Rules for Living a Bookish Life

Bookworm tips from our Teen Librarian (and voracious reader), Kelley:

Book lover, bookworm, bookhound, bibliophile, reader, no matter how you phrase it, that’s me. I read every spare moment I can scrounge, and I’ll read pretty much anything –  the back of cereal boxes will do if there’s nothing else available. It makes me happy to spread a love of reading- I drop breadcrumbs connecting books and readers everywhere I go. I do this for my job as a librarian, of course, but it goes further than that for me- my whole life is enriched by books and reading. I live a bookish life, and I highly recommend it. Interested? Here’s how I do it:

RULES FOR LIVING A BOOKISH LIFE

1. Read, read, read – and read widely. Carry a book or eReader everywhere with you. Don’t ever be ashamed of what interests you. Just read!

2. Don’t continue reading books you don’t enjoy.  Life is too short, and there are too many other books out there. Quit books with reckless abandon.

3. Give yourself permission to read non-linearly, and don’t read every word of a book just to say you did. Skip chapters, jump around- you decide if what you get out of a book is sufficient or enjoyable.

4. Read just one book or multiple books at a time, and don’t feel obligated to “speed read”. Feel free to linger on passages that strike you as interesting or mean something to you.

5. Reconsider books you didn’t enjoy in the past. Time never stands still, and your attitude and life experiences are always changing and evolving.

6. Don’t worry about having more unread books than read ones. They remind us that we still have much to learn. That in life, there is always the next thing to discover.

7. Make use of your local library, and collect book recommendations everywhere. Ask people for their favorite books. Check bibliographies, look for references to books in other books.

8. Give yourself permission to re-read books you enjoyed in the past. You’ll probably remember things you had forgotten or notice things you never did before.

9. Don’t treat books as sacred (unless they are borrowed). Fold the corners, write and sketch in the margins. It’s the story that is sacred, not the container.

10. Break these rules! Don’t let me, or anyone else, tell you how to read. Find what’s right for you, stick to it- and enjoy.

After waxing all philosophical about books and reading, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least take the time to offer up some suggestions for a selection of interesting new(ish) books from a variety of genres- click on the titles to learn more and hopefully you’ll discover a new literary love. And remember- there’s no wrong way to read. As long as we’re learning, enjoying, and expanding our minds, we can only get better and better.

 

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library (virtually) in September

We’ve reached the 6-month mark of providing virtual programming, if you can believe it. Though we’d all rather be together in the library for programs, we’re committed to providing services in the safest way possible for our patrons and staff alike.  For now, that means meeting online. September is typically a light programming month, as staff recovers and regroups after a busy summer of programs, but we still have something going on each week, check it out:

Support Through Meditation – Weekly Zoom Event

Tuesdays starting September 8, 2:00 – 3:00pm

This introductory meditation class is geared towards helping you through these anxious and challenging times. You will learn various meditation techniques that you will practice in session and guidance to perform meditation on your own. Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain the purpose of meditation and interact with the participants to provide the help needed and to address specific concerns. There are 8 scheduled sessions in September and October, please register via the Event Calendar for each session you wish to attend.

Digital Photo Organizing

Thursday, September 17, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Are your digital images and videos scattered over various devices and in different locations? Do you struggle to find your most important images?  This class will review the difference between backup and sync, tips on how to consolidate your images & videos into one manageable library so you can easily access, share and backup your most important memories.  Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link on the day of the program to join the event.

Simplifying the Financial Aid Process

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Jennifer Philips’ seminar will provide parents and students with tips on securing the best possible financial aid package from the college of their choice. Jennifer will describe the best student loans, grants and scholarships available, explain the critical financial aid forms and deadlines and the various components of a financial aid offer, describe how to best compare and appeal offers in extenuating circumstances, and provide tips on how to address the gap between tuition and financial aid. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link on the day of the program.

Virtual Books Over Coffee: Next Year in Havana

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. We will meet over Zoom for our Sept. meeting. This month’s book is Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link on the day of the program.

