Gardiner Public Library will be closed Thursday, November 23rd thru Sunday, November 26th. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your families and friends!

An Archival Vacation…

No matter what you have planned (or what may already be planned for you)  you can always take an armchair vacation in the Archives!

Here are some pleasure-seeking snaps from our collection, because wanting to savor every ounce of summer is not just a modern thing here in Maine….

Whether boating or swimming…

Among close friends or with a crowd…

At a lake or on the ocean…

With your special someone or the whole family…

Playing hard or taking it easy…

Catching up on reading or staying ahead of the traffic…

Hitting the open road or plying the open water…

Taking a tour or guiding yourself…

Visiting landmarks or discovering your own…

Creating whimsy or seeking it out…

Appreciating the man-made or Mother Nature’s wonders…

Eating well or feeding your mind…

For an afternoon or overnight…

Planning ahead or taking it as it comes…

Seeking rural outposts or exploring the towns…

Whether on the move or in the comfort of your own armchair…

Enjoy every bit of summer!

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Stuffed Animal Sleepover!

On Tuesday, Aug. 15th, we had our first ever Stuffed Animal Sleepover at the Gardiner Public Library. It was a huge success and everyone had fun. Children brought in their stuffed animals to leave for the night. We put name tags on the animals and then the fun began!

 

Snacks were served and books were read…

 

 

Everyone had fun at craft time,

playing with the doll house,

 

sliding on the banister….

Until it was time for bed….

Children came back the next morning, Wednesday, Aug. 16th, and picked up their animals. They each took home a picture of the animal having fun in the library and the craft that the animals did.

 

This is definitely an event we will do again!

 

 

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What Should I Read Next?

What do you do when you have discovered a new (or new-to-you) author, and you want another book that is just like the one you finished?

You’ve read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on by ______ (fill in the blank) and want to read something JUST like (s)he writes.

Fascination with puppy dog tales – yes, I noticed the pun as well – has you craving more animal stories.

What do you do?  Yes, your local librarian is a wonderful help, but when you finish the book at midnight, and really, ReAlLy, REALLY need a new author SOON, please don’t call us! At least, not a midnight!

A fantastic website for you to find that new author, or subject area, or whatever piece of the title you just finished that sends you searching is part of the MARVEL database.  As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, this amazing resource is provided to all libraries in Maine, and with your current library card you will discover some great new authors and books.

Once you or I access the MARVEL database, which can be accessed through the library website, we need to scroll down, and click on the NOVELIST database.  There are two choices for Novelist – NoveList K-8 Plus and NoveList Plus.  As you might assume, one is geared more to the juvenile, but they both work the same way.

Okay, I’m here.  I type James Patterson in the search bar near the top of the page.  I’m doing a “Basic Search” at this point.  My results show me several things.  On the left side of the page there are several ways to “Refine Results”.  The majority of the page seems to be taken up by several tabs.  These tabs include Books ; Audiobooks ; Series ; Authors and Lists & Articles.

Since the Books tab is the first one (and open), I’ll see what it has to say.

My results include 389 citations.  I know Patterson is prolific, but 389???  Anyway, back to NoveList I go.  As I scroll down the first page, I see books by Patterson, books about Patterson, compilations that include Patterson, and books that he co-authored.  Many choices, but since I have read ALL of his stuff and am looking for something new, I click on the next tab.

Audiobooks appears to be exactly that – James Patterson books that have been recorded for our listening pleasure.  I do notice that the narrator of each audiobook is listed, and as a listener, there are some readers that I particularly enjoy listening to, as well as some that I would rather not hear again.  As I scroll down the first page, I realize that some of the titles are listed more than once and see that perhaps there is a choice of Abridged vs. Unabridged.  All in all, an interesting “tab” to look at.

The next tab is Series.  This one shows me the 22 series that Mr. Patterson writes.

The Authors tab lists six authors who in some way have been associated with James Patterson.  A couple of these authors appear to have written about him, or have co-authored works with him, or simply have the same name.

The last tab is Lists & Articles.  This is exactly what it claims – Lists and Articles about James Patterson.  A great resource for anyone interested in who Mr. Patterson is.

As I explored each of these tabs I noticed several things they had in common.  Below each citation there is a bit of information, as well as a few links.  I see a five-star popularity scale, whether the title is written for Adults, Teens or younger and the Read-alikes.  This is the piece I’m interested in right now.

