6.9.22 | Chats With Champions Is Back & In-person At Skidompha!

Dear Friends,

When I began working at Skidompha a few years ago, actually, when I was first interviewing for the job and learning about this incredible library, I was excited to hear from the board about Skidompha’s Chats With Champion program. I was impressed to discover a group of dedicated volunteers started the program, and I am even more impressed that they are still running this program today!

The Chats program has been around for 20-plus years and is one of our most popular live programs at Skidompha. The Chats program brings together outstanding literary, arts, and scientific voices to present free programs to the public.

We switched Chats from a live event to a monthly virtual program on Zoom when the pandemic began, and we were blown away by the continued interest and support from our community. We hosted a fantastic selection of speakers, and we heard from many attendees how they appreciated the opportunity to stay connected in this way.

However, we all missed being together in Porter Hall, and we are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting our first in-person Chat since before the pandemic began. This Chat with Maine author William Anthony will take place on Thursday, June 30, at 10:00 a.m. in the Porter Meeting Hall at Skidompha.

Anthony is the author of Farnsy, A Novel published by Maine Authors Publishing.

Some Lincoln County News readers may recognize the name of the author of the “Midcoast Boater’s Journal.” Now William Anthony is rolling out Farnsy, a lighthearted novel about William Phineas Farnsworth, a promising young policeman in his hometown, who can’t stop thinking about Lucy, once his high school sweetheart, now the ex-wife of a lobsterman.

Farnsy is a quirky and heartwarming read for anyone who loves Maine, has been to Maine, plans to visit Maine, or just likes their Maine humor dry.

We want to offer a special thank you to Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop for their ongoing sponsorship of this program and to the Chats with Champions Committee, a committee of volunteers who line up fascinating speakers for our roster.

We hope to see many of you at the library for this event, and we look forward to sharing a new Chat with you each month!

Be well,

Matthew Graff


6.2.22 | Summer Reading Program Spotlight – Youth Services

Dear Friends,

Our 2022 Skidompha Summer Reading Programs have begun! How is it June already? I am thrilled to share the details of our Youth Summer Reading Program with you this week. Anyone 12 and under can participate, and we hope to see many kids sign up for this awesome program. Jessie has been working hard to bring some fantastic programming and prizes to kids this summer. She can’t wait to start handing out free books, and she’s got some gorgeous displays to share with us all summer long.

Registration officially begins on June 14, 2022. Make sure to stop by the children’s room in the library to pick up a Summer Reading Program packet, which will have the tracking and activity sheets you need to begin. If you keep track of your reading through the summer and turn your sheet back in, you’ll earn raffle tickets and prizes throughout the summer.

Everyone who signs up will receive a free book. August 26 is the last day to earn raffle tickets. We will announce the winners on September 1, and September 10 will be the last day to claim Kids Summer Reading Program prizes. There are five different raffle baskets, and each one has an ocean theme!

Check out our program offerings:

  • Ongoing events
    • Tuesdays @ 10:00 AM: Story Time, ages 5 and under
    • Saturdays @ 10:30 AM: Stories and Crafts, all ages
  • June
    • Craft Kit: Paper Fan Fish
    • June 14: Summer Reading Program Registration Begins
    • June 29 @ 10:00 AM: Story/Craft Time
  • July
    • Craft Kit: Clothespin Sharks
    • July 8 @ 10:30 AM: Picture Book Book Club
    • July 13 @ 1:00-2:30 PM: Nature Walk @ Salt Bay Farm
    • July 14 @ 10:30 AM: Watercolor Painting with Erica Qualey, ages 5 and up
    • July 22 @ 10:30 AM: Mr. Drew and His Animals Too
    • July 24 @ 2:00 PM: Blue Planet @ The Lincoln Theater – free movie showing!
    • July 27 @ 10:00 AM: Story/Craft Time: Ocean Invertebrates
  • August
    • Craft Kit: Egg Carton Whales
    • August 2 @ 1:00-3:00 PM: Nature Walk @ La Verna Preserve
    • August 5 @ 10:30 AM: Explore Tide Pools with Chewonki, all ages
    • August 10-11 @ 10:30 AM-12:00 PM: Small Scale Whale Machines, ages 8 and up
    • August 13 @ 10:30 AM: Marine Mammals of Maine: The World of Whales, all ages
    • August 17 @ 10:00 AM: Story/Craft Time: Whales!
    • August 19 @ 12:00 PM: End of Summer Reading Ice Cream Social
    • August 21 @ 2:00 PM: Blue Planet II @ The Lincoln Theater – free movie showing!


