Raynham Reads 2017

language_flowersEver since it began in Seattle almost twenty years ago, the phenomenon of the One Book, One Community reading program has grown steadily across the country. Communities of all shapes and sizes have adopted the idea. You’ll now find community reads from Owatonna, Minnesota to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, from New Orleans, Louisiana to Peoria, Illinois, from Long Beach, California, to Raynham, Massachusetts. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of statewide, citywide, countywide, and even country-wide reading programs all over the world.

One Book, One Community is designed to encourage reading for pleasure and start a conversation in the community. It’s intended to bring people together through reading and discussion of a common book. When we all read the same book, we have something in common to talk about – a shared experience. We become a community of readers who share ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes. In today’s world, where there is so much that divides us, the shared experience of reading the same book is an appealing way to bring us together.

Raynham begins its eighth One Book, One Community read this March with The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  It’s an engaging and elegantly written novel that weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of a remarkable young woman, abandoned to foster care as a child, whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own difficult past. The author has united her firsthand knowledge of the foster-care system – she and her husband have fostered many children – with her fascination with the language of flowers —a language popular with Victorians but now a long-forgotten way of communicating. She has filled the novel with so many references to flowers that is comes with a dictionary as an appendix. We learn, for example, that honeysuckle expresses devotion, asters patience, begonias caution and moss maternal love. You will find this story of love, forgiveness and redemption a wonderful read.

Join in the community read and share your ideas about the book. Copies of The Language of Flowers will be available at the library beginning Wednesday, March 1.

The Friends of the Raynham Public Library are sponsoring several events during  April in conjunction with the read, including a tea and talk on the language of flowers, a book discussion, a program on flower arranging and bus trip to the Tower Hill Botanic Garden. For more information on these and other activities, visit the library’s website, http://raynhampubliclibrary.org, open the Books and More tab and click on Raynham Reads 2017, or call the library at 508.823.1344.

Posted in Readers

Preserving Your Past

In the basement of my house sits an old leather suitcase. It was once creamy white, but time and travel have turned the outside covering into grubby beige. The edges are battered, the hinges are rusted, the clasp no longer works and the key that once secured it is long lost. As a suitcase it is useless, but as a family heirloom it is priceless. It was the case that accompanied my parents on their honeymoon to Mexico City in 1942. And anyway, the outside is not important; it’s what inside that matters. Inside the suitcase are all the family records, photographs, documents, letters and memorabilia from fifty-eight years of marriage, three children, two wars, numerous vacations and innumerable celebrations with friends and family.

You may not have a suitcase in the basement. Your family records may be kept in a trunk in the attic, or stuffed into drawers of a childhood desk, or crammed into boxes on the back shelves of a closet. They are in your house somewhere, and you know it. What you don’t know is what to do with them.

If you’re like most people, you’ve taken a lot of family photographs over the years. You might also have old family photographs of various other ancestors which you’ve inherited. And you probably have various miscellaneous documents like birth, marriage and death certificates. Maybe a relative sent you old letters, certificates, and family photographs, and you are not sure what to do. Maybe you’re wondering how to save your child’s pictures and other mementos.

Don’t despair! We’ve invited someone to the library who can help you

Rhonda Chadwick, MS/MA, is an archivist who has worked at a number of museums, libraries and archives throughout New England. She visits the library on Sunday, February 12, at 2:00 to teach you how to organize and store family memorabilia for long-term preservation. You’ll learn the basics of archival principles, digitization and most importantly, how to create a family story with pictures, documents and artifacts. You’ll walk away knowing where to begin, the best location within the home to store documents – I’m certain it’s not in old luggage in the basement – and a pocket full of tips on organizing the materials.

Your attic and basement might harbor untold treasures that document individual and family history. Join us on Sunday, February 12, to learn how to preserve your unique story. Please register for this special event online in Events at raynhampubliclibrary.org or by calling the library at 508.823.1344.


Posted in Services

Avoiding Disappointment

One of the greatest joys in public library service is getting to know our users – the young, the not-so-young, and all ages in between. We get real satisfaction knowing we have placed something in your hands that you will enjoy reading, listening to, or watching. We share your excitement and delight when you discover a bestseller, a new novel, an independent film or the latest release from a pop singer. At the same time, we share your disappointment when you don’t find what you are looking for on the library shelves.

As a member of the SAILS network, a consortium of 38 public libraries, 24 school libraries and two academic libraries in 39 communities throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, we  have access to a shared catalog of more than 4 million items, a sophisticated circulation and acquisitions system, professional and technical assistance, and most importantly, reciprocal borrowing among the member libraries. So, one would think that our library user would never be disappointed. No so.

