News

11.7.22 | Upcoming Skidompha Poetry Group Reading and Display

Dear Friends,

Some of you know we have a group of passionate poetry lovers who meet every Friday at 10:00 a.m. over Zoom. They start the day by reading or listening to a few good poems. This group has been meeting year-round for two and a half years. Jeannette, our Director of Communications and Online Programming, holds this group. When she started it, she envisioned creating a space where people could drop in when they felt like spending a little time with poetry.

Jeannette has reported to me many times that it continues to be one of the highlights of her week. There is no pressure to share, and the group is an informal space to check in with each other, say hello, and share a few poems. From time to time, members of the group share an original poem; most often, they bring in poems they love that others have written. Every so often, they meet in person, and one of my favorite sights this summer was seeing their group talking and laughing together in the courtyard as they shared tea and poetry.

Our weekly Skidompha Poetry group is thrilled to announce that they will be presenting a display of poetry and artwork in the Carey Art Gallery at Skidompha during the month of December. To kick things off, they are hosting a poetry reading on Friday, December 2, from 4:30 – 5:30 in Porter Hall. They will be sharing a few of their favorites from all the poems they’ve read aloud to one another over these years, and they’d love to invite members of the community to join them as listeners or to read a favorite poem of their own!

I love knowing this group continues to thrive quietly and steadily each week, and I know they are always open to new members. One participant said, “I wish people knew how fun this group is. I was nervous about joining, thinking we’d be dissecting poetry, but instead, we just enjoy it and each other!”

For more information about our weekly poetry group or the December 2 Poetry Reading, please contact Jeannette at jeaton@skidompha.org.

Be well,

 

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

11.10.22 | Honoring Veterans

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and I want to offer my thanks to all veterans in all branches and recognize your service and sacrifice.

In my lifetime, I have benefited greatly by spending time with veterans, listening to their stories, and learning. Sometimes these personal stories are lost amidst the broader coverage of world events, and it is important to remember that our troops are individuals with their own stories to tell.

If you are interested in sharing your gratitude for those who have served and continue to serve, I encourage you to think about volunteering at a veterans organization, advocating for veteran support and assistance, or reaching out to see if there is an opportunity to listen, support, or send an old-fashioned letter of thanks. The Mid-Coast Veterans Council is a local resource helping to facilitate connection and assistance to veterans.

As a reminder, Skidompha is closed tomorrow in honor of Veterans Day.

With gratitude,
Be well,
Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

10.27.22 | Our Amazing Adult Circ Staff

Dear Friends,

I am so proud to highlight the exceptional work happening in our kids, teens, and adult programs, and lately, there is always something exciting and new to report. But it occurs to me that it’s been a while since I mentioned our brilliant adult circulation staff.

As I work in my office, one of my greatest joys is hearing the laughter and joy behind the circ desk. Terry, Erika, Rachel, and Molly bring their energy, quirkiness, and love for what they do to everything they touch at Skidompha.

Many people don’t realize just how much this team is responsible for and what they do every day. Besides their general circulation duties of answering the phone, checking books in and out, and processing renewals, this dream team manages all aspects of adult ILLs, makes room reservations, supports patrons on the public computers, selects and orders books for the adult collection, does all the adult resource cataloging, tracks overdue books, and offers reference services and readers advisories. They do collection inventory, create new library accounts, and support patrons with all manner of questions and requests. And most importantly, they create genuine human connections with our patrons.

I never take it for granted just how lucky I, Skidompha, and the community are to have such a great team working here. Please stop in and see them the next time you are here!

Be well,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

10.20.22 | Kids Programming Highlights

Dear Friends,

 

A highlight of my job is definitely the fact that I enjoy the physical space of the library. I love spending time in the sun-filled atrium and watching the light shift with each passing hour. I love walking toward the back entrance and seeing the vibrant art that rotates into the library each month. And I love having a job where I’m surrounded by books!

 

One of my favorite places to visit here is the kids’ room. Have you been there lately? It is bright, welcoming, and the place that makes you want to pause and play. There are chairs and tables for coloring, puzzling, or curling up with a new book. Jessie, our children’s librarian, has created the kind of space that speaks to all the senses. It is welcoming and filled with color and energy, and brings a smile to my face. The Library of Things for borrowing (think microscopes, telescopes, a polaroid camera) is on full display. A fish tank bubbles away in the Story Circle, ready for watching.

 

Jessie gives an incredible amount of thought to the physical space; similarly, she spends a lot of her time and energy filling the room with new and relevant resources. I’m amazed at how many new books and materials she brings to Skidompha. Once again, this year, we are thrilled to participate in The Maine Student Book Award (MSBA). MSBA aims to bring new books into the hands of readers in grades 4 -8. There are 40 books to choose from, and we have them all! Students can read as many as they like and vote for their favorites. It’s so cool to have all these books and even cooler that Jessie has prizes for everyone who reads three books and casts a ballot.

 

Readers aged 7 – 12 can also join our Children’s Book Review Club. If you love reading and discussing your favorite books, this group is for you! Come recommend books to your peers and get recommendations from Jessie and other kids. This group begins this week and meets monthly on the last Thursday of the month at 3:30 in the kids’ room.   

 

And if you are interested in playing chess, we hope you will join us after school for the Skidompha Chess Club. This group meets on Wednesdays at 3:00 and is open to new and experienced players.

