join the Zoom call and make their own piece of art in the company of other artists.

DIY projects, alternatively, will be demonstrated on Facebook Live. These projects will be the kind of thing that most anyone can make with materials found around the home.

The Gilford Library Community Art Group is a new and evolving project, so suggestions and ideas are welcome! Feel free to reach out to the Library to learn more. Keep making!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 4, 2020

     Piles and piles of new books are working their way through town! An astonishing number of great reads have been published in the last two months, and now that the library is open for curbside pickup, we can have a crack at them! Their titles are particularly entertaining, so much so that we could write something interspersed with titles--at least a few ‘Chosen Ones’ (by Veronica Roth).

     Making ‘A Good Marriage’ (by Kimberly McCreight) between books and their readers is so satisfying. Even ‘The Exiles’ (by Christina Baker Kline), the books that aren’t ‘the Book of Longing’ (by Sue Monk Kidd) for everyone, might be ‘The Knockout Queen’ (by Rufi Thorpe) for ‘Someone Like You’ (by Karen Kingsbury). Some books are ‘Fearless’ (by Fern Michaels), filled with ‘Little Secrets’ (by Jennifer Hillier), books all about ‘The Evil Men Do’ (by John McMahon). Reading books like that can hit the ‘Perfect Tunes’ (by Emily Gould) leaving you feeling ‘Happy and You Know It’ (by Laura Hankin). 

     As we’ve been cooped up at home, these books have ‘Hid From Our Eyes’ (by Julia Spencer-Fleming). We’ll read whatever we can get our hands on ‘After Sundown’ (by Linda Howard). ‘I’d Give Anything’ (by Marisa De Los Santos) for a ‘Close Up’ (by Amanda Quick) with new books. They could come from ‘Mum & Dad’ (by Joanna Trollope) or some ‘Girl Gone Viral’ on Youtube. I mean, we'd even read ‘Shakespeare for Squirrels’ (by Christopher Moore) handed to us by the ‘Redhead by the Side of the Road’ (by Anne Tyler) if it meant we’d have some literature at last! 

     Well, we’re ‘Sorry for Your Trouble’ (by Richard Ford), but we’re glad that ‘Hello Summer’ (by Mary Kay Andrews) is what we’re saying now. Make it a ‘Big Summer’ (by Jennifer Weiner’ with new books from the Library. That’s it. That’s ‘The Big Finish’ (by Brooke Fossey).


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 28, 2020


Hold up, what about the kids? Adults aren’t the only ones dealing with stress and anxiety right now. As Dr. Raymond Suarez explained in his discussion ‘Mental Health and Wellness in the Time of Corona’, kids are mental sponges. Though they often put their best face forward, they can feel the anxiety of the adults around them. It’s important to check in with our children to learn if they are feeling stressed and to help them manage their feelings.

Local children’s author and yoga guru Ann Biese writes books to help children with anxiety. She believes that there are methods we can use to help manage and reduce anxiety. In particular, she recommends intentional breathing and relaxational movement. Her books ‘Worry Bee” and “Mindful Moon” have been popular at the Library, and they are more important now than ever!

We’re excited that Ann Biese is launching her new book, “Maggie Believed” with a special author storytime live with the Gilford Public Library! Given the current pandemic and the anxiety that has come with it, there could not be a better time to release this new, positive, hopeful story of a stray dog who dreams of belonging to a loving family. Children will easily relate to Maggie’s feelings of isolation and hardship. Families can join us live on Facebook on Monday, June 1st, from 10:30-11:30am to hear a special reading and short yoga practice.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 21, 2020


     The Book Reads Creation Contest is almost over! For two weeks people have been downloading and reading ebooks from the Library’s digital collection and making something inspired by what they read. It’s such a simple formula, but it has been so fun. It’s an all ages activity, great for families, and a nice creative outlet. 

     Here’s how it works. First, grab your library card. Then, go to the Libby app or, Hoopla, or Tumblebooks and sign in with your library card. You automatically have an account just by having a Gilford Library Card! Pick out your next favorite read. Check it out, download it, and dig in. As your mind swims with images, feelings, and ideas from the excellent literature, think about something you want to make related to the book. It could be a painting, a unique dish, a poem, most anything that was inspired by what you read. Share it by posting on the Library Facebook page, tag us on Instagram, or email a submission to to enter.

     Just like that you’ve read a good book, created something new, and have been entered to win a gift card to a local shop! Last day for submissions is Friday, May 22nd, so get your submissions in if you haven’t already.

     Use of the digital collections has multiplied since the beginning of the pandemic. The Book Reads Creation Contest is a chance for the community to see that impact it has had on all of us. We you’ve enjoyed seeing the submissions as much as we have!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 14, 2020


     You’re stranded in a literary desert. Parched, starved of a good read. It’s been months since you borrowed a breath-catching book from the library. But then, from the ground, a burble of fresh words, and then an eruption of literature pours out and you are standing, suddenly, at a curbside delivery oasis in front of a friendly library. A librarian has left you a bag of books, more precious than gold, and as you reach for the bag and look at the titles, they are blank. How do you know what to read next? 

     You might have some questions about how picking out books and other media for curbside pickup works. Did the library get new books? Yes, and they long to be read. Are librarians ready to help make recommendations? Yes, and they long to help! Is there a convenient online way to browse read-a-likes, similar authors, and put materials on reserve all in one place? Yes, it’s the online catalog! Sign in with your library card number to make full use of this amazing tool. When you’re browsing at 12am having just finished a book and there isn’t a librarian to call, you’ll be able to see recommendations in the catalog itself with the new ‘Explore’ feature. 

     Explore will show you more than the summary and page length of a book. Now, the catalog shows you pictures of the book, full description, professional reviews, text previews, about the authors, and, most excitingly, ‘You May Also Like’ and ‘Similar Authors’ sections. It’s the second best thing to chatting with a friend or librarian at the shelves, and it's a glass of cool oasis water in these dry times.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 7, 2020


     Safety is a balancing act. As we think about reopening, we face the same challenges that many face. We desperately want to share the collection with the public, and we’ve heard how desperate people are for things to read! The trustees want to be sure that the library is open gradually, in a way that makes sense with practical science. They want to take measures to protect the librarians, while also offering the services that the community relies on.

     In accordance with Governor Sununu’s announcement, the Library will start offering curbside pickup on May 18th! We’re hoping to have an efficient, simple process for borrowing physical books again. Here’s how it will work:

     Pick out materials to borrow. You can call, text, or email the library and ask for specific books or ask for recommendations. You can also browse the Gilford Library catalog at and and put books on reserve by signing in with your library card and password (phone number by default). 

     Let us know you’re coming to pick them up. Call, text, or email to give us a heads up you’re on your way and we’ll get your materials ready to go.

     Drive into the drive through line and let us know you’re here! Call the library to say that you’re waiting outside, and we’ll run the books out to hand through your window. That’s it!

     For those who are unable to get to the library, there’s homebound delivery. Library volunteers will pick up your materials and drive them to your home. Get in touch for more information.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 30, 2020


Your story has value. That’s one of the statements in Jen A. Miller’s compelling article called ‘Why You Should Start a Coronavirus Diary’. So many of us have thoughts and experiences related to the impact of COVID-19 that dwell, unorganized and private. Miller summarizes her argument in favor of recording your thoughts and experiences, “It’ll help you organize your thoughts during these difficult times, and may help educate future generations”. 

Writing down one’s thoughts can help to process them. So much of our lives over the past month and a half have been confusing. We’ve heard how people have lost confidence in things they used to rely on, others have rediscovered where their priorities are, and others still have found new meaning in social connection. Whatever you’ve thought or felt lately, taking notes in any form can help to work through them, and they can be useful to others too.

We may think that our stories are insignificant, or ordinary, but those stories matter too. History is not just made by world leaders, but by the people living in the world, day in, day out. The next generation will want to know what it was like when the world closed half their doors, and your story can help your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and historians to understand what happened. 

We’re collecting writings, poems, art, and any other creation related to the pandemic to compile as Gilford history. After you’ve made something to work through or express your experience, consider sending it to the Library to add to the collection. Whether or not you share your writings, remember that they can be a useful tool. Use any method that works for you, and don’t let gravitas slow you down. It’s just you and your thoughts, after all.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 24, 2020


Of all the places to be cooped up during social distancing, the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is far from the worst. Right out our doors is an abundance of free, safe, and enriching hikes and walks! If you’re not going to Mount Major, which we should probably avoid, it’s quite easy to stay six feet from others on the open trail. Hiking is a great way to keep the body moving, shake off stress, and get some fresh, outdoor air. It’s a wonderful activity to do with the family, or to have some time on your own out of the house.

So where are all these places? Locke’s Hill Trail is an excellent hike for a family. At 1.8 miles, it’s long enough to get some exercise, but not so long that the kids get exhausted. It’s a clear trail with an excellent view for the distance. For more of a wooded walk, Avis P Smart woods has a 1-mile loop that scratches the itch for the outdoors. Ramblin Vewe Farm and Weeks Woods are always good spots for a walk too.

We can’t pick up a trail map at the Library right now, but maps are widely available online. You can download trail maps from, (for Weeks Woods), or get the entire belknap mountain range at It’s so important to stretch the legs and lungs. Be smart and be safe. 

If you don’t know which trail is good for you, or if you’re having trouble finding the trailhead, call the library M-F 9am-5pm or email anytime and we’ll do our best to get you the information you need. Also, celebrate National Library Week with Gilford Library by commenting on one of our Facebook or Instagram posts or videos this week (4/19-4/25) to be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 16, 2020

     Face to face. Talking with someone you can see is so much more a complete exchange than just messaging or phone calling. We say so much with our body language and expression. These integral elements of communication are especially important when talking with a distant friend or loved one. In the time of quarantine, we can use the wonderful tools available to us to meet face to face from our own homes. 

     Zoom, Hangouts, Duo, Whatsapp, Facetime, Jitsi, Skype, Discord, and many other tools enable us to speak to one another with video and voice. It can seem overwhelming with the number of options, but most function in similar ways. For each, you need a microphone and camera. Most smartphones and laptops will have both and they’ll work automatically. Most of the services require free accounts, though Zoom only requires an account for the host, and Jitsi requires none. Each has their own limitations, such as Facetime only working on Apple products, but it works great when video calling iPhone to iPhone (or iPad). 

     The Library can help recommend a video call service and help set it up. Got a group of friends and want to do a quick group video chat? Setup a meeting on Jitsi and text or email the link to each friend. Want to do one on one video call with the grandkids? Facetime, Duo, Skype, and Whatsapp all take a couple minutes to setup for both users, and are a breeze to use for future calls. 

     We are happy to help keep you connected with the people you care about. Call the library M-F 9am-5pm and email anytime for help. Check Out An Expert has gone remote: so call with any tech questions on Wednesday morning from 10am-12pm. You can even try out zoom and video chat with neighbors at our Friday morning Coffee Corner! 


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 9, 2020


      Creativity booms as people at home discover new hobbies  and creative projects. Many people are no longer commuting or spending time gathering, and so they use their energy to create instead. Art is an endless outlet, from sewing to woodworking, from gardening to graphic imagery, from painting to writing. We all have so much potential, and despite self-doubt right now, we are putting it to use.

       The Library is going to create a patron sourced historical record of Gilford during the pandemic. We are looking to hear from you and your neighbors about your experience. A story, video, poem, pictures, a recipe, drawings, however you want to share it, we would love to hear it. The library will compile all the responses and help keep a record of what happened during the pandemic. Take a look at the Help Create History Project on the website for more information.

     More for creators: CreativeBug is a crafter’s muse. Their website has classes on all kinds of paper, yarn, fabric, jewelry, and paint crafts. It has daily technique practices, inspirational materials, and new content every day. If you are trying out a new creative outlet, or are looking to learn a new technique, Creativebug could be the place for you. It also features incredible artists and their work throughout the site. We’re happy to say that the Library has signed up for access to Gilford Public Library card holders during this pandemic, so you can try it out with your library card at Creativebug

     Remember that the library is here to help connect you with resources you need. If you need help accessing a resource, or even if you want tips on how to start on something, reach out to us and we will get you there. Create on!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 2, 2020


        The world is different than it was a few weeks ago. Governor Sununu has declared 17 emergency orders this month to address the COVID-19 crisis. Visit to read the orders yourself, including Emergency Order 17, ‘Closure of non-essential businesses and requiring Granite Staters to stay at home’. With people working from home, newly on unemployment, or on work hiatus, so many of us are at home almost all hours, whether we want to be or not. 

       So we have too much time, not enough living space, and not enough socialization with those outside the home. What should we do?! 

        Well, at the Library we are working hard to connect people. Knowing that people come to the library as a social hub as much as for the materials within, we’re dedicated to connecting people even during a pandemic. In addition to the virtual storytimes, the Teen Discord server, and the improved remote assets, the Library is starting a Coffee Corner, where anyone from the community can join in over Zoom. We’re hoping that this casual conversation group will let people see and hear their neighbors risk free. The first is this Friday, April 3rd, at 10am. Also new is the Lunchtime With Libby program happening next week. Tune in over lunch to chat about books, the Libby ebook and audiobook platform, and learn how to use it to borrow digital books if you don’t already. Take a look at our website or give us a shout to learn how you can attend!

       We’re in this together. Feel welcome to reach out to the Library for resources or just for a neighborly conversation

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 26, 2020


    Yes, the Library building is closed. Fortunately, the Library has been so much more than the building for a long time! Right now, Librarians are creating online content, helping folks access the digital collections, and sharing the best sources of information available. We’re thoroughly connected to the worldwide web and we would love to reach you at home! is a hub connecting you to information. There, you’ll find links to best practices about COVID-19, digital resources like ebooks and video streaming, and activities to help keep families physically and mentally well. Content creators and hosts worldwide have stepped up to offer quality, free digital media. Take full advantage of the plethora of new, free entertainment like live shows, author readings, and more.

     We are creating content too! Keep an eye out for our Facebook Live storytimes. Teens and tweens who are cooped up and looking for a way to chat are welcome to join the Library Discord server. We’re playing large group social games on the server each weekday at 2:30pm. We are working on ways to facilitate access to the Gerifit exercise class and plan on hosting online escape rooms. 