Kids Cook Dinner: Southwest Quesadillas (Ages 7-14)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Spend some quality time with your children in the kitchen while encouraging them to try new foods! An instructor from Food Explorers, will show you how to prepare southwest quesadillas with guacamole (optional)! Best for ages 7-14.  Registration is required, and the list of ingredients can be found on the Event Calendar page.

 

Outside Book Groups meeting this month:

Murder by the Book Mystery Book Club: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Do you like to read and talk about mysteries? Then join this monthly book discussion for fresh perspectives, new authors and a friendly atmosphere! This month’s discussion is on The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer.   A best-seller when it came out in 1974, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a pastiche about Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud. Who can imagine a more exciting team?! Explore why this bestseller made history and, as a bonus, learn how to write a pastiche. Learn more and register online here.

Art Book Discussion: Strapless

Friday, September 18, 2020, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Do you love to read? And love art? Let’s discuss! This  monthly book club meets on the third Friday of each month from 11am to 12:30pm.  This month’s discussion is on the book Strapless by Deborah Davis. Learn more and register online here. (We are hoping to host the September meeting in-person at Mixville Park under the shade trees. If weather and other factors cooperate, we invite you to bring your own chair and join us in a socially-distanced outdoor setting.  Should conditions not prevail, keep an eye out for an emailed notice of a meeting via Zoom or a postponed meeting date.)

 

My Coronavirus Garden

From our Deputy Director Deb, who is is also our gardening expert:

Late last summer I visited the Charlotte Rhoades Park Butterfly Garden in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Full of color from both the flowers and the many butterflies it was designed to support, this garden was an inspiration. I thought of it often in the ensuring months but a major gardening project seemed like more than I would be able to manage at this point in my life.

The came the coronavirus. Remember March when the state shut down? Then there was April with empty shelves and Governors Cuomo and Lamont’s daily news briefings. May didn’t bring a lot of relief. It was starting to seem obvious that we would be in this situation for the long haul. I needed to do something positive and thought again about the Charlotte Rhoades garden. Maybe this would be the year to pull this off. To plan a garden is to plan for the future, a future that exists outside of the news cycle. The world was a mess and I couldn’t do anything about it, but I could create a garden that would support and nurture the wildlife in my small corner of the world.

Each night for weeks I fell asleep thinking about plants and butterflies and birds. If I started to worry about the coronavirus, I turned my thoughts instead to the Jersey Tea shrub I had just ordered. Or those beautiful fall-blooming asters that would be covered with bees and butterflies come September and October. Or the big clumps of Verbena bonariensis I planned to scatter throughout my garden.

I read books and looked at websites about creating pollinator gardens and sketched out a plan for an irregularly shaped garden about 50 feet long and between 12 and 20 feet wide. There was an existing spruce and 2 shrubs from an earlier planting scheme. And I wanted to incorporate a number of plants from another garden. A 50-foot garden may sound large but it wasn’t nearly big enough for the dozens of plants that I wanted to include. I made list after list. And then crossed out most of the plants on the lists until I had a workable plan. At this point, it was late April and time to get busy.

There were challenges, as there are with any garden. My location was a sandy hillside next to our driveway that turned out to have been a town dumping ground for road sand and hunks of old macadam from long–ago repaving projects. We had to remove the sand and junk from the planting area for each shrub or perennial (there were dozens) and replace it with decent topsoil. This was hard work! Luckily for me (though not for him), my 28-year-old son was stuck at home and was willing to help. He did most of the heavy excavating and moving of soil, alI I had to do was plant, mulch, weed and water. Months later, my garden is taking shape. It has been full of bees in all shapes and sizes as well as butterflies. As I write this, a flock of goldfinches is busy pulling the seeds out of the fading liatris and coneflowers. And I am busy thinking about how to improve the bloom sequence and plant variety in the garden. As any gardener knows, a garden is never completed.

