September News

Like  the honeybees, chipmunks and hummingbirds who are furiously preparing for the season ahead, we have been busy making some exciting changes and getting ready for a great series of programs for the fall. We invite your visit to see all that is happening at the library.
Thanks to generous funding from our Friends of the Library, we have a wonderful new picture bookcase located in the back room for our youngest patrons. With the covers and titles facing forward, little ones will now be able to choose a book that grabs their interest and have a cozy spot to read it too. We have also relocated the juvenile fiction and nonfiction to this space to create a dedicated children’s area for reading, relaxing and playing. Our other collections will be moving around the library for more accessible browsing as well, and along with fresh exterior paint it gives us a whole new look.
Just in time for the longer nights and chilly weather, our Open Mic nights are back on the second Friday of the month. Beginning next week, September 8th at 7pm come to the Old Town Hall to share your hidden talents with friends and neighbors, or be part of an encouraging audience. All ages and abilities are welcome, and the sign-ups begin at 6:30pm. We are also excited to welcome back edutainer and scientist Dan Zucker for “The Weather” on Sunday, September 10th at 4pm at the Moretown School. This talk is geared toward the non-scientist looking for a thorough overview of the forces and principles that drive the climate and the weather. Attending would be a great primer for the climate change series presented by the MRV Libraries, “Climate Change and our Future: Mitigation, Adaptation and Dialogue”. The first meeting of this grant funded “book discussion meets science cafe” is coming right up on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30pm at the Joslin Memorial Library in Waitsfield.
Our shelves are stocked with a good variety of titles for you as the busyness of summer recedes and routines return. For mystery lovers, both Sue Grafton and Louise Penny have published the next book in their respective series of the alphabet murders and Inspector Gamache. Also new to our shelves is the memoir “Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and a Life Changing Friendship” by Michelle Kuo. Arriving in a small southern town as a new and optimistic Teach for America volunteer, she is quickly faced with the realities of being in one of the poorest places in the country. Sharing the story of her mentorship with one particular student gives us a glimpse into the complicated legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and its lasting impact. Finally, if you are already dreaming of winter then “The Bear and the Nightingale” by Katherine Arden is a logical choice. Set at the edge of the wilderness of Russia, and with a bit of magic sprinkled in, it is a great tale of one young woman’s determination to find her own way.

Hope to see you at the library soon!

 

Build a Better World This Summer at the Library

What makes a better world, and how do you build one? This is the question we invite you to consider through a wide variety of programs and events this summer at the MRV Libraries. From the summer reading program kick-off featuring live birds of prey with the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, to a final community art project that gathers inspiration from  a month of reflecting on what makes a better world, there is something for all ages and interests.

Explore building a better world with construction and help us design and build three little free libraries for our communities. Or, join us to make and play Giant Jenga using recycled materials. With their new 3D printer, Makey Makey and LittleBits, the Warren Library offers a technology twist on building a better world. And for our youngest builders, Duplos will be available for constructing and free play at the Moretown Library.

Art and Music also help create a better world. The Joslin library will host several engaging concerts, including “Trash to Tunes” with Dennis Waring demonstrating a variety of instruments handmade from recycled materials. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy traditional and original songs with rampant audience involvement with Jon Gilmore at the Warren Library. Finally, travel to the Spring Hill School stage to see a live action performance of “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss.

Nature often knows best how to build a better world. Join us for a series of programs on Nature’s Engineers and learn about the amazing adaptations and abilities of birds, bees and beavers. Wild Man extraordinaire Luke Foley will lead adventures in the fundamentals of wilderness survival, exploring the core elements of staying alive regardless of setting or circumstance. And, enter a tiny world to create fairy gardens with the Warren Library. Details on the great events and books that make up the summer reading program are coming to all three libraries soon.

Finally, reading can build a better world by encouraging new perspectives, teaching new skills and connecting us to each other. Some recent recommended books at the Moretown Library include “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. Beginning in Ghana in the 18th century with two sisters, Gyasi’s novel follows two branches of a family tree; one line that remains in Africa, and one that ends up in the United States after one of the sisters is enslaved. Through the next eight generations we see the lasting consequences of the slave trade on both sides of the ocean, as well as the resiliency and hope that carries through the families. For non-fiction reading, Neil deGrasse Tyson brings us “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”. True to form, deGrasse Tyson is able to condense the expansive questions of how we fit into the universe and the nature of space and time into short, easy to read chapters. As he writes in his dedication, “For all those who are too busy to read fat books yet nonetheless seek a conduit to the cosmos.”

Nominations for Little Free Libraries Locations Begins!