    The amount of digital content out there can be staggering. If you want help finding or accessing something--that sounds like a reference question. Give us a call. Yes, Librarians are available for calls weekdays 9am-5pm and Saturday 10am-2pm. We are happy to help find what you need

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 19, 2020

Losing your mind couped up at home? Finished your last book last week, but don’t want to go out? Well, fortunately for all of us the Library offers access to hundreds of thousands of books, audiobooks, films, and more online! No need to stop in or sign up, just log in with your library card and your phone number to dive into a world of reading from almost any smart device or computer. All the links are on our website and the apps can be found on most app stores.

First stop is Overdrive on the Libby app. Overdrive has a locally curated collection of eBooks and audiobooks. Put up to five hot titles on reserve, or search by ‘available now’ to borrow something to read immediately. 

Find another collection with Hoopla, a popular service offering ebooks, audiobooks, TV shows, movies, graphic novels, music, and more. Unlike Overdrive, there are never any holds. There is the possibility that the Library’s budget cap will be hit each day, so check back later if that’s the case.

If you’re looking for something to watch, but don’t want your brain to melt away, head to Kanopy. It’s a independent and documentary video streaming service that is criminally underrated. This quality collection is the perfect cure for homebound boredom. 

For those of us that insist on a book in hand, the Library has started offering curbside pickup. Here’s how it works: Reserve items in our online catalog or call ahead with some titles for librarians to grab. Drive to the library. Call the library to let us know you’re outside. Open your window and greet the librarian as we deliver the books to you! We can even find books to your taste if you talk with us about your preferences.  

We’re hoping to connect people with media and to offer services to whom we can as safely and conveniently as possible, so take full advantage of these free opportunities!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 12, 2020

       DON’T PANIC. Douglas Adams wrote that pithy phrase as the cover to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. It’s advice to keep intrepid galaxy hoppers calm in the face of uncertainty, and it doubles as great advice for humanity. COVID-19 is causing havoc on people and societies. Though it seems like it’s been talked about ad nauseum, people continue to talk about it feverishly at the library. People are worried about friends and loved ones. They’re worried about travel plans, event cancellations, and supply sufficiencies. It’s a lot to worry about, so let’s take another look at what we can do to cover our bases and stave off hysteria.

        A good way to start is to seek out verifiable information. Head to CDC 2019 NCOV for up to date information on what is known about COVID-19. It covers best practices for individuals, families, and employers. Currently, risk of a serious COVID-19 outbreak in Gilford is relatively low, but the advised preventative measures are good for prevention of many diseases.

       From the CDC: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. (CDC Prevention and Treatment)

       Those are currently best practices whether or not there is new virus outbreak, so we should follow them in any case. The library is following best practices itself, including regularly disinfecting trafficked areas.

       Remember that the quality of information counts! Consider the source of information you encounter, and prefer the advice of medical professionals. The Library is happy to help find answers to questions you have!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 5, 2020

       Tick Tock goes the clock and night is fast approaching. Finding the fastest avenue to the land of slumber can be tricky. Trickier still is staying lost in the twilight world of our dreams. According to the National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll (2019), only 47% of people report being well-rested on weekdays. Perhaps the right book can ease such troubles.

          While a “how to” guide might be a tad much, there are plenty of books to aid getting into the right mindset to improve sleep. The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix it and Why We Can’t Sleep: A Woman’s New Midlife Crisis are non-fiction books that explore the impediments to getting a better night’s sleep.

          For a less academic approach it may be better to hunker down with fiction to ease into slumber. Early Riser is a story wherein people hibernate during the harsh winters, and follows a member of the “Winter Service” as he deals with his first winter outside the safety of sleep. Any book can do, though thrillers may be counter-productive to this endeavor.

On that note, thrillers and suspense aren’t the only means through which to enjoy a good mystery. If murder is on the mind, then something in the “Cozy Mysteries” genre may catch your fancy. No excessive gore or heinous descriptions to set the mind on edge, just simple mystery solving on a pleasant backdrop.

       If a swift resolution will translate into swift sleep for yourself, perhaps a collection of short stories to enjoy nightly. Birds of a Lesser Paradise is a short story collection full of heart, love, and emotion to warm the soul. If you search for “SC” under “Call # Begins With” in our catalog, a plethora of collections will jump out to entertain.

       Whether it be a novel one from our own collection or a tactic learned from one of the non-fiction tomes, book yourself a good night’s sleep now!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 27, 2020

       It’s timey wimey for a birthday snarsy! Get the toofloofers, bake the takecake, and dress in your  fleiniest playwearables for the best birthday snarsy of the year. Get excitidoodles for the main event: storytime. Thing is, it’s not just storytime, it’s THE Storytime. It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

        This stupendous, momentous, tremendous day is technically Monday, March 2nd, but we’re going to party on Thursday, March 5th. The Cat in the Hat will join in for a special storytime from 10:30-11:30am, with no sign up. Free and open to all! He’ll bring cake, games, and amazing stories for children ages 0-5.

       Dr. Seuss’ birthday is so special because it is a symbol for nationwide literacy. The day is commemorated as Read Across America Day, prompting teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents, and caretakers to share a love for reading with children of all ages. Reading promotes cognitive development, creative thinking, empathy, and curiosity.

       You can participate too just by reading or sharing a story with someone this coming week. If you don’t know which book to read, just ask a librarian for a recommendation, or read one written by the birthday boy, Dr. Seuss, himself! Reading is flambogus and you can have a funtubulicious time too. Happy birthday!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 21, 2020

       Every year gilfordians flock to the library for bird-watching and bird-feeding books. Hiking in winter is breathtaking, and all the more so when birds are in view. With just a few tips on where to look, plumage to notice, and calls to hear, hikers and snowshoers are often amazed at how many birds they had been casually walking past!

        The Dewey number to look for is 598. There you’ll find books like ‘Birdwatching in New Hampshire’ by Eric A Masterson, ‘Birding Without Borders’ by Noah Strycker, and all manner of bird identification books. You’ll also see bird feeding books like Chris Earley’s ‘Feed the Birds: attract and identify 196 common North American birds’.

        Don’t be unprepared when you go out there! Bring appropriate clothing, footwear, navigation aids, and, of course, binoculars! You can get a head start with the Library’s Birding Kit and/or the Hiking Kit, not to mention all the resources in the Hiking Section. The Birding Kit comes with a few books and a pair of binoculars, everything you need if you’re birding from home. Make it a family activity with the Bird Kit in the Children’s Room, with small binoculars, kids books, and stuffies! Keep an eye out for an upcoming birding program on May 9th.

         The Library and Gilford Parks and Rec. collaborated to organize a snowshoe nature hike tomorrow, Friday, February 21st from 12:30-1:30pm. Wendy Oellers and Ron Fulmer will guide a group through Ramblin Vewe Farm to see what they can see. Programs like these are great chances for new and old explorers to get out! Parks and Rec. have a few pairs of snowshoes for those signed up who don’t have them. Register today if you want to go!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 13, 2020

      The language of love is the written word. Words have the power to evoke emotion in so many ways. When you want to show your love for someone, consider how you can use words and text to share with them.

      Poetry has power. A few seconds of reading can contain incredible meaning, so, consider sharing a poem or writing one yourself. Even the process of picking or writing a poem helps to clarify your own thoughts and feelings.

       Stories of revitalizing love are so much better when passed from friend to friend. The Library is built on the idea of shared stories, and it works because we have so much in common: A beautiful read is beautiful to many.

        Reading or telling a story with someone else, especially with children, gives a story life. Reading with children accomplishes more than entertainment, it’s subliminal education and a demonstration of shared experience. Besides, it’s fun to do the voices.

         If the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, then cookbooks are the map.  Plating something you’ve working hard on shows the people at the table that they are worth your time and energy. 

        To care for the struggles of others, we have to understand their perspective. Reading thoughtful books draws you into the minds of characters and their real-world counterparts. It’s not exactly walking in their shoes, but it's something.

        Finally, sharing your love for others is so important, but loving yourself is essential. Reading relaxes us and untangles the mind.

        There’s a lot of love in this Library. Come by and be welcome.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 6th, 2020


      Out with Dewey and in with words that make sense. I’m talking about the way that we categorize our non-fiction sections in the Library. We have to have some way to organize the many thousands of non-fiction books, and the Dewey Decimal System has been good enough, more or less, for decades, but our standards for ease of use have outgrown our need for extreme specificity. We want people to be able to find our books on the shelves without taking a class on the classic Dewey Decimal System, and to have the option of browsing the shelves instead of searching for a specific title in the catalog.

      You’ve probably already seen the fruits of this effort in the Biographies, Cooking, Travel, History, and Hiking sections, all of which use words instead of numbers to organize books. So when you are looking for a book on quick recipes for the modern palet, you can head to COOKING QUICK & EASY instead of 641.56. Well, we just finished the next big step by recataloging the entire children’s nonfiction section. That’s about 4000 books (excellent books, btw) that we sorted and relabeled from unintuitive numbers into ANIMALS, SCIENCE & NATURE, TECH, ART, HEALTH & DAILY LIVING, and many others. Our aim is to make the collection more approachable for kids, parents, and teachers and to make the search more fulfilling.

        As we were working, we found so many incredible books that were ‘lost’ in the Dewey organization. We hope that now these thought-enriching books will find their way into the hands of readers who will enjoy them. Maybe kids will find their way to my personal favorite section, CURIOSITY & WONDER. Stop by the kids room next time you’re in and take a look at how the Library is evolving.    

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, January 30th, 2020

     We learn so much from our pets. They teach us about devotion, the importance of family, and about the cycle of life. The fact is that humans are longer living than most pets. This means that we get to share in the joys and trials of their entire lifetime, including the memorable highs, and heart-aching struggles.

     Thomas Farmen is a retired teacher, a writer, and an attentive dog owner. His dog, Bessie, started to lose her sight over two years ago. He bore witness to her gradual adaptation to encroaching darkness. As he watched her learn to make adjustments, he found that he was adapting himself, both in his daily behaviors with her and with his emotional outlook. They were learning how to move forward in the face of change, together.

     Thomas lives in New Hampshire with Bessie, and we are so excited that he is coming to talk about Bessie’s story at the Library on Thursday, February 6th from 6:30-7:30pm (Rain date is March 3rd). So you can borrow his book, come to hear him speak, or both!

Bessie’s story is more on the side of tragedy in the Shakespearean dichotomy, but her story leaves us with hope. It helps us remember that time spent well together is worth the effort, and that there is value and hope at all stages of life. We hope to see you there!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, January 24, 2020

         Thru-hiker and Gilford native Mikayla Clarke took on another adventure and is returning to tell the tale. After hiking most of the Appalachian Trail a couple of years ago, she got the drive again to take on another massive trek. This time, Mikayla spent five months hiking the 2,653 mile long Pacific Crest Trail from start to finish!

          Through deserts, forests, and glacial mountain passes the Pacific Crest Trail is among the most varied and achingly beautiful hikes of its kind. Routes make their way through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Volunteers and hikers work together to keep the trail clean and wild. Thru-hiking it is the experience of a life-time, and we are fortunate enough to have Mikayla share it with us.

        She’ll be coming to the library next Thursday, January 30th from 6:30-7:30pm with her boots clean, her pack dry, and all the pictures that a 5-month trip deserves. Come by to hear her story! Learn about the kind of preparation such a trip takes, how to cope with snags on the trail, what it’s like to meet so many people from different walks of life making the same trek, and have any other questions you might have answered. We’re very much looking forward to hearing Mikayla present again!

         If Mikayla’s venture is motivating you to hit the trails, check out the Hiking Section of the library for trail maps, preparation materials, and other things you didn’t know you needed.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, January 16, 2020

       Pestilence rides this winter, as it seems almost everyone has come down with a cold or flu. Prepare to fight it by sleeping plenty, consuming plenty of vitamin C and water, and don’t stop all season! If you do come down with a malady, my favorite cure is a late morning, a cup of black tea with honey, and a completely absorbing read that takes your mind off of the challenges of breathing.

       A first place to check for something engrossing is Librarians across the nation vote for their favorite new books, coming up with a new top ten every month. But at this time of year we vote on the top ten of 2019! Coming in with the win is ‘The Library Book’ by Susan Orlean--which may or may not be influenced by the profession of the voters, but the other nine are genuinely fascinating stories. On there you’ll see some titles we’ve mentioned before, like the rock and roll tribute novel ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid and the family saga ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett. There’s a heavy read in Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Nickel Boys’ and some levity in Oylnkan Braithwaite’s ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’. The latter comes with a laugh, which brightens the mood even when the tea runs out.

       If you haven’t read Alex Michaelides’ ‘The Silent Patient’ yet, you’ve saved it for the right time. This book has been popular since release, locking it in as one of the most gripping thrillers of the year. Alternatively, you could double down on blanket and tea warmth with a romance or two in Beth O’Leary’s ‘The Flatshare’ or Casey McQuiston’s ‘Red, White, and Royal Blue’. Whatever your sickness combating genre, reading will help you get through it.

       Don’t forget that there are ways to borrow books without going out or spreading your plague. You can use one of our digital book services like Overdrive or Hoopla to download books wherever you are. Germs don’t travel in cyberspace--computer viruses are just an analogy, fortunately. Be well!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, January 9, 2020

        SOMEONE LOCKED THE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS IN THE SAFE BOX! No one really did that, but we are imagining a high-stakes scenario for this week’s escape room, so stay with me while we pretend that this is CATACLYSMIC! You’re done with the old you, but in order to become the new you, you need that list of resolutions.

         Get cracking this year by cracking the New Year’s puzzles and unlocking the safe in 45 minutes or less! The resolutions get locked this Friday from 12-5:45pm. Time spots are on the hour, so get in touch to sign up on your own or with up to eight people. The program is for all ages, though the dastardly puzzles are not trivial! Children under 10 will need an accompanying adult.

          Escape rooms are a fun way to spend an hour exercising your brain and your social skills. It's not enough to “galaxy brain” and solve it yourself. You have to work as a team. Best of all, escaping at the library is free! If you’re resolution was to save money (and it wasn’t locked up) then what a way to start the year. We’ll get our resolutions back yet!

           If escape rooms aren’t your thing, another way to stimulate the mind is to read. We have been putting together the best books of the year to sum up 2019. Throughout the year we are hunting for books worth sharing with the community, so the best books of the year are the cream of the crop. Stop in and find books that are worth your time.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, December 30, 2019

         Alright ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to board the annual hype train. CHOO CHOO we are leaving the station and taking a non-stop trip to self-improvement. Year after year we try to do something to better ourselves. Let’s go above and beyond this time because 1) You’re worth it, 2) You want it, and 3) You’ve got help. You’re not the only one attempting to get better at something, so you don’t need to reinvent the exercise plan, the self-care mantra, or whatever you’re going for. There are people you can work with and resources you can draw on to make a plan, stick to it, and do so intelligently. Get smart, get hype, let’s go.

