News

150 Years of Little Women at Skidompha Library

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Join us on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th to celebrate 150 years of the beloved novel Little Women! We’ll be hosting discussions, showing the PBS miniseries Little Women, and having our very own tea party (including Miss Louisa May Alcott* herself!) All events are free, open to the public, and are family friendly – no advance sign up needed.

Friday, November 9th

1:00 – 2:30: The Alcotts and the Marches: Fact and Fiction

Join Jayne Gordon, former Director of the Orchard House, where “Little Women” was written, and Joan Spinazola, an expert in 19th Century American Literature, as they discuss and explore Louisa May Alcott’s family and that of her most famous heroines’, the March family from “Little Women”. Learn about the characters, setting, and plot of the novel, discuss some little known Alcott trivia, and discover the facts behind the fiction. 

JAYNE GORDON was the the Director of Orchard House, where Little Women was written 150 years ago, for sixteen years. She has focused on the Concord Authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcott) for decades, through her work as Director of the Thoreau Society, and as Director of Education at the Concord Museum, Walden Woods Project, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Jayne regularly gives presentations, teaches courses, conducts training, and coordinates workshops around different aspects of the authors’ lives and works. She just moved to Damariscotta from Concord this spring, and is delighted to share her investigations and discoveries with her new community.

JOAN SPINAZOLA is a graduate of Worcester State University with a BA in English Lit.  She is currently working toward her Masters Degree in English with a focus on 19th Century American Literature.  A former stand-up comic, Joan took the opportunity of her 23 free hours a day to do independent study on Louisa May Alcott and the other authors of Concord.  She is the owner of New England Heritage Tours and Talks where she lectures on Alcott, along with some of the lesser known women of the 19th century including Mary A. Livermore and Fanny Fern.

6:30 – 8:45 pm: Episodes 1 and 2 of PBS 2018 miniseries “Little Women”

Join us for this very special showing of the new PBS miniseries “Little Women,” with the exciting conclusion and Louisa May Alcott quiz on Saturday night. 

Saturday, November 10th

10:00 – 11:30 and 12:15 to 1:00 “Little Women” crafts and activities

Drop-in fun for the whole family! Join us for Journal-Making, acting out “Tableaux Vivants” or scenes from books just like the March girls do in “Little Women,” and the art of letter-writing with pen and ink!

11:30 – 12:15 Tea with Louisa May Alcott

You are cordially invited to a very special tea party with Miss Alcott herself. Do you love the book “Little Women”? Does this book mean something special to you or others in your family? Come and sip a proper cup of tea with Miss Alcott and share your story. Tea and biscuits provided!

6:30 – 8:45 pm: Episode 3 of PBS Little Women and Louisa May Alcott Quiz Night

So you think you know Little Women? Test your knowledge during our Louisa May Alcott Quiz following the final episode of the new PBS miniseries “Little Women.” Prizes and refreshments for all!

LCN + Skidompha Newspaper Archive Project

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LCN, Skidompha Partner to Digitize Newspaper Archives
Article from the Lincoln County News – October 26, 2018
by Maia Zewert (Lincoln County News)

The front page of the Jan. 29, 1942 edition of The Lincoln County News. The newspaper and Skidompha Library are partnering in an effort to digitize the newspaper’s full archive and make it available to the public. (Maia Zewert photo)

Skidompha Library recently received a $30,000 grant for a digitization project that would make the complete archives of The Lincoln County News available to the public online for the first time.

The project received the grant from the Burns Family Foundation to fund 60 percent of the estimated $50,000 cost.

“They are wonderful people, huge supporters of the community, and they truly understand the area and the importance of this project,” Torie DeLisle, director of development and programs for Skidompha Library, said.

Currently, the LCN archives from 1942-2007 are available in hard copy only at the newspaper’s office in Newcastle. Archives prior to 1942 exist only in hard copy in a climate-controlled room at the Lincoln County Courthouse, but little to no public access is possible due to the documents’ fragile condition.

A digital archive exists from 2008 to the present day, however, only editions from mid-2016 to the present are readily available to the public at lcnme.com.

Lincoln County Publishing Co., which publishes The Lincoln County News, had been searching for a way to preserve the archives and make them available to the public.

