Cheshire Grange Fair

Did you know that the Grange has been a part of Cheshire since 1885? 

Did you know that the Grange system was founded by agricultural families in 1867, to help both the North and South recover from the terrible destruction of the Civil War? There are more than 240,000 members across the US, with more than 60 chapters in Connecticut alone.

So, outside of owning the building on Wallingford Road (where, last century, I used to take dance lessons), what exactly does the Grange do?  While there’s still some focus on agriculture, the modern Grange performs charitable community services for rural, suburban, and urban localities, and is open to everyone. Among the many community programs they run and support are Red Cross Blood Drives, quilts for AIDS babies, supporting Heifer International, gift baskets for the needy and elderly, school supplies, camperships, scholarships, equipment for police and fire departments, community education programs, and so much more. And of course, the annual Grange Fair – this year on August 21. 

See, the more people who enter – anything! – the more interesting your Grange Fair is. This is your community fair – and the more we support it, the better it is! (I’m tired of being the only entry in some categories. That’s just no fun.)

So dig through your treasures. Print that photo. Iron that placemat you made. Tuck the threads on that needlepoint you did during shutdown. Pick those tomatoes carefully. No effort is too “amateur,” so get moving and get your entry form in! 

There are a limited number of entry booklets available at the library and around town, or you can download them yourself from their website. 

Best of luck!

http://www.cheshiregrange.org/grangeagfair.asp

Library Resources You Might Not Know About: Part 2

We recently highlighted some services & resources offered by Cheshire Library that may have been new to you. From a book-matching service to streaming video and online courses, the library has an abundance of free resources. Today we’ll highlight a few more you may not be aware of, that you don’t even need to have a library card to use.

Cheshire Library is constantly reviewing and adjusting our online services to bring  patrons what they need. The library is still here for you, even though how you use it these days might look a little different.

A Page Full of Freebies

When the shutdown happened in March 2020, our intrepid librarians started assembling a list of useful free resources that people could access from home. This expanded from Local (links to the CT Covid Response Page, 211 Directory, Cheshire School Meal Distribution)  and  National  (links to the CDC, NIH, WHO) Health Information to other resources that might help take the sting out of being isolated. Sites to access free online activities like virtual museum tours, webcams of animals and nature, interactive learning, and even armchair travel!

Community Service in a Virtual World

Many high school student are required to complete a set number of community service hours as part of their curriculum, but COVID-19 has made it difficult to volunteer in-person. We’ve designed a program (info on our Teen Page and monthly Event Calendars) where teens can earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video,  or other content for us to add to CPL’s social media pages. Ideas for submissions include book reviews, artwork, poetry, short stories, personal essays, photos or video of food you’ve cooked or baked, or any other creative idea you have for content. (Not all submissions will be used on our social media, and submissions including photos of people are not allowed.) Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours.

Get WOWed by Our Newest Books and Dvds

If you’re not able to get into the library as often to check out what’s new, we’ve got a resource you’re going to love. We’ve teamed up with Wowbrary to deliver a list of the latest additions to our catalog straight to your inbox. The New Item Newsletter lets you know everything that’s new, digital items as well as physical items. In fact, you’ll learn about the physical books and dvds the minute we order them, before they even hit the shelf, and can place holds on them right away (you will need a library card for this part)!

No Printer? No Problem!

Many people have used our public printers in the past to print up important documents. Now you can do so without ever stepping foot inside the building. Our Mobile Printing Portal (accessed through the “Visit” tab on our website) allows you to send print jobs to us right from your computer or mobile device. We’ll let you know when your printouts are ready, and you can pick them up at the Grab ‘n Go station by the parking lot entrance.

Something Fun for Our Youngest Patrons

Our Baby Bop music & movement classes for infants 0-12 months and their caregivers has been on hiatus during the pandemic, but we’ve created a dozen free printable guides (find them on our Kids Page) of fun lap-sit songs, rhymes, and activities of music and movement to help develop motor and language skills. But mostly it’s just plain fun – playing is learning! We will add new guides periodically, so check back often!