         Step one is to find a teacher and/or partner who motivates you. Who you learn from can make or break a new year effort, so get a recommendation from a librarian or someone else you trust. They can be a professional, a charismatic Youtube educator, a writer, podcaster, get creative! We all succeed differently, so it's important to pay attention to what is working and what is not. Evaluate your progress often and adjust.

        Some of us benefit from the tough-love approach like Tilman Fertitta’s book, ‘Shut Up and Listen: hard business truths that will help you succeed’. Others do better with wholesome encouragement like Elise Blaha Cripe’s ‘Big Dreams, Daily Joys: get things done, make space for what matters, achieve your dreams’. Others still are motivated by empathy, realism, or commiseration, like what you’ll in Karen Rinaldi’s ‘It’s Great to Suck at Something: the unexpected joy of wiping out and what it can teach us about patience, resilience, and the stuff that really matters’.

          Whatever your style, you’ll find resources at the library. Let’s get better together. Happy New Year.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, December 23, 2019

All of us here at the Gilford Public Library wish you a very happy holiday and happy New Year! We hope that you and yours enjoy these festive couple of weeks. Be sure to stop in and say hello, grab something to read or watch with the family, or just warm up by the fire. Please note the library’s holiday hours when planning your visit. We look forward to seeing you soon!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, December 16, 2019

          The Library has been beautified by the kindness of others. Volunteers and the Friends of the Library helped to put holiday decorations up and spruced the place up with their selfless attitudes. Festive cheer extends wall to wall with lighting, the smell of cinnamon hanging in the air, and librarians and patrons alike beaming with delight. It’s a fun time of year. We can all help to make the season a warm time for everyone. With colder temperatures coming in, now is a great time to give. Give of your time volunteering at shelters, or donate funds or requested goods. There are so many ways to help out. Just ask and we can help connect you with an organization that fits your time, means, and skills!

          One easy way to give is to donate to the New Hampshire Humane Society at the library until the end of the month. Donations in December is our promotion to encourage generosity this season. The NH Humane Society does so much with so little, so they are accepting donations of healthy treats, toys, litter, paper towels, blankets, and more. Head to their website for the full list of needed supplies. Each day you donate you can get up to $5 in library fines waived!

          Kindness, like everything, is something we can read about. You can pick up a light holiday story like this season’s favorite title, ‘Dachshund Through the Snow’ by David Rosenfelt, or you can dive deeper into burgeoning research with a book like ‘The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness’ by Kelli Harding. However you engage with the season, we hope that it’s a warm, rewarding experience.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, November 27, 2019


          What a feast! We pull out all the stops for Thanksgiving meal--delicious! Whether your Thanksgiving is traditional or inventive, I’m sure it tasted good. If you want every meal to be as tasty as this week, contemporary cookbooks are the place to look. Authors seem to have stepped up their creativity in recent years.

          Actually, a major part of cookbook appeal is the photography. They are a feast for the eyes! They’re like picture books for hungry adults. One of our more popular cookbook sections is Quick & Easy too, so not all meals have to take as long as a roast turkey. ‘Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: more than 125 recipes for instant, overnight, meal-prepped, and easy comfort foods’ by Tieghan Gerard is exactly what I’m talking about. Gorgeous imagery, easy, more-or-less healthy recipes, and taste that jumps off the pages. A more narrow, and definitively healthy cookbook is Hannah Pemberon’s ‘Buddha Bowls: grain + green + protein’. At first I thought it was just going to be lists of ingredient pairings, but it is certainly more than that.

          Or how about a remastered classic in Irma Rombauer’s ‘Joy of Cooking’. This new release boats 4000 revisited recipes and 600 new ones, so there’s variety. If you want unfussy food for having people over, you know, nothing fancy, you could check out Alison Roman’s ‘Nothing Fancy: unfussy food for having people over’. It’s a nice and literal cookbook with plenty of delicious, satisfying foods. For those who are constantly thinking, ‘What the heck should I cook tonight’ there’s Mark Hyman’s new cookbook, ‘Food: what the heck should I cook’. Get adventurous with a cooking tradition known for bold flavors. ‘Maangchi’s big book of Korean cooking: from everyday meals to celebrate cuisine’ has a nice balance of recipes.

          You don’t need to stop reading quality literature to pick up a cookbook. We have a COOKING LITERARY section, where you’ll find books like ‘Eat Joy: stories & comfort food from 31 celebrated writers’. These books are perfect for having a story to go along with a meal.

Pumpkin pie makes a wonderful dessert. It’s so good, you start thinking about how the whole meal should be pie! Introducing: ‘Dinner Pies: from shepherd’s pies and pot pies to turnovers, quiches, hand pies, and more, with 100 delectable & foolproof  recipes’ by Ken Haedrich. If you have leftovers, just bring them to the library. We hope to see you in the cooking section soon!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, December 11, 2019


          Time for the annual stroll through the village. It’s the beloved Candlelight Stroll! The village will be lit with the warm, soft light of a thousand candles as so many people mingle in the streets, homes, and community centers of our town on Saturday evening from 5-7pm. The friendly cheer of this tradition warms the hearts of attendees and sets the mood for the holidays.

          The stroll is more than a walk, of course, there are carolers, cookies, crafts, and more to be found throughout the village. Grab a pamphlet for the full details. Historic buildings will be opened, Santa will be at the field, the Gilford Village Store will be open with a festive menu, and more. Here at the library, we’ll enjoy cookies, corn chowder, and cocoa as we listen to beautiful music! Gilford Elementary School students will sing carols from 5-5:30pm. They’re as talented as they are adorable.

         Carter Laliberte takes over the show from 5:30-6:30pm. He will fill the Library with hit music, demonstrating a talent far beyond his age. However your evening goes, be sure to make it to the Library for some of these performances. While you’re here, create a salt dough ornament to take with you. Try corn chowder made by Sally and Bill Bickford, courtesy of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library.

         When you’re done, why not take a gorgeous one-way horse drawn carriage ride from the Library to the Rowe House, or take it to make your way here from the Rowe House! In keeping with the season, these Library events are free and open to the public. It’s such a wonderful event. Come join in the fun.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, December 5, 2019


          Gilford is wonderful. It’s like being on vacation all the time being here. Even still, sometimes you need to just get out of the house and go somewhere else! Take a trip, a vacation, a holiday away from home. Skip the crowds when you travel off-season, and combat seasonal affectiveness from the start.

          You may have heard that the library now processes passport applications. Combine that with our evolving Travel section and our public use computers, and the Library is a one-stop shop for travel planning. Applying for a passport is not a trivial process, so head over to to learn about what you need. Note that we don’t take passport photos at the Library. Please bring one with you to your appointment.

          Stop by the travel section to plan your next trip. We have new travel books to Portugal, Quebec, the rest of Canada, worldwide cruises, Milan, Costa Rica, the Camino de Santiago, US National Parks, Las Vegas, Washington D.C, and so many more destinations. We have new travel memoirs, like ‘The Sun is a Compass’ by Caroline Van Hemert. Caroline and her husband ventured 4,000 miles across wilderness from the pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic in order to ‘experience’ the natural world. It goes without saying that the experience was an incredible one, but Caroline did say it with passion and the insight of a scientist. Take a look at ‘Where to Go When’ for shorter, but nonetheless memorable trip recommendations for each month of the year. The book is so pretty, it’s worthwhile for armchair traveling alone.

          All this talk of travel has got me longing for a hike. Be sure to wave at any librarians you spot on the trail!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, November 21, 2019

       From Bridge to Trivia, or from Exploding Kittens to Mafia, we love games that bring us together. Social games liven up family gatherings. National Game and Puzzle Week takes place every Thanksgiving, because it's the perfect time to get everyone at the same table, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. I’m not saying it's a good way to get people off their devices to make eye-contact, but if I were to say something, I would say that.

          Bananagrams. It's not only a super cool word; it’s one of my favorite social games! Race to complete a crossword with the letter tiles you have (like Scrabble). Once someone uses all of their letters, everyone grabs another tile. When the tiles run out, the first person to use their last tile wins! Try it out at the library. We have one at the front desk.

          You don’t even need a physical game to play. Time-old games like charades are still hilarious, and the internet has endless ideas for simple games to play with any number of people. Let tech help with games like Catch Phrase and Triple Agent on a smart device, or use a console like the Nintendo Switch to play party games like the Jackbox series. Jackbox has raised the bar for social interactive entertainment, offering the potential for several nights of hilarious fun with friends and family.

          If you want more ideas that fit your scene, feel free to ask at the library. We play group games with families, teens, and adults weekly, so we have some experience. Bring some spice to this Thanksgiving with a social game!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, November 13, 2019

       The National Book Award Nominees have been announced! We’ve seen some major successes in new releases this year, so the competition is stark. As with any award involving subjectivity, you want to know who is giving the award--you can read up about the National Book Foundation team at Or, suffice it to say that it is a well-recognized award that catches the interest of readers, authors, and librarians across the nation. Without further ado, the finalists!

          In fiction, we see ‘the Other Americans’ by Laila Lalami. A Moroccan immigrant is killed by a speeding car, impacting the lives of diverse, mingled set of well-realized characters. ‘Disappearing Earth’ by Julia Phillips also starts with apparent death when two young girls go missing. The old, established community is shaken by the disappearance, where almost everyone has an emotional connection. ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ by Marlon James is a mythical hunt for a mysterious boy. The journey is marked with strange characters and stranger questions. ‘Trust Exercise’ by Susan Choi is an unsettling account of a couple of young lovers at a competitive and insular performing arts high school. It’s not for everyone, but Choi’s novel has plenty of fans. Kali Fajardo-Anstine has written a short story collection tapping into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry, set in the past of her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Each story is a struggle, but the women endure, driving the emotional plot forward.

       Any of these has the potential to take the National Book Award for Fiction. We’ll have to wait and see! They also have book awards for Young People's Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Translated Literature. We frequently have acclaimed lists like these at the front desk. Have a look next time you’re looking for a book to love!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, November 7, 2019

         Radical. That’s the only way to describe National Radiologic Technology Week, going on right now. Leave your assumptions about radiation professionals, or at least the marketing team of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, at the door. They’re new ‘Waves of the Future’ branding celebrates ‘the important role medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals play in patient care and health care safety.’ Medical imaging is used to identify medical problems without surgery.

        Did you know that the first X-Ray was taken in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. I learned that by reading at Radcademy, the self-described ‘cool new resource for young audiences’. It’s a cool resource for adult librarians too, turns out, and I now know all sorts about medical imaging and radiation therapy. X-Ray room walls have 1/16 inch lead lining in the walls on average btw.

         I also know that the ASRT is cool because they care about literary and education. They donated dozens of books on radiation, medical imaging, famous scientists like the Curies, and more to the library to celebrate National Radiologic Technology Week. Books like ‘The Donut That Roared: A Child’s Guide to Surviving an MRI’ by Joan Yordy Brasher, a fun picture book written to help children understand what’s going on when they get an MRI. Donut shaped MRI scanners can be extremely loud--hence the warning about a roar. There are several books on helping children and teens through cancer treatments, coping with the struggle or loss of loved ones, anatomy and physiology, the history of the field, and biographies for all ages.

         This new collection of books is available for borrowing right now, so swing by the library to see the display and learn something new!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, October 28, 2019

        Behind you, right before you, passing through you, ghosts can be anywhere, and take any form. The idea of ghosts is so flexible, ghost stories can be hauntingly clever. Suspend your disbelief this week, and have fun with a ghost story. From 14-year old murder victim in Alice Sebold’s celebrated ‘The Lovely Bones’ to Toni Morrison’s classic about the lasting horrors of slavery ‘Beloved’, ghost stories, when well written, will send shivers up your spine. So, suspend your disbelief for this week, at least, and read about an incorporeal metaphor for the aftermath of trauma.

          Jennifer McMahon’s new ghost story ‘The Invited’ takes the reader to rural Vermont where a cute couple build their dream house on land where, unbeknownst to the couple, generations of women have died amid suspicion. These women were, and perhaps still are, looking for something on that picturesque land.

          ‘The Summoning’ by Heather Graham is a lighter, but nonetheless dangerous read about a woman and the purportedly haunted property in Savannah she inherits. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when an ancestor of hers appears and a local starts to investigate missing people, she’s forced to reconsider her skepticism.

          ‘Ghost Wall’ by Sarah Moss is a story that creeps up on you. A family takes an anthropology course to learn what it was like to live as ancient Britons from the Iron Age in northern England. Roughing it away from modern civilization, they learn how to survive through ancient technique and ritual, forming a bond with the natural, and supernatural world. In just a couple weeks, they start to feel compelled to participate in some of the darker practices of the time.

          You don’t need to believe in ghosts to have a bit of fun once a year. Come by the library for a spooky recommendation, or your regret will haunt you. If you’re more into true events, come by the library next Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm to hear J. Dennis Robinson’s presentation ‘Case Closed on the 1873 Smuttynose Ax Murders’!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, October 21, 2019

       Hey, how are you doing? Are you feeling well? Surrounded by mountains and fresh air, it can be easy to forget that wellness cannot be taken for granted. It takes frequent attention, self-advocacy, and more often than not, support from one’s community, employers included. The Harvard Business Review has put out multiple studies and articles about how workplace stress, or ‘burnout’, has become a major contributor to stress-related illness and healthcare cost. Being well does not happen automatically. Ironically, it takes ‘work’ to achieve and maintain one’s well being.

        Sometimes it seems like we are incredibly bad at feeling good. We think that we need money to be well, so we work so hard we harm ourselves, and have to pay to heal. We spend time watching others appear to be perfectly well on social media, only to feel worse about ourselves, tanking our feeling of self-worth. The balancing act of work, play, and self-development can seem so precarious, that we stress-out about it, making it so much harder. Wellness also seems to be the kind of thing that is more difficult to attain the less you have of it. Things like lifestyle changes, firm work/life separation, healthy eating and exercise practices, and other wellness improving factors can seem like luxuries, available only to the wealthy, or those who come to these practices naturally.