“We’ve spent a lot of time researching many different ways to preserve what we have, but we ran into stumbling blocks with scanning and storing” the archives, Chris Roberts, president of Lincoln County Publishing Co., said.

The partnership between LCN and Skidompha for the project began almost a year ago, when DeLisle met with LCN Editor J.W. Oliver to discuss introducing “Skidompha Skoop,” a new column from the library. During the meeting, Oliver offhandedly mentioned the newspaper’s need to relocate the archives from the courthouse due to space issues.

“It got me thinking that this might be something that the library could help with. It was such a great fit,” DeLisle said. “So when I got back from the meeting, the first thing I did was ask Kathy (Maclachlan, Skidompha’s staff genealogist) what her thoughts about a project like this would be and she was just beside herself at the thought.”

For Maclachlan, the digitization of the newspaper’s archives would “be the single greatest help to the area” with regard to genealogical research. While vital records and census data can provide some of the facts of an ancestor’s life, a searchable digital archive of the newspaper would help provide context and “give flesh to the bones of families’ stories,” Maclachlan said.

“On a weekly basis, I say how much easier certain research would be if we had access to this. It’s going to have such an impact,” Maclachlan said. “This is so important to our understanding of ourselves and where we belong and where we’ve come from.”

The older newspapers could also confirm informal family records and clear up gray areas, Oliver said.

“Having some interest in genealogy myself, I think that’s going to be the number one use. This is a Lincoln County-specific archive with a lot of information about local families,” Oliver said.

In addition, the archives contain curiosities and other valuable information that will become easily accessible, Oliver said.

A group of people were recently in the LCN office searching the heavy bound volumes of newspapers for a piece of information in a column about St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

“They were in here for days, and they eventually found it,” Oliver said. “Now you’re going to be able to do that with a couple of clicks.”

Skidompha Library agreed to raise funds for the project.

“We’re very grateful to Skidompha for taking an interest in the project and taking the lead on fundraising,” Oliver said. “We looked at ways to do it ourselves and there was no way to pay for it. The equipment is expensive, it would take an incredible amount of manpower to do it ourselves, and as a for-profit company, we aren’t in a position to fundraise.”

“Without the combined efforts with Skidompha Library, it would not have been feasible for us to take on the financial burden,” John Roberts, associate publisher of The Lincoln County News, said.

The digitization of the archives is included in the library’s fall fundraising campaign and will be the focus of a series of events in 2019, including a “through the ages” ball and a newspaper fashion show, DeLisle said.

Once all funding for the project has been secured, the archives will be sent to Advantage Preservation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a firm that specializes in the digitization of old newspapers.

In addition to the complete archives of The Lincoln County News, the project will digitize the existing archives of the Sheepscot Echo, one of two newspapers that merged to create The Lincoln County News; the Village Herald, published in Damariscotta in the 1870s and a predecessor of the Damariscotta Herald, which merged with the Sheepscot Echo to create The Lincoln County News; the Waldoboro Press, which Lincoln County Publishing Co. acquired in 1967 and merged with the LCN in 1968; and a Waldoboro-based newspaper called The Lincoln County News, published from the 1870s to the early 1900s and unaffiliated with the present-day newspaper. The oldest of these newspapers dates to around 1874.

DeLisle said she would like to complete fundraising by the end of 2018 in hopes that the archives will be digitized and available for use in 2019. She said her goal is to ship the archives by Christmas.

After the digitization is complete, the archives will be made available in three ways: to LCN subscribers on lcnme.com, to library members through the library website, and to anyone who visits the library on the library’s computers.

The physical archives will return to Lincoln County Publishing Co., at which point the company will decide where to store them, Chris Roberts said.

Both the newspaper and library are enthusiastic about providing the years of archives to the community.

“Like much of the community, our family has been here for multiple generations,” John Roberts said. “It’s important to preserve the legacy of the newspaper that has served the public for over 140 years.”

To support the digitization of the LCN archives and give to Skidompha Library’s fall fundraising campaign, go to skidompha.org or call the library’s development office at 563-1940.

Food Writing Contest Finalist: Bob Emmons

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And beer doesn’t go well with it either

 

What’s the deal with women and salad? I can understand eating it for health benefits but women seem to actually enjoy it.  They can make a whole meal out of the stuff. The only guy I ever met who truly likes salad believes that three of the last four presidents of the United States were actually cleverly disguised lizard creatures from another galaxy. Well, maybe.