This summer the Mad River Valley Librarians are coming together to help design, build and install tiny libraries in three Valley locations, joining over 50,000 registered Little Libraries across the globe.  Embracing the statewide summer reading program theme, “Build a Better World”  these mini libraries offer a free, simple and fun way to exchange books.

Providing 24 hours of accessibility to a wide range of books for a multi generational audience,  it is the hope that these little libraries will foster neighborhood book sharing and will provide one more path towards a life long love of reading. Each library is unique and will be designed by community members but typically they are made of wood and house approximately 20-30 books.

We need your help! From planning through installation there are all sorts of ways to get involved.  Nominations will commence on Monday, May 22 with the goal to find the perfect three sites to install the Little Libraries.  Do you have a place in mind that would be an ideal spot for one of these libraries?  You can nominate your spot here or in person at each library.  After compiling the nominations official voting on sites will begin Thursday, June 8 and the winners will be announced on Friday, June 16.

Once the places are designated all interested community members will then gather to brainstorm design ideas.  There will be an open session in the middle of June with a volunteer architect to help bring these ideas to life. We will then gather on Saturday, June 22 at the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market along with a few members of Aaron Flint Builders (a Waterbury based construction company) to construct the Little Libraries.

For more information come visit us or go to littlefreelibrary.org online.

 

April News

One of my favorite things about living in Vermont is the variety found in our seasons and the unique gifts each one brings. Now the wood frog eggs are in our ponds, the trout lilies are poking up through the forest floor, and the boisterous calls of returning birds greet us in the mornings. Spring is blossoming around us, and as the plants and animals in our community are doing, it is a great time of year for our own renewal and growth. What better way to do that than by learning a new skill through reading or attending one of our upcoming programs?

If you are looking to use the plants of this season to improve your metabolic function and digestion, then join clinical herbalist Allison Dellner for her upcoming Spring Tonics and Bitters: The Gifts of Spring workshop on Sunday, April 30th at the Moretown School at 4pm. This workshop is free with suggested donation, however you must register to attend: moretownlibrary@gmail.com or 496-9728.

Perhaps you are interested in learning how to get your bicycle ready for the warm weather ahead. On Sunday, May 21st, we are teaming up with the Mad River Riders for a Bike Repair Café. Bring your bike along with any tools you have, and receive some hands-on training. There will also be a chance to help spruce up the Town Forest trails so they are ready for your summer use.

Maybe you are just ready to get out of the house after a long winter. Our Open Mic Nights continue, with the last two returning to Fridays on May 12th and June 9th at the Moretown Town Hall starting at 7pm. Come share your hidden talents, or cheer on your friends and neighbors as part of the audience.

Finally, the Birding by Ear class and walk is back by popular demand. Join the Mad Birders on Saturday, June 3rd at the Moretown School at 4pm for an indoor slideshow, and then come to Pony Farm the next morning June 4th at 7am to hear the sounds of our returning feathered friends and practice your newfound skills.

In the library, the season has prompted weeding and building our collection. Good Spring choices include: “Backyard Foraging” by Ellen Zachos with 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat, the Peterson Field Guide’s CD “Birding by Ear: Eastern Central” to help decipher what you are hearing outside; and a new arrival to complement the recent Cooking with Kids workshop, “Cooking Class: 57 Fun Recipes Kids will Love to Make (and eat)” by Deanna Cook.

Spring also brings us Meredith Whitney as our new assistant librarian. A native of Waterbury and Montpelier, she has been living in Moretown for a little over a year and the library is one of her favorite places in town. Meredith has held jobs in conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. Make sure to stop in and say hello!

 

 

March News

Since it was designated by Congress in 1987, we have celebrated Women’s History Month in March. Although it could be argued that the history of women in this country is relevant every month, it gives us the collective opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate women’s essential contributions both locally and globally. Whether returning to the era of the National Woman’s Party and their efforts to secure the right to vote via a great online photo collection from the Library of Congress, or staying closer to home and attending this evening’s roundtable discussion on “Women of the Counterculture Movement in 1970s Vermont” held at the Vermont History Center in Barre, we honor the work of the women before us as we strive towards equal opportunities for all.

This year’s Vermont Humanities Council (VHC) Vermont Reads title, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson is yet another way to connect with Women’s History Month. A beautiful memoir written in verse about coming of age during the civil rights movement, it highlights the unique struggles and perspectives of being both female and a person of color during a critical time in our history.  With VHC’s generous funding the Mad River Valley Libraries are excited to bring this program to the community with 45 copies of the book to distribute along with a variety of events, including an intergenerational book discussion held on Thursday, April 27th at 6:30pm at the Moretown Elementary School. Join your friends and neighbors to engage in the important themes and ideas of this book that are still relevant today.  Students from our area schools will also be on hand to help facilitate and share the work they have been doing around the title in their classrooms. Please give a call or visit the libraries’ websites to learn more about all of our VT Reads programming.