       Well, there’s no one fix, but the good news is that you can improve your wellness bit by bit. The Library has quiet, calm spaces for you to read up on wellness. Visit around the 158’s in nonfiction for many of our self-help books to figure out where things are going wrong, but do it carefully. Wellness and self-care are huge businesses now, and not all resources are written without ulterior motives. We can help you find books that are useful in your personal situation. Bonus: the act of reading at rest is stress reducing on its own. If you, like many of us, spend too much time on social media, consider setting yourself light restrictions. I say ‘light’ because there have been studies showing that we are susceptible to stressing about our stress-reducers. Take your time, and try to wean yourself gradually. Same goes for nutrition and fitness. Take your time, and don’t let your fitbit or other self-improvement mechanism become your enemy. Given time, self-dedication, and social support, you can become well, and we are happy to help. Don’t forget to talk about it, in person, or online. In so many ways, we’re all in this together.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, October 16, 2019

       What a week! We have had many people coming in looking for information on a wide variety of topics ranging from constitutional rights, to gender identity and gender non-conforming experience, to recent New Hampshire law. We’ve heard people speaking with passion, fear, confusion, grief, and exaltation. What a time to offer information!

       We are here for you and for everyone. Jo Godwin has a famous quote, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone”. It is not the purpose of the library to offend people, but coming off the back of Banned Book Week, we know that offense is inevitable when we have a curated collection to meet the reading and information seeking needs of a diverse community.

       To that end, you’ll find all sorts of things in the library. Books on controversial topics, books written by controversial people, collected NH statutes, and for everything we don’t have, we have computers. Librarians are ready to help you find information, and to determine the trustworthiness of source.

       If it is the human aspect of a topic you are looking for, we have books for all experiences. Sometimes finding a source of shared experience can be encouraging. We can help you find books that speak to you. Pamphlets are available on several topics to help get you started in case you aren't comfortable asking for help.

       No matter what you’re thinking about, arm yourself with quality information! This is a safe place to study any topic. If information is power, the Library is the arsenal in town. You don’t need to engage in challenging conversations without knowing everything you can about the topic. Find out if the data supports your instincts, and send others looking for more information our way.

       Quality information and discussion can bridge the communication gaps, cut through the times we talk past one another, and get to the heart of an issue. It can help us to understand the fears of others, substantiate worries that have foundations, and help us to overcome our own fears when they are unfounded. Information is the delicious and the banquet is set. Let’s feast.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, October 10, 2019

       That’s it, we can stop the discussion. It’s unanimous. Fall is the best season, bar none. The weather is so pleasant, it blows the mind. You can walk outside without sunblock, without sunglasses, no coats, no muck boots, just jeans and a T-shirt and a satisfied smile. The food is fresh and delicious from the harvest. Hiking? Sport? There is literally (correct use) no better time of year to enjoy it. This season ROCKS!

       With it being so wonderful out, what could make you want to come inside the library? How about a rock art display with unassuming beauty to rival nature. Grace Howe’s has graced us with her incredible hand-crafted minimalistic rock art scenes using choice stones and ink on fine paper. When asked what her favorite thing about her art is, she just said, ‘it’s simple’. Her art is an accomplishment at any age, but all the more impressive knowing that she is just 10 years old. Both Grace and her art are simply wonderful.

       Being the best season to rock out in our mountain ranges, it is also the best time to check out the hiking books and maps. Many of the hiking books come with detailed maps and descriptions to help optimize your next venture. Most of the staff are hikers ourselves and we would love to talk about local trails! We can help you find your next favorite.

       Whether on your way to the mountain or on the way back, stop in the library to take in the art, plan your next trip, or pick up a stimulating read. Keeping on theme, I’d recommend Richard Macfarlane’s style of nature writing. In both his earlier work ‘Old Ways’ and the brand new ‘Underland: A deep time journey’, Richard ruminates on the natural world and the feeling we get when we travel a time-worn path. His descriptive style is one-of-a-kind, and will set the mood for adventure!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, October 2, 2019

       We all love a loon. Those majestic, buoyant creatures that let out somber calls in the late night--they have a special place in New Hampshire hearts. Although the web-footed aquatic birds are almost universally loved, they are only barely understood by many. Why, for example, do they have red eyes? Why do they let out such eerie, yet appealing, calls? Why aren’t they just ducks?

       Biologist Caroline Hughes knows and she is coming to the library to share on Thursday, October 10th from 6:30-7:30pm. She’ll explain some of the apparent mysteries about the curious loon, including living habits, preferred environments, and more.

       You might be able to guess where loons get their name. They wibble and wobble when walking on land because their bodies are optimized for swimming instead of walking. It works in a pinch, of course, but they look silly--in an endearing way.

       Caroline will also talk about the importance of taking care to make space for loons. She’ll talk about the Loon Preservation Committee’s effort to fight some of the challenges they face. Growth in New Hampshire and lakeside develop have had a major impact on loon populations, so it’s important for us to understand what loons need in order to survive and thrive. Find out how you can help to keep these cherished symbols of New Hampshire alive!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 3, 2019

       For weeks we’ve been talking about cozy reads, resting, hygge, and generally taking time to relax and collect oneself. Well, we’ve done that, so now it’s time to get up and do something! Let’s get moving. It’s a brand new year and we’ve got goals--let’s make them happen.
             But, where do we start? Say you’ve decided to run a 5k in March, or you want to learn how to cook, or you’ve decided to go to back to school. In all cases the first thing you need is information. See where this is going? We have books and digital resources to help you get started on your new goals. If you are serious about reaching your goals, these books can help you set out a plan to learn efficiently. ‘Teaching yourself’ can work, but it tends to be inefficient. Take less time away from the rest of your busy life by learnly intelligently. Instead of just running, learn how to adjust your diet, lifestyle, and running technique to enable your running to improve quickly. Don’t just look up a dish and try following the recipe, get a book on a cooking style, read about how it works and then practice it. Research different course programs, what schools are looking for in their applications, and then cater your application to their expectations. In all these cases there is good and bad information out there. We can help you sort through it all to quickly get the best information available.
             ‘Happy Runner’ by Meghan Roche is the type of resource we’re talking about. It neither describes a one-size-fits-all method for running nor addresses only a niche demographic. It offers advice on how to thrive at running based on how you think, and to maximize the aspects of running that are most enjoyable. If you’re determined to run a 5k, might as well love it!
             ‘Real Life Dinners’ is exactly the type of cookbook title that a learner might look for too. Rachel Hollis, the author, is not for everyone, but if she speaks to you then her cookbook will too. A learner who is more into chemical processes instead of emotional ties might look to ‘Food Lab’ instead.
             Mix these passions together and try ‘Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow’ by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. Their first cookbook was a hit, but this one focuses on quick dishes for those who do anything else besides cooking. The food is healthy, delicious, and possible. There is even motivation for athleticism and nutrition.
             For those thinking about higher education in the New Year, we have current resources on standardized tests, college comparisons, choosing programs and majors, and straightforward books like ‘Paying For College’. It’s all here ready for you to utilize.
             So, whatever new thing you are looking to try this year, come learn about it at the Library. We look forward to learning with you!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 7th, 2019


      “What is a ‘diverse’ book?” We get asked about diverse books so frequently that I think it’s time to talk about it here. People ask because they hear about diverse books from places like Amazon, NPR (and NHPR), the digital library collections, and national organizations like ‘We Need Diverse Books’. ‘Read a Diverse Book’ is also a frequent line in the Library’s reading challenges and summer reading programs. So, what is it?

      We need to start by talking about diversity available from book vendors and on library shelves. Diversity on the shelves means having a wide range of topics, perspectives, settings, author culture and heritage, writing styles, mediums, and all kinds of characters. To have a diverse shelf you need to easily find books set in places across the world (even on other worlds! Go Sci-Fi). A diverse set of books will have characters of all races, cultures, languages, beliefs, socioeconomics, genders, and abilities portrayed authentically. Any writer knows that it is difficult to authentically portray a diverse character without lived experience, which is why it is so important that publishers and libraries seek out authors from many cultures and heritages.

      Diversity on the shelves serves two purposes. Firstly, readers, kids most of all, want to see themselves in the characters of stories. More than that, they want to see themselves in the star characters, well portrayed, not just as side roles, or worse, as a caricature. By having a diverse collection of books we can guarantee that all readers find at least a few books that speak to their experiences. It helps to affirm what they feel and what they believe, while also offering language to describe their experience.

      Secondly, diversity on the shelves means that readers can find stories that expand on their own experiences. Reading a good story driven by a character unlike you or in a setting or culture that is different from your own experience can open your eyes to the ways in which other people live and how they see the world. It can be fascinating. It’s almost always fun. Learning about other cultures and experiences helps to grow empathy, compassion, and understanding.

      Having diverse books on the shelves is the best kind of win-win. All readers, even those who have a hard time seeing themselves in a majority of books on the shelves, can find enough books that speak to their experiences and puts someone like them in the star role. Once satiated by the craving for self-recognition in a story, readers can find books about experiences unlike theirs on the same shelf to learn about how others have encountered the world. 

      When we put ‘Read a Diverse Book’ on a challenge, we are challenging you to read a book by an author with lived experience that is different from your own. We are hoping that you will engage with a character, setting, and/or culture different from your own. Books are extraordinary in their ability to convey emotion and experience without actually living it. On our shelves are many stories than any one of us literally cannot imagine, until we read them. Let’s get to it.  

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 14th, 2019

      Love. Romance. Sex. There are books about every aspect of human experience from flirty rom-coms to erotica. The paperback section boasts ‘cozy’ romances that are heavy on the morals and werewolf romances that are less so. Us librarians are happy to make recommendations on all genres including romances, so don’t be afraid to ask for a new read.

      Nicholas Sparks, for example, has a reputation for writing love stories that rend your heart strings into a satisfied mess of fibers. Those who have experienced love often have a hard time describing it, but Sparks doesn’t. You’ll forget you’re breathing when his newest book, ‘Every Breath’, sparks somethings in your heart.

      If you like your romance with a dollop of remembrance, try Julia Kelly’s new ‘The Light Over London’ or ‘Becoming Mrs. Lewis’ by Patti Callahan Henry. ‘The Light Over London’ zips back and forth between time periods driven by the stories found in relatively common artifacts. Cara Hargraves finds a fetching photograph that draws her into a gripping story of a woman in WWII whose suitor and love interest both went to war. She chooses to become a ‘Gunner Girl’, and the rest, well, all of it, is history. So is the story of Mrs. Lewis. Joy Davidman was an outspoken women, skilled author, thinker, atheist, and the woman the world thought was the least likely match for C.S. Lewis, until she proved them wrong in that too.

      If you can’t decide whether you want a book set in the future, present, or past, try ‘Hazards of Time Travel’ by Joyce Carol Oates. In a dystopian future, a 17-year-old speaks out against an oppressive regime only to be exiled 80 years into the past for ‘reeducation’. Now in 1959 Wisconsin, she balances survival with new found love. Yes, it is that cool.

      How are you at suspension of disbelief? If you can’t do it, then skip down to the next paragraph. If you can, try ‘The Dinner List’ by Rebecca Serle. Sabrina has imagined what five people she would most like to have dinner with. She didn’t imagine that she would get that chance, but there she is at her thirtieth birthday dinner with her father, her philosophy professor, her bestie, her on and off again lover, and Audrey Hepburn. She suspends her own disbelief to enjoy the strangest, most romantic, and most enlightening meal she’s ever had.

       ‘Not Quite Over You’ by Susan Mallery is a light read with clear signals. ‘Dark Sentinel’ by Christine Feehan is a similarly overt romance, but the supernatural setting could not be more different. Lisa Gabriele’s ‘The Winters’, on the other hand, is a romance driven by the allure of secrets, passions, and family history. After quickly falling for an ambitious and recently widowed father, a young woman finds herself caught between his dangerous hunger for power, his maniacal daughter, and the memory of his deceased wife.

      Whatever your taste in romance, there is a book to match. Swing by the library to see for yourself, or browse online!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 21, 2019

          We all like a good show. It seems like more and more content is being produced, plenty of which is of a quality worth checking out.  Most of us don’t channel surf TV anymore, favoring instead browsing the commercial free library shelves or flipping through streaming menus. One of the first things people say when they visit the library for a first time is ‘Whoa, that’s a lot of DVDs’, and they’re right. We have thousands of DVDs, a good chunk of which are video series. We don’t call them TV series, because some are Netflix specials or others that skipped airing on cable. Another thing they say is ‘I didn’t know libraries have streaming services!’ Of course we do! Hoopla has an immense video collection and it’s free to all library card holders.

          The collection is so big because it’s in demand. Hang out by the front desk for awhile and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll notice a steady stream of traffic to the new DVD stand. DVDs get put up as frequently as they are taken down in a carousel of movement. Often times there are more new DVDs on the reserve shelf than on display, and far more than that are checked out at any given time, being watched in homes around town. To really get a sense of what new DVDs we’ve picked up, take a look at the catalog. While you’re there you can put the series you want to watch on reserve.

          If you’ve just finished a series and are looking for something new, try one of the newly released series we have on DVD. The first season of Frankie Drake Mysteries has been a hit in town. Set in 1920s Toronto, Frankie Drake runs an all-women detective agency that is willing to bend the law for clients in need. With wit, charm, and bright visuals, it's a great series to enjoy detective work. Another new on DVD series is Genius, the first season of which features the eccentric Albert Einstein. Some other season one’s we have are Animal Kingdom, Killing Eve, Succession, Yellowstone, S.W.A.T., and Stranger Things. We’re always interested in which new series people are looking for, so feel free to ask for a new series at the desk!

          Of course, we continue to keep up new seasons of favorite shows as they come out. Hit shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, Vikings, Poldark, Longmire, Blue Bloods, Chicago Fire, and Empire among others, have all had new seasons come out in the last few months, and they are here for your use. Historic series like Doctor Blake Mysteries, the Crown, and The Durrells in Corfu continue to be popular  It can be confusing, but try not to get Doctor Blake Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries, and Grace and Frankie mixed up, as they as completely distinct shows. Science Fiction fans may enjoy catching up on the newest season of Mr. Robot. Horror fans can try out The Sinner. Realistic Fiction fans can find out what the hubbub with This Is Us is. Crime fiction fans can try out Janet King.

