Summer Reads!

Summer is here at last You can now take things a little easier, slow down, relax, slip into those comfy flip-flops and enjoy all that summer has to offer, whether it’s lounging by the pool, dozing in the hammock or sunning at the beach.

As far as the library is concerned, the best part of summer isn’t the weather, the family cookouts or the time spent hanging out with friends, even though all of those are great. The best part of summer is that there is so much time for reading! Long, lazy, sun-filled days are perfect for reading whether you’re lounging in your own backyard or at the beach or lake house.

Publishers work overtime to get their books in print before the summer demand peeks, so our shelves are full of newly published titles – from literary debuts to new works from favorite authors. Looking for summer reading ideas? Here are few of our suggestions.

Fiction: The Women in the Castle: A Novel, by Jessica Shattuck is a story of three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold. The three women’s lives are abruptly changed when their husbands are executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. They band together in a crumbling Bavarian castle to raise their children and keep each other standing. Rich in character development, the book gives us a clear understanding of their sense of loss, inner strength and the love they have for each other.

Fiction: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel, by Gail Honeyman. Meet quirky Eleanor Oliphant, who struggles to relate to other people and lives a very solitary life. When she and the new IT guy happen to be walking down the street together, they witness an elderly man collapse on the sidewalk and suddenly Eleanor’s orderly routines are disrupted. This is a lovely novel about loneliness and how a little bit of kindness can change a person forever.

Non-Fiction: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore, is the story the so-called “Radium Girls” who painted luminescent faces on clock and watch dials using a paint mixture that contained radium. Instructed to “lip-point” their brushes as they painted, they absorbed such high doses of radium that they literally glimmered. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive–until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights. The Radium Girls explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.

Non-Fiction: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann, recounts the series of unsolved murders that rocked the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma during the 1920s. The oil-rich Osage were already victimized by unscrupulous businessmen and societal prejudice, but these murders were so egregious that the newly formed FBI was brought in to investigate. The book is rich in history and wonderfully written.

Beach Read: What would summer be without that yummy beach read? Named one of Coastal Living’s 50 Best Books for the Beach, The Forever Summer, by Jamie Brenner, has all the ingredients of a great beach read – mystery, romance, family secrets ,richly imagined characters, and of course, delicious descriptions of Cape Cod.

Need more ideas? Pick-up a copy of the July BookPage magazine for reviews of the latest titles. Free copies are available in the library’s front lobby. Enjoy the summer!

Posted in Readers

Read This Summer!

buildbetter world2Summer is just around the corner, and at the library, we couldn’t be happier. Summer is a special time for us, a time when the sounds of children’s laughter and eager, excited voices fill the library. Children love to read; they love to come to the library, and we love that they come.

Some may wonder about the importance of reading for children today. After all, so much of learning and entertainment involves looking at a screen; it’s tempting to think that reading doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Well, there are actually a number of good reasons why reading matters and why children should read. Here are just a few for you to consider.

Reading exercises our brains. It’s a complex mental task that involves strengthening and building brain connections. Reading gives us insight into the world around us – about people, places and events outside our own experience, and helps to build background knowledge. Reading develops our imagination, helps to develop empathy, improves our ability to concentrate and enriches our vocabulary. Most importantly, summer reading for children helps to prevent the dreaded “summer slide.”

Numerous studies have shown that reading over the summer prevents “summer reading loss.”  – the dreaded summer slide in the loss of reading skills. Summer reading loss is cumulative. Children don’t always “catch up” in the fall because the other children are moving ahead with their skills. Sadly, some children and families regard the summer break as just that – a break from school and other “requirements.” However, having kids read four or five books during the summer can prevent the reading-achievement losses that normally occur over those months.