Want to plant your own wildlife garden? There are many wonderful resources online. Check out the website for the Xerces Society for information and plant lists. American Beauties Native Plants, a wholesale nursery partially located in Connecticut, also has great plant lists.

Many of our area nurseries carry native plants such as coneflowers, liatris, asters and goldenrods. Some natives can be more difficult to find. Natureworks, the organic nursery in Northford, had a great selection of milkweeds and asters earlier in the season. Their website also offers lots of excellent information on gardening to support pollinators and butterflies. If you can’t find the plants you need locally, try Prairie Moon Nursery in Minnesota. They have been around for 40 years and supply over 700 North American species.

Consider joining a local gardening club. Members are knowledgeable and experienced gardeners who are happy to share their experience. Many clubs offer a wide range of educational programs. Cheshire has 2 garden clubs, the Cheshire Garden Club and the Suburban Garden Club.

Gardening has benefits beyond improving the beauty and utility of your yard. Check out this recent New Yorker article on the therapeutic power of gardening.

The library has numerous books on planning gardens for pollinators, butterflies and birds. Search the catalog using keywords such as “pollinators”, “native plants”, “xeriscaping”and “gardening for birds” .

Here are a few :

 

The Pollinator Victory Garden : win the war on pollinator decline with ecological gardening : how to attract and support bees, beetles, butterflies, bats, and other pollinators by Kim Eierman

100 Plants to Feed the Bees : provide a healthy habitat to help pollinators thrive by the Xerces Society

The Wildlife-friendly Vegetable Gardener : how to grow food in harmony with nature by Tammi Hartung

Native Plants for New England Gardens by Mark Richardson

Attracting Birds and Butterflies : how to plant a backyard habitat to attract winged wildlife by Barbara Ellis

Garden Secrets for Attracting Birds : a bird-by-bird guide to favored plants by Rachael Lanicci

The National Wildlife Federation’s Guide to Gardening for Wildlife : how to create a beautiful backyard habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by Craig Tufts and Peter Loewer

For inspiration and specific suggestions for what you can do in your own yard to support wildlife (hint: it involves planting more natives), read Douglas Tallamy’s books Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.

What’s Happening (virtually) at Cheshire Library in August

Baby, it’s hot outside, but we’ve got some cool online programs lined up for August. Crank up at A/C and join us!

Finding the Women in Your Family Tree

Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Prior to the 20th century, many women didn’t have an identity of their own. They were tangled with their father or husband and in some places, were not allowed to own real estate in their own names or to sign legal documents. This presents a real challenge when researching your female ancestors. Professional Genealogist Donna Moughty will looks at strategies to search for and identify our female ancestors. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Lunchtime Sing-along

  • Tuesday, August 4, 12:00 – 12:30pm
  • Thursday, August 13, 12:00 – 12:30pm

Start your afternoon on a good note with a family-friendly lunchtime sing-along! Listen in and sing along to storytime favorites with Miss Andrea, Miss Lauren, and Miss Ali! There are two options to view: either join us on Zoom (link in our Event Calendar) or watch us on Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/cheshirelibrary/

Lawn Maintenance During Drought

Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 3:00 – 4:00pm

Presentation by Greg Bugbee, associate scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He directs the soil testing laboratory and is responsible for answering public inquiries regarding soil fertility and turf management. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Mad Science

  • Decomposers (Grades 3-6): Wednesday, August 5, 2:00 – 3:00pm
  • Flyers (Grades K-2):Tuesday, August 11, 2:00 – 3:00pm

 

Switch it up at CPL! Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

  • Wednesday, August 5, 3:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 12, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Social distancing got you down? Got a Nintendo Switch? Join us at CPL’s Smash Ultimate arena! Play against your friends and folks from all across Cheshire! For TEENS in grades 6-12. All skill levels welcome, no registration required. View the program description in our Event Calendar for details on how to join.