If you are browsing our library shelves for a bestseller, you will be disappointed. You will seldom find a bestseller sitting on the shelf. Why? Because demand for popular items is incredibly high. Remember, reciprocal borrowing requests are coming from library users in the 39 communities in our network.  Last year, we sent almost 15,000 Raynham items to other libraries. Other libraries sent more than 20,000 items to Raynham. We often acquire items that are immediately put into transit to another library. The items are put into transit, because some user somewhere in the network has been smart enough to place a Hold.

So what is our library user to do? How can our user avoid the disappointment of not finding that bestseller on the shelf? Be a smart library user and place a Hold. Instead of browsing the library shelves, browse the virtual shelves – the SAILS e-catalog. As soon as you see an item you want to borrow, place a Hold. A hold will ensure that you receive the item as soon as it becomes available. If it’s a Raynham item, your Hold will have priority. We notify you either by e-mail, text or automated phone call when the item is here and ready to be picked-up. It’s simple. It works. It avoids disappointment, and we can share in your happiness when we place the item in your hands. You can access the SAILS e-catalog from the library’s website: raynhampubliclibrary.org, where you’ll also find lists of the latest bestsellers.

Posted in Readers

Visit a Museum this Winter

block-museum-pass           The New England winter has arrived. We enjoyed the warm fall and the chance to linger outdoors, but now, the lawn furniture is put away, the storm windows are down, and the buckets of ice melt stand ready. The cold, blustery days of winter encourage us to stay inside, and enjoy indoor activities – cooking, reading, writing, crafts and other pursuits. However, too much time confined within the same four walls of our homes can leave us slightly stir-crazy. So here’s a suggestion for spending time in the warm indoors while enjoying sights and sounds that are new and interesting – visit a museum.

The library offers passes for free or reduced admission to several museums in the area, including the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the New Bedford Whaling Museum and for children, the Boston Children’s’ Museum and the Easton Children’s Museum. Why should you visit a museum? Here are some ideas to consider.

Museums make us feel good. They offer positive experiences that we can re-visit in our memory time and time again. They are big and bright and filled with interesting things. Museums make us smarter. Exhibits inspire interest in areas of study, items, time periods, or ideas; they satisfy and stimulate our curiosity. We can spend as much or as little time as we like exploring. The environment allows us to form our own unique experiences and take away what interests us. It’s impossible to leave a museum without acquiring some new information or insight.

Museums are a great way to spend time with family or friends. A day at the museum offers a chance to engage with each other while engaging with the content of the collection. This shared learning experience builds bonds of friendship, camaraderie and understanding.

We are fortunate that within under an hour’s drive from Raynham, we can explore Dutch painting in the time of Rembrandt, discover the influence of Asia on the arts of Colonial America, admire the treasures of Ancient Nubia, map the whaling exploits of Moby-Dick, wander in a tropical courtyard, walk through a 100-year-old Japanese house, journey through the African continent, gaze at the universe, wonder at the size of dinosaurs or watch aquatic life in a four-story giant ocean aquarium. There are so many choices that it’s difficult to decide.

To reserve your museum pass and get information about hours, directions and exhibits, visit the library’s website, raynhampubliclibrary.org, and click on Passes. To reserve a pass, you’ll need your library card number and PIN. For more information about this service, call the library at 508-823-1344, or stop-by and pick-up our museum brochure.

Posted in Services

Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us. It seems to come earlier every year. (Were those Christmas decorations displayed next to the Halloween candy?) No matter how we try to avoid it, we’re all drawn into the hustle and bustle of the season. Our “to do” list grows longer as the days grow shorter. It’s easy to understand the rising sense of panic that begins to take hold. Although we can’t completely take away the stress, we can offer some tips that may make your holiday more enjoyable.

Curl-up with a book.  Nothing takes one away from the present quite like a good love story. This holiday season readers are blessed with plenty of great picks from popular romantic novelists. Erin Hilderbrand concludes her Nantucket Winter Street trilogy with the heartwarming story of the Quinn family in Winter Storm. Susan Wiggs takes us to magical Willow Lake in Lakeshore Christmas. Karen Kingsbury lets us enjoy Christmas with the Baxter Family in Baxter Family Christmas, and Debbie Macomber shows us that even the most confirmed Scrooge can be won over in Twelve Days of Christmas.

Read to a child. The holidays are a great time to share stories with children. The library has beautiful editions of traditional holiday classics, such as The Polar Express, The Night before Christmas and The Nutcracker, as well as dozens of other holiday choices. Browse through our children’s Holiday Collection for that special book to share.

Turn-on the music. Nothing soothes like the soft sounds of the holidays. Borrow one of our holiday CDs or download a classic from our Freegal or Hoopla service.