Entertainment and Information in the Video Age

Finally, we encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We’ve really stepped up our video content creation during this pandemic, and the results are on YouTube. From DIY tutorials, to lit tips,  to silly skits, to full length programs, we’ve got something for everyone to enjoy and learn from. You can even sit in on a Library Board meeting, if that’s your jam! Subscribe to be notified when we post something new.

What’s Happening [Virtually] at Cheshire Library in March

We’re Marching on (yes, we did go there) with a month of engaging, enriching, and entertaining virtual programs. Mark your calendars and sign up while there are still spots open!

March Teen Volunteering Challenges

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. March’s challenges include:

  • Art: Will March come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? Draw your favorite animal.
  • Writing: Write a story, poem, or essay about luck. It could be good, bad, or a bit of both!
  • Food: March 10th is National Oreo Cookie Day, so bake or make something awesome with Oreos!
  • Reading: Pick a book you’ve read and loved, and make a bookmark inspired by it.
  • More Reading: For Women’s History Month, read a nonfiction book about an accomplished woman you’ve never heard of.
  • Even More Reading: Think about your favorite book character- and choose a book you think that character would like to read!

If you participate in the challenges, earn community service credit by submitting your creations so we can share them on our social media pages

Book Buzz Teen Book Club: The Radium Girls

All month long

This month we are going to read The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. Register starting March 2 to pick up your copy of the book in the Children’s Room, then join us on our Google Classroom page to share and hear our different points of view about the book! (This book discussion group will be available all month -and beyond- and you can interact with us and post your thoughts any time that’s convenient for you.) For grades 6-12.

Take + Make Kits

Make something at your own pace this week with a Take + Make kit! We have kits for kids in every age group this month, and registration is required to pick up a kit in the Children’s Room each week. We have a limited number of materials and the kits get reserved very quickly, so please register early and limit to one kit per child.

Food Explorers

Join a Registered Dietitian from Food Explorers to make ChocolateCheesecake Egg Rolls and Loaded Veggie Tot Nachos! Ingredients are listed on our Event Calender. For kids ages 6-12. Please register for these virtual events and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Preschool Storytime

Tuesdays, March 9 – April 6, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00am

A virtual storytime for preschoolers (and their grown-ups!) to learn through talking, singing, reading, writing,and playing! Best for children ages 3-5. Younger and older siblings are welcome. Registration required. This program meets five times: March 9, 16, 23, & 30 and April 6. Register once to attend all five sessions. Registered participants will receive a Zoom link 1 hour before the beginning of each session.

Connecticut in Motion

Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

This overview of 400 years of transportation developments in Connecticut, from the colonial era through the present day, focuses on the privately owned railroads and trollies of the nineteenth century and the publicly operated interstate and express highways of the twentieth. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

College Admissions in the Time of COVID-19

Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 6:45 – 7:45pm

Learn how COVID-19 is changing the college admissions landscape and how it will affect Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors. This program covers how admissions officers are handling the current situation and how students can position themselves to develop a compelling narrative to increase their chances for admission. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Toddler Storytime

Thursdays, March 11 – April 8, 2021, 10:00 – 10:30am

A virtual storytime for toddlers and their caregivers, with interactive songs, stories, and other fun activities. Best for children ages 1-3. Younger and older siblings are welcome. This program meets five times: March 11, 18, 25, and April 1 and 8. Registration required. Register once to attend all sessions. You will receive a Zoom link one hour before the beginning of each program.

