Hidden Treasures on the Lower Level

When you venture to the lower level of the library it is most likely in search of research,  a computer, copier, or fax machine. Maybe you are looking for the current newspapers or magazines, information on a particular topic, or some large print reading materials. However, like every section of the library there are hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. Here are some great resources you might want to explore.

IMG_3107Biographies and memoirs are among the most read nonfiction materials, but they can be hard to find. Thankfully our new signage makes it much easier, but I would like to make it even easier. If you have come down the stairs simply walk around to the opposite side of the stairwell enclosure and you will be facing the beginning of the biographies. They continue on in shelving to the right, both on the wall and in the short wooden bookshelves. Biographies are shelved by the last name of the person the book is about.

Travel Books
IMG_3109Whether you are planning a trip, or just dreaming about getting away for awhile, the travel books are a wonderful resource. This popular collection is another that often gets asked for or missed by browsers. The travel material call numbers are in the 900’s and can be found on the short wooden bookcases near the stairwell.

IMG_3108English as a Second Language (ESL) Materials
These materials are a fabulous resource to anyone looking to learn English, or improve their language skills. These are books about business and every day language use, as well as information about citizenship exams. There are audiobooks as well. The call numbers for these materials all begin with ESL and can be found in the left hand corner of the street facing wall of the building.

Magazines and Newspapers
IMG_3106The current magazines and newspapers have been moved from the upper level to the lower level. Both collections are highly visible after you exit the stairwell, or step off the elevator and walk towards the Reference Desk. However, did you know that we keep older magazines and newspapers for a limited time? The length of time depends on the publication, but if you need a magazine issue from a few months ago, or want to photocopy a newspaper article from last month, it is handy to have these available. The magazines begin right after the adult holiday materials, past the elevator, and continue around to the shelving on the back wall (parking lot side of the building). The older newspapers are shelved right after the magazine back issues.

Gardening and Lawn Care
IMG_3104Adult gardening materials are highly popular in the spring and summer, and are frequently requested. While you might not be thinking about these books yet, there are many valuable resources when it comes to everything related to vegetables, flowers, lawns, shrubs, compost, and so on. These materials are shelved before the rest of the non fiction collection because of the sheer volume and popularity or the information. However, if you did not know where they are, you might walk right past them.

If you cannot find the materials you are looking for, or need help narrowing down your search for the perfect source, please stop by the reference desk. Our Reference librarians know that collection, and its nooks and crannies, and have a number of fantastic resources at their fingertips.

Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

What do you do when it’s time to replace an old kitchen? Where do you even begin?

I recently faced this challenge. Realizing that my kitchen needed to be replaced was the easy part. Figuring out what I wanted to do proved to be daunting. My current kitchen is a vintage 1970’s no-particular-style kitchen. Not your dream kitchen by any standards.

The cost to gut and completely redo the kitchen was staggering. Literally. I actually staggered around the kitchen when presented with the final estimate. Clearly, putting in a new kitchen was not going to be an option.

Prowling through the library stacks, I struck gold. Our shelves are chock-full of great idea books and among them I discovered the solution to my dilemma.

The before and after photos were inspiring. I marveled at the creativity and ingenuity of do-it-yourselfers who tackled their old kitchens. The books are worth a look just for the pictures of the incredible renovations. The clever uses of space and color were amazing and the costs were reasonable. I began to look at my kitchen in a whole new way.

And what were the solutions? Paint the cabinets. Install new hardware. Put in a new backsplash. New tiles on the floor. A few nights and weekends, a lot of sweat equity and—voila! What looks and feels like a new kitchen.

Need some kitchen inspiration? Try these titles:

kitchen ideaCountry Living: 500 Kitchen Ideas: Style, Function & Charm from the editors of Country Living Magazine; text by Dominique DeVito

Do it Yourself Kitchens: Stunning Spaces on a Shoestring Budget from Better Homes and Gardens

Kitchen Ideas You Can Use: Inspiring Designs & Clever Solutions for Remodeling Your Kitchen by Chris Peterson

Kitchen Idea Book by Joanne Kellar Bouknight

Affordable Kitchen Upgrades: Transform Your Kitchen on a Small Budget by Steve Cory and Diane Slavik

New Kitchen Ideas that Work by Jamie Gold

Home Sweet Home

home 2

I moved into a new home this year.  It’s still a work in progress.  I love watching home improvement shows on TV.   It’s fun to see what other people come up with in tackling various buying, selling, redecorating, or renovating problems.  It’s also fun to look through various ‘home’ magazines for ideas and inspiration.  If you’re looking to do a little work on your home, or just like to look at beautiful pictures, the Cheshire Library offers quite a few magazines that satisfy a variety of styles and tastes.

Architectural Digest

*Better Homes & Gardens

*Country Living


*Family Handyman


*House Beautiful

This Old House

*Traditional Home


*Also available on Zinio.

The Cheshire Library also has a wonderful selection of books to help guide you through the process or help inspire you.  Click on the headings below to access our catalog.