Digital Photo Organizing

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Are your digital images and videos scattered over various devices and in different locations? Do you struggle to find your most important images? Are you anxious about losing your photos because you don’t have a backup plan in place? This class provide tips on how to consolidate your images & videos into one manageable library so you can easily access, share and backup your most important memories. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Christine’s Critters

Thursday, August 6, 2020, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Learn about birds of prey and reptiles with a virtual visit from live animal ambassadors! All ages are welcome to attend. Please register in advance for this virtual program and you will receive a Zoom link to the meeting one hour prior to the program start time.

Virtual Cheshire Anime Club

  • Friday, August 7, 3:00 – 5:00pm
  • Friday, August 14, 3:00 – 5:00pm

Konnichiwa, minna-san! Can’t get enough Anime and Manga? Be an “Otaku” and join the Cheshire Anime Club! We’ll meet on Zoom and watch Anime movies together! For grades 7-12. The link to this Zoom Virtual Program will be posted on Cheshire Anime Club’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/13673851607/) OR you can register on our Event Calendar, and we will email you before start time with a link to join this Zoom Virtual program.

Food Explorers

Join Registered Dietitian, Katie, from Food Explorers will show young chefs how to make black bean brownies, and homemade granola bars! Best suited for kids in grades 2-8.  Please register through our Event Calendar to see what ingredients you will need for each program. Registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link one hour prior to the start of the program.

Let’s Write a Sketch

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Many genealogists are paralyzed by the number of ancestors they have researched, they don’t know how to start writing any of their stories because it looks like too big a job. This talk is geared specifically to genealogy, and describes a format that is used in genealogy journals. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Write Your Family Story

Thursday, August 13, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Ever wonder what it takes to produce a long-form family history book?  LLI genealogy instructor Janeen Bjork completed a 178-page heirloom-quality book for a 94-year old client, and will share the lessons she learned in the year spent reviewing, organizing and editing the family’s letters, diaries, documents and scrapbooks. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Suffragettes in Corselettes: 19th Amendment Anniversary

Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

The 1910s saw an end to the hourglass figure with a tiny waist, and women were finally able to breathe and move more freely. Did the demise of tight-lacing help women gain the right to vote in 1920? Underwear matters. This program, presented by a mother/daughter duo is funny and frank as they honor our foremothers’ journeys. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Virtual Books Over Coffee: The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. We will meet over Zoom for our Aug. meeting. This month’s book is The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel by Christy Lefteri. Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Thursday, August 27, 2020, 3:30 – 4:30pm

From antioxidants, to iron, to fiber and more dark chocolate can do wonders to your health. To find out all about the health benefits of this wonderful food join Marisa, your Shoprite of Southington and Wallingford dietitian for this online presentation! Please register in advance, registered participants will receive a Zoom meeting link the day of the program.

Virtual Volunteering – 10 ways you can make a difference even while social distancing!

Let’s give the world as much kindness as we can right now. Virtual volunteering makes it possible for teens (and adults!) to make a difference in the world, even during the pandemic.

Our teen volunteers have the opportunity to meet up on Monday afternoons via Zoom to socialize while we’re volunteering, but it’s not required (visit our Event Calendar and look for the next “Virtual Monday Teen Volunteers” to sign up to receive the Zoom link).

So how can you make a difference in your community while in the midst of social distancing restrictions? Here are some suggestions for virtual volunteering (but you can certainly come up with your own ideas as well):

Virtual Volunteer Idea #1: Sew masks for those in need

Right now, there’s a need for reusable cloth medical masks for those in the at-risk population and for people in higher-risk jobs. You can easily make the masks by following along with tutorials and can organize donating these to the people who need them most.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #2: Become a virtual tutor

With more kids across the country shifting to online learning, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in helping anyone struggling with school. The simplest way for you to become a virtual volunteer tutor is by letting your teacher know you are available, or check out sites like TeensGive.org. If you’re really good at a subject, offer to tutor kids through Zoom or FaceTime.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #3: Play games with seniors over video

There are many vulnerable populations feeling isolated, and this is especially true for seniors who aren’t able to have visitors. Set up a virtual game night or hangout with the seniors in your life, or those living at a local nursing home. This helps foster a greater sense of belonging and helps mental health all around. You can read more on SeniorsLiving.org.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #4: Start a fundraiser

There are plenty of organizations that need funds right now. Start with something local. One example is to host a fundraiser to purchase gift cards for gasoline to the staff of your local hospital. Here are some great fundraising ideas for you to try out.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #5: Write, write write!

