April Story Hour and Easter Egg Drawings

Chris reads The Easter Egg by Jan Brett for the April story hour. The library contributed fun activities to the Easter baskets being distributed by the Island Community Center, including crayons and construction paper for kids to design their own dazzling Easter eggs. Please share your artwork with the library on Facebook or by email. Let us know if we can share over social media.

Here’s hoping the Easter Bunny delivered lots of delicious Easter eggs to make your whiskers tingle. Happy Easter and Passover from the Stonington Public Library!

New Monthly Program: Saturday Solve

Photo by Chip Griffin

Join Chris on the first Saturday of every month, starting on April 3, to solve word puzzles together. He’ll focus on crosswords but will also branch out into other formats. Everyone will work together for an hour to solve puzzles. Of course. But we’ll also take a deeper look at the inner workings from grid layout to cluing standards. Give your wordplay muscle a serious workout.

Register on our Events page, or click here. The first Saturday Solve is on April 3 from 11am-12pm. You only need to register once to receive the Zoom invitation for April and all future months.

 

Get a Clue: Word Puzzles for All Ages

The next time you stop by the library, ask our team for a word puzzle. We can hook you up with a puzzle that is just right for your age and solving level. The library doesn’t charge for printing, so all you need to provide is the pencil.

The crossword is by far the most common. Yet even crosswords come in different types and sizes. Most daily puzzles are 15×15 with an average of 75 words. Sunday puzzles increase to 21×21 and approximately 140 words, and the New York Times publishes a jumbo-sized crossword (~50×50) in its annual “Puzzlemania” featuring hundreds of words. For the faint of heart, you can also find minis and midis ranging from 5×5 to 10×10.

There’s a wide world of word puzzles beyond crosswords that range from mindless to mind-numbing. We’d be happy to help you explore. So whether you have the whole afternoon or a few short minutes, there’s a puzzle for you. Solve at your own pace, and seek as little or as much assistance as you like. There are no word puzzle referees, so you make your own rules. The trick is to have fun. Heck, maybe you’ll even learn something along the way.

For kids ages 8 and up, the library offers a wide variety of puzzles from Puzzlesnacks in print only. For adults, you can access free puzzles online, on your smartphone, or in print at the library:

  1. The Atlantic – weekday minis/midis: online
  2. Crosswords with Friends – daily 13×13: app
  3. The Daily Beast – daily 10×10: online
  4. Los Angeles Times – daily 15×15 & daily 5×5: online | mini
  5. New York Magazine – weekly Sunday puzzle: online
  6. Universal – daily 15×15: online
  7. USA Today – daily 15×15: online | app
  8. Vox – daily 9×9: online
  9. Wall Street Journal – daily 15×15: online
  10. Washington Post – weekly Sunday puzzle: online

March Story Hour and Polar Bear Take-and-Make Craft

Watch and listen to Chris read A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett with art by Shawn Harris. Special thanks to Emily Newell for filming this month’s story hour (really, it’s less than 4 minutes).

Pick up an accompanying craft kit at the library to make your own polar bear in the snow. We’re now open to the public, so pop in any time during library hours. You can always call ahead at 367-5926 to reserve your kit or to request curbside pickup/delivery.

We’re Reopening

The Stonington Public Library will reopen to visitors starting tomorrow, Thursday, February 25. All visitors are required to wear a mask and to practice social distancing. Our team will limit the number of people inside the library at any given time, and we ask that patrons manage their time to keep their visits short. We will continue to offer curbside pickup and delivery as requested.

Anyone visiting or returning from out of state must comply with the state of Maine requirements for testing and quarantine before visiting the library. Visit the Keep Maine Healthy website for full guidelines.

Mad About Books

Not mad about March Madness? Tune into the Tournament of Books at the Morning News, instead. Every March the Morning News assembles an A-team of judges to read, review, and decide on the year’s best novel. A competition, yes. But really an excuse to talk about great novels.

The 2021 tournaments kicks off on March 8 and features head-to-head battles each weekday decided by one of the judges. When only two titles remain, all judges return for the championship round, and the novel with the most votes emerges victorious. The winner takes home the Rooster. (Apparently, no winner has accepted the offer of an actual live rooster.)