          If none of these fit your interests, just ask at the desk and we can find something for you, pick up a copy of what you’re looking for, or borrow it from another library. Entertainment is more accessible than ever, so explore!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, February 28, 2019

        Family & Relationships is the new Parenting section in the Children’s Room. The old parenting section down in the Children’s Room was full of books on parenting strategies: ‘Simple’ things like toilet training, healthy recipes kids will eat, managing behaviors, education and experience, raising extraordinary children, difficult topics like death, bereavement, and divorce, and so much more. The problem we found was that all of these different topics related to parenting were organized by the utterly unintuitive Dewey Decimal system. Browsing the shelf felt clumsy with unrelated topics right next to one another. The new Family & Relations section has verbal subsections for each of the categories mentioned above, and a few more. It's a whole new look! Be sure to swing by it to see. It's by the toy table and sofas, right where a parent’s wandering eyes will land.

        The greatest parenting resources are the space itself and the staff ready to help. The Children’s Room is a place for children to play, socialize with others, find books on any topic, and explore for themselves. Meanwhile, parents can help them, connect with other parents, learn from literacy programs, and browse both the Family & Relations section and the curated display of books from the regular collection. The storytime is frequently bustling with the latest activity, whether it be one of the storytime programs, Spanish Camp, a passive craft, or any of the other programs happening weekly. The librarians know the collection as if they’ve been reading the books for years--because they have been. Looking for realistic fiction to inspire your reluctant 2nd grade grandson? They can help.

         An example of a relatively new question that parents and guardians have been asking us for are books on how to help children learn from and use modern technology without becoming addicted or dependant. Recently, we have picked up books like ‘Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World’ by Mike Brooks and Jon Lasser and ‘The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life’ by Anya Kamentz. Both of these resources found in the Family & Relations Parenting section can help to describe the experiences that families have with modern technology, without advocating extreme solutions. Parents have said that Anya’s mantra, ‘Enjoy screens. Not too much, Mostly with others’, is helpful.

        Whatever your family question is, try to find it in the Family & Relations section or ask a librarian. It’s what we’re here for.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 7th, 2019

        We get asked all the time how we decide which books to add to our Classics section. There is no one shining resource that definitively declares which books are classic enough to be part of the Classics section--so we started with some well known lists and then added to it using judgement based on the Library’s collection. It’s not perfect; but it doesn’t need to be. The section is meant to be a spot for people to easily find books that have proven themselves to be extraordinary. We think that classics have a written quality that withstands the test of time. Classics have had an impact on culture, offer timeless food for thought, and are relevant no matter the age in which they are read. High standards, but so many magnificent books have been written that shelf space quickly fills up.

        It may seem like classics are only for history buffs and AP Literature students, but modern entertainment, news, and ethics suggests otherwise. Hit film and TV adaptations of classic books like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle have recently added to the history of classics made visual. Children’s books have been made and remade into movies and reprints. Stories like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Peter Rabbit, and more were turned into films this past year alone.

        The Handmaid’s Tale was the most popular classic book at our Library over the last year, no doubt driven by the success of the Netflix series. 1984 by George Orwell was second most popular--which at least a couple of reader’s have attributed to a feeling of increasing concern about surveillance technologies and policy. Both dystopian novels have cautionary elements, warning against futures that impinge on the values they suggest. Although it's been decades since they were written, the stories they describe maintain their relevance in today’s culture for many readers.

        Millions of readers and viewers might not be wrong. Next time you’re looking through the new section and failing to find something that catches your interest, consider branching out and trying a classic. Better yet, get started with the Classics Book Discussion here at the Library. The next discussion is at 6:30pm on Tuesday, March 26, when they’ll discuss Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It’s a comfortable, thought-provoking environment to think about great stories, and plenty of copies are available at the front desk to borrow. We hope to see you there!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 14, 2019

            Mark: Hey Nancy. We are so excited for your new T’ai Chi Chih program at the library! What is T’ai Chi Chih?

            Nancy: T’ai Chi Chih is a set of 19 movements and a pose focused on the development of an intrinsic energy we call Chi. It is a meditative practice of ‘joy through movement’. I like to call it ‘mindfulness in motion’, if that doesn’t sound too corny. All the movements are slow and gentle, making them do-able by just about anyone, regardless of age, weight, and physical ability.

            Mark: Neat, but why do you do Tai Chi Chih, and how did you learn?

            Nancy: Simply, it makes me feel good. It helps me focus on the present moment. I learned from a Roman Catholic Nun in Texas when a friend gave me a gift of classes during a particularly trying time in my life. Even for people starting out, it’s possible to feel the benefits immediately and you can learn the whole thing in 8-weeks. Medical studies have shown that practicing Tai Chi Chih can dramatically reduce stress, increase energy, improve balance, concentration, and focus.

            Mark: It sounds like it has worked for you, certainly. Who can participate in this program?

            Nancy: Anyone. It is simple, meditative, gentle movements. Tai Chi Chih allows for adaptive methods, like doing movements seated, so that people with physical limitations can participate as well. There’s no special clothing or equipment required, and it is quick to learn. Once you learn the 19 movements and 1 pose and practice regularly, you’re there!

            Mark: Brilliant. I’m sure that people would love to get started. Where and when is this program taking place?

         Nancy: We’re hosting the class here at the Library in the meeting room. Starting April 1st we’re meeting on Monday’s from 9:45-11am. Both TaiChiChihNewHampshire on Facebook and are places people can go to learn more about the program. I’m here at the library a lot too, so say ‘Hi’ if you see me!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 21, 2019

          Women have lived and done momentous things longer and more frequently than history has recorded them. Yet, as society is becoming increasingly aware, women in history haven’t been nearly as represented in books and other media as men. It’s past time for that to change. We shouldn’t need a Women’s History Month, but until general history accurately portrays women, we’ll celebrate books on women to compensate.

             It’s good news for women’s history that the two most requested books at our library right now are ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama and ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover’. Both memoirs share stories of overcoming people’s expectations, breaking barriers, and generally making dreams a reality. Memoirs have been accompanied by high profile books recognizing the role women have played in technology booms (something that they frequently point out should have been more widely acknowledged from the start). Books like ‘Broad Band: the Untold Story of the Girls Who Made the Internet’ by Claire Evans, ‘Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History’ by Keith O’Brien, ‘Sharp: the Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion’ by Michelle Dean, and, of course, the high profile books from a couple of years ago: ‘Code Girls’ by Liza Mundy and ‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Lee Shetterly. There are other, more general collections like ‘Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World’ by Andrea Barnet, and some that focus on women where they are often overlooked like ‘The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II’ by Svetlana Aleksievich, and even books about the darker deeds of women like ‘Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History’ by Tori Telfer.

             If true stories aren’t your thing, another way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to read about authentically written female characters in fiction. Lisa See’s new novel ‘The Island of Sea Women’ is a perfect example of this. On the Korean island of Jeju, two young women are best friends who defy death daily by diving to support their people. The story spans decades and multiple wars and the two change, conflict, depend on one another, and get torn apart. It’s an achingly realistic story that invests you in tragic characters. It’s also a story about the resilience and fortitude of women when depended on. Other novels include ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Read, ‘Ginger Bread’ by Helen Oyeyemi, ‘American Spy’ by Lauren Wilkinson, ‘The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls’ by Anissa Gray, and ‘We Must Be Brave’ by Frances Liardet.

             There are countless others too, just waiting to be found. Give us a shout at the Library and we can help find a read that’s perfect for you. #Women #History #Hype.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, March 28, 2019

            Local author Scott Hutchison’s second book of poetry ‘Moonshine Narratives’ came out on February 19th of this year, and it is a thoughtful, authentic, and vivid picture of a life of maturation. With a distinctively rural feel, Scott describes familiar scenes from our collective experiences without any watering down. The result is at times heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and raw. It's a kind of narrative poetry that makes you think about the author’s voice, which is why you won’t want to miss his live reading of it at the Gilford Public Library on April 2nd from 7-8pm!

             Many of us locals know Scott as the high school Literary Arts teacher. He has been teaching there since 1987, and in that time he has helped thousands of young writers grow in confidence, skill, and accolades. He and his students have been nominated for and won several writing competitions. The special projects he’s been involved with at the school, like the Unified Writing Class and Obsessive Image Literary and Artistic Magazine, have been celebrated at the national level.

             Scott and I shared a couple of emails and he explained how he forms his poetry and who his audience is. Here’s how he put it: “As for the writing: many people enjoy lyrical poetry; they like short, clean, punchy lines that demonstrate economy and deliver a precise feeling and theme. I don't know if those readers would like my work or not, but I hope they'd give it a read. As you can see by the very title of my second book, I want to be clear: I'm a narrative poet. I love telling a story, but I also love framing the pieces in poetry. It's a delicate balancing act--how to tell a story and honor poetry conventions without slipping into prose writing. It's a meatier kind of poem with more moving parts, but hopefully they all add up to something that stays with you for a while after reading the piece.” Being a narrative kind of poetry, it is approachable for readers and listeners not versed in ‘poetry conventions’. Anyone can come listen and take something from it.

             Scott went on, “As for my audience: I try to create earthy characters and situations with the poetry. People are flawed, people are always figuring things out about life and living; sometimes they fail, sometimes it's a draw, and sometimes people are wonderfully heroic in their choices and actions. When I write poetry, I don't want to tell you how to feel about what's been presented to you--I want readers to hear and imagine the scene and the people, and I want the reader to be an active participant in determining what the content of the narratives adds up to. I feel that's a richer experience for the reader.” His focus on the reader is telling. You could be that reader this coming Tuesday night!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 4, 2019

       National Library Week is almost here again! It happens next week from April 7th-13th. We celebrate so many special days, weeks, and months throughout the year, but National Library Week is specifically for the Library! Nothing says celebration to a librarian like the smell of new books and a week packed with programs. Like, so packed. The calendar is a wall of green--packed. It’s as packed as your library bag after a visit this week. Let’s talk about it.

             In addition to the weekly wellness, crafting, gaming, making, and educational programs, there’ll be a prize wheel for adults to spin all week! Its one spin per person per day with an assortment of fun prizes. All you have to do is check out a couple of items to qualify. We’re excited to host another new Escape Room for teens and adults. People can sign up for a time slot on Tuesday from 12-5pm when they’ll race the clock to find the antidote to Dr. Johnson’s zombification virus and save humanity. The story is fictional, but the thrill of solving puzzles is not. If you prefer something real, see the short documentary ‘Mother’s Day’ on Thursday from 6:30-7:30pm. It covers a charity bus service in California that takes children to visit their mothers in prison. It offers a perspective on how mass incarceration can affect youth in America. It will be followed by a short discussion and light refreshments. On Friday, the Friends of the Gilford Public Library are sponsoring a Books and Breakfast celebration from 9-9:45am. Come by that morning and enjoy some breakfast and conversation as you check out the collection!

             Books and Breakfast is offered for the Children’s Room from 10-10:30am on Friday as well, also sponsored by the Friends. Every weekday during National Library Week, the Children’s  room has a Touch-a-Truck Storytime from 10:30-11:30am. Touch-a-Truck Storytime is a hit each year because fire trucks, street sweepers and loaders, police cars, school buses, and dump trucks are, at least to preschoolers, so cool. Thanks to all the town organizations lending their time to share that joy with our children! Those in elementary school get to explore outside to see what the natural world is up to now that the snow and ice is gone. From 1:30-2:30pm during early release on Wednesday, K-4th can go for a nature walk to find traces of animals, plants, and insects.

             During the same early release, from 12:30-1:30pm, 5th-12th graders are invited to make pizza and chat about diverse media. Experiencing a new way of thinking or experiencing the world is one of the best things about what we read, watch, and play, so let’s talk about it! Anytime during the week, teens can write a book review and share it with a librarian to get a gift certificate to the Village Store. It’s rewarding sharing what you enjoy with others.

             So come share with the library during National Library Week. There’s books, knowledge, and so much more ready to be shared with you.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 11, 2019

        What are books for? Books are for learning from. Gleaning information from textbooks, histories, biographies, stories of cultures, and creative use of language. Books are for entertainment. They’re for reading on Sunday afternoons and in that hour before bed. Books are for expression. They’re creative outlets for authors, inventors, teachers, and students. Books are for sharing. Sharing a story as a family, or lending a book to a friend, or turning a book into a movie for the world to witness.

            Sometimes people have an idea in their mind about what books are for, and they stick to that idea like the smell of smoke clings to old book pages. “Books are for quietly reading in corners” or ‘Books are only for reading inside and at least 15 feet from any source of water, sand, fire, or food” or “Books are only for when you’re bored”. Nah. We think books are for as many things as you can think of. They’re for reading on tire swings and on tablets. They’re for listening to and for reading out loud. They’re for talking about, for caring about, and for fighting about. Books are for empowerment, for having a voice and for finding other voices.

        We’ve been celebrating National Library Week this week, and, among all of the wonderful things libraries provide, at the core, libraries provide access to books. Whatever you look for in books, you should be confident that you can find it at the library. That means that we work hard not to restrict access to information, only applying restrictions when a patron’s actions are harmful to others and their use of the library. It means that we strive to have a variety of book subjects, authors, and media to have books ready for most book uses and for any person coming through the doors. We don’t want wealth, interest, demographic, politics, or religion to get in the way of access to information. Frankly, librarians love to share information. Finding answers to questions is the second coolest part of the job--the first being finding books to read after the work day.

        So don’t be afraid to ask questions at the Library. People push the boundaries of what books are for constantly, so be encouraged to read outside the norm. The Friends of the Library are hosting a Books and Breakfast event this Friday, April 12th from 9-9:45am for adults and 10-10:30am for the Children’s Room to marry the twin joys of finding a read and eating. It’ll be the perfect opportunity to hear from others what they think books are for. It’s also Volunteer Appreciation Week, so please thank any of the dozens of volunteers helping to make books available to you. We hope to see you there!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 18, 2019

        Books improve our quality of life. I don’t just mean the the benefit of brain exercise and the content that provides entertainment, experience, food for thought, and language skills, I mean there are so many books written explicitly to help readers improve their quality of life. They aren’t esoteric or dated--so many are written clearly, with wit, and with modern experience. I’m talking about the books that focus on helping readers get better at almost anything: At life, or work, or love, or sport, or society, or politics, or cookery, or gustation, or craft, or thought, or all that at once. Nothing is guaranteed, and no one thing works for everyone, despite what some diets tell you, but sometimes little changes in our lives can make major differences in the way we live.

        Let’s start with the brain. Kati Morton’s new book ‘Are u ok?: a guide to caring for your mental health’ has been hailed as a common language mental health asset to identify issues and get started on solutions. Whether related to mental health or not, we have to recognize our problems if we have any chance of addressing them.