Salad does serve a function when eating out at a restaurant. It’s something to do after you’ve ordered and are waiting for your meat entrée. However, if you have a good waiter or waitress, he or she will refill the bread basket with more bread or rolls and then the salad course becomes unnecessary.

When considering the relative desirability of salad look to the animal kingdom. Do lions eat salads? No, unless indirectly if the antelope or gazelle has been grazing on the savannah immediately before the lion chowed down.

Who does eat lettuce? Rabbits and slugs. They’re not two animals that generate a lot of respect. I know a person who bit into a slug when eating salad at a fancy restaurant. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence. He was so traumatized that to this day he won’t sit within 50 feet of a salad bar.

I’ve eaten some nasty stuff in my life. Snakes during my Army days and when I was teaching Entomology I had students prepare insect recipes found in a book titled ‘Butterflies in My Stomach’. And of course I had to sample them. Delicacies such as grasshopper soup, caterpillar cookies, and my personal favorite- cockroach pudding.  But even with extra croutons and gobs of salad dressing I wouldn’t eat a slug.

And don’t forget all the bacterial pathogens found in salads. People who eat salads probably lose weight because those bacteria cause them to leave a lot of pounds behind in the bathroom.

Yeah, salads can be healthy. But remember the old joke- a doctor tells a middle-aged man that he must stop drinking, excessive partying, and eating red meat, and instead get lots of sleep and eat salads at least twice a day. The fellow asks the doctor, ‘If I follow your instructions will I live longer? The doctor replies ‘Not necessarily, but it will seem longer’.

 

— Bob Emmons

Food Writing Contest Finalists: Penelope Duran

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Please enjoy our latest finalist in the Food Writing Contest — 9th Grader Penelope Duran!

Child of the Phở Bowl

My entire life, I’ve felt different from everyone else around me as I moved from place to place as a sort of global vagabond.  There are several clichés about food and about home like home is where the heart is or the way to the heart is through the stomach.  Stir all these clichés together in a linguistic soup, and you might say home is where you have home cooking.  Perhaps for some that soup would be clam chowder or lobster bisque.  For me, I feel at home when I have a steaming bowl of phở — a favorite specialty of my mother’s birth country.

I’ve always identified myself as half-American and half-Vietnamese.  I’ve tried to maintain a balanced connection between both halves of my heritage.  The more that time passes the more difficult this becomes.

Since I was two months old I’ve traveled the world, moving from place to place every two to three years due to my father’s job as a diplomat.  Living as a global citizen has been wonderful in many ways and has introduced me to new and varied cultures.  It has also made it difficult to stay rooted to my own culture.  Since there’s been large groups of American expats both within the embassy communities where my dad has worked and outside of them, it’s always been easier to stay connected to my American side.  It’s been more difficult to stay connected to my Vietnamese side since the Vietnamese communities aren’t as numerous globally.  The main time when I feel truly connected to my Vietnamese heritage is when I visit my maternal grandparents — a Vietnamese alcove in America.

Every time we visit, my siblings and I are greeted by warm bowls of phở, a delicious noodle soup with tender beef and herbs.  I relish grandma’s phở.  During these visits, my siblings and I beg to have phở for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  More often than not, grandma obliges.

I’ve found connection with my Vietnamese heritage through cuisine.  At multiple residences, there have always been quaint Vietnamese restaurants that served my favorite food.  Even though it was not quite as authentic as grandma’s phở, the stand-ins bring back joyful memories of time spent with my grandparents.  And of course, my mother has made phở in the various kitchens of all our homes.  Mom’s phở serves as a reminder that I am in many ways my mother’s daughter — not just in appearance but also in my identity.  I will always be a child of the phở bowl.

Food Writing Contest Finalist: Jane Butterfield

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Submissions are pouring in and we are very pleased to announce the first finalist!!