Get this year’s bracket and more about this year’s novels and judges. You can also read more about how the tournament works.

Request any tournament novel at librarian@stoningtonlibrary.org or 367-5926. We have several titles on our shelves and can obtain other by inter-library loan.

Library Book Club: 12 Maine authors in 12 months!

Maine turned 200 last year. The pandemic overshadowed any celebrations, and her birthday passed unheralded. In six more weeks, Maine officially turns 201, and in recognition of the milestone, the Stonington Public Library plans a yearlong Maine-themed book club to mark the state’s 201st birthday. Reading 12 Maine authors in 12 months. We’re calling it Maine 201.

Starting in February and running through January 2022, the reading list alternates between fiction and non-fiction. Selected authors include native Mainers and writers who later put down roots in the state. Collectively, they represent many different walks of life, and in their 12 distinct voices, they write about everything from seaweed and autism to misfits and hope. Explore the full reading list below with titles for diverse ages, interests, and backgrounds.

Join book club discussions—and contribute!—on the fourth Monday of every month from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Meetings held on Zoom until further notice. To request a library copy of any title, email librarian@stoningtonlibrary.org at least 3 weeks in advance. You can register now for February and March on our events page.

ALL READERS WELCOME!

February 22 (register)
Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry

Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the Shakers’ unfamiliar way of life, Lydia must grapple with a new world that is nothing like the one she used to know.

March 22 (register)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

April 26
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

“The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don’t they teach you anything at school?”

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. “As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she’s confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed. The boy’s mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.

May 24
My World Is an Island by Elisabeth Ogilvie

A memoir of the well-loved writer’s life on a Maine island, this updated edition offers a moving, humorous account of adjustment to a way of life that has sustained Ogilvie through the creation of 42 popular novels.

June 28
On Harbor’s Edge: Book One: 1912-1913 by Kate Hotchkiss

When an unsuspecting bride gets into a boat one stormy June day in 1912, Thaddeus takes her far out to sea to the end of Popplestone Isle. There villagers welcome Mildred with hopeful joy, but she discovers the tiny fishing community is headed for a most dreadful end. In her efforts to save their treasured harbor home, Mildred must risk losing everything she holds dear.

July 26
Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life’s Song by Ashley Bryan

Ashley’s autobiography is full of art, photographs, and the poignant never-say-never tale of his rich life, a life that has always included drawing and painting. His story is powerful, bursting with his creative energy, and a testament to believing in oneself. It’s a book every child in America should have access to and it does what the very best autobiographies do; it inspires!

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan

In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army. Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor–winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.

August 23
One Vacant Chair by Joe Coomer

Sarah’s aunt Edna paints portraits of chairs. Not people in chairs, just chairs. The old house is filled with the paintings, and the chairs themselves surround her work-a silent yet vigilant audience. At the funeral of Grandma Hutton-whom Edna has cared for through an agonizingly long and vague illness-Sarah begins helping her aunt clean up the last of a life. This includes honoring Grandma’s surprising wish to have her ashes scattered in Scotland.

September 27
An Upriver Passamaquoddy by Allen J. Sockabasin

When Allen was a child in the 1940s and 1950s, his village was isolated and depended largely on subsistence hunting and fishing, working in the woods, and seasonal harvesting work for its survival. Passamaquoddy was its first language, and the tribal traditions of sharing and helping one another ensured the survival of the group.

October 25
The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: the train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

November 22
Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such asThe Metamorphosis,The Scarlet Letter,The Iliad,and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents.

December 20 (third week of the month to minimize holiday conflicts)
Rules by Cynthia Lord

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules-from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

January 24
Seaweed Chronicles: A World at the Water’s Edge by Susan Hand Shetterly

Shetterly takes readers deep into the world of this essential organism by providing an immersive, often poetic look at life on the rugged shores of her beloved Gulf of Maine, where the growth and harvesting of seaweed is becoming a major industry. While examining the life cycle of seaweed and its place in the environment, she tells the stories of the men and women who farm and harvest it—and who are fighting to protect this critical species against forces both natural and man-made.