Every summer the library offers an enjoyable way for children to include reading in their summer activities. It’s the summer reading program. The summer reading program provides quality learning activities that are fun, and encourage some of the best techniques identified by research as being important to the reading process. Research shows that free, voluntary reading is essential to helping kids become better readers, writers, and spellers. Children read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests. Self-selection of reading materials is an extremely important factor in motivating struggling readers, and is a key component of our summer library program.

This summer’s reading theme is Build a Better World.  We’ll build a pirate playhouse, read about pirates and hear pirate stories. We’ll create a fairytale world with a playhouse castle and read about knights and princesses. We’ll image a trip to the moon as we build a spaceship and learn about outer space. Children will have the opportunity to read weekly with a Book Buddy, use their imagination to build with Wonder Gears or Legos and to enjoy stories, songs and games. Children who read five books over the summer receive a ticket to our Ice Cream Social. There are weekly drawings and special events including a magician, a popular children’s band and a Mad Science “Fire & Ice” program. This all makes for summer reading fun.

We invite you and your child to visit the library this summer, pick-up a summer reading kit and registration prize, register for special events and programs and add reading to your list of activities this summer. The fun begins Monday, June 19. For a complete description of the program, weekly activities and special events, visit our website, and click on Summer Program, or call the Children’s Room, 508.823.1344

Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Vacation Guides

Summer is just around the corner, and we all look forward to warm sunny days and that promise of respite from routine – the summer vacation. For most of us, summer vacation means travel of some sort. It could be a short easy car ride to a mountain retreat or cottage on the beach, or a longer more arduous trip involving cross-country travel. If you are one of the more adventurous, you might even be planning a trip to exotic places and foreign shores.

Why do we travel? If you’ve traveled recently, you know travel is not glamorous or graceful. It can be challenging, even grueling – especially air travel. Air travel involves enduring long lines and/or delays, the many annoyances of the airport – and often fellow travelers – and uncomfortable seating in crowded conditions. However, we endure these discomforts, because we all have our reasons for traveling – the need to get away, the need to experience the new and different, the need for a change or curiosity about the world and other cultures. And because it offers so much to so many different people, travel holds an allure for us all.

St. Augustine once wrote, “The world is a book, and he who doesn’t travel reads only one page.” In the book of the world, all pages are different. We are looking for something new, something unseen – the next page in the world’s book, if only for a little while. That’s what makes travel so interesting, intriguing, and inviting. It beckons us to new lands and unfamiliar surroundings. It gives us a respite from the regimented world of 9 to 5. It shows us new places, people, and cultures. It’s always giving us something new – not only outwardly, but also inwardly.

If you’re planning travel as part of your summer, the library can help. We’ve just updated our travel collection, so you’ll find the newest editions of Frommer’s travel guides to destinations around the U.S. as well as around the world – from Florida to the Pacific Northwest, England to Australia. If you’re planning a stay-vacation or vacation closer to home, you can still take a trip with the works of travel writers such as Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling, In a Sunburned Country), Douglas Preston (Lost City of the Monkey God), Paul Theroux (Riding the Iron Rooster, Last Train to Zona Verde), William Least Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) or Peter Mayle ( A Year in Provence).

No matter where you are going, make the library a destination this summer.

Posted in Readers

Remember our Fallen Heroes

Bands will play and flags will wave as hundreds of people march by the library in Raynham’s Memorial Day parade on Saturday, May 27. Parades have been a traditional part of Memorial Day since the Civil War when veterans remembered their fallen comrades by decorating their graves. This Decoration Day, which came to be called Memorial Day, is a time for us to pause and remember all who have died in the service of our country, especially our native sons.