        Next we need some motivation. Jen Sincero empowers readers with the title, ‘You are a Badass Every Day: How to keep your motivation strong, your vibe high, and your quest for transformation unstoppable’. Leaning on meditation methods, Sincero demonstrates some daily practices to keep you focused on your goals. Shoukei Matsumoto’s book ‘A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind’ has a completely different tone. The reading of it and the drawings inside are motivational on their own. Buddhism has a reputation for goal-oriented life-styles, and this book helps to draw the line between how your living and work spaces and your daily practices impact your mind. If you want to be happy and productive, you might have to clean both house and mind.

        Feel like your disorganization is causing you to lose control? Try Ryder Carroll’s ‘The Bullet Journal Method: Track the past, order the present, design the future’. Definitely not for everyone, ‘The Bullet Journal Method’ might be a silver bullet for people who have the willpower, but not the system, for getting a hand on things. If, on the other hand, you think your need for control is a detriment, take a look at ‘Calm the F*ck Down: how to control what you can and accept what you can’t so you can stop freaking out and get on with your life’ by Sarah Knight, the same author who wrote ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck’. You probably know whether or not her book series is to your taste, but many people have found her simplified description of time, energy, and money management helpful. A more widely palatable and time-tested guide to a quality life comes from Aristotle. You could read his original ‘Nicomachean Ethics’, or you could read Edith Hall’s new book ‘Aristotle’s Way: How ancient wisdom can change your life’ to get the gist in the modern context.

        Have something else about your life that you want to work on? Ask us! We can find the book that fits your need. It’s here, on the shelf, ready to help improve your life.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, April 25, 2019

            Few people are ‘good with money’ innately. The good news is that money smarts are learnable. will tell you about how the week originated in Chicago and expanded by the American Library Association to help people of all demographics and wealth to manage their money better. It’s worth remembering that, despite what your credit score might suggest, it is never too late to learn how to better manage your money.

            No matter how much money you do or don’t have, the sooner you improve your money choices, the sooner your money situation will improve. Money Smart Week is the perfect opportunity to learn how. is a place to start online. They have straightforward resources explaining personal finance concepts and suggesting best practices. The Library collection is another great place to look. We try to find accessible resources for a variety of experience and wealth levels, including extreme debt.

            Jill Schlesinger’s new book ‘The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money: Thirteen ways to right your financial wrongs’ talks about mistakes that people make throughout their life. Looking at the list, readers immediately see a few mistakes they’ve already made, but also a few they haven’t made yet. Books like hers help to both get you back on your feet and to avoid mishap in the future. Gaby Dunn’s ‘Bad With Money: The imperfect art of getting your financial sh*t together’ has similar advice, but it’s written in an entertaining and relatable way. Reading these books can be relieving, in that they don’t judge the reader for the position their in, but they offer real advice for making changes.

            Addressing problems in bursts works for some people. If you are the kind of person who likes to go on diets, or exercise programs, or cleanses, then you might like the books that make the financial health analogy. ‘The Financial Diet: A total beginner’s guide to getting good with money’ by Chelsea Fagan self-describes as “...the personal finance book for people who don’t care about personal finance”. Unfortunately, those of us who don’t enjoy money management don’t have the luxury of ignoring it. ‘The Financial Diet’ can help get your finances organized and understood in terms that a lay person can use. Ashley Feinstein Gerstley’s ‘The 30-Day Money Cleanse: Take control of your finances, manage your spending, and de-stress your money for good’ plays on the fad-diet style of health, but the focus on mental health in regards to personal finance can be exactly what some readers are looking for.

            Whichever resource you look to, it's never too late to learn about smart money practices. Start making changes today to make the rest of your life safer, stress less, and possibly even solvent.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 2, 2019

            Mark: It’s the 100th Anniversary of Children’s Book Week! For one week a year since 1919, libraries, publishers, booksellers, and authors have celebrated children’s books and literacy together. It has stood for improving the quality of children’s books, increasing access, and drawing attention to the importance of reading at young ages for development. Maria, how is the Children’s Room celebrating this 100th Children’s Book Week?

             Maria: We are celebrating all week long by offering prizes for kids coming to the library dressed up as any book character, from Harry Potter to Pinkalicious to Elsa to Greg Heffley. I am also so excited that Ann Biese, a yoga and mindfulness professional and author, is coming to the Library on Thursday, May 2nd from 10:30-11:30am to read from her newest book, ‘Mindful Moon’, and run Music and Movement. It’s amazing to have a local author available to celebrate children’s book with us.

             Mark: Sounds awesome. What kind of impact do events like Children’s Book Week have on children? Are they necessary?

             Maria: At our library, we celebrate books and community everyday and in all of our dynamic programs. On a national level it brings awareness to how important children’s books and literacy really are. Kids coming to libraries dressed as book characters demonstrates that books have had an impact on their lives, feeding their imagination. Bringing in authors bridges the connection of words and pictures to the person who made them. It helps children to see that the books they love were written by people, and it inspires them to be creators and expands their horizons for what they want to do when they grow up.

             Mark: A big aspect of Children’s Book Week is on increasing the quality of the books kids have access to. Why does the quality of children’s books matter? Why does access matter?

             Maria: Quality matters because a high quality book will promote a high level of literacy, whether visually, with words, or with style. They’ll ensure exposure to the five tenets of literacy: Read, write, sing, play, talk. Libraries exist to provide access to all, no matter your socioeconomic status or level of education. We take out the guesswork for you by providing a curated collection of books, so you know that books from the library are worthwhile.

             Mark: You are an expert, both on the reading of children’s books and the choosing of them. Coming to storytimes is a given, but do you have just a few authors you recommend for parents reading with their children?

            Maria: It depends! It depends on children’s age, interest, and level of reading. For reluctant readers I highly suggest graphic novels, for example. Emergent readers cannot go wrong with Mo Willems, because he is funny, the illustrations are incredible, the parent will enjoy reading them too, and he makes great use of sight words and simple text. More serious readers will want food for thought from authors like Katherine Applegate and Sharon Creech. When in doubt, come in and speak with one of us for personal recommendations.

             Mark: Anyone can celebrate the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week with us by bringing kids to the library, reading with kids you know, and supporting the organizations that create and distribute quality children’s books. Thanks to all who celebrate with us, including you Maria!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 9, 2019

          Have you heard the birds outside? They are making a ruckus, apparently undeterred by the rain we’ve been enjoying. Depending on how rain and mud resistant you are, the hiking has been good! Plenty of blooming life and birds to see, and the trails are not yet crowded with summer folk. Amateurs, like myself, hear birds chattering away in nearby trees and we squint, clueless as to where the bird actually is. If we’re lucky enough to stumble upon it with our eyes, we don’t know it from a bat. If that’s true for you too, then there’s plenty for us to learn.

             Steve Hale of Open World Explorers is coming to the Library to help us out. He’ll present ‘Birds of the White Mountains’ on Thursday, May 16th from 6:30-7:30pm. It will be like a virtual, guided tour of hiking in the White Mountains with vivid pictures of birds both common and uncommon. We’ll learn about how to recognize particular birds from lookalikes, their common stomping grounds, and even the birds that live at or near the high elevation tree line. Finally you’ll know where to look for those wild sounds, and even know which bird it is from the call alone. This is yet another program at our library that is educational, entertaining, and free for everyone.

             Take it a step further with some of our books on birding and bird identification, or even take out the birding kit, which includes books and binoculars--everything you need to get out there (except hiking equipment… or food and water). We’ve just put all of our hiking books into its own section near the Classics Section. It’s right below the large Belknap range map, you can’t miss it!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 17, 2019

         You can’t escape your body (not yet anyway). We all have medical issues to contend with. This means that we all should probably know at least a little bit about the care and keeping of our bodies. The more we know, the more we can avoid or treat medical conditions. There’s no substitute for a good doctor, but we can certainly learn from quality books and other media from the Library!

         Now, there are many places where you can find medical facts, but the real interesting reads combine facts with entertainment. Reading about doctors, treatments, misguided medicine, and healthy eating is relevant to all of us, so these books are gold. One section that has grown recently is the Medical Biography section. The books you’ll find there, often memoirs, tell true stories of illness, recovery, perseverance, and death.

          ‘The Perfect Predator: A scientist’s race to save her husband from a deadly superbug’ by Steffanie Strathdee, for example, reads like a Dan Brown novel. It is urgent, and the whole time you’re reading it you feel the race against time. ‘Sick’ by Porchisa Khakpour is a  more pensieve account of a lifetime of sickness. Khakpour writes candidly about regular ER visits, prescription drug addiction, misdiagnosis, and not being able to remember ever being well. It’s a relatable read for anyone struggling with chronic pain or illness. ‘Cancerland’ by David Scadden stands out as a memoir of a doctor who has lived on the cutting edge of cancer treatment.

         Books are only the beginning of health and medicine interest at the library. We also have a healthy number of programs, like CPR and babysitter training, and one-off interest presentations like the upcoming showing of the Netflix original documentary ‘My Beautiful Broken Brain’. It covered the true events of Lotje Sodderland’s rehabilitation and recovery from a traumatic hemorrhagic stroke. Ultimately, the documentary attempts to understand the question, “If the physical body - the brain, is damaged, does this extend to damage to the self?” It will be shown here at the Library on May 21st from 12-1:30pm and light lunch will be served. This program is free and open to the public!

            So think of the library next time you want to learn about health and medicine. There is so much for us to learn and share.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 23, 2019

           Happy Memorial Day. Well, it’s bittersweet, but ‘Bittersweet Memorial Day’ doesn’t sound right at all. We remember those who died in active military service and we rejoice in what they fought and sacrificed for. Many Americans knew the deceased, and we miss them. Those we didn’t personally know, we remember as best we can.

             One way that we remember them is by learning and talking about their experiences.As returning veterans have often indicated, there is a disconnect between civilian expectation of military experience and what actually happens. We can bridge that gap by listening to what veterans say and by hearing accounts from the field.

             We can start with broad strokes about the histories of wars, conflicts, and the soldier experience. We have a ‘Military’ subsection of the ‘History’ section that is brimming with resources. Books like ‘American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan’ by Matt Farwell and Michael Ames and ‘Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II’ by Adam Makos. Kids and Teens love the Who/What Was Series, so they can read about major events in books like ‘What Was the Vietnam War’ by Jim O’Connor. It is an incredible abbreviation of what occured, but it serves as an introduction for more conversation with our youth.

             Looking more closely at what individuals have gone through, we see books like ‘Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq’ by C. J. Chivers. Chivers writes about six different combatants: a fighter pilot, a corpsman, a scout helicopter pilot, a grunt, an infantry officer, and a Special Forces sergeant. Each story is as vivid as the next, but they are just six individuals among the over 2.7 million Americans to have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since 2001 (as the book describes). Movies like ‘A Private War’ give us a glimpse into the lives of soldiers on many sides, including the deep psychological effects of exposure to traumatic circumstances, including PTSD, whether a combatant or not. You could also take a look in the ‘Military’ subsection of ‘Biographies’ and find books like ‘A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II’ about Virginia Hall and written by Sonia Purnell.

             Matt Young’s ‘Eat the Apple’ may not describe every Marine’s experience, but he does candidly explain how life in the military shapes his perceptions and color his interactions with civilians. It serves to help readers understand what it’s like to return from deployment as a different person.

             Reads like these can help us to remember those who sacrificed for America, and remember them well. The Library will be closed Saturday, May 25th, and Monday, May 27th, to celebrate this important day. We hope that you have an opportunity to remember those who died in active military service.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, May 30, 2019

          Graduation season is on right now. I’m sure that you can feel the hope, fear, and excitement of transition.  As people complete their studies and prepare to put them to use, their friends and loved ones try to give them the greatest advantage for the future. One way we try to help is by sharing stories, our own history, and general wisdom we’ve collected about what to expect and how to make the best life they can.

            Wisdom can be challenging to communicate. We might remember what it was like to graduate and go to work, or to move up to the next school, but we don’t know exactly what it's like to do that in 2019. We have to discover how much of our wisdom is timeless, and how to frame that wisdom in a way that a contemporary student of any age can understand. That might even mean calling wisdom something fun like ‘Protip’ or ‘Lifehack’. It’s not easy, but the benefit to the graduates in our lives might be worth the effort of thought. Besides, books can help!

            Let’s start with some wisdom that has helped people for a very long time. ‘Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life’ by Edith Hall goes into some of Aristotle’s key concepts and how they are relevant in the current age. It is not a in-depth Aristotelian analysis, but it is a summary of major bullet points that you or the graduates in your life might benefit from. Looking at more at the present, we picked up ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ by Yuval N Harari. It’s one of those challenging-but-rewarding reads that forces us to think about how the world will soon look given the advance of modern technology and our use of it. After reading the book, you too will think that we need to proceed wisely.

            Basil Hero wrote ‘The Mission of a Lifetime: Lessons From the Men Who Went to the Moon’ drawing on the words of astronauts. It’s a bit dry, but not lacking in intelligence. ‘Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life is What You Make It’ by Adam Savage on the other hand, has both! With wit and a healthy dose of self-awareness, Savage shares what he has learned over the years as a personality and experimenter. You’ll recognize the wit if you read ‘Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It’ by James Geary. Clearly more niche than these other books of wisdom, but wit is an important aspect to the way we understand the world. The same sentiment is shared by some of the most experienced members of society in John Leland’s ‘Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old’.

            Wherever you look for wisdom, be sure to share what you’ve learned with those you love. Parents do it all the time when they read with their children. Right around the corner on Wednesday, June 5th from 10:30-11:30am we are having this year’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Graduation! We celebrate all the kids who finished reading 1000 books before they head to kindergarten. It’s a fun and spectacular ceremony for the kids and parents, both of whom should be so proud.



Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 6, 2019

           Increase access: It's a core tenant of libraries. We are here to provide services for the public as best we can. We want people to be able to use the resources regardless of wealth, demographics, or social position. As a community of librarians, we are always brainstorming ways to increase access to books and other media. There have been leaps forward with the advent of digital materials, the library of things, alternative media options like large print and audiobooks, library and school collaborations, and so much more.

             The physical building is hard to move, though. It’s a wonderful building with a sturdy foundation, but it isn’t everywhere in town. Some libraries in the world have book-mobiles, vans/carts/buses stuffed with books to share with the public. We don’t have a bookmobile yet, but we do have two little free libraries at the Gilford Town Beach and Glendale Docks!