With so many offerings, we have multiple ways for you to keep track of it all! Please pick up a printed list of summer programs the next time you’re in the library, visit the Kids Summer Reading Page on our website, look for us on social media, or check out the library’s online calendar of events for more information about each event.

I can’t wait to hear about the Oceans of Possibilities kids create and share with the library this summer!


Best Wishes,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

5.26.22 | Summer Reading Program Spotlight – Teen Services

Dear Friends,

Excitement is building for our 2022 Summer Reading Programs! I love having the opportunity to take time each week to share more details and shine the spotlight on individual departments in the library.

I’m excited to spread the word about the Teen Services Summer Reading Program this week. Kristi, our teen librarian, has been piling materials high on her desk and the workspaces she’s created in the newly renovated teen room at the library. Check out this great space next time you’re at Skidompha. I am so grateful to Kristi for all her hard work.

The Teen Summer Reading Program will run from June 1 – August 26, sharing the Oceans of Possibilities theme with the rest of Skidompha and other libraries nationwide. All teens ages 13 – 18 are warmly invited to participate!

Upon registration at the library, participants will receive a free book, pencil, bookmark, bingo sheet, and summer schedule. Programs are optional and will happen throughout the summer.

The bingo sheet offers many ways to earn raffle tickets for three prize bags. Teens can fill in circles on the bingo sheet by trying things like reading a graphic novel, or nonfiction, reading to a young child, swimming, using a library craft kit, and much more! Teens will earn tickets by completing bingo up to three times and can earn an additional five tickets for blackout (filling the entire board).

The prizes that Kristi has put together are fantastic! Several staff members have wished they could participate, too. Teens can keep track of their activities on a bingo sheet and turn them in to earn raffle tickets for three prizes—a relaxation bag (a $25 gift card to Barn Door Bakery, an insulated travel mug, Buddha Board, and Burts Bees gift set are just some of the prizes), a technology bag (with wireless Bluetooth earbuds, Mobile game controller, LED strip lights, and a MERGE cube), and an adventure bag (with a Midcoast Kayak gift certificate for Muscongus Bay Wildlife Tour for 2, first aid kit, two headlamps, and a Nalgene water bottle and more).

Program offerings include:

  • Seed planting in June
  • Perpetual Mandala calendars in July
  • Seashell painting in August
  • A daily sketchbook challenge throughout July & August, with a kickoff event and free supplies available on July 1 anytime from 10:00 to 5:00.
  • A weekly Beach Chair Book group in the library’s courtyard
  • A weekly Teen Gaming group for board games and fun. Snacks provided!
  • Maine Master Naturalist Walks
  • Free Showings of The Blue Planet at Lincoln Theater
  • Marine Mammals of Maine programming
  • And more!

Participants may choose a second free book after participating throughout the summer. The Youth SRP ends on August 26, which is the last day to earn raffle tickets. We will announce the raffle winners on September 1! The last day to claim prizes is September 10.

With so many offerings, we have multiple ways for you to keep track of it all! Please pick up a printed list of summer programs the next time you’re in the library, visit the Teen Summer Reading Page on our website, look for us on social media, or check out the library’s online calendar of events for more information about each event.

I hope we see many teens in the library this summer!

Best Wishes,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

5.19.22 | Summer Reading Program Spotlight – Adult Services

Dear Friends,


As promised, I have details to share about our Summer Reading Programs! For the next three weeks, we will tell you all about the fantastic programs that will be happening in each department of the library this summer, and we’re kicking things off with the Adult Services Summer Reading Program!