Many of the recent books to come to the library also celebrate and share a feminine point of view. “Lucky Boy” by Shanthi Sekaran follows the stories of Solimar Castro Valdez, a recent mexican immigrant who shows up at her US cousin’s doorstep pregnant, and Kavya Reddy, a chef in her mid-thirties who is trying to conceive. The resulting interactions and decisions of the main characters create an emotionally challenging story about motherhood. And Christina Baker Kline is back with a new historical novel that illuminates the subject of one of Andrew Wyeth’s most famous paintings, “Christina’s World”. In “A Piece of the World” the author of “Orphan Train” returns to early 20th century America with a take on the life of Christina Olson, her family’s farm in Maine, and her role as the artist’s muse.

Hope to see you at the library soon!

February News

It is often where two natural ecosystems meet, a forest and a field for example, that we will find the greatest biodiversity. In this “edge community” plants and animals from both forest and field exist, along with some that are unique to the overlap. And generally, the more variety of species and habitats, the more resilient an area is to disturbance. Likewise, we need many different organizations, businesses, views and ultimately people to make our place strong and able to weather uncertainty at the national level. Now more than ever is the time to embrace and enhance our diversity and come together rooted in community.

Fortunately the many genres of books allows different perspectives and can often be good conversation starters with friends and neighbors. From “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, to “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline or the recent and highly acclaimed “Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead, historical fiction brings us back to important times and pivotal moments that shaped where we stand now. Memoirs like “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, this year’s VT Reads book “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson, or the most in demand at the moment “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance allow us to step into others’ shoes and gain important perspective we didn’t have before. And, it is no surprise that George Orwell’s “1984” has become a bestseller once again with its prescient plot line. Dystopian novels like this, the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or this year’s “Underground Airlines” by Ben H. Winters can bring strange comfort in uncertain times. No matter what genre or particular book, all have great power to foster empathy and broaden our worldview.

Our upcoming programs are good opportunities for coming together to learn and enjoy different company as well. On Friday, February 10th we will host the first of a monthly Open Mic and Poetry Slam at the Town Hall from 7-9pm. Bring your voice, instrument or appreciation and enjoy a night of music with friends and neighbors. On Saturday, February 11th during regular hours, we will be hosting a coloring and card-making open house in celebration of Valentine’s day.  Stop in and let your inner artist shine with our coloring pages and supplies, or bring your own to work on and finish. Light snacks will be provided. Later in the month, we welcome back Vermont Fermentation Adventures to learn the art of making Kombucha, Kefir and other fermented beverages. This event on Sunday, February 19th at 4pm is free, however you must register to attend by calling 496-9728 or emailing moretownlibrary@gmail.com. Hope to see you at the one of these events or at the library soon!

December News

The light may be slowly returning after Solstice, but there is still plenty of darkness left to read, listen and puzzle in as we head into the heart of winter. Here at the library, we have been working on building our collection of books, audiobooks, and DVD’s so you can do just that.

Would you like to be the first to read the new book from your favorite author?  Then adopt him or her!  By signing up to sponsor a particular author, you help increase their collection at the library, with the cost to you generally 25-45% off the cover price. After reimbursing the library, you then get to be the first person to read the book before it goes into regular circulation.  A special bookplate with your name is also added to each title you help purchase.  Another way to support our collection development is through donation of audiobooks and DVD’s in “like new” condition for both adults and children. Challenging because of the higher price point than print books, we would love to be able to add more selection for those that like to use this form of listening and watching. Call, email, or stop in to share audiobooks and DVD’s you no longer need, or to get more information and sign up for the adopt an author program.

Next month we are excited to begin a year long series with clinical herbalist Allison Dellner, “To Be of the Earth: A Year of Herbs”.  Meeting once a season, the workshops will explore natural ways to keep ourselves and our families well. On Sunday, January 22nd at 4pm, join us for Mushrooms, Roots and Berries: Immune-Stimulating Remedies for Winter. Learn what plants to look for while walking the woods and garden to keep you warm and well through the cold winter months. In this class, we will discuss immune-stimulating herbs, warming remedies and some basic medicine-making techniques. We will make two useful winter remedies for supporting a healthy immune system; a syrup, and a medicinal chai blend. Call 802-496-9728 or email moretownlibrary@gmail.com to reserve a spot.

New to our cookbook collection is “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South” by Vivian Howard. After time spent in New York City, Vivian returned with her husband to her hometown in Eastern North Carolina to open a restaurant of her own.  Like many of the chefs in our area, she actively supports and encourages local agriculture and the farmers who grow our food. She is also committed to learning from her elders and preserving their signature dishes.  With over 200 recipes and stories, there is sure to be something interesting for everyone. Those of you familiar with her television show “A Chef’s Life” on PBS will no doubt read through the book with her voice in your head.