There are so many ways to connect with people even when we have to remain physically distant. Bringing back the lost art of writing is a good way to volunteer. Check out this list of virtual pen pal resources to find out how to connect with other kids around the world. Alternatively, say thank you to front line workers or send letters to soldiers far from home or to patients in the hospital. Nothing warms the heart like a handwritten note.

Write your local officials. We have Representatives, Senators, and a Governor whose jobs are to represent their constituents–that’s us. So, write your elected officials about what they can do to help during this time. Some ideas are getting appropriate N95 masks for healthcare professionals, securing more ventilators for hospitals, giving financial aid to people that have lost their jobs and businesses, or putting rent and mortgage payments on hold.You can send your letter to them online here.

Write a letter to the president of the United States. Why not just take it to the top? Your voice could be the key to getting legislation passed that will serve others and even our country as a whole. You can send him an email or a letter.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #6: Start a petition

You can take up a cause for your local town and drive a petition through Change.org. Think locally by focusing on your school or community. (https://www.change.org/start-a-petition)

Virtual Volunteer Idea #7: Share social media posts for important actions, fight cyberbullying. 

For those of you with social media profiles, sharing important information from health officials or other community organizations is a great way for you to help virtually. Sharing posts from American Red Cross about giving blood, phone numbers for helplines for kids, or accurate information on the coronavirus are all simple, but important ways to help. More kids than ever are depending on social media for social interaction, which makes cyberbullying even more likely. Help keep kids safe online by joining organizations like Tweenangels or Teenangels. Or just do your part to stop bullying rather than perpetuating it.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #8: Sign up to help transcribe historical documents or update Wikipedia pages

If you are into history, there are some interesting volunteer opportunities with the Smithsonian who can help transcribe historical documents and update relevant Wikipedia pages. You can use your love for learning and make an impact in these important organizations.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #9: Sew blankets or cage comforters 

There are so many kids and animals in need, and comfort items like blankets can make a big difference. Volunteering with an organization like BinkyPatrol or Project Linus is a great way to give back. Right now, they’re also looking for donations for cloth masks as well.

Virtual Volunteer Idea #10: Lend your eyesight for the blind or those of low vision

Pair up with an organization like BeMyEyes.  BeMyEyes is a completely virtual service,  done over a blind person’s smart phone using the camera, and allows sighted volunteers aged 17 or older to directly help a blind or low-vision person with daily tasks. You can sign up to get paired with a person in need. That person might need help with tasks like checking expiration dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions, or navigating new surroundings.

Here are some more general ideas:

  • Clean out your closets. Use this free time to declutter your space. Pull out all clothes, toys, games, books, etc. that you no longer use. If they’re in good shape, gather them together and donate them to organizations like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity.
  • Share your talents. Do you sing? Play the guitar? Dance? Take amazing photos? Burp the alphabet? Jump online and offer some free lessons to other bored kids stuck at home. You can also put on a virtual concert to entertain your family, friends, and other people stuck in isolation and needing a break from Netflix.
  • Donate your skills. Are you artistic? Can you build a website? Edit videos? Write? There are many organizations and charities that could use your help to get their message out. Reach out to them and let them know what you can offer or post on Facebook community groups.

And here are some additional resources:

Are you a Cheshire teen who needs community service credits for school?  Send us descriptions, screenshots, or pics of whatever virtual volunteering you’ve done, and the amount of time you spent doing it, and we’ll award you community service hours for your service. Send it to kgile@cheshirelibrary.org – and thanks for making a difference!