We are particularly excited to share what’s in store for adults at Skidompha this summer. We’ve had Summer Reading programs for kids and teens for years, and we’ve long wanted to offer something for adults. I am so grateful and proud of the incredible work that Molly, Erika, Terry, and Rachel have poured into creating these fantastic opportunities to share with you!


The Adult Summer Reading Program will run from June 1 to August 19, and the theme for this summer is Oceans of Possibilities. The program is open to all adults, and you don’t need to be a member at Skidompha to participate.


Program offerings include:


    • Monthly virtual book club
    • Monthly mystery book club run by Coastal Senior College president, Maryanne Ward
    • Biweekly genealogy research help and story collection
    • Sea shanties book talk and concert with the folk duo, Castlebay
    • Conversations with Marine Mammals of Maine Wildlife Rescue Volunteers
    • Storytelling Events with Greg Latimer and Sally Lobkowicz
    • Nature Walks with Maine Master Naturalist, Heather Hardy
    • Shipyards & Lighthouses Cruise with Maine Maritime Museum
    • Sketchbook challenge
    • And more!


    You can also register for the BINGO reading challenge to gain entries into the prize drawing at the end of summer! The more BINGOs you complete, the more entries you gain! Registration is required to participate in the BINGO reading challenge.


    Registration will open on June 1.
    Register for the BINGO challenge by visiting or calling the library at 207-887-0919, or register online by filling out the following Google Form.


    With so many offerings, we have multiple ways for you to keep track of it all! Pick up a printed list of summer programs the next time you’re in the library, visit the Adult Summer Reading webpage, look for us on social media, or check out the library’s online calendar of events for more information about each event.


    The Skidompha Library 2022 Adult Summer Reading Program was funded by an American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries grant. The American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 


    We want to recognize and thank the following organizations for their generous contributions to the 2022 Adult Summer Reading Program: Coastal Senior College, Maine Master Naturalist Program, and Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops in Damariscotta. 


    We are so lucky to be part of this community and I am heartened by the many ways we collaborate and learn from one another. 


    Wishing you a summer filled with waves of reading and connection.


    Be well,
    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Public Library

    5.5.22 | Latest News From The Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop

    Dear Friends,


    Have you wandered over to the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop lately? I have the great pleasure of having a job that allows me time to visit there, though more often than not, I dash in and out, dropping off some books with the amazing volunteers or grabbing something from Rem Briggs or Rosie Benson, our wonderful shop managers. Yesterday I had the chance to spend a little more time than usual at the shop, and today I’m still grateful for it.


    There is something about the Book Shop—as soon as I open the door and step inside, I feel at ease. There’s definitely some magic about the beautiful light from the bank of windows at the back of the shop and the views of the water, and honestly, being surrounded by books just puts me at ease. But more, it’s the peaceful vibe of the shop. Every time I’m there, I overhear people connecting over a favorite author, the neighborhood, or something that has happened recently in their lives. I feel like I’m part of the community when I step inside, and I know others feel the same way. The Book Shop feels cared for, and it is. It is held and loved by a dedicated, smart, and creative team of volunteers. And that is the magic these volunteers create—caring for a place so well it can feel like a bit of a home, a bit of respite for others. 


    Rosie tells us that lately, “the children’s section has been receiving a steady and generous flow of wonderful donations in all reading levels, from picture books to books by Newbery-winning authors, nonfiction to fantasy!” 


    While I was there, I paused to check out some of the new releases and social science books, and I saw so many titles from my read-soon list up there. Some of our poetry-loving patrons have stopped in recently to see what they could find to celebrate National Poetry Month. Movie lovers can find DVDs for $1 through May 14. There is truly something for everyone.


    Thank you to all of the donors who generously keep the shelves stocked with great books, music, games, and movies. Thank you to our phenomenal volunteers and managers. We are so grateful to all of you. And thanks to those of you who know and love the shop.  


    Be well,


    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Library


    4.28.22 | Skidompha is hosting two award-winning fiction authors on Wednesday, May 4.

    Dear Friends,


    I’m excited to share the news that we will host two award-winning fiction authors on Wednesday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in our Porter Hall meeting room. This will be our first in-person program since the library closed our meeting rooms two years ago. It will serve as a chance to dip our toes back into the water of live programming, before our incredible Chats With Champions program begins offering in-person programming again this summer. 


    Maine writer Bruce Robert Coffin, author of the Portland-based Detective Byron mysteries, and Marni Graff, author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries, will be interviewing each other. 


    Coffin will speak about how his 27 years in law enforcement add to the realistic feel of his series, and he’ll let the audience in on what’s next in store for Det. Byron. Graff is touring with The Evening’s Amethyst, her newest in the English mystery series, and will speak to the cold case aspect that is part of this book. Coffin and Graff also write short stories in crime fiction.


    Both members of Sisters in Crime, Coffin is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He regularly contributes to the blog Murder Books. Graff is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, a member of the North Carolina Writers Network, and the International Association of Crime Writers, where she was a longlist judge for last year’s Dashiell Hammett Award.


    We hope you can make this event, and if not, we look forward to seeing you at some of the upcoming Skidompha events we have planned for this summer. 


    Be well,


    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Library

    4.21.22 | Spring Bees are Buzzing!

    Dear Friends,


    You may have guessed how deeply I love spring by how much I have been talking about it recently. On a recent weekend walk, I noticed daffodils blooming bright yellow and pussy willows and trees starting to bud. I immediately thought of the bees here at Skidompha and made a mental note to check in on them when back at the library.


    I’m happy to report that our bees are doing very well! The warm weather and stronger sun have sparked them to life, and, pardon the pun, the hive is buzzing! (Groan!) Spring is a time for the hive to wake from its winter somnolence and begin building again. The hive needs workers to bring in pollen and nectar, and the Queen starts laying to meet this need. She fills the combs with eggs that will grow into larvae, pupae, and finally, honey bees. A new bee population to build the hive over the warmer months. I find it so fascinating to watch new honey bees chew and push through their cell’s cap to emerge into the world for the first time. They are adorably fuzzy, unsteady at first, and easy to tell from mature workers. They soon get a handle on things and begin their first job in the hive, to clean out their cell in preparation for the next egg. The young bee will then act as a nurse, caring for and feeding the larvae and pupae.


    Workers who have overwintered are busy as well. They are taking advantage of the weather when they can (they prefer it to be over 50 degrees and rain-free) and are searching for pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive. There will be many new mouths to feed on the way! The bees were taking full advantage of just such a day earlier last week. Traffic was so heavy that they had formed a line from the hive’s entrance to the top comb to drop off their groceries. The hive was vibrating with waggle dances from excited bees, informing their co-workers of just how good a supply they found and where it was in relation to the hive. I followed one bee with particularly pollen-laden knees as she made her way up the hive to comb. She reviewed a few cells carefully until she found just the right one and then lowered her abdomen down to where she could kick the pollen off her legs. Job done, she danced wildly.


    I find it thrilling to observe the bees in real-time. The things I read in books become clearer and more real as I see behaviors occur live and in front of me, and my joy and fascination with the natural world are renewed. I hope you will take some time to stop by and celebrate this next stage of our hive.


    Be well,


    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Library

    4.14.22 | Skidompha Updates on Meeting Rooms and Masks

    Dear Friends,


    We’ve been thinking a lot about emerging lately. Emerging feels slow to me, similar to the slow process of spring emerging from winter. Cold gray days of rain and gritty sidewalks interspersed with warm, gentle, glowing sunshine, and birds returning excitedly for seed. Emerging shifts from something settled and familiar, one place or one season, into the next. There can be instability in that change, but that next chapter also becomes familiar over time.


    This will be the third spring of the pandemic, and with the emergence of spring, there are continued shifts from one stage of the pandemic to the next. I want to update you on how Skidompha will handle this latest shift. We’ll start by reopening some of our conference rooms for public use. Beginning April 19, we will open our Barbicon and Carpenter rooms. We will start taking reservations for these rooms immediately, so please feel welcome to reach out by calling 207-887-0919 or emailing us at If the rooms are not already reserved, you may also drop in and enjoy our rooms without a reservation. Please notify the circulation desk first before you head up the stairs. We plan to open Porter Meeting Hall on May 3, and we will start taking reservations for Porter the week of April 25.