             The little free libraries are exactly what they sound like. Tiny structures protecting a couple shelves of books that are free for the taking. They are not library books, but they might have been at one point. Most of them have been donated by the public to the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. Take a book, leave a book if you like (but you don’t have to), and check back as frequently as you like to see what ‘new’ books have arrived. They are all slightly used, but librarians know that books are not meant to be read only once!

             A first thought for many people when hearing about little free library is about people abusing the service. We get asked all the time if the little free libraries get vandalized or if one person takes all the books. We explain that the most part, the little free libraries are respected. People seem to recognize that they are there for a public good. Besides, it's worth the risk to provide access to books wherever people gather. There are many, many more books in the Bookworm shop to keep the shelves full.

             So next time you are at the beach or about to put the boat in for a day’s cruise only to realize that you left your book at home, grab one from the little free library!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 13, 2019

          SPACE! We’re going to hear a lot about outer space and the science that goes with it this summer as it is central to the Summer Reading Program. More on that next week. Today, let’s talk about the Moon, getting there, and books on science. The Library is a place of learning after all, and science is the best way to produce information reliable enough to be worth learning.

             Our first book is ‘First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience’ by Rod Pyle. It’s bewildering to realize that it’s been fifty years since the Apollo 11 mission, but here we are. Pyle went deep gathering images and first hand accounts from NASA to commemorate the event, and the result is a clean and informative summary.

             Our second book is nothing like the first. ‘Eating the Sun: Small Musings on a Vast Universe’ by Ella Frances Sanders is a ruminating tour of fascinating facts about the universe. With smart, poetic writing, Sanders briefly describes what science tells us about topics like light, space (even in individual atoms), gravity, and energy. ‘Eating the Sun’ refers to the how energy flows from the sun as light and a tiny bit of it becomes edible plants. Simultaneously, it seems, we know so much and so little about us and everything, but there is so much we don’t know. Sanders points out in a positive tone--we have a lot to think about.

             If you’re a social learner, why not come to next week’s book discussion of ‘Rise of the Rocket Girls’ by Nathalia Holt? The all-women team of extraordinary mathematicians were known as human computers. They crunched complex and variable calculations to revolutionize rocket design and satellite trajectories using only pencil, paper, and their own genius. The discussions are on Thursday, June 21st at 12:30pm or 6pm.

           These are just a handful of books on my desk. Just imagine how many are in the library, or the universe! There is so much for us to discover, and so many discoveries that others have made for the rest of us to learn. Let’s take this summer to know a bit more about our world.


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 20, 2019

           SUMMER READING! It’s back--the best time of the year. Yet another summer for us to play, learn, and earn at the Library. Summer reading gets little improvements from year to year, but the major change is the theme. This year, the theme is ‘A Universe of Stories’--which is to say we’re celebrating outer space, science, and the vast diversity of books available in the world today. This summer is going to be stellar.

            If you listened to NHPR’s ‘The Exchange’ on June 11th, you heard them discuss “Averting The Summer Slide: Schools Aim To Keep Students Learning Over Summer Vacation”. It’s available on their website and most podcast apps if you missed it. One of the most frequently cited methods for keeping the mind active during summer is to participate in library programming--Summer Reading most of all! We’ve got unbelieveable programs and jaw-dropping incentives this summer, making reading with the whole family more fun than ever. It’s all possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library, who sponsor the entire program, and the local businesses that donate incentives.

             This year’s blast off party is on June 25th from 3:30-5pm for all ages. Yes, children, teens, adults, we’re all partying together with music, ice cream, books, food, and excitement. We’re going to get hyped for a summer full of reading and programming. We’ll look forward to performances like Hokuto Taiko Dojo Japanese Drumming, an ‘Out of this World’ escape room, the Hampstead Theater performance of ‘Jungle Book’, a full Planetarium experience from the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center right here in town, musical performances, lectures, and much more. Get all the information at the blast-off party, stop-in, or take a look at our online calendar to learn more.

             Reading is mission critical. For all three Summer Reading Programs, children, teen, and adult, you earn rewards for reading. They are awesome incentives, but the real reward is the benefit of being a reader. Study after study has shown that summer reading reduces or eliminates the loss of school learning progress. It encourages a culture of life-long learning, which improves quality of life in all stages. That’s why this year we are introducing the Family Reading Challenge, which offers a special prize raffle for families that participate together.

          The Summer Reading Program is all about sharing the benefits of reading with loved ones, library visitors, and the community as a whole. Let’s explore ‘A Universe of Stories’ together!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, June 27, 2019

          Humans love books about non-human animals. From a young age, animal reads are crazy popular. Series like Vet Volunteers fly off the shelf to young readers. For many, that love of books about animals or with animal characters hasn’t diminished with age. As long as writers keep finding stories of animals to tell, we’ll read them! Wild animals are fascinating, pets are lovable, and there is so much to learn from animal perspectives.

             Perspectives like those that Frans de Waal points out in ‘Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves’. Taking an intellectual look at the behavior of chimpanzees and other animals, Frans gives the common reader an overview of the ways she and other scientists have observed similar emotional behavior between humans and animals. In a different vein, but still true, ‘No Beast So Fierce: The Terrifying True Story of the Champawat Tiger, the Deadliest Animal in History’ by Dane Huckelbridge is the kind of story that begs to be read. So much of our tales and imagination involve deadly animals and the threat of the wild, but there are relatively very few global deaths caused by predatory animals (humans excluded). The Champawat Tiger is the exception. If that story doesn’t amaze you, maybe ‘A Season on the Wind’ by Kenn Kaufman will. Bird migration is a wonder of nature, with billions of birds navigating and enduring thousands of miles of travel right above our heads. Kaufman cleverly discusses their amazing journey and how human development threatens to disrupt it.

             Take a trip to the positive side with some stories about human/pet connections. ‘Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too’ by Carol Novello describes the best kind of win/win scenario. It's not for everyone, but there have been several cases where adopting rescued animals apparently benefited the quality of life for both the adopter and adopted. ‘Watching the Lights Go Out: Bessie’s Story’ by Thomas Farmen is more of a celebration of life, the process of aging, and the memory of loved ones of all species. Bessie the chocolate lab started to lose her sight at four years old. Thomas was attentive throughout the two and a half years to sightlessness and thoughtfully recorded what he learned for all of us.

             Take a break from so much reality with a few lighter, fictional reads. ‘Swimming for Sunlight’ by Allie Larkin, for example, is a story about a woman who sacrificed everything in divorce in order to keep her faithful rescue. There’s more to tell about her grandmother and a performance troupe, but all you really need to know is that the dog has the excellent name of ‘Barkimedes’. If that doesn’t perk your interest, then you’re probably into cats. ‘The Travelling Cat Chronicles’ by Hiro Arikawa give voice to Nana the cat, companion to the human Satoru as he takes a road trip to visit three of his lifelong friends. Filled with spunk and insight, it's a charming story for those who like talking cats.

             Finally, a book for the brooding readers. If you read for thought-provocation, try out ‘How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals’ by Sy Montgomery. Sy has a reputation for thoughtful naturalist writing, and her memoir is an ode to the natural world.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 4, 2019

          Remember when the United States declared independence? Nope, neither can I. None of us alive today were alive then, which is why it is so important that the people who were there wrote about what happened. We don’t have that lived experience, but we can read about it!

             The same is true for much of history. A short walk through the History Sections tells the long tale of civilization. It’s Independence Day, so let’s focus on the American History shelves. David Immerwahr recently explained the history of the United States territories and off-mainland military bases in ‘How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States’. There are many such places, and each has its own origin story. David writes in a way that makes the topic engaging for readers no matter how much they know on the topic.

             I love reading about the way cultures develop. ‘El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America’ by Carrie Gibson takes a long look at North American history. Since the landing of Ponce de Leon in 1513 the Spanish influence on North America has ebbed and flowed, and its impact on modern history should not be forgotten. Native influence is another aspect of modern North America that should not be forgotten. We can learn about it from David Treuer’s new book ‘The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present’.

             Sometimes, an author is reason enough to draw us into a history. David McCullough is a well known writer of histories. He is particularly acknowledged for his ‘readability’, which is a fun way of saying that his history books read like a story instead of a textbook. His most recent book, ‘The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West’ stays true to that reputation. Tony Horwitz also had a reputation for a ‘lived-in’ style of reporting. In his book ‘Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide’ He makes a slow, physical journey along Appalachia and surrounding areas to see how connected the North and South of America remain.

             If you like to read about curiosities try ‘Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World’s Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West’ by David Wolman. It’s a bizarre story, which makes all the more fun to hear about. ‘Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America’ by Jared Cohen takes a closer look at presidents that were not elected--just thrown into the gig by succession. Their stories contributed to the way the world is today.

             In fact, the histories covered in these books all contributed to the way the world is today. Culture and society is complicated. Books help us understand.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 11, 2019

            You’re a child in the children’s room of the Gilford Public Library. Surrounded by color, toys, books, and other kids, it’s a wonderland of possibility. You love hearing stories, especially when Mommy, Daddy, or the Librarian does the silly voices. There’s the crafting table too, where you can color, draw, or write. Then there’s the train table, the dress up corner, the reading sofas… but then, you see a friendly looking woman walk in with a couple of puppets on each arm almost as big as her! The lion on her arm says that it's time for a Puppet Show, and mom says we can watch because it is completely free and open to the public--whatever that means.

             What it really means is that we’ve got several performances happening at the library this summer, and they are all free, thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. Lindsay and her Puppet Pals will take the stage again to a roar of giggles on Wednesday, July 17th from 4-5pm. Kids loved her genuine smile and silly characters last year, so she’s back by popular demand.

             The Hampstead Stage Company is also back with a fresh performance of The Jungle Book on Thursday, July 25th from 6:30-7:30pm. Their contagious energy fills the room with excitement and humor. The troupe is dedicated to education and creating a memorable experience that kids talk about long after the show.

             So, there’s a silly and joyous puppet show and a professional and engrossing theater performance, but what about some music? Aaron Jones has it covered with his wacky, interactive musical performance on Tuesday, July 30th from 4-5pm. He has a way with a crowd to get families up, dancing, singing, and laughing together.

            The Meeting Room is more like a ‘Party Room’ this Summer Reading Program. These performers are fun, professional, and amazing to witness. It’s high quality family fun at the Gilford Public Library, and, totally free and open to the public. Don’t miss the best performances of the summer!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 18, 2019

          Libraries and percussion aren’t often associated, but that’s about to change. This summer we want to bring the house down. Not literally, of course, we just want our community hyped on the ideas, sounds, and cultures of the universe--that’s all. The shelves will shake, the walls will tremor, and families will exclaim when Hokuto Taiko Dojo performs on Tuesday, July 23rd from 6-7pm. A performance by Hokuto Taiko Dojo, translated as Northeast Drumming School, is more than a concert. It is a demonstration and celebration of the ancient japanese tradition of Taiko (drumming).

             Jason Seymore trained in wadaiko with master taiko drummer sensei Ishikua Takemasa for a decade before founding Hokuto Taiko Dojo in New Hampshire. He and the others at the school are proud to be the first and only Taiko school in New Hampshire. It is their hope that, through performance and training, they can ‘create a vibrant and diverse community of people in New Hampshire and New England who share the same passion and support of Japanese culture: to see a world come closer together through the sound and teaching of wadaiko” (taken from

             Japanese drumming is known for its precision, energy, and visual presentation. Drummers swing dramatically and fervently in sync with one another. It’s a blend of power, grace, and deliberation that makes Japanese drummer marvelous to watch. The sight of the drummers is as important as the sound, making it a full sensory experience.

             If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re pretty excited to see the performance. Don’t miss this chance to learn about Japanese culture through a valued tradition. This program is free and open to the public and made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. Be sure to thank a Friend for enriching our lives with this program!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, July 25, 2019

            Chill out with a cool book. Read a chilling thriller (a ‘chiller’ for short), or a book on arctic survival. Here’s a cool tip for those living that summer life in the pool or at camp: Lay out on a floaty, eyes closed with an audiobook washing over you. If even the water is too hot for you, the library has AC--it’s 72 in here and we have sofas.

             Cope, don’t mope. We’re all too happy to help find you a book to take your mind off the pain of the inferno outside. ‘Searching for Sylvie Lee’ by Jean Kwok will draw you in with the sereen woman walking on a calm sea on the cover. After a few pages you’ll realize that it’s less about the sea, and  more about the complex relationship between two sisters and a mother of a Chinese immigrant family in America. When Sylvie goes missing on a trip abroad, her sister looks into her last known whereabouts and finds out that her disappearance may be tied to hidden family history. ‘Mrs. Everything’ by Jennifer Weiner takes the reader on a walk with two sisters through a changing America. With the world changing around them, they attempt to find their own way forward. It’s a heart-warming story for readers who feel lost in time.

             It’s stories like these that will get you hooked. The Paper Wasp’ by Lauren Acampora is a book about aspiration, obsession, the weight of dreams, the frailty of success, and the bitter sweetness of young friendship. An inspired, but jealous young woman watches her friend ‘make it’ in hollywood, before being encouraged and making her own attempt. There are heavy themes being worked through, but Acampora’s writing is skillful.

             You probably don’t want to think about anywhere closer to the equator right now, but Colson Whitehead has written another doozy called ‘The Nickel Boys’. In Jim Crow era Florida, Elwood gets caught up in a misunderstanding and is sent to be ‘reformed’ at the Nickel Academy for juveniles. To his horror, he and other students are abused terribly by the corrupt and sadistic caretakers of the institution. He clings to the ideals he recently learned from Martin Luther King Jr., hoping he can survive. The child abuse at this ‘academy’ is so unjust that it will evoke empathy in any reader, but prepare yourself for it beforehand.

             Pick the mood back up with ‘The Tenth Muse’ by Catherine Chung. Since she was young, Katherine has been told that she is smart. She sees it too, though she knows that not everyone approves of an intelligent girl. Now a woman, she is on the cusp of cracking one of the most puzzling math problems of her time (1950s), but the solving of it takes her on a journey of family mysteries and her own mental development. It’s a triumphant story of a smart woman. Just what you need to triumph over this incessant, unsympathetic, madness inducing blaze we call weather.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 1, 2019

            Just starting to enjoy summer... and it’s closing out. There is one week left of the Summer Reading Programs. ONE! Time to hussle, people, double your efforts. Listen to audiobooks while you read other books. Read to your kids, your parents, your friends, your pet snake Olive --whatever-- just finish up your summer reading programs and turn them in by August 8th, the Summer Reading Finale.

