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

Mystery in the Archives!

My name is Brian Files and I’m grateful to be asked to be a guest blogger on the Gardiner Public Library’s website.

 

Last weekend, the 23rd of April, I got the chance to perform a mystery show at the Library. I’ve performed all over this state in Mysteries and Improv shows. Some in small venues to small crowds, others were large venues with over 200 plus people in attendance. But this show was something special. Not only was it at a location that I cherish in my hometown, but I also wrote the script and produced the show. And it was a blast!

 

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The whole process started over a year ago when my wife, Deb Files, asked if a show at the library was something I thought possible. Time went by and I forgot all about it until she brought it up again during the winter. “Sure” I said, “sounds like fun.” And it was, but it was also a lot of time and work by not just myself, but all those involved.
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To give you an idea of the challenge we were up against: when I work for Mystery for Hire, we perform in convention halls, banquet rooms, large restaurants, and other places set up for large crowds and entertainment. This event was to be in a multiple storied building with multiple rooms…and I wanted to use them all. I also usually work with a group of professionals that have been in the business for quite some time. This time around, I was holding auditions, looking for local talent that could fill out the cast.

 

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Those I chose to cast were great! They were willing to go along with a show concept that was completely different to them.  And they trusted that the show would work, although some scenes were in different rooms and some were performed simultaneously in different locations! We met once a week for a month leading up to the day of the show. On the day of the show, we met 3 hours before the doors open to go over how the whole event would take place. They all performed beyond my wildest dreams!

 

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These type of events are not about perfection in lines or character development. It’s all about having fun. The audience tends to let things go, if the actors just keep rolling along. The more fun we tend to have, the more fun the audience has. Don’t ask me why, it just seems to happen that way.
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I have to thank all those that made this possible. Dawn Thistle for her immense knowledge of the history of the library (which I used for the basis of the show), Anne Davis for allowing me to display items and for letting me run rampant around a building she cares deeply for. The staff at the library for all their hard work on the night of the event. The Gardiner Library Association fundraising committee for giving me the go ahead in the first place. And to the cast- Cheryl Clark, Jonathan Price, Richard Becker, Julie Poulin, and Amanda Kinsey. They brought this show to life.

 

I also need to congratulate our winner of the Super Sleuth, Mary Ann Johnson! Her answer was spot on! The answer that made us laugh the most went to Representative Gay Grant, her idea of punishment for the crime was awesome (unless you’re Cheryl and Richard who would have to wear their costumes all the time AND clean the library)!

 

A special thanks goes to a person that couldn’t even be at the event. Robert LeBlanc made the aged documents that were on display for over a month. He also formatted all the paperwork. I wish he could have been there!

 

Finally, let me just say that getting to see something that you worked so hard at come to life was a thrill. I am so happy that those in attendance had a great time. It meant so much to have this event succeed. And to those that asked, Yes, we will be doing this again. I’m already working on the script.

 

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Photo Credit to Griffin Files, age 14

What’s Going On?!?!?!

 

Over the next couple of weeks, we have several irons in the fire.
National Library Week is celebrated from April 10 – 16 this year.  We have a display of “library” related books for your perusal.
The ALA (American Library Association) theme for the week is “Libraries Transform Lives”.  As part of the promotional campaign, we have blank “speech bubbles” available for folks to let us know how a library may have transformed your life!  Next time you’re in the library, pick up one at the desk, and we’ll add it to our on-going display!
School Vacation week is fast approaching, and we have a couple of programs planned.  On Tuesday, the 19th of April, the L.C. Bates Museum is doing their “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!” program in the Children’s Room. The program begins at 2:00, so please plan on joining us then!

 

On Thursday, the 21st, a local Origami enthusiast will present a workshop – “Fold A Fish”.  This workshop is geared toward those ages 5 and up.  If you’re like me, I would need the 5 year-old to help me understand the directions, though, perhaps your 5-year-old might need your assistance as well.  Join us in the Children’s Room at 10:30, and learn to “Fold A Fish”.
The Gardiner Library Association’s annual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26th, from 6:30 – 8:00.  My understanding is that there will be a brief business meeting, followed by a slide presentation by our Archivist, Dawn Thistle.  Dawn will highlight some of the library’s impressive Gardiner resources.  This meeting is open to all.
Last to mention, but certainly not the least – on Saturday, April 23rd we will host a “Mystery In The Archives”.  Perhaps you have noticed the display table in the Young Adult section of the library?  We have obtained two historic documents, perhaps a will? And ??? Or ???  These interesting artifacts are available for you to decipher, and learn a bit before the 23rd.  Take a few minutes the next time you’re here to look them over, and perhaps purchase a ticket for this fun and exciting evening!  Tickets are available at the Adult Circulation Desk at a cost of $30 per person.  Light refreshments will be available.  All proceeds from this event to benefit the Community Archives Room.
Oh, one more thing!  This isn’t an event with a specific day and time, but we are now the proud hosts of a “Coloring Station”.  Sometimes we all need a little time to sit quietly and color, so feel free to use the station in the Hazzard Reading Room.  Crayons, markers and colored pencils are available, as well as a variety of coloring pages.
Looking forward to seeing you at some of these great events!
Ann Russell, Technology Librarian

A Glimpse Into the Past

Recently I had the opportunity to go play in the archives here at Gardiner Public Library.  And what a fabulous experience it was!

One day while I was working in the library, I delivered some books to Dawn, our wonderful Archives Librarian. I happened to mention a well-known house in East Pittston that used to be in our family.  It’s on the Historical Register, and I had some questions about it. We got to talking, and Dawn suggested I come spend some time in the archives on my day off.  I set up a day and time with Dawn, who thoughtfully pulled out several items related to East Pittston. I parked myself at the table and before I knew it, two whole hours had passed.
Not only did I find out lots of information regarding the house of my original inquiry, I caught a wonderful glimpse into the past! I found a picture of the general store my great grandfather used to own, a picture of the one room schoolhouse where my grandmother taught, and a picture of the contraption, known as an “auto-house”, that my great grandfather and great uncle drove across country in on their way to California.
I had a few fantastic finds regarding my grandmother. There was a picture of her with one of her classes, taken at the one room schoolhouse. Sitting in the front row was my aunt. There was also an article about the Tom Thumb weddings she used to hold: “East Pittston Pupils Perform Mock Wedding”. I can remember her telling me about this when I was little, and it was pretty interesting to see it in the newspaper! Another wonderful item was a letter written about my grandmother from one of her former students. It was so interesting getting a glimpse into what her school day was like.
My most treasured item I found was a newspaper article reporting about my grandmother’s bridal shower: “Popular ‘Bride to Be’ Honored by Friends at Surprise Shower”. How wonderful to get a glimpse of what that day was like for her!
So thank you Dawn, for allowing me the opportunity to see into my past.
P.S. I’m hooked on archives now!

From the Archives

For a change, I thought I would showcase some postcards that are in the Archives Room. 

 

 

These postcards, from around 1906, show some of the ships that went up and down the Kennebec River with supplies and people.  
 
If you have old postcards of the Gardiner area that you are willing to donate, the Gardiner Public Library would love to have them.  These postcards are just one of the things that the Archives Room at the library has to show our customers.  
 

 

 
 
 
Archive Hours – 
Tuesday – 10:30 – 7:30
Wednesday – 10:30 – 1:30
Thursday – 10:30 – 5:30
Friday – 9:30 – 5:00
 
Please call first, as these hours are subject to change.
 

Ginni Nichols, Young Adult Librarian

Dawn Thistle, Archives Librarian