Food Writing Finalist of the Week:
Jane Butterfield, “Magic” 

 

What can be more ordinary than bread.  The magic comes when the ordinary is changed into the extraordinary. My recipe for Irish Soda Bread comes from my husband’s mother. She shared it with me when I was first dating my husband. I was determined to make this bread since it was one of his favorite foods. I planned on surprising him with this treat, fresh from the oven, lathered with butter, the aroma filling the house as he arrived for our date. I followed the recipe to a tee. The only problem was that I did not understand the meaning of the word, “scant” as applied to the addition of the quantity of milk. I poured in the whole cup at once . The result was an “I Love Lucy” experience. You see, the process of kneading the dough by hand is critical to the success of the bread. My bread dough was more like thick paste. Never the less I plunged both of my hands into the mixture, confident that it would all come together somehow. The dough covered every finger and stuck to anything that I touched as I tried to extricate myself from the gooey mess. Fortunately this was not the end of the story. Humbly I sought guidance and through persistence, I finally learned the right consistency for a good dough.

Homemade Irish Soda Bread is now one of the most treasured traditions in our family. Whenever I make the bread I feel the presence of Grammie, my husband’s mother. Each of my five children have enjoyed making the bread with me through the years. When the grand kids come to visit they always ask, “Can we make a soda bread today?”  I remember when my four year old grandson was just about to knead the bread, he lifted his hands up above his head and he said with all seriousness , “ Okay, I’m goin in!”. Once the bread is in the pan the children remind me to make the baker’s cross on the top of the bread as a special blessing. The aroma of the cooking bread floats through the house calling all to the kitchen to enjoy the fresh bread together.

This is when I enjoy sitting back and savoring the moment. The bread makes present our roots. It combines the past, present and the future. The beauty of the moment is magical. It nurtures the family spirit as well as the body. All of my children have the recipe. I know the creative experience will continue on to the next generation.

Whenever members of the family are expected for a visit the magic and beauty is experienced anew as I am making the bread. I like to have it on the counter waiting for them to arrive. It gives me a joyful sense of anticipation. It is a true north experience for my family. It is not just ordinary bread, but is transformed into a message of love, faith and welcome home

  • Jane Butterfield

Director’s Note: Community Read Book

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Drum roll please………………………………………..

If you haven’t already seen our fabulous full-page announcement in the centerfold of the Farm & Table magazine in your Lincoln County News this week, it is with great pleasure that I would like to announce the 2018 Skidompha Community Read book. At long last I can say that we will read “Blood, Bones & Butter” by chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton.

If you are jumping up and down right now, it means that you already know how amazing Gabrielle is, and perhaps have eaten at her NYC restaurant, “Prune.” If you’re not jumping up and down yet – just wait. You are in for a real treat!

A New York Times bestseller, “Blood, Bones & Butter” follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years, from the rural kitchen of her childhood, to the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, to Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law. Along the way Gabrielle’s story unfolds with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion.

Join us as we explore the themes of Food, Community and Identity over the course of the 6 weeks of this community-focused extravaganza. Events will include: our second-annual Community “Read-Aloud”, Book Discussions, Food Films, a ‘Meet Your Farmer’ Event, Cooking Contests, Cooking Classes, Mixology Class, Food Writing Contest, “Bivalves and Brews” 4th of July Party at Skidompha, a discussion on Food Security and Childhood Hunger, partner events with Rising Tide Coop, the DRA and Wild Seed Project, Live Music & Performance, and the best part? Gabrielle Hamilton herself will join us during the finale weekend for a talk on her book with a cocktail reception and local food showcase to follow.

Break out your pots, pans, and fancy dress – you’re in for a great summer!

Have a great week,
Pam Gormley
Executive Director

Director’s Note: Something Big is Coming!

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Something BIG is coming to Skidompha Library. This summer we are bringing back the Community Read, and it’s more magnificent than ever before. Mark your calendars now, and prepare for 6 weeks of thrills, spills and chills from the end of June to the beginning of August.

What’s the book? Can’t tell you. Not yet! But if you happen to pick up a copy of The Lincoln County News Magazine, Farm & Table, on the 24th of this month, you’ll see our grand reveal!

Even though I can’t tell you the title of the book, I can tell you that this summer we are focusing on the themes of Food, Community, and Identity. Join us as we read, cook, and eat together, learn about Midcoast Maine’s farmers, producers, chefs and culinary minds, and ask the fundamental questions of who are we, and what do we eat? Programs will include our second-annual Community “Read-Aloud” from the chosen book, Book Discussions, Food Films, a Farm to Table Dinner and Meet Your Farmer Event, Cooking Contest, Food Writing Contest, Local Foods and Beer, a discussion on Food Security and Childhood Hunger, partner events with the DRA and Wild Seed Project, Live Music & Performance, and an evening with the Author!