A NEW YEAR AND A NEW FACE AT THE LIBRARY

By Jill Larrabee

A new year and a new face at Stonington Public Library! When I accepted the job as the Stonington Public Library director in 2018, I was told that it is the best job in the world. It has lived up to that promise—and more! The library has brought many wonderful people into my life and broadened my experiences in our incredible community. It is with a heavy heart that I step down as the library director. The Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated many changes in everyone’s lives, and I am no longer able to balance the time required to run the library with the demands at home to care for my family. I am not saying goodbye to the library; rather, I am changing hats from director to volunteer.

 

Thankfully, the library’s search committee found a highly qualified library director, Christopher Ross, to fulfill the mission of the Stonington Public Library. I have had a chance to work with Chris over the past few weeks, and I am impressed with the energy and passion that he brings to the job. I look forward to seeing all he does to continue community connections, plan programs for all ages, and, of course, get books into the hands of readers.

 

By Christopher Ross

Looking back on the past year, I experienced the same break from the “before times” to life during a pandemic that Covid-19 dictated in everyone’s lives, so when I learned of the director opening at the Stonington Public Library, it offered hope for a brighter outlook in 2021. Spoiler alert: I got the job. I am ready to meet the challenges of managing the library’s services through the pandemic and into the “after times,” and my top priority is to connect with the people of Stonington through whatever means are available to us. The library’s figurative door remains open for book requests, reference questions, printing services, and more, and I greatly anticipate when I can welcome the public back inside the library.

 

There is no neat way to give my full back story in one column, so I will share a few highlights. I have lived on Isle au Haut for the past three years, where I have gotten used to taking on many different roles, but my work in the island and school libraries has been the most rewarding by far. I have taken equal pleasure in reviewing and cataloging the collections and serving as the winter librarian and the board’s co-chair. Libraries are not unlike gardens for the amount of work that goes into tending them in order to cultivate something for all to appreciate.

 

Libraries run in my blood. I am hard pressed to think of an earlier memory than walking through our local library’s turnstile hand-in-hand with my mom. She instilled me with an appetite for discovery through reading, and she went on to a 30-year career in New Hampshire public libraries. I shadowed the children’s librarian in my hometown before I was old enough to think of myself an intern. I have been a proud card holder at libraries spanning from rural New England to northeastern China, and I earned a master’s in library and information science from St. John’s University in New York. For me, this opportunity is like setting a kid loose in a candy store. 

 

 I majored in Chinese language and literature at Oberlin College, and I have spent nearly a decade in total living, working, and studying in China, where I achieved near fluency in Mandarin Chinese. I am already at work on plans for a Chinese New Year themed story time and craft to welcome in the Year of the Ox. Finally, no introduction would be complete without a mention of my crossword addiction. More accurately, I love wordplay. The New York Times daily crossword puzzle is just the tip of the iceberg, and I can go from zero to geeking out faster than you can say “logophile.” Don’t hesitate to ask me more about my years abroad, crosswords, or anything else that piques your interest.

64 Main Street, or in Einstein’s words, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” See you there.

Please join us on Zoom for a Meet the Director event on Wednesday, January 13 at 6pm. Registration is required to obtain the Zoom invitation. To register, call the library at 367-5926 or email librarian@stoningtonlibrary.org

Closed Christmas Eve & Day and New Year’s Day

The Stonington Public Library wishes all in our community a warm and loving holiday season. Our doors will be closed Christmas Eve & Day (Thursday & Friday, December 24 & 25) and again on New Year’s Day (Friday, January 1) to give our team a chance to spend the holidays at home.

There’s still time to stock up on books through our curbside pick-up service. Call us during library hours at (207) 367-5926 or email librarian@stoningtonlibrary.org with your request. Please note that Maine state interlibrary loan is already on holiday leave, so we can only fill requests from our own collection until after the New Year.

Our team wishes you continued health and well-being and new beginnings in 2021. Our recommended New Year’s resolution: read more!

CURBSIDE ONLY

For the present the Library will be closed to the public until further notice due to the community’s sudden and alarming increase in Covid 19 cases.

We advise you to take advantage of our curbside service, and to call 367-5926 or email the library stonington.public.library@gmail.com for both specific book requests and also for the librarian’s assistance in choosing titles for you to pickup at curbside when the books are ready.