As marchers pass through the intersection of South Main and Orchard, they’ll see the plaque honoring Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Jared C. Monti, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006. If they look closely, they will see a small marker atop the Orchard Street sign. On the sign is inscribed Fallen Hero along with the name, SFC Jared C. Monti, his rank, the conflict of his death, his branch of service and his age. This is the Fallen Hero commemorative that the Town of Raynham is placing at intersections around Raynham. There are ten more Fallen Hero signs in Raynham honoring those who gave their lives in Iraq, Vietnam, and World War II. The project is not complete; there are more signs to come. Overall, the number of Raynham soldiers killed in action includes 17 during the Civil War, 14 during World War II, three in Vietnam, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

You will find Fallen Hero signs on the corners of Ralph Road (Corporal Brian Oliveira), Church Street (2nd Lt James B. McGarry), Michael Road (CPL Bruce E. Johnston III), Elm Street East (CPL Timothy P. Jennings), Sandy Hill (PFC Wilfred M. Cabral), Center Street (SIC Augustus C. Oliver, Jr.), King Philip Street (PFC Charles E. Cutter), White Street (SGT Thomas M. Hopkins), King Street (PFC Francis J. Murphy), and Britton Street (1st Lt Chester A. Bearse, Jr.).  Each of these Fallen Hero signs commemorates a life tragically cut short – a young man killed in action in defense of our country.  All were young, all were courageous, and all left family and friends.

The Fallen Hero project is the initiative of the town’s Veteran’s Memorial Committee chairman, John McGarry, whose brother, James, was killed in Vietnam in 1969. As part of the project, McGarry has written short biographies of each of the men detailing their lives, service and death. These biographies have been compiled and are now available on the Raynham History page on the library’s website, Reading the biographies is absorbing, sobering and sometimes, startling – as in the case of Seaman Augustus Oliver, Jr., who was killed along with 350 shipmates when the ammunition ship, the USN Hood, exploded in 1944. He was only eighteen.

Our thanks to the Fallen Hero project for helping us to remember those whose sacrifice should not be forgotten.

Posted in Uncategorized

Spring Cleaning

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. Nothing else gives such a sense of accomplishment like a thorough spring-cleaning. We compulsively wash and scrub, vacuum and dust, polish and shine, tidy and organize. Where did this custom originate? Some trace the origin of spring-cleaning to the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh tekouni” which literally means “shaking the house”. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from furniture to fixtures. Another possible origin of spring-cleaning dates to the ancient Jewish practice of cleansing the home in anticipation of the important springtime festival of Passover. Whatever its origin, spring-cleaning is a practice that’s been adopted wholeheartedly by households everywhere.

At the library, we always know when spring-cleaning has begun, because people arrive at our door with boxes and bags of books to donate. The boxes and bags are full of books that the children have grown too old to read, bestsellers that have lost their appeal, paperbacks that no longer fit on the shelf or videos that no one wants to watch. We welcome these donations, because they are just in time for our annual Friends Spring Book Sale.

We are fortunate that our Friends of the Library host two sales each year – one in the Fall and the other in the Spring. Both events are important sources of income for the library. We depend on these book sales to help defray expenses. Funds are used to purchase museum and zoo passes and support our children’s summer reading program. Our Friends work many long hours to organize, sort and sell hundreds of items for each sale.

Generous donations are the key to a successful book sale. So now is the time to clean out that closet, organize those shelves and free yourself of excess clutter. The library happily accepts books, compact discs, videos, audiobooks, children’s books and paperbacks for the sale. Consider donating your items for this worthy cause. There are several reasons you should.

Book sales are a bargain. Library book sales make ownership of books affordable to everyone. You can spend a lot of money or spend a little money, and still go home with a bag full of books. Book sales promote recycling – much better for someone else to read the book than to discard it completely. Book sales promote a sense of community. By donating your items, you become part of the larger effort to support library service in our community. And finally, book sales are fun.  You never know what you’ll find – a new bestseller, an old favorite from your childhood, or a book long out of print.

Once your spring-cleaning is underway, remember the library. We’ll gladly accept those gently used items that you’re clearing-out or tidying away. The Friends’ of the Library Annual Spring Book Sale is on Friday and Saturday, May 12th and 13th. Doors open at 10:00. For more information, contact the library at 508.823.1344.