I click on the Title Read-alikes link for one of the titles on this page.  If there were a specific title I LOVED this would be the time to choose it.  I am taken to a page with several new titles.  There is a “Reason” given for each of the titles on this page.

This process works the same way when I click on Author Read-alikes.  I am taken to a page with several – nine seem to be the maximum number – new authors that might be of interest.

Back to the original “James Patterson” search page I go.  This time I click on the book title itself, and am taken to a page with a description of the book, the genre and tone.  Also on this page, the far right column shows me Read-alikes.  I see the book covers, author and a link to this new title.  I know, I know, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover”, but … .

I can also search for those “puppy tales” I’m interested in.  The search bar is near the top of each of the NoveList pages, so I type in puppy tales.

Yup, this works as well!  I’m taken to pages that include more than 600 “puppy tales”.

Now, I’ve jumped around this great resource, my clock tells me it’s 2:00a.m., I didn’t disturb my local librarian, I’ve found some new reading ideas, and requested them to be picked up at the library.  This looks like several ticks in the WIN column to me!

Social Media at Gardiner Public Library

Did you know that if you follow  the Gardiner Public Library on Facebook that on Monday we post “Have You Seen This Movie Monday” which features the description of a movie that can be borrowed from the library?  Did you know that every Wednesday we post “Check It Out” which is a description of a book that can be borrowed from the library?  It’s a great way to have a recommendation delivered right to your electronical device.

Gardiner’s Farmers Market Family Fun Day

I was invited to come to the Farmer’s Market Family Fun Day this Wednesday and represent the Gardiner Public Library. It was a beautiful sunny day with plenty to do. Face painting, painting rocks, necklace making, wreath making from herbs, jenga, hula hoops and other things happened. Here are some photos from the wonderful afternoon spent within our area.

Ben’s Guide – A MARVEL Database

I was checking out the MARVEL! database recently and happened across a new-to-me database.

Ben’s Guide to US Government for Kids

I click on the database and discover a fun picture of Ben Franklin with several links to follow.  Along the very top there are GPO ; ABOUT THIS SITE ; LEGAL ; FEEDBACK ; a Search spot, and two little icons.  These links take me to the US Government Publishing Office ; Information about the site and where it originates ; a reminder that this is a private site that does not collect personal data ; and a form to send feedback about the website.  The person-like icon takes me to Learning Adventures and the United States shaped icon takes me to Citizenship.

The next set of “tabs” – I’ll use that term as that’s what we have become used to on a website – include Home ; About Ben and GPO ; Libraries ; Learning Adventures ; Glossary and Games.  There are three more “clickable” links – Ages 4 – 8 Apprentice ; Ages 9 – 13 Journeyperson and Ages 14+ Master.

Where to begin!?!?!

The About Ben and GPO link gives me several extra links, with quite a bit of information about Benjamin Franklin.  One of the links shows me a timeline of his life, and, I admit it, I LOVE timelines!  This man did many things, and if a bit of this information intrigues me enough, I can and will do more research.

The Glossary link is just exactly that – a glossary of terms in a governmental aspect.  The words may have other meanings, but this glossary is how the terms relate to the U.S. Government.

Learning Adventures and the links in the center of the page for various age level lead to the same place, a varied array of information about our government.  A few of the topics include Branches of Government : Symbols, Songs and Structures ; Historical Documents and  Election Process.  Each of these links are in the box in the center of my screen.  To the right of this box, the icons for each of the learning levels appear.  Clicking on the icon changes the learning level of the information.

Back along the top of the page there is a Games link.  Let’s see where this takes me!

In the center box I scroll, and have three choices – Place the States ; Printable Activities and Branch-O-Mania.

Hmmm . . . .

Place the States is truly what it says.  I’m taken to a blank silhouette of the United States, with a colorful array of the states at the bottom of the page.  A jigsaw puzzle of the states!

Printable Activities takes me to more choices – either Word Search or Crosswords.  Below each of these are levels.  The levels are the same as previously noted – Apprentice, Journeyperson and Master.  Clicking on a choice takes me to a page that can be printed and the puzzle worked on away from the computer.

