Interlibrary Loan

Every day is Christmas at the library. By that I mean, every day we get to open boxes of surprises. The boxes come to us each morning around eleven o’clock, and we never know just what we’ll find when we open them. Will there be best sellers? Celebrity biographies? Books of self-help or political scandal? Romance or mystery novels? Picture books for children? True crime? Cookbooks? The latest DVD series? Part of the fun in opening the boxes is discovering something new and unexpected – just like unwrapping gifts at Christmas.  The “gifts” these boxes bring are the books, DVDs, music, audiobooks and magazines that our library users have requested using our e-catalog.

It’s a simple process that brings these boxes to the library. Once you’ve placed a request or hold for a book, the request is automatically sent to a library in the SAILS network that owes the title. The owning library pulls the book from the shelf, enters the item bar code into the circulation software and places the item in one of the boxes to be picked up that day by the delivery van. The delivery van drops the boxes at a regional sorting facility to be automatically sorted using the item bar code number. Items intended for Raynham are sorted for Raynham, boxed and loaded back on the delivery van. Within a day or two we receive the item in Raynham, and a notice is automatically sent alerting the user that it’s ready to be picked-up at the library.

Every day dozens of small white vans are busy shuttling thousands of books and other library materials around the network. As part of the SAILS library network, we participate in resource sharing with 72 libraries and branches in 40 communities throughout Southeast Massachusetts, as well as libraries throughout the state. Every day we receive delivery of items that our users have requested as well as the items being returned to Raynham that we have loaned to other libraries. This amounts to quite a few items. This past year we loaned more than 15,000 items from our library to libraries in the SAILS network. We also borrowed almost 20,000 items from those libraries. This past year some 14 million items were shared across the state by the 600 libraries participating in the service. That’s a lot of boxes and a lot of books.

What does this mean for you? It means that you have access to anything that interests you. Simply request an item through our e-catalog, and we’ll notify you when it arrives in Raynham. Need help in getting started? We are always here to answer your questions.


Posted in Services

Heroism and Tragedy

Stories of tragedy and heroism at sea are compelling reads, and the story of Frank Quirk and his crewmen’s sacrifice on the Can Do is compelling without a doubt. Michael Tougias has written a riveting tale in Ten Hours Until Dawn, the Raynham Reads one, book, one community selection for 2018.

With dangerous winds and impossible seas created by blizzard conditions, any prudent man could have chosen to stay in harbor and keep safe, but Frank Quirk and his mates chose to put their lives in peril to rescue an oil tanker with a crew of 32 floundering in the high seas. It was February 6, 1978, and the New England coast was being pounded by Storm of the Century. Quirk understood the odds. He had even cautioned the Coast Guard station at Gloucester to think twice about sending rescue ships into the area, saying “You may get up there, but I don’t think you’re going to get back…” However, when the Coast Guard rescue ship gets put in just as terrifying of a position as the oil tanker, Quirk, the captain of the pilot boat Can Do, volunteers to help. The ensuing tragedy is almost inevitable. As Tougias’s subtitle indicates, Ten Hours Until Dawn is the true story of heroism and tragedy aboard the Can Do.

There has been much discussion lately about heroism. We have illustrations of both heroism and the lack thereof with two recent incidents – the hostage crisis in France, and the tragedy of the Parkland shooting. In France a young police officer volunteered to exchange himself for hostages and was subsequently killed. In the Parkland shootings, a security officer has been called into question for his failure to enter the building during the deadly rampage. What inspires an individual to self-sacrifice? What motivates an individual to do what is right instead of what is safe? Is altruism inherent in the human genome? Is it a trait that is hard-wired or is it a trait that develops in response to environment and nurturing? What inspired Frank Quirk and his men to make that fateful decision? These are a few of the questions to be discussed on Wednesday, April 11, at 1:00, when the community comes together to discuss Ten Hours Until Dawn. You are invited to join the discussion. If you haven’t read the book yet, there are copies available at the library.

On Sunday, April 15, at 2:00, we take a closer look at the blizzard conditions during February 1978, with a documentary film and shared memories.

The author, Michael Tougias, joins us later in the month for further discussion of the book and a slide lecture on the events of the Can Do. The presentation will be at the Community Center on Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 pm. Raynham Reads 2018 is a cooperative project of the Friends of the Raynham Library, the Raynham Cultural Council and the Raynham Public Library.

Posted in Readers


You may have missed the 90th Academy Awards ceremony earlier this month. The industry has bemoaned the fact that the television audience was down to only 26.5 million viewers. If you did miss the televised event, you surely don’t want to miss reading the books that inspired many of the winners and nominees. This year’s ceremony was a tribute, once again, to the written word as well as the visual artistic and technical merit in the American film industry. Here’s a look at some of the best books-to-movies this past year.