Home Improvment

Home Decor



Gardens, Gardens, Everywhere

For most gardeners, there is no better season than spring. After a long winter, we forget about previous garden disasters (like those darn deer that ate their way through last summer’s flower beds…) and look forward to what will surely be our most fabulous garden ever!  As I do every year, I spent part of last winter looking through gardening books and catalogs and planning improvements to my home landscape.  One of the many wonderful aspects of working at a library is easy access to all of the best books on any subject, including lots of garden and landscape books.  Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of years.

Jacket.aspxCoffee for roses : …and 70 other misleading myths about backyard gardening  Garden “myth-busting” done with wit and style.  Save yourself time and money–one of the tips I picked up from this book will save me both.

Jacket.aspxThe Know Maintenance Perennial Garden  This simplified approach to perennial gardening uses hardy, attractive plants grown on a 10×14 foot grid. Each of the 62 garden plans combines complementary plants that thrive together and grow as a community and are designed for easy maintenance, the goal of most home gardeners. Even if you don’t switch to this system, you will find some good ideas.

Jacket.aspxLandscaping Ideas That Work.  Your yard should be an extension of your home and this terrific book covers front, back, and side yards and provides strategies for combining elements and creating spaces that work with any home. Some great before and after photos.

Jacket.aspxLawn gone! : low-maintenance, sustainable, attractive alternatives for your yard.  My husband and I have ongoing “discussions” about our too-large lawn.  Every year I drag books like this home in hopes that he will give up the turf war.  No luck yet, but I keep hoping!

Jacket.aspxThe Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening.   This is a great book for those of us whose yards are graced with large shade trees.  The Shady Lady identifies best practices, best plants, and best information, specifically designed for the zones of the greater Northeast – and leaves out all the rest. Includes a large yet highly selective illustrated plant gallery that includes all the indispensable perennials, ferns, and bulbs.

Don’t forget magazines!  We get many home and garden magazines in paper and downloadable formats, including Better Homes and Gardens, Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening and more.

This year, in addition to my own gardens and a period herb garden I help maintain at the Thankful Arnold House Museum in Haddam, I am assisting with a garden project here at the Cheshire Public Library.  Cheshire Garden club member Anupa Simpatico has designed a low-maintenance garden with four-season appeal for the front of the library.  This project supports and promotes a healthy environment for birds and pollinating insects and carries out the Cheshire Garden Club’s mission of garden education, civic beautification and the preservation of wildlife.  Click here to see the plan and plant list. This project wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Friends of the Library, who are helping fund it with money donated in memory of Margaret Andersen, a long-time member of the Friends and an avid gardener. The Cheshire Town Beautification Committee and several anonymous donors have made  generous contributions towards the cost of the plants and shrubs.
The garden will be enjoyed by library visitors as well as countless people who pass by the front of the library  in vehicles and on foot. We are looking for volunteers to help plant and maintain the garden.  Please contact me at drutter@cheshirelibrary.org if you are interested in helping.



Did You Know That April is Lawn and Garden Month?

gardeningmanualNow that spring is under way you might be thinking about taking care of your lawn and garden. With April being National Lawn and Garden Month I know I am starting to gather my seeds to start indoors and planning just what I want to do in my yard this year. Whether a landscaping change is in your near future, you are plotting your garden, or you are just preparing for regular mowing, it is a perfect time to get the reading resources you need to do it right.

1. The Lawn & Garden Owner’s Manual: What to do and When to Do It by Lewis and Nancy Hillgardeningcompost

2. The Organic Lawn Care Manual: a Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn by Paul Tukey

3. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever by Barbara Pleasant & Deborah L. Martingardenlawn2

4. All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew

5. Decoding Gardening Advice: the Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations by Jeff Gillman & Meleah Maynard

6. The Lawn Bible: How to Keep it Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year by David R. Mellor

gardeningsolar7. Lawn Gone!: Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick

8. Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way by Leandre Poisson and Gretchen Vogel Poisson

9. 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

gardeningmini10. Gardening in Miniature: Create Your own Tiny Living World by Janit Calvo

This just scratches the surface for great lawn and garden books in our library. Some more of the best or most unique books I would recommend on the subject include: Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th-Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas: New, Fun, and Fabulous Tips That Will Change the Way you Garden-Forever! edited by Deborah L. Martin, Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis, and Ellen Phillips, Gardening Without a Garden by Gay Search, Water Gardening Basics by Helen Nash & Marilyn M. Cook, Taylor’s Master Guide to GardeningHeirloom Vegetable Gardening: a Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Growing, Seed Saving, and Cultural History. by William Woys Weaver, and Lawn Care for Dummies by Lance Walheim & the editors of the National Gardening Association.

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Love (or hate) gardening and want to get some kids involved? Well then don’t forget to check in the children’s room for: Kids’ Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out  by Cindy Krezel, Gardening with Children by Monika Hannemann and others, Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy, It’s Our Garden: from Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona, How Does Your Garden Grow?: Great Gardening for Green-Fingered Kids by Clare Matthews, or Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher.