News

9.15.22 | Help Us Celebrate Banned Books Week!


Dear Friends,

A quick note before I start, the most recent Skidompha Scoop in this week’s Lincoln County News was submitted for publication in error. The Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop’s number is NOT changing. It will stay the SAME as it has always been at (207) 563-7807. When you call, please continue using the current 7807 number you have always used. My apologies to you, our reader, and to the Lincoln County News for the confusion.

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With Banned Books week coming next week, I am reminded again of the importance and joy of the freedom to read and freely pursue information. Libraries serve many functions in society. We are a place for community, a place to find and create connections. We are a place for intellectual curiosity, entertainment, and wonder. We are a safe place to spend quiet time for introspection and communication. And we are a place for reading and study, undeterred and free from fear and intimidation.

It is the job of the director and librarians to develop the library’s collection. We strive to include books of interest and value to the community. There are definitely books in the library that are disagreeable to some. I’ve seen a quote attributed to librarian Jo Godwin that says, “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.” and I chuckle when I see it because it rings true to me. We build our collection with this in mind. We defend the right of our patrons to make their own decision on what they choose to read. We view this as a very personal decision and critically, not one to be imposed on a reader.

We are unable to include every book in our collection—neither our space nor our budget is infinite, though boy, do I wish it were! In response, we offer a free and robust interlibrary loan program that can search libraries across the country for any book which is not in our library. I urge you to use this service. It is free, and our librarians are very very good at finding that particular book you want.

During Banned Books week, I want to highlight that freedom to read requires a multifaceted approach. Libraries must be open, free, accessible, and inclusive of everyone. Years ago, when I worked at the Cohoes Library in New York, The American Library Association promoted the theme that “Libraries are for everyone.” It profoundly affected me and made me proud to devote my time and my heart to this work. A patron must also feel safe to read whatever books they choose, which is why privacy is such an important element for libraries. Patrons must feel comfortable to pursue information without fear of embarrassment or reprisal. Your privacy matters to us. So, we keep your records private; we do not share your checkout history or contact information without a court order. We keep your interlibrary loan requests confidential and hidden from public view; we do not discuss your reading choices, and our professional obligation is to help you find and check out your books without judgment.

As our staff highlights Banned Book Week with displays and activities next week, I want you to know we do so with a lot of care and support for the spirit of libraries. We join libraries around the world to draw attention to the harm of censorship and the benefits of unrestricted reading. Libraries will always rise to the fight against book banning and the chilling of information.

Thank you for supporting libraries.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

9.8.22 | Submission Deadline Is October 15 for EPOCH Teen Magazine

Dear Friends,

Another way I’ve begun to mark seasons is by library programming. The start of fall reminds me that another issue of EPOCH magazine, our teen magazine highlighting the writing and artwork of teens in grades 7 – 12, is about to begin!

Our editorial board will begin meeting in October, and our EPOCH mentor and Skidompha staffer, Jeannette, has been working to prepare for Volume 9 since August. We are all so excited to support this awesome project!

I’m thrilled to announce that the EPOCH team is now accepting submissions. They love celebrating the creativity of teens. I love being inspired by their creations! They are looking for well-crafted pieces of art and writing and especially love finding pieces that surprise them!

EPOCH accepts submissions in the following categories:

poetry / prose / fiction / nonfiction 

photography / artwork / comics / drawings / miscellany

 

Submissions are due October 15, 2022. This year we are asking visual artists to include a statement about their work—what inspired the piece and what they hope to convey. Please include a few lines about your work along with your submission.

Please reach out to the teens in your life and let them know. Check out our website for submission guidelines and permission forms. Please reach out to epoch@skidompha.org with any questions.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

9.1.22 | Fall Book Groups Are Beginning In September!

 

Dear Friends,

Even though it has been years since I’ve gone looking for a backpack to hold all of my books or carefully printed out my supplies list to make sure I had the precise notebook, pencil, and calculator I’d need to begin, the rhythm of the back-to-school season still lives in my body. There’s the tiniest bit of wistful nostalgia for this time of year, and for me, it comes down to the joy of learning and the thrill of following a stream of curiosity to discover something new.

We like channeling this kind of energy—and this year, we want to help you discover something new. We’ve been offering a monthly fiction book group over Zoom for the past two years, and we’re adding a second book group this year–nonfiction! We’re excited to add this genre and hope it may inspire you to follow your own kernels of curiosity. Both groups will take place online.

Our fiction group will meet on the second Monday of the month from September – May. Our nonfiction group kicks off in October, meeting monthly on the first Thursday of the month, and will also run through May. Both groups run from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. You’ll find book titles and registration information on our website, www.skidompha.org.

Happy Reading!

Be well,

Matthew Graff

8.25.22 | We’re Not Closing Early This Friday!