Thank You for Your Service, based on the book by David Finkel, is a profound look at life after war. No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as well as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous surge, a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed all of them forever. Now Finkel has followed many of those same men as they’ve returned home and struggled to reintegrate–both into their family lives and into American society at large.

Our Souls at Night, novel by Kent Haruf, is a tender account of coming to grips with lost, loneliness and old age. In the movie version, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda perfectly portray the two aging neighbors that seek refuge and comfort in each other. It’s a beautifully written, life-affirming story.

In Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. The story is centered in the Deep South right after World War II. Two young men, one black and one white, return from the war to work the land. One is haunted by his memories of combat; one has come home with the shine of a war hero. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives the story to its powerful conclusion.

One of the most anticipated books-to-movies this past year was the children’s novel Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. It’s the story of Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities, and his struggles to be accepted as just another student while enduring the taunting of his classmates. It’s a moving and uplifting tale.

Every year there are dozens of films based on books new and old. If you want to get a jump on films due to be released this year, here are a few books you’ll want to read: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madaleine L’Engle, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter.

Posted in Readers

Once upon a time…

This past week I had the pleasure of introducing my three year old grandson to stories that begin with the phrase Once upon a time. There is something thrilling about the phrase, Once upon a time. When we hear Once upon a time, we are immediately transported to another land – an imaginary land of giants and trolls, talking animals and elves, wicked witches and wolves, magical spells and enchanted beans. When we hear Once upon a time our imagination takes flight. We know that we are at the beginning of a fantastical journey; we are going to hear a fairy tale.
Fairy tales, folktales and fables, of course, have been with us for a long time, both in oral and printed form, and appear in all literate cultures. Some of the oldest tales come from Aesop, 6th century Greece (The Tortoise and the Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and The Ant and the Grasshopper). We are all familiar with the tales published by Charles Perrault in seventeenth century France (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood), by the Brothers Grimm (Snow White, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin) in Germany in 1812, and by Hans Christian Andersen in Denmark in 1835 (The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes).
Fairy tales have been told and retold, published again and again, illustrated by innumerable artists, and adapted into dozens of plays and movies. What is the enduring appeal of these stories?  Why should we, you might wonder, continue to read these old and, after all, often frightening tales (children lost in woods and found by a witch who fattens them up to eat them in Hansel and Gretel, or wolves chopped open by hunters so that grandma can escape in Little Red Riding Hood) to our little ones?
First of all, fairy tales are great fun, both for the storyteller and the listener. You can huff and puff and blow the house down, you can climb up and down the giant beanstalk, you can trip, trap across the ogre’s bridge, you can spin hair into gold, and slip your foot into a glass slipper. Bring all of your theatrical talents to the story. There’s no such thing as too much drama in the telling of a fairy tale.
Fairy tales are a way for children to experience danger in a safe and satisfying way. The violence within the fairy tale is always contained, the evil is always overcome and the hero always vanquishes the villain. The child relishes the danger knowing that it will be reversed by the end of the story. The child can identify with the small, the weak or the downtrodden (Cinderella, sweeping the hearth, for example) who, in a gratifying reversal, is able to overcome the odds and triumph, to marry the prince.
Fairy tales teach children right from wrong, not directly, but by implication. In the story of The Three Little Pigs, for example, children learn the two lazy pigs, who have built their houses of straw and sticks, must turn to their hard-working brother who built his house of bricks, for safety from the big, bad wolf. There is always a moral to the tale.
Fairy tales use repetition in the telling with phrases the child will quickly acquire “Not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin” or “Who’s that trip trapping across my bridge?”  Such repetition is comforting to the child. He can anticipate the story and alleviate his fears.
If you haven’t read a fairy tale to a child recently, you’re missing a wonderful experience. The Children’s Room has a large collection of beautifully illustrated fairy tales. Browse the collection and find the one that’s just right for your telling.
Posted in Readers

Love is in the air (and books)!

You have to admit that other than being only 28 days long, February doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. It’s often cold, wet and wearisome. The rush of those hopeful January New Year’s expectations has faded with the realization that this year is going to be pretty much like the last one. Punxsutawney Phil has predicted another six weeks of winter for us to slog through and there are no more Patriots’ games to watch on Sunday afternoons. There is, however, one bright spot in this month of sharp winds and gray skies; it’s February 14, Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day has a long and interesting history. Once a religious feast day honoring Saint Valentinus, martyred during the Roman Empire for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, today it is a popular celebration of romantic love with heart-shaped cards, colorful flowers and chocolate candies. It’s a day that reminds us of the joy found in loving and being loved, and the power of love to transform and endure.