Consult a cook. Feeling anxious about your meal plans for the upcoming holidays? Hosting a party or cooking for the in-laws can seem overwhelming; reduce some of the strain with a selection from our cookbook collection. A few of the latest additions to the collection include Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites, a selection of his favorite recipes from his own kitchen and travels, All-time Best Appetizers, from Cook’s Illustrated, and for baking enthusiasts, Baking with Mary Berry from the Great British Baking Show. Take some of the stress and guesswork out of the holiday meal so you can have more time to sit back and enjoy the occasion.

Come-in to the quiet. The library offers a quiet space to relax away from all the comings and goings of the season. Pick up a magazine, settle in to a comfy chair and enjoy the moment. In any season, you’ll always find something special at the library, and we’re always happy to see you.



Posted in Services

Give Books This Season

If you haven’t yet bought presents for everyone on your holiday list – and there is always that hard to buy for someone, consider giving a book. One of my favorite places for holiday shopping has always been the bookstore. There are dozens of good reasons for buying books as gifts. Here are just a few.

Books are passports. When you give someone a book, you give them much more than just a compilation of ink and paper. You give them a passport to a different world, keys to a whole new kingdom, and an invitation to a new way of looking at things. A sweater is just a sweater. A tie is just a tie. A book is never just a book.

Books are personal. When you give someone a book, it always has thought behind it. In a sea of a million possibilities you pick out the one book that you believe would best suit the reader – whether by interest, pastime or persuasion. It’s especially personal if it’s a book you have already read and loved and want to share.

Books don’t have to be expensive. You can spend as much or as little as you want and still have a lovely gift. Choose a lavishly illustrated travel guide to Ireland for the friends planning a trip or a paperback copy of Curious George for a grandchild. Books make great stocking stuffers. Many bookstores offer large selections of discounted books during the holiday season. Online shopping makes it even easier.

Books are for now and later. You can read it right away or save it for later. You can read it as many times as you like. And when you have finished reading the book, you haven’t used it up. It’s still there for you to enjoy again. I have a paperback set of Jane Austen novels given to me one Christmas that I’ve read too many times to count. A book is a gift that gives again and again.

If you are giving a book to a child, there are additional reasons that you’ve made a good choice. Thanks to the Canadian website. Reading Rewards, for listing them. Books don’t make loud noises. They don’t require assembly or batteries. There are no small pieces to put together and they don’t present a choking hazard. Books never come in the wrong size or color, and books are easier to wrap than footballs.

If you need ideas for book giving, stop by the library and pick-up a copy of BookPage. BookPage is a monthly magazine of recommended books for every age. The December issue includes a wealth of great gift ideas for book lovers. You’ll find a complimentary copy in the library’s lobby.

When giving a book, your options are endless. Make sure there are lots of books under the tree this year!

Posted in Readers

New Worlds and Longer Life

It’s always gratifying to have what you believe confirmed – to enjoy the surge of pleasure that comes with the self-satisfying sensation of being right. This doesn’t happen to me often, at least, not as often as I would like. But, it has happened to me twice in the last week, once through an article in a popular magazine, and again, through an article published in a scholarly journal. The two articles are poles apart in audience, tone and intention, but both articles confirm my belief that libraries are important and reading is good for you.

The first article appeared in the November issue of Real Simple, a popular women’s magazine, and was entitled “5 Reasons the World is Still a Wonderful Place.” The very first reason listed out of the five was that the world is still a wonderful place because libraries still exist. YES, I thought! In the article, the author, Caitlin Moran, an English journalist, author and television broadcaster, describes libraries as a “magical space…where you can go without a penny in your pocket and be given a room full of worlds.” She should know, since she was brought-up in government supported housing in poor and unconventional circumstances. The public library was her solace, sanctuary and ultimately her salvation. She concludes with the statement that libraries are “humanity’s greatest achievement.” I couldn’t agree more.

The second article that I discovered this past week appeared in the September issue of the scholarly journal Social Science and Medicine and was based on a research study conducted at Yale University. The study, entitled “A Chapter a Day: Association of Book Reading with Longevity,” found reading books consistently — even just 30 minutes a day — can help people live longer. The study used data collected from 3,635 participants, all over age 50, in a broader health and retirement study, which had asked them questions about their reading habits. The researchers put the respondents into 3 groups: folks who didn’t read, folks who read up to 3.5 hours weekly and those who read more than 3.5 hours per week. They then followed each group over a 12-year period.

Over the course of the study, the researchers found that both groups of readers lived longer than the non-readers. The readers who read more than 3.5 hours a week lived a full 23 months longer than the people who didn’t read at all. That extended lifespan applied to all reading participants, regardless of “gender, wealth, education or health.”

If I did need another reason for reading, this would certainly be it.

Whether you want to read to discover new worlds or for the benefit of living longer, the message here is simple – read. Looking for something to read? You’ll find it at your public library.

Posted in Readers