            We do all this to celebrate reading because of the benefits reading confers. Reading stimulates, educates, and enriches the reader. With the wealth of access provided by the Library, digital resources, and quality of worldwide authorship, we’re in a golden age of reading. It’s not just for school or work, reading is a lifetime activity. The Friends of the Gilford Public Library know that, which is why they’ve sponsored the whole Summer Reading Program.

            All three Summer Reading Programs are concluding, plus the Family Reading Challenge. Be sure to stop in to make sure you have everything in line to qualify for the raffle grand prizes. The librarians felt sympathetic for families participating in the Family Reading Challenge, but who have one adult in the household holding them back. Now, one adult can take over and read another adult’s challenge. If that’s confusing, just ask us (come to think of it, that applies to any confusing thing, really).

             As for the big day, it’s going to be a block party from 1:30-3pm! BBQ sponsored by Boomers Barbeque, snacks, lawn games, raffle drawings, a teen video game tournament, and more. Families have read so much this summer, so we think the town deserves a party. All ages are welcome! Children’s program participants must be present to claim their winning drawings. It’s a perfect opportunity to gather, get to know summer residents, and enjoy an afternoon celebrating readership. Reading is just, so, good! Come by for food, friends, and happiness.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 8, 2019

         Sifting through information is difficult. It’s really, really hard to find quality information amongst the ceaseless waves of incomplete, amateurish, and unsubstantiated information, not to mention deliberate misinformation. In this age of information, it is increasingly important that we consider the credibility of information we take in. The Library’s Mission is to help providing access to quality information. We persistently work to help sift through to find books and programming that merits attention. We do our best to find materials and programs of interest to all demographics in Gilford, and to represent different viewpoints. It’s genuinely enjoyable work!

         Expert presentations and discussions are one such way we try to bring information to you. We are always on the lookout for experts to come talk at the library about their fields. For the most part, we try to find speakers with experience presenting at libraries and with a reputation for forthrightness. That’s how we came to invite Robert Azzi to present ‘Ask a Muslim’ next Thursday, August 15th from 6-8pm. Robert Azzi is a photojournalist, columnist, public speaker, and Arab-American Muslim. He has been speaking at libraries across New England and comes highly recommended.

         Mr. Azzi will talk about his life, his experience as an Arab-American Muslim, the religion of Islam and its history, and about the Middle East, terrorism and associated political and social issues. So, you know, light topics. He wants to converse with any and everyone about Islam and Muslims, speaking as an American citizen who converted to Islam. We hope to learn and share in his lived experience. In the spirit of providing access, the presentation is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Friends of the Gilford Public Library. There will be ample time for civil questions and discussion.

         With attention to the quality of information we consume and programs like this, perhaps we can understand a little more about the world we live in.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 15, 2019

        We’ve heard enough about beach reads, but what about off the beach reads? I don’t just mean books with substance, I mean books about the sea, the sky, about getting up and moving. Unless you’re listening to audiobooks while backpacking, reading is something we often do seated in a comfortable, quiet place. The inherent contrast of reading a story about explorers, survivors, and extreme places is so interesting.

        One of the most quintessential adventure writers is Clive Cussler. He is wildly prolific, especially when writing with other authors--he’s released three new books this year already with two more yet to come. His newest book, ‘The Oracle’ takes Sam and Remi Fargo, treasure hunting couple, on a danger strewn chase. ‘Celtic Empire’ sees Dirk Pitt hopping around the globe staying just ahead of contemporary and ancient threats alike. The frequent jokes, capers, and ridiculous scenarios give his books a playful quality. If you haven’t read him in awhile, his off the beach reads might be worth a look.

        For those who want the action without the ridiculousness, you could try Brad Taylor’s new ‘Daughter of War’. It comes in heavy with play on contemporary international tensions and fear. If you like to hear about frantic attempts to prevent worst case scenarios, Brad Taylor is the author for you.

        Let’s step back from apocalypse events for a moment. ‘The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal is about three sisters in the US who obey a mother’s dying wish to have them conduct her last rites at a temple in India.With their individual kinds of baggage coming with, the sisters relearn about the siblings they thought they knew, and try to discover what they should do with their uncertain futures.

        Sometimes you just want a read that broods a bit. You want something that calls out the flaws of humanity, and does so poetically to both make the read easier, but also cut a little deeper. Max Porter’s ‘Lanny’ is a read like that. In a tiny village near London, a family moves in to find that the cute town has a long history, a long memory, and an inescapable connection with the natural world around it. Some readers will roll their eyes, but others will find the pithy lines to have wisdom.

        To close out these off the beach reads, we have a particularly wacky graphic novel series by the McElroy Brothers. This comedy trio are famous for many creative endeavors, including a role playing podcast they made with their father. ‘The Adventure Zone’ graphic novels visualize the hijinks of these comedians in a not so classic fantasy setting. Get up, get moving, and try something new!


Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 19, 2019

        Old Home Day. It’s been going on as long as any of us can remember. We know that because this is the 100th anniversary of the celebration! 100! For a century we’ve been at this particular party, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be stopping soon. We’ll be in the parade again and we’ll bring the fun. You’ll know it's the library float when you see kids handing out not just candy, but free children’s books too!

        We love sharing the joy of books with people. It’s a trait that the Friends of the Gilford Public Library share. After all, their annual Old Home Day Book Sale is as much about raising money for library programs as it is about passing books on to people who can use and enjoy them. The cost per book is ridiculously low at the sale. When you consider how many different genres, period, and quality authors are represented, it is a once in a year opportunity to find your next several reads at a bargain. That’s not even mentioning all of the children’s books, DVDs, audiobooks, and puzzles that will be sold too.

        The Old Home Day Book Sale is going on all day today (Thursday) and Friday during library hours. It’s open Saturday too from 9am-12pm. Everybody’s favorite Old Home Day tradition, the Pie and Ice Cream Sale, will take place Friday evening from 4-6pm and Saturday morning from 9am-12pm. The Friends of the Gilford Public Library always muster up plenty of volunteers to donate homemade pies. We end up with such variety, made by some of the best bakers our town has to offer. With a heap of ice cream beside a slice, you’ll have that child-like giddiness that reminds you of summers past. It’s the perfect way to refresh and head back into look at more books!

        The Friends of the Gilford Public Library run these sales every year to support library programming. Without their support and the generosity of people visiting us this weekend, the library would not be able to offer the quality of service that the town currently enjoys. It’s a week for good spirits, so we hope to see you visit!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, August 29, 2019

        Deference to the workers. Accolades and celebrations to the laborers. The makers, the thinkers, and the implementers of the world that keep jolly civilization going. It takes work to keep a person alive, more work to thrive, and far more still to push society forward. This Monday is Labor Day, and it's a chance for us to celebrate those that put their time, energy, and sometimes health, into their work. Thanks!

        People come to the library all the time looking to create resumes, find job opportunities, apply online to those jobs, and to research interview best practices. Sadly, there are many sites that prey on people who are inexperienced with use of the internet and unfamiliar with scams. I don’t know how many times someone has spent a couple of hours working on a resume on a suspicious website, only to find that the site charges a subscription fee before the resume can be used. There are also scam job opportunities promising too-good-to-be-true pay. It can be a hostile environment for people trying to re-enter the workforce, or venturing in for the first time.

        The good news is that we can help. With assistance from Google services, we can help you create a Google account, with which you can create a resume, search for work, prepare for an interview, and more. Both the classes and the Google services are totally free. Sign up for Digital Day: Online Job Hunting for Wednesday, September 4th from 12-1:30pm or Thursday, September 5th from 6-7:30pm. The class is designed to both teach, from the bottom up, everything you need to know, and to actually start the process. The class is part of the Grow With Google outreach program.

        We want to help you navigate the strange waters of online job hunting, resume building, and interviewing. The Library is here to help!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 5, 2019

         Time to go back to school! Whether you’re in school, college, continuing education, or whatever, now is the time to liven up the brain. For autodidacts, however, the brain never quiets down. Autodidacticism is a cool word I taught myself: It means roughly self-learning. That’s not to say that autodidacts don’t use resources available to them, but they aren’t using schools or mentors. Providing the opportunity for autodidacticism is one of the principal reasons libraries exist.

         Being an autodidact is a lot like being self-employed. You make your own hours, choose your own projects, and are as successful as you are hard working and clever. It’s totally possible to study a topic using biased and misleading sources, so watch out! Without an expert teacher or mentor to walk you through source selection, you might very well wind up knowing less real information than you started with. I like to think of that as a challenge, rather than a discouragement. Just as you learn about a topic, you can learn about how to select quality sources: learn how to learn smarter!

         At any stage of your learning, we can help you find the next resource. We have many starter resources on-hand, and we know where to find more detailed works. For motivation, try reading something like ‘Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World’ by David Epstein. Epstein draws upon contemporary data to show that most top performers in specialized fields more frequently have backgrounds in multiple fields and multiple specializations, rather than just the field that they found great success in.

         You probably know that I like to talk about how languages change. ‘Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language’ by Gretchen McCulloch takes a look at the ways in which the internet, and our increasing use of apps and other technology, is changing our language at startling speeds. Shorthand is making its way into everyday conversation because people are so accustomed to writing messages out on cell phones and other devices. It’s fascinating, + #lit fam.

         So stop by and learn something new. I’ve never heard of anyone regretting trying.

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 12, 2019

       Library cards are incredibly powerful tools. With it, a world of information, entertainment, and a strange, but impressive variety of services and materials are made available. The tens of thousands of physical materials and the hundreds of thousands of digital materials are just the beginning of what a library card comes with. A staff of charming, if verbose, librarians are reachable to help cardholders find what they are looking for, and to help them to help themselves. Dozens of programs every month are run for cardholders from games of Bridge and fiber crafts, to children’s Yoga, to informative cultural enrichment presentations, and so much more.

       September is Library Card Sign Up Month. If you don’t yet have a library card, WHY NOT? You can get one any time! We’ll be venturing out into the community to raise awareness of library card benefits throughout the month, so be sure to say ‘Hi” if you see us somewhere like the Farmer’s Market. Each person signing up for a new card this month will get a Gilford Public Library cell phone wallet (it holds the card perfectly).

       We’re not just encouraging people in town to sign up for a library card if they don’t have one, we’re also celebrating people who use their library cards to the fullest! When you stop in this month to borrow materials or use the space, fill out a two-question survey to go in a raffle for one of twelve custom designed tote bags. We want to know what you like about your library card, and what you wish you could do with your library card. We want to make one of the most powerful tools in your pocket even better!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 16, 2019

        National Hispanic Heritage Month has just begun! It runs from Sunday, September 15th to Tuesday October 15th. Although we need no occasion to hype fantastic literature produced by authors of Hispanic heritage, why not give a special shout out now. These books are worth reading anytime.

        Why not start with a banger? ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez merits its reputation as a classic. It’s a life-long love story about a romance broken by practicality, but with a lover who never loses hope. Many people describe the writing style as that of painting a picture, rather than telling a story. If that intrigues you, then this gem of Hispanic literature might interest you.

        Another book that has aged well is ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ by Laura Esquivel. Forbidden to marry by Mexican tradition, youngest daughter of an all-female household falls in love with a man. He loves her back with such fervor that he marries her sister, just to be near to her. I want to pick this book up just because I feel so incredibly bad for the sister that I want to know what happens.

        For a much darker take on Hispanic experience, you have ‘Prayers for the Stolen’ by Jennifer Clement. It describes the experience of women in the mountains for Guerrero, Mexico, where drug cartels have absolute power and being female is a constant risk. You see women trying to survive, get educated whenever they can, and manipulating their appearance to avoid the attention of dangerous men. It’s a harsh existence to imagine, but the determination and perseverance of the characters is emboldening.

        A more glamorous historical fiction is Chanel Cleeton’s ‘Next Year in Havana’. Alternating between 1958 and 2017 in Havana, Cuba, we see a member of Cuba’s high society falling for a revolutionary without full outstanding of what it might mean for her. Years later, her granddaughter attempts to trace the fascinating arc of her time in Havana, only to discover a mesmerizing current political, and literal, climate. ‘Fruit of the Drunken Tree’ by Ingrid Rojas Contreras is another story featuring a character separated from widespread violence by a thin, political line--1990s Colombia.

        ‘The Book of Unknown Americans’ by Christina Henriquez dives right into the immigrant experience of a few families living in an all-Hispanic apartment complex in Delaware. Each family is different, and has different issues and methods, but their purpose is the same. They immigrated and they are working in order to make a better life for themselves and their families. Though there are setbacks (particularly in language barriers), the book shows a positivity in the families that strive together.

        These are a mere sampling of a rich, diverse, mountain of literature by authors of Hispanic heritage. Don’t miss out on these amazing reads during National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Notes from the Library

by Mark Thomas, September 26, 2019

       Think about this for a moment: People have been writing books for thousands of years. More books are being written now than ever before. Despite this, a handful of books stick out amongst the sea of literature as being uniquely well-written. Sometimes people call them classics, sometimes they’re called ‘great’ books, sometimes they’re just remembered as those books you were required to read in high school that you don’t want to admit had a profound impact on you. Here, we’re deciding to call them Oldies But Goodies, and we’ve got a book discussion group just for them.

       Mark: Betty and Jim, you two are book discussion regulars. With the enormous amount of literature and other entertainment out there vying for your attention, why do you choose to read an oldie but goody book for the discussion every couple of months?

       Betty and Jim: We don’t know any better.

       Mark: Sometimes when I recommend a book released more than a decade ago, I see people automatically dismiss it. A few have explained that they’re worried the books will bore them. Do they bore you? What do you think these books have to offer readers?

       Betty and Jim: Yes, the reading can be a nice transition into deep sleep, but then you might wake up feeling a connection to something you read.

       Mark: Sounds positive to me, but is there a ‘tweed only’ dress code for these discussions? Reading books with a reputation can be intimidating--Who do you think should give it a try?

       Betty and Jim: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

       Mark: What was one of your favorite books and discussions?

       Betty: Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor.

       Jim: Oh, Pioneers! By Willa Cather.

       Mark: Thank you both so much for sharing! The next Oldies But Goodies Book Discussion is on November 19th and we’ll be discussing ‘House Made of Dawn’ by M Scott Momaday. Get in touch with the library to reserve a copy!