Dear Friends,

Each year, I find myself learning more and more about flexibility and patience—especially true during these last three years. I got another chance to practice this week while I was traveling when a few days into my vacation, I found out I had Covid. So my plans to come back and our staff plans to close early on Friday for staff development all had to pivot.

And now I’m writing to you, feeling tired but thankfully mostly okay, to let you know we will postpone our staff development training and will be open our regular hours this Friday, 8/26. I will be away from my desk a little longer than I had planned. Our staff is phenomenal and will not miss a beat, and I will be happy when I return to work! What a wonderful feeling.

I am sad to miss the return of Novel Jazz to Skidompha this Thursday and the Porch Day concert of the Skidompha Strummers. Novel Jazz will perform a free concert in the atrium on Friday, August 26, from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. The Skidompha Strummers, ukulele ensemble, will perform outside the Skidompha library’s front door from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 27, international Play Music on the Porch Day. You’ll find more information for these two wonderful events below.

Our Summer Reading Programs are wrapping up, another school year is right around the corner, and we are busy planning our fall programs. In whatever ways you might be transitioning in the coming weeks, I hope they go smoothly, and I will see you soon at Skidompha.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

8.18.22 | Jessie, Youth Services Librarian Here!

 

Hello all,

Jessie, Youth Services Librarian, here—Matthew’s away on vacation, so he’s left this letter in my hands this week (insert evil laugh here). All kidding aside, I’m actually just really excited to tell you all about some of the unique items we have in the Youth Services Library. Did you know we have two telescopes now? In addition to telescopes, we have two microscopes. These microscopes have digital displays and a box of prepared slides for you to explore and enjoy.

We also have several pairs of binoculars. We have you covered if you’re wondering what to do with them! We recently curated a backpack kit with ideas for binoculars beyond the usual bird watching (though this bird nerd always encourages any activities related to bird watching). Did you know that binoculars are often sufficient for skywatching? Come check out this kit or any of our pairs of binoculars and tell us what you find.

One of our most recent additions to the collection is this really cool Polaroid camera—yes, it functions just like the Polaroid cameras of yore. When you check it out, you get a box of film to go with it. We even have some black-and-white film if you’re feeling extra artsy. We can’t wait to see what people capture with this new addition to our collection.

We hope you’ll stop by the Youth Services Section sometime, you only need to be young at heart (and open to a little noise) to use our library. All are always welcome.

Happy reading, birding, and exploring!

Jessie Trafton

Youth Services Librarian

Skidompha Public Library

 

8.11.22 | Vacation Time!

Dear Friends,

Just a short note this time. I am heading to North Carolina next week to visit with family. The picture above shows the view from my dad’s backyard, where I enjoy my morning coffee. If I’m lucky, I’ll share the time with dolphins, rays, eagles, and osprey.

I hope you can find some time this week for some summery things you love.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

8.4.22 | Summer Reading Program Updates

Dear Friends,

Skidompha has been bustling this summer. I have been blown away by our staff’s commitment to offering so many incredible Summer Reading Program events and by the response from our community and visitors to Damariscotta. We still have a few weeks left to enjoy these summer programs, but I wanted to spend time this week highlighting some of what we’ve all been up to. And, I wanted to offer sincere thanks to everyone who is participating. You keep us curious, engaged, and happy to keep going!

Kids Summer Reading Program:

  • We’ve had 271 kids sign up for the summer. Since each person signing up gets a free book, that’s 271 books into the hands of our community’s youth.
  • We’ve had 251 kids attend programs this summer so far.
  • Highlights include watching eyes light up when Mr. Drew brought his animals to the library. The beautiful community-made mural hanging on the front of the library building inspires us all. We’ve also REALLY enjoyed listening to kids recite poetry for us—either poems they’ve memorized or poems they’ve written. We’ve also noticed the BINGO sheet format has encouraged kids to read outside their comfort zones. 

Teen Summer Reading Program:

  • Nearly 50 teens have signed up for the summer. We’ve remodeled the teen room and added new book clubs for teens.
  • Two teen volunteers teamed up with some of our genealogy volunteers to create beautiful bulletin boards to highlight summer programming. 
  • GSB counselor Jill Davis, who believes in the powerful connection between creativity and relaxation/stress management, taught a sewing class for children and teens. Youth ages 6-14 gathered in Porter Meeting Hall, learned basic skills, and worked on various self-driven projects, including pillows, bags, a camera case, and a sculptural “origami coffee cup.” Each teen was excited to receive a relevant and age-appropriate book to bring home and inspire more practice and projects.
  • We teamed up with Jesse Martin of Wildings, who shared his passion for the Japanese art form Kokedama with a group of teens.
  • Local artist Graham Walton worked with a group of teens in our courtyard one recent afternoon to teach them about printmaking. The teens used chisels to carve their own designs into wooden blocks, then created prints. 

