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, raynhampubliclibrary.org. 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.

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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, raynhampubliclibrary.org 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, raynhampubliclibrary.org, in Events. For more information, contact the library at 508.823.1344.

Posted in Services

The Importance of March

March is a long month; at least it feels that way. It seems to stretch on much longer that its 31 days. Is it because February whips by so quickly and the relief of April and spring- like weather seems too far distant? Or is it because March is a month of contradictions?

March teeters on the brink of spring only to pull back at the last minute with the hoary breath of winter breathing its last farewell. March is a month of indefinite mood – cold and forbidding one day, warm and friendly the next. We don’t understand March as well as we do other months. We know what to expect in June and July. September and October offer few surprises. We can even presume that December and January will behave as we expect. But March? We never know what to expect. It just seems like one month too many. Why not skip March and go directly to April?

Of course that’s a silly notion. If we skip March, then we’ll miss all of its celebrations, and March is full of celebrations. It’s Women’s History Month, National Nutrition Month, National Celery Month, Music in Our Schools Month, and, the one of greatest importance, National Reading Awareness Month.

Each year at the beginning of March, school children kick off National Reading Awareness Month by celebrating the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. With help from Read Across America and many volunteers, the goal is to motivate kids to read every day of the year. However, we know that almost half the young children in this country will not hear a bedtime story tonight. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are not aware of the power of daily reading aloud. They are not aware that every time you read to your child you are improving their learning advantage – by introducing the sounds and sights of words, new vocabulary and the structure of language. Reading aloud to your preschooler is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child for school. Just fifteen minutes a day can make a difference.

National Reading Awareness Month reminds us of the importance of reading in lives young and old. It’s not only children, parents and caregivers that need to be reminded. We all need to be reminded – of the joy it brings us, the companionship, the intellectual stimulation, and the understanding of oneself and the world. Let’s celebrate March and National Reading Awareness Month. Grab a book and dive right in!

Posted in Readers

Books-to-Films 2017

From historical dramas to science fiction fantasies to real life adventures, Hollywood continues to dazzle movie audiences with films based on books. Three of this year’s nine Best Picture nominees, Arrival, Lion, and Hidden Figures, were adapted from recently published books. Overall, books-to-films received nominations in 20 of the 24 Oscar award categories this year. Books-to-films including 13 Hours: The inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, by Michell Zuckoff, A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling. Hollywood is smart to recognize the dramatic and commercial value of the printed page. A good story is a good story, especially if it lends itself to strong, sympathetic characters, interesting story lines, lush landscapes and lots of dramatic tension.

Every year there are dozens of films based on books new and old. Some of the greatest movies in the history of film were adapted from books. Think of Gone with the Wind, the Grapes of Wrath, Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird to name only a few. Children’s books are particularly suited for film adaptation- from the Harry Potter series to Charlotte’s Web, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book. Hollywood gets ideas from books, and since we love books as much as we love movies here at the library, a movie with a book tie-in is something that we look forward to. And there is much to look forward to this coming year.

Which begs the question – do you read the book first and then watch the movie? Or watch the movie and then read the book? Personally, I prefer to read the book. I like reading first, because I like to go into the movie with some idea of the plot. Although, I confess that I’ve done it the other way round.

If you want to get a jump on films due to be released this year, here is a list of books you’ll want to read: Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, a high-school-set thriller, The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman, a true story of the Warsaw Zoo in World War II, Wonder by R. J. Palacio, the story of a disfigured boy’s struggle to fit in at a new school,  The Lost City of Z by David Grann, the true story of the search for an ancient civilization in the Amazon in 1925, The Circle by Dave Eggers, the story of a young woman as she climbs the corporate ladder, My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, a classic novel of suspense and intrigue, and two books by Stephen King, The Dark Tower, and It.

All books are available for you at the Raynham Public Library.

Posted in Readers, Uncategorized

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