Have I piqued your interest? Are you hungry for more? Stay tuned – Skidompha Library is cooking up events to keep the whole family, including your out-of-state visitors, entertained all summer long.

You’re welcome.
Pam Gormley
Executive Director

Director’s Note: Your Living Library

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Director’s Note

Here at Skidompha, we think of libraries as living, breathing things. Though it may seem that our collections sits there quietly on their shelves waiting for a patron to pick them up, the truth is much more dynamic. Did you know that there is not just one single universal way to organize library shelves, and that systems of organization change over time?

This will be especially good news for our lovers of Short Stories, who will now find that ALL library short stories are in one place, instead of being dispersed throughout fiction. Why is this important? It reflects the way that our patrons think about choosing the books that they read. Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, but you know you want something short and sweet. Wouldn’t it be nice to browse all of those books in one place? You might find something that surprises you!

For our Science Fiction fans, we have reinvigorated our Sci-Fi & Fantasy area, with brand new titles arriving monthly. What’s April’s title? “Written in Red” by NYT bestseling author Anne Bishop, full of shape-shifters, vampires, and prophets.

And did you know that Skidompha Library has an exstentive Maine Collection? You may not have when it was hidden away in our Genealogy area, but you might just happen upon it now that these books live across from the DVDs in our upstairs stacks. Part of what makes a library a great library is having good books and resources. Another part of what makes a library a great library is to keep those resources easy to access and up to date. We’ll keep thinking of creative ways to do both – a librarian’s job is never done!

Have a beautiful week,

Pam Gormley
Executive Director

Director’s Note: We <3 Our Volunteers

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Director’s Note

If you were to ask people why they volunteer at the library, many of them would talk about their love of books, or their special memories of a library from their past. Sometimes people volunteer when they are between jobs and need something to do. Sometimes it’s a teenager who needs volunteer hours for a school or club, or a retiree who wants wants to feel of real value to the community. The library provides these volunteers with direct benefits that make their lives better. But the benefits they provide the library are incalculable.

When you think of our library volunteers, you may imagine that friendly face that greets you when you check out a book. You may not always see the ones who sanitize the storytime toys, or the ones who repair damaged books, or the person who may make it their personal mission to keep the Mystery section in perfect order. But they’re here too. And they keep Skidompha Library alive and well and ready for you.

This past weekend we had an opportunity to celebrate with our 104 volunteers, set to the rocking refrains of the band 32 North. Our yearly volunteer party is just one very small way that we say thank you. We hope that you will join us in appreciating our volunteers all year long. The next time you see someone shelving in Mystery, remember to give them a smile. 😉

Have a great week,

Pam Gormley
Executive Director

Director’s Note: National Library Week

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Director’s Note

Happy National Library Week everybody! What’s that you say? You’ve never even heard of National Library Week? Well, maybe we’re a little biased being a library and all, but National Library Week is a bit like the Academy Awards and library “Christmas” all rolled into one.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers started National Library Week as a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians, and to promote library use and support. You see, they believed that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries, and in turn be a more well-informed and educated population. The first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” This year the national theme is “Libraries Lead,” and libraries across the nation are asking their patrons to share how the library led them to something of value in their lives. Library lovers can post to Twitter, Instagram, or on the ‘I Love Libraries’ Facebook page during National Library Week for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Entries can be a picture, video, or text, and creativity is encouraged. Just be sure to include the hashtags #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesLead on your post, and enjoy taking a look at what others have shared about their library experiences.

Ultimately, today more than ever libraries need the support of our patrons. To coincide with National Library Week, Skidompha has launched its Spring Funding Campaign – the first of only two times a year we ask our patrons to help keep us funded and strong and offering books, free services, and programs to the community. If you can help us pay it forward, please consider making a secure donation online at www.skidompha.org, and thank you. We rely on individual donations to make up the bulk of our yearly funding, and believe me when I tell you that every dollar counts. Let’s share the love and learning all year long.

Have a great week,

Pam Gormley
Executive Director