    We will also change our masking policy on April 19. Masking will still be mandatory in the children’s room but optional for all vaccinated individuals in the rest of the library. If you are unvaccinated, we kindly ask you to continue masking. We also support anyone who wants to continue masking. We will continue to leave masks and hand sanitizer out for patron use.


    We hope you will share in our excitement about these significant changes. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we have navigated this time together.


    Be well,
    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Library

    4.4.22 | Happy National Poetry Month!

    Dear Friends,


    It’s National Poetry Month! While I am not a poet, I appreciate how poetry seems to have a magic and a power about it. I’m in awe of the way poets can take the inner workings of the heart and mind, the contemplation of a single leaf or an entire country, and turn them into carefully chosen words that make me think, feel, and wonder. 


    Many of our staff and patrons feel the energy of spring and the joy of having a whole month to celebrate poetry. When you step inside the library, you’ll find piles of poems by the circulation desk to take with you or to take a moment to enjoy. You’ll find poems tucked into corners of the library, inviting you to pause for a moment to engage with them. These poems have been selected by members of the Skidompha Poetry Group, who have met every Friday for the last two years to kick off the weekend by reading poetry together. They meet on Fridays at 10:00 and are always happy to see new faces!


    You’ll have a chance to read poems in the kids and teen rooms and maybe even create your own poetry with sidewalk chalk! Youth Services has an incredible selection of poetry books to take home with you, too.


    You can also join Haiku Hikers this month! Join Adult Services Librarian Molly for this wandering Haiku club. During this quiet, reflective series, participants will visit different locations around Damariscotta to appreciate nature and compose haiku. No experience is required! Please bring a notebook, a writing utensil, weather-appropriate clothing, and your curiosity! Rain or shine, Haiku Hikers will depart from Skidompha Public Library’s front entrance at 9 a.m. on April 7, 14, 21, & 28. We hope those who want to will join forces with our poetry group to share their creations.


    I’m also challenging myself to notice poetry all around me this month—the kind that is not found on the page but rather in those quiet moments I witness on my daily walk, the sounds I hear in my back garden, or in the beauty of seeing two old friends greet each other after an absence. 


    I’d love to hear the moments in your month that inspire you to pause and notice. Please let us know if there are favorite poets in your life or poems you return to again and again. 


    Be well,


    Matthew Graff

    Executive Director

    Skidompha Public Library

    3.31.22 | Join us Next Week to Celebrate National Library Week!

    Dear Friends,


    Skidompha is excited to join libraries around the country to celebrate National Library Week next week, from April 3 – 9. We hope you will join us in person and online to celebrate and explore our resources, services, and programs!


    First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries of all types across the country each April.


    The American Library Association highlights this event, sharing, “April 3-9, 2022 is National Library Week, a time to highlight the essential role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening communities. The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Connect with Your Library,” which promotes the idea that libraries are places to get connected to technology by using broadband, computers and other resources. Libraries also offer opportunities to connect with media, programs, ideas and classes, in addition to books. Most importantly, libraries also connect communities and people to each other.”


    I can say, without reservation, that our staff and volunteers love having the chance to connect with this wonderful community and others throughout the state. Our online programs have allowed people to join us from all around the country. Participants with ties to Damariscotta and Skidompha join us from Florida, California, New York, and beyond.


    Each day we welcome people to use our computers, find their next read, check out museum passes, music and literacy kits, DVDs, audiobooks, and more. We offer many online groups for the community—from weekly technology help, storytime, career coaching, meditation and poetry groups, to monthly book groups for teens and adults and art and music workshops for kids and teens.


    Throughout the week, we will offer chances for you to show your support on social media, through the newsletter, and in person. Come in and share your library stories with us.
    We appreciate you and your continued support of the library. We love having the chance to celebrate the vital role libraries play in our communities.


    Be well,
    Matthew Graff
    Executive Director
    Skidompha Library