Cat Tales Writers Group

Monday, March 15, 2021, 6:00 – 7:30pm

We’re back! Join us virtually for an open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Join us once, join us every month! Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Family Trivia Night

Monday, March 15, 2021, 6:30pm – 7:15pm

 
 
 
 
 
 

Looking for something that you can do as a whole family? Team up for this virtual trivia challenge! Trivia questions will cover a variety of topics and will be appropriate for children of all ages. Each family will need a device (or devices) to participate in Zoom and answer trivia questions. Registration is required–please register once per family participating. You will receive a link via email for the Zoom meeting prior to the event.

Jammin’ with Jeffrey

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 10:00 – 10:30am

Join Early Childhood Music specialist Michele Urban and her silly puppet friend, Jeffrey, as they make music together! Best for ages 0-5 but all ages welcome. Please register for these virtual events to receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Ten Trends in Landscape and Land Care

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Presenter Kathy Connolly takes us on a brief visit to the world of landscape professionals. Listen as professional landscapers and garden center owners describe what they see for the future, and what common beliefs and practices they wish would change. Be prepared for some laughs and perhaps a bit of controversy. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

What to Grow in My Medicinal Herb Garden?

Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

The right herbal “superstars” can help treat common ailments like colds and flu, inflammation, pain,  anxiety, poor digestion, and insomnia. But where should you begin? How do you even start a medicinal herb garden? It’s a question many people ask, and we’ll help take the mystery out of starting a medicinal herb garden. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Clear Lip Gloss with Gemstones (Teen Take & Make tutorial)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 6:00pm – 6:45pm

Pick up a Take + Make kit with supplies for the craft any time the library is open during the week of March 15. Then join us on Zoom March 24 to learn how to make your own lip gloss at home with lovely gemstones and no beeswax or petroleum jelly! Please register for this virtual event to receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Comics Club: Stargazing

Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4:00 – 4:45pm

This month we’ll make instruments in addition to discussing the book, Stargazing by Jen Wang. Please read the book before attending this virtual event. Copies of the book and craft materials are available at the children’s information desk starting on Feb 22. For kids in grades 3-5. You must register for each child in order to pick up a copy of the book and craft supplies. Registered participants will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the event start time.

Books Over Coffee: The Woman Who Stole Vermeer

Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 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. This month’s book is The Woman Who Stole Vermeer by Anthony Amore. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start 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!

Teens & Community Service: Being Part of Something Bigger than Yourself

Today’s post is by our Teen Librarian, Kelley:

Teenage community service is more than something that adults insist will look good on a high school resume. It is often a requirement for graduating high school and it’s a great way for students to build their skill sets. More importantly, volunteer opportunities for teens and high school students can be a life-changing experience, one that allows teens to expand their horizons and foster meaningful relationships. Community service can point to new interests, new friends, and if you’re really lucky, maybe even a lifelong career. And yeah, okay, it’ll also look great on college applications!But where to start? Volunteering implies responsibility, and might seem intimidating. How can you be sure you’re finding opportunities that are right for you? There are always easy entry points, like the service clubs at high schools or helping out at a local library, but beyond that, the options can get overwhelming. So where should you look? There are many local and national volunteer agencies and non-profit organizations that accept teens under 18 who are interested in everything from working with animals to crafting for charities, and we’ve put together a volunteering resource for the teens of Cheshire, which is located on the teen page of our website.

Curious about still more community service ideas? Many other kinds of community groups are looking for volunteers, and some may not have occurred to you. Most of us know that hospitals, libraries, and churches use volunteers for a great deal of their work, but here are some volunteer opportunities that may not have crossed your mind:

  • Day Care Centers, Neighborhood Watch, Public Schools and Colleges
  • Community Theaters, Fraternal Organizations and Civic Clubs
  • Arts Councils, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels
  • Literacy Groups, Museums, Art Galleries, and Monument Sites
  • Community Choirs, Bands and Orchestras, Music Therapy Programs
  • Neighborhood Parks, Youth Organizations, Sports Teams and After-school Programs
  • Historical Restorations, Battlefields and National Parks

Good luck! We know you’ll soon be on the path to community service superstardom!