Branch-O-Mania opens a new page, with more choices.  This time my choices are the branches of government – Legislative ; Executive and Judicial.  This is a “catching” game.  By that I mean, Ben Franklin must catch the icons that drop from the sky.  Each of the branches of government have icons that pertain to them.

All in all, this is an interesting addition to the MARVEL! database of information.  It’s very user friendly, and a great way for me to refresh my knowledge of our government.

Ann Russell, Technology Librarian

Narrow Gauge Cinema

The Kennebec Journal announced on July 7th that the Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington was opening a new drive-in theater in the lot behind the cinema.  It brought back all the memories of childhood that involved my parents loading the 4 kids and the dog into the station wagon with bags of popcorn to go to a drive-in theater.  The one we visited had a playground in front of the huge screen that the kids would all play on until dusk arrived and the first movie started.  We always tried to stay awake through intermission to see the second movie since that one was always a little “racier” as smaller children would have fallen asleep by the time it started.  Remember the speaker that was mounted on a pole which you would hang on your car window so you could clearly hear what was happening on the movie screen?  Cars were larger then and a family of 6 with a dog could easily enjoy a double feature at a drive-in without feeling totally cramped and on top of each other.  Below is a web site from the Smithsonian magazine that will help you remember the glory days of the drive-in.  And if you have never had the experience, then it will give you a sense of what you have missed.  Is the experience worth a trip to Farmington to see a double feature under the stars?  It just might be.

 

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-drive-in-movie-theater-51331221/

 

Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Summer ’17 Children’s Books

Hattie & Hudson by Chris Van Dusen

This eloquent, evocative book about compassion is perfect for sparking discussions on      prejudice. A sensational choice for a seasonal storytime. (School Library Journal)

Be Quiet by Ryan Higgins

This hilarious and fun read-aloud will be a hit at any story time. Kids will be laughing out loud. (School Library Journal)

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello

The story will be a familiar one to any young reader who feels too small to join in with older siblings or peers, and offers an empowering message of learning to overcome one’s small stature. (School Library Journal)

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Drywalt

Laugh-out-loud funny and outrageous at times, this read-aloud will have listeners jumping out of their seats. This is the sort of story that makes children love to read.

The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler

Twelve-year-old Nell Perkins lives in the small town of Mist Falls with her mother, Rose, and her brothers, George and Speedy. A dark cloud filled with evil witches sucks Rose up, and Nell and her brother’s team up with local resident Duke Badger following the cloud into the Dreamlands, the wondrous and horrific realm of all dreams. (School Library Journal)

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

It’s kids vs. parents in epic fashion, and Graff’s not-quite-fantasy world is every kid’s dream. All of the frustrations young people feel with their parents during a divorce are hilariously hyperbolized in a way that will make children feel vindicated and less alone. The epistolary format allows readers to get to know all of the characters through creative footnotes, sticky notes, newspaper articles, emails, and tiny drawings. Graff’s whimsical, original work is a breath of fresh air.  (School Library Journal)

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi

Wakening to a terrible storm, 12-year-old Oliver Cromwell Pitts finds his English seaside house flooded and his lawyer father gone off to London, leaving the child bereft, penniless, and facing the unsavory possibility of being remanded to the children’s poorhouse. Alas, that is exactly what happens. Happily, circumstances and quick wits allow him to flee the dreadful place, but, his life now in danger, he must escape to London. But how? Because of  his flight and the  fact that he has, er, borrowed some money, he’s wanted by the  authorities and must travel secretly, and the  road to the  capital is long and fraught with danger—there will be no relying on the kindness of  strangers. Will he find his way to London? This story is filled with suspense, surprises, and ultimately satisfaction. (School Library Journal)

Fairy Floss: The Sweet Story of Cotton Candy by Ann Ingalls

When Lillie and her aunt finally get to the World’s Fair, they take in all the sights, including a dazzling array of newfangled gadgets, and when they finally get to John and William’s kiosk, Lillie gets to make a batch of fairy floss herself. Ingalls’ story , centered on the  modernization of cotton candy , is well matched by Blanco’s colorful, whimsical, full-page 1904 World’s Fair scenes, which pack in plenty of  period detail, including clothing, transportation, and images of the  historic exhibits. Have cotton candy ready as a follow-up to this dip into the history of a well-loved amusement-park treat. (Booklist)

Ginni Nichols, Children’s Librarian

An Archival Mystery… Solved in the Children’s Room!