Adult Summer Reading Program:

  • We have been thrilled by the enthusiasm and commitment of Adult Summer Reading participants. We’ve had 219 adults sign up for the summer.
  • The Adult Services staff have enjoyed talking with patrons about their favorite sea creatures and ocean-related books. We also enjoyed the hikes to learn about the local flora and fauna.
  • After learning about Goblin Sharks, Molly will never step foot in the water again. And if you haven’t heard of Mermaid’s Purse, please look it up—Adult Services staff are currently obsessed with this funky little sea oddity.
  • From metal fish to pen-and-ink whales, we have also enjoyed seeing everyone’s marine-themed art projects. Please keep them coming!

We hope to see you in the library soon.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

7.28.22 | Skidompha Is Now A Free Covid PCR Testing Site


Dear Friends,

We are excited to share the news that Skidompha will become a temporary Covid testing site starting this week. This service will be offered to the community through the fall.

PCR testing will be offered on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting on Friday,  July 29th. We will then send the tests away for processing, and the results will come back in 24 – 48 hours.

To get tested, patrons must meet one of these criteria:

  • Symptomatic: experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, chill, fatigue, etc. in the last 14 days
  • Exposed: had contact with someone who has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • High-risk: diagnosed with underlying conditions such as heart conditions or high blood pressure, or immunocompromised
  • Pregnant: currently pregnant 

Please note that these tests cannot be used to meet travel requirements.

The test pick-up and dropbox will be located outside at the back entrance. People who wish to pick up a kit can call the library, and a staff member will set the kit on the table for them to pick up.

You will need to register your test online and can either do your swab here, outside of the library or take it and bring it back (on the same day). Tests will be packed up and shipped out on the same day they are collected.

Helpful Tips:

  • You will need a computer or smart device to log in to the website or scan the provided QR code.
  • You can take the test without insurance, but if you have insurance, please bring your card.
  • If you have been vaccinated, please bring a copy of your vaccination card to provide vaccination dates.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 207-887-0919.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

7.21.22 | Phone Number Update

Dear Friends,

I got up early this morning, and the joy from that decision lingers as I sit here at my computer to write to you. I love walking through town early in the morning before things fully wake up. I took advantage of the quiet to sit on one of the benches across the street from the library to watch the water glisten.

This week’s big news is twofold; the first is a reminder about our new phone numbers. We will fully transition to our new numbers on August 1, 2022. Our new main number is 207-887-0919, and our new children’s number is 207-945-1056. Please get ready to make the switch!

The second is that Lincoln County TV was at the library for our first in-person Chats since the beginning of the pandemic. They recorded William Anthony as he talked about his new book Farnsy. You can find the show at this link on LCTV’s website: https://lctv.org/chats-with-champions-june-30-2022-2022-07-09. If you missed Bill’s talk, I urge you to click on the link. LCTV has done an excellent job putting together a polished and professional show, and Bill is a wonderful and engaging speaker.

I’m keeping this message short and sweet in hopes you may use the extra time to find your own quiet Maine moment this summer.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

7.14.22 | New Art Installation Outside Skidompha!

Dear Friends,

If you’ve taken a stroll down Main Street or driven by the front of the library lately, you may have noticed the giant art installation hanging there. This gorgeous piece of collaborative community art is here thanks to the creative imaginations of Jessie, our Youth Services Librarian, and local artist Erica Qualey. They came up with the idea for a large-scale work of art to coincide with the Summer Reading Program theme, Oceans of Possibilities. Once the idea was shared, the community took over and poured their creativity into it. The result of their skills and vision is outstanding. We are excited to display this beautiful creation, made by and for the community.

Though just recently installed, the project began in February when Erica organized a group of students from Bristol to work with her on the design and initial sketches. They used illustrated books from the library to inspire life-like drawings and gathered over several weeks to draw it all on paper. After transposing the entire 18-ft tall work of art onto six different canvas pieces, it was up to our community to color it all. Canvases were available for coloring at the library. We also sent some to the Lincoln Home, Cove’s Edge, and beyond. In the end, the gorgeous work of art was colored by artists ages 18 months to 80 years. We’re beyond thrilled with the finished product and are excited to share this community-inspired and community-created work of art.

I have enjoyed looking at it again and again in recent weeks, and each time I look, I spot something new. Summer visitors to the library and regular patrons have told us they love seeing it up there. I especially love thinking about how it brought members of our community together this year—always my aspiration for the library.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a photo beneath these words, and we hope you’ll take the time to check it out in person if you can. Thank you to Jessie and Erica for creating this incredible project and to every single artist who participated!

Be well,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library