Posted in Services

Don’t Pass on This!

After a long, dreary winter we all look forward to the brightness of the New England spring. The sun shines sunnier, the grass grows greener, the days grow longer if not warmer, and summer, we tell ourselves, is just around the corner. However, spring in New England can be unpredictable. Some days hold the promise of summer while other days remind us that winter is slow to relinquish its grasp. Some days we don’t know whether to go outside to enjoy the day, or to remain inside with extra sweaters on. In other words, it’s hard to plan what to do in this changeable season. Here’s where the library can help.

Warm sunny days forecasted? Take a visit to the zoo! Spring is a wonderful time to explore the natural world, and there’s no better way to do that than to visit a zoo. It’s a wonderful outing for the entire family, full of fun, excitement, discovery, learning and the great outdoors. Visiting a zoo can be a great way to educate and entertain children as they encounter native animals and animals from around the world. The library offers zoo passes for free or discounted admission to three area zoos, the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence and the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro.

Cool and cloudy days on the horizon? Opt to spend the day inside at one of the many outstanding museums in our area. The library offers passes for discounted admission to several area museums. Children can explore the nearby Easton Children’s Museum, or learn about the whaling industry at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. A trip into Boston could include a visit to the Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium. Children will enjoy the special exhibit, Make Way for Ducklings, celebrating the art of the children’s book illustrator Robert McCloskey, now showing at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Whatever your interests and whatever the weather, you can find something to do with the library’s Museum and Zoo Pass program. To reserve your pass and get information about hours, reduced admission fees, directions and exhibits, visit the library’s website, and click on Passes. There you will find a list of passes and dates available. Select a date and enter your library card information to reserve the pass. You’ll need to stop by the library to pick-up your pass the day before you plan to use it. You can also call the library, and we’ll make the reservation for you. Passes are purchased by the library with funds from the Friends of the Raynham Public Library. For more information about this service, call the library at 508-823-1344, or pick-up a Museum and Zoo pass brochure the next time you visit the library.

Posted in Services

Getting the SBA to work for you!

SBA_logoIt may come as a surprise to you to learn that there are more than 1,900 businesses in the town of Raynham. It certainly came as a surprise to me when I discovered this fact on the website Manta. The A to Z list of Raynham small businesses covers everything from Accounting to Zumba. Most of these businesses are small – from cleaning services, tattoo parlors and pest control to hearing aids, landscaping and beauty shops. There are also restaurants, car dealerships, furniture stores, office supply stores, construction companies, financial services, doctors, lawyers, dentists. The list goes on and on.

It is estimated that there are 28 million small businesses in the United States. Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all of the employers in the United States, and employ over 56 million people. Small businesses not only fuel the American economy, but they also give people the opportunity to fulfill the “American Dream,” the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

We all benefit from small businesses. When we patronize local businesses, we are essentially giving money back to our local community. A thriving local business will generate high levels of revenue, which means that the business will pay higher taxes, including local taxes. This money is then used for local police and fire departments as well as schools and libraries.

If you are thinking of striking out on your own, starting a business, and joining the millions of small business owners, there is help available to guide you through the process. It’s the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the United States government agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The mission of the Small Business Administration is “to maintain and strengthen the nation’s economy by enabling the establishment and viability of small businesses and by assisting in the economic recovery of communities after disasters”. The agency’s activities are summarized as the “3 Cs” of Capital, Contracts and Counseling.

John Arnett, Economic Development Specialist from the SBA, will be at the Raynham Public Library on Tuesday, April 18, from 6:00 – 8:00pm, to share information about the SBA’s programs and services. He will provide information about the SBA Guaranty Loan Programs – microloans and express loans, government contracting opportunities, counseling services through MSBDC, SCORE, CWE and VBOC and SBA disaster assistance. Registration is required for the workshop. Please register on the library’s website,, in Events. For more information, contact the library at 508.823.1344.

Posted in Services