Have you ever wondered about the large metal book press solidly fastened to the circulation desk in the Children’s Room? I hadn’t given it much thought, myself, long assuming that it was just a helpful fixture in the library. We use it to repair books and it couldn’t be handier.

The counter itself is a piece of Gardiner history. For many decades, it belonged to the Maxcy Insurance office on Water Street.

Working in the Community Archives Room (and relatively obsessed with all things historical in the library), I had read the plaque on the counter and knew that the desk had stood in a long-operating, family-owned insurance office here in Gardiner for many, many years. Somehow, however, I never paused to consider just why an insurance office would need a book press….

The counter was donated to the Library by the daughters of an employee who ultimately inherited the company.

In the 1830s, Smith Maxcy brought his growing family to Gardiner from Windsor, Maine, and operated a grist mill on Bridge Street.  He was widowed three times in his life, raising five sons and three daughters in Gardiner.  The eldest son, Josiah, married Eliza Jane Crane and remained in Gardiner, where they raised five sons of their own.  In 1853, Josiah established his own insurance agency, which, as several of his sons joined the business, ultimately became Josiah Maxcy & Sons Insurance.  It operated for over a century in the upper floors of where Ampersand Dance Studio is now located.

We were lucky to receive a donation of a large collection of Maxcy business and family materials in the Archives some years ago.  Josiah and his son William Everett Maxcy were significantly involved in Gardiner business, as well as many municipal and charitable activities and the collection provides amazing glimpses into our local history over many decades.

One item, in particular, has fascinated me for some time.  It is a book of numbered pages of the thinnest paper – it resembles onion or tracing paper, but even thinner. There is an index in the front of the volume and each of the tissue-thin pages bears a hand-written (or, occasionally, a type-written) letter.  All are dated about 1913. When a researching descendent stopped by some months ago, we were equally flummoxed by just what this book was and how it was created.  The pages were too thin to write on directly – they would tear too easily – and, clearly, the book contained “copies” of official correspondence sent out by the office.  These weren’t carbon sheets and they hadn’t been compiled and bound together after they were created.

Naturally, a Google search helped to deliver some additional evidence and we found both an answer AND a second mystery revealed and solved.  It turns out that this bound volume was a “letter book” or a “pressed letter book” and was a state-of-the-art method of copying outgoing correspondence in the mid- to late-19th century and early 20th century.

Much faster than re-writing a copy of a letter, these books required the use of a special copying ink in writing the initial letter and then quickly placing the letter beneath a moistened page of tissue paper in the letter book.  Then, with sheets of oil cloth inserted to protect the other pages,   the volume was slid into the press and the top was screwed down to tighten and impress the moist page against the freshly written letter.  What resulted was an inverse image of the letter on the back of a page of tissue paper thin enough to read properly from the front!

One of our Google search hits came in this illustrated chapter discussing various examples of “Business Practices and Technology” one might find in archival collections.

The process may not have required an advanced skill set to complete, but it did demand a bit of savvy in its operation.  The sloppy example below was found in our letter book and was likely an instance of too much moisture allowing the ink to bleed.

The explanation of this common technique of copying office papers was simultaneously informative and enlightening.  A-ha! Our book press in the Children’s Room had certainly come with the desk when it was donated and it’s long history had absolutely nothing to do with book repair.

Instead, it was likely one of the first and most used “copy machines” in town!

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Book Sale 2017

 Have you ever wondered what a Library Book Sale might look like???
Following are some pictures of the creation and set up of Gardiner Public Library’s annual Book Sale.
Many, many boxes of books and media have been unloaded from the closet. They appear miraculously (please note the sarcasm in that word) in the Hazzard Reading Room.

The boxes seem to multiply!
The sorting has begun!
More sorting fun!
Empty boxes are beginning to appear!
An empty table!!! It won’t be empty long, I’m sure.
For those of you using an actual computer, and not a device of some type, imagine this photo turned 90 degrees. What appears as the bottom is actually the right side of the picture. This is a wall of EMPTY boxes!!!
It’s truly beginning to take shape!
Looks like every inch of space is being used!
We even use the floor under the tables.