In our Young Adult or Crossover category, we have “Heartless” by Marissa Meyer. Like her Lunar Chronicles series or Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked”, this novel dives into the character of the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland”. Although favored by the King of Hearts, all Catherine wants to do is open a bake shop with her best friend. Further entanglements with the court joker and fate ultimately lead to her turn towards evil.  

Best wishes for the holiday season ahead, and I hope to see you at the library soon.

October News

You may have heard “The Friends” mentioned in relation to the library before, and are perhaps wondering what exactly is a “Friend” in this context? Popularized in the early 20th century through the Carnegie grants’ requirements for community involvement in establishing new libraries, Friends groups are particularly important in Vermont where there is no direct state level funding for public libraries. Friends not only fill the role of fundraising, they also are our best advocates, supporting events and generally raising awareness in the community.

Moretown Memorial Library was very fortunate to have a dedicated group of Friends raise funds for the reinforcement of our floor and new bookshelves, allowing us to display and build upon our collection. Throughout the years, they have also written grants and donated money for purchasing books to meet the needs of our reading community. It is our Friends that decorate our building with lights for the holiday season every year. In recognition of this past National Friends Week, we would like to celebrate and thank all of our Friends of the library!

In an effort to strengthen and build upon work done by current Friends, we are actively looking for new members to join the group. So if you would like learn more about becoming a Friend and supporting our library, please join us at our Trustee’s meeting on Thursday November 17th at 7pm.

A new popular book to our collection is Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography “Born to Run”. Coming out just a few days after his 67th birthday, “Born to Run” began as a side project for The Boss back in 2009. Over the next seven years, he completed his story from growing up in New Jersey, to his days playing in Asbury Park and the formation of the E Street Band. As the author notes, “Writing about yourself is a funny business. But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”

If getting your reading and audio books online is more your thing, we have a change coming to Listen Up Vermont, our free service that allows patrons access to a constantly growing and changing collection anytime. In order to make the process more secure and error free, you will be required to enter both your patron barcode and a password starting at the end of this month.

Finally, we hope you will join us at the Moretown School on Thursday, November 10th at 6:30pm as we welcome Maxine Gautier, founder of Out from Under Professional Organizing to highlight common problems and outline strategies for success in decluttering and letting go, and how to manage what’s left. Through a lively combination of lecture, laughter, and exercises you’ll be exposed to proven organizing techniques you can put to immediate use in your home or office, and leave prepared to tackle that daunting project head on.

August News

Morefest is almost here, and we are excited to be part of this great event happening Saturday, August 27th starting at 2pm at the Moretown Rec Field.  During the afternoon hours, the library will be offering a photo scavenger hunt covering all there is to see and do. Then, come back to our booth and share your favorites to display.  We will also be holding an online photo contest after the event, with the winning photos shown at the library and prizes awarded.  Stop by our booth and shop our book sale as well; prices are by donation unless otherwise marked.

Many of the books in our upcoming book sale have come from a recent “weeding” of the collection. So, why do we weed? Removing books from circulation is an essential part of managing a library’s collection, and as those of you who have visited Moretown Memorial Library know, this is especially important here given our limited space. Our role is not that of archiving or collecting physical objects, but rather one of the main goals of the library is to provide and share access to information in the form of books, online resources like the Vermont Online Library, and through our programming. So, if it has never been checked out and is more than ten years old, chances are you will see it for sale in our booth at Morefest.

“The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko: A Novel” is coming to the library soon for borrowing. Billed as “The Fault in our Stars” meets “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, the story follows 17 year-old Ivan and his life in a hospital for gravely ill children.  When Polina arrives, Ivan’s world is turned upside down as they forge a romance in unlikely circumstances.

Another recent book to the library is “Underground Airlines”. In a dystopian future, an alternate America exists where the Civil War never happened and slavery still exists in “The Hard Four”.  Victor, a young black man who is now a bounty hunter with the US Marshall Service, still has plenty of memories of his own childhood on a plantation. When he is assigned to track down a runaway slave, he infiltrates the abolitionist movement called the “underground airlines” and discovers secrets the government is willing to protect at any cost.
On a programming note, you can save the date and join veggie fermenting extraordinaire Beki Auclair on Sunday, September 18th at 4pm. If you are looking for an easy and useful way to preserve the harvest, come get recipes to make your own fermented foods and beverages at home or gather ideas about how to save a fermentation flop. This workshop is free, however you must register to attend.  Call 802-496-9728 or email moretownlibrary@gmail.com to sign up or for more information. We hope to see you there and at the library soon!