You don’t, however, have to wait for February 14 every year, to be reminded of love. The library offers you thousands of love stories to brighten your days year round. The romance novel is one of the most popular genres in the library’s collection. Some estimate that more than 70 million Americans read at least one romance novel a year. What’s the attraction? (Pun intended.) There are several. The main plot centers on individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. The heroine is intelligent, good-looking, lives a fulfilling life and gets to be loved for who she is. The hero is ruggedly handsome, darkly mysterious, and struggles with some impediment that prevents him from professing his love until the final pages. There are always obstacles to overcome before the two lovers can unite, and there is typically a Happily Ever After Ending. In other words, romance novels are very emotionally satisfying reads.

The romance novel genre is so large that there are sub-genres – contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, fantasy romance, time-travel romance, inspirational romance and even paranormal romance. You may have suspected this, but some of your favorite literature classics are essentially romance novels, focusing as they do on strong romantic relationships between the central characters – think Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights.

Love is splendid. It is a rich, important element of the human experience, and there’s no reason not to enjoy, and celebrate it through reading all year long.

Posted in Readers

Raynham Reads 2018

It exploded like a bomb or a bombo-genesis, as meteorologists would later describe it. It slipped into a New England February with winds that would go from strong to hurricane force in a few hours, catching everyone by surprise. Snow was expected, but no one expected that the system would move so quickly through New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island only to stall off the coast of Nantucket, allowing it to concentrate its full strength along the Massachusetts coast. It dumped more than three feet of snow over a thirty-three hour period before finally heading out to sea, leaving massive destruction, thousands of motorists stranded in their cars and conditions that would eventually claim ninety-nine lives in its wake. The intensity of the storm broke sea walls and created tide surges that inundated coastal communities and left thousands homeless. It was the Blizzard of 1978, and there are many who remember its terrifying might.

The Friends of the Raynham Public Library mark the 40th anniversary of the Blizzard of ‘78 with the selection of Ten Hours Until Dawn, The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do, by Michael Tougias, as the Raynham Reads 2018, One Book, One Community.

As disastrous as blizzard conditions were on land, the storm’s menace also placed in peril those at sea. Ten Hours Until Dawn recounts the tragic effort of the crew of the pilot boat, the Can Do, to rescue a tanker run aground and floundering off the Salem coast. It’s a devastating and true account of bravery and death at sea, and although we know the outcome from the beginning, the story still holds us in its grip. Tougias has written a masterful tale, a fitting selection for this year’s Raynham Reads.

Raynham Reads: One Book, One Community is designed to encourage a conversation in the community. It’s intended to bring people together through reading and discussion. 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.

Books are available at the library beginning Monday, February 5. Book discussion, a documentary film and an eye-witness account are scheduled for March and April. Michael Tougias, the author, joins us on Sunday afternoon, April 29. The public is invited to share their photographs and memories of the Blizzard of ’78 on the library’s Blizzard Board. For a full schedule of Raynham Reads 2018 events, visit the library’s website,, or pick-up a schedule of events at the library.

Posted in Readers

Reading in Series

One of the most frequent questions we are asked by our readers is “What’s next?” We hear the question so often that we know immediately what they are asking. They are not asking us to predict their future, foretell their fortune or forecast the weather.  They want to know the title of the next book in a series.

A book series is a sequence of books having certain characteristics in common that connect them as a group. They typically share a common setting, locale, cast of characters or timeline.  Series are especially common in fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery and science fiction.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of book series. Think of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, theAlex Cross series by James Patterson or the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Series are especially popular and recurrent in children’s literature – The Wimpy Kid, Little House on the Prairie, Harry Potter, the Boxcar Children – to name a few. The books may be written by the same author or a collaboration of authors and marketed as a series – 39 Clues is an example.

When deciding to read a series, the reader has three options. You can start at the beginning and read straight though. This is the most obvious and logical approach to reading a series, but it may demand patience as you wait for the next book to become available. The upside is that there’s no chance of being confused or feeling lost as you’re reading since you know the characters and the backstory.

You can begin at the end and read backwards. That way you’re sure to find books on the shelf since everyone else is reading the newest release. The downside is, of course, you’ll have read “spoilers”; you’ll always know what’s going to happen. You may also find that the later books are not as engaging as the first books in the series.

The third alternative to reading a series is that you can randomly select a book in the series without any thought to the order, and hope the author sprinkles in enough background to put you somewhat in the picture. There’s no hard and fast rule about which of these methods to employ. For some people reading a series from the beginning and in order is the only option. I think that it depends on the series.  You can certainly read M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth in any order, or the Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse. You’ll enjoy Precious Ramatswe’s adventures in the No. I Ladies’ Detective Agency in any sequence, but you’ll get lost in the Outlander series if you don’t start at the beginning.

Enjoy reading series? We’ve pulled together dozens of the first book in popular series and placed them on display. Browse the display, make a selection and start at the beginning of a new and enthralling reading adventure.

Posted in Readers