 

Be well,

 

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

10.13.22 | Teen Program Highlights

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I find myself reflecting on my teen years and marveling how, even though they were long ago, they sometimes come back to me in remarkably fresh and vivid memories. I think it’s because the teen years are so impactful and emotionally charged. Our teen years are defined by change; we explore, grow, experience, try, and succeed and fail.

We have staff here parenting teenagers, others who will soon, and some who have grandparented teens, so teens come up frequently in conversation. These conversations bring awareness and understanding to my teen years and instill in me joy and pride at the incredible work our teen librarian, Kristi, is doing here at the library.

Kristi joined us just a year ago and has been busy ever since. She has partnered with local schools and nonprofits, offered many new programs, created our first-ever teen summer job fair, and helped create a program and curriculum for homeschool families. She brought the food pantry to Skidompha, with deliveries of dry goods and fresh vegetables twice per week thanks to Lincoln County Gleaners, Healthy Lincoln County, and many local farms.

Kristi cares deeply for her patrons and has seen a need to highlight wellness initiatives for teens and the community. You may have noticed much of her work has focused on this. Some of Kristi’s efforts include the homeschool program, created to help students fulfill Maine’s library skills requirement. There are programs specifically for first-year participants, where kids and teens get a chance to work through five lessons, and for second-year participants, where students can apply what they’ve learned and work on research-based projects.

Kristi has also asked our own Jeannette Eaton, another member of our deeply compassionate Skidompha staff, to run a four-week teen mindfulness group starting on Friday, October 21st. Kristi hopes this program will give teens some tools to help navigate the intensity of school, friends, and the struggles of the 21st century.

Many of you will know that Jeannette runs several programs here at Skidompha, including a beloved mindfulness program for adults! Jeannette’s facilitating skills are superlative. She aims to create a safe and comforting space welcoming to all. In this group, teens will get a chance to reflect on their own and in small groups, try out different approaches like journaling, creating, and learning short meditations and exercises they can do independently.

I’m grateful for the creative ways our teen programs seek to meet teens where they’re at and offer fun things to do and helpful things to try. If you, or a teen in your life, are interested in these programs, we hope you’ll join us at the library!

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

10.6.22 | Donuts & Devices | Digital Literacy Workshops

Dear Friends,

The chill in the air brings a strong desire for all things fall and cozy—warm cider, pumpkins, the next book on my reading list, and a warm cat to snuggle with while I read. I felt a surge of excitement as I flipped the calendar to October, mainly because of the programming we have lined up next at the library.

Most of us work hard to keep up with fast-changing technology, and Skidompha has tried to offer support over the years to make sense of the updates. I am incredibly excited to highlight a new workshop series on teaching technology basics. We will host Donuts & Devices: Digital Literacy Workshops on Fridays from October to January. These workshops are free and run from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

These workshops are structured for the absolute beginner and will follow an introductory curriculum to introduce participants to the skills and know-how necessary to thrive in today’s technology-driven world. With handouts and gentle guidance, these workshops are perfect for those who are new to technology or want to review the fundamentals. Oh, and did we mention that there will be donuts?

Our first workshop in the series, Computer Basics for Windows, kicks off this Friday at 10:00 a.m. This in-person workshop is for those new to using a PC or who want to build more confidence using the Windows 10 operating system. Participants will learn how to navigate the Windows 10 operating system, manage applications using the task manager, find and manage files and folders, save and delete, and more.

You’ll find more info about this and upcoming workshops below. Participants may bring their own PC or use one of the library’s six PC workstations (please inform librarians if you need a computer when registering).

The Donuts & Devices: Digital Literacy Workshops are funded by the Public Library Association Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, which strives to support libraries of all sizes to conduct digital literacy training in their communities and help close the digital divide.

We hope you will join us!

Be well,

Matthew Graff

Executive Director

Skidompha Public Library

9.29.22 | Skidompha Staff Love To Collaborate!

Dear Friends,

Jessie, Youth Services Librarian, here again. I’m just dropping by to let you all know that I’ll be out of town for a few weeks. Fear not! Kristi, our wonderful, kind, and enthusiastic Teen Librarian, will hold down the fort. I know the library will run as smoothly as ever, and all our regularly scheduled programming will run like it always does.

Tag, Kristi! You’re it!

Hi, friends,

Kristi here. While I’ve never been particularly good at tag (or sports in general), I do love nerding out over books. I’m looking forward to filling in for Tuesday storytime (at 10:00), restocking the new craft kits Jessie so lovingly prepared, and answering all your questions! Here’s wishing Jessie some restful time off!

I hope to see you soon in the library,

Kristi Favaloro 

Teen Librarian

Skidompha Public Library

9.22.22 | Meet Migaloo – The Whale Who Just Swam Into The Atrium

Dear Friends,

You may have noticed something a little different when you walked into the library this week. The 20+ foot long Humpback Whale sculpture hanging from the ceiling? I can’t stop staring! It is majestic and gorgeous, and I am totally smitten.

For now, we’re informally calling it Migaloo after the famous hypo-pigmented (or leucistic) Humpback Whale from the Pacific Ocean.

Our Migaloo started as a conversation among library staff about what to do with the expansive space in the library’s atrium. Various ideas were suggested, but the one that stuck was to create a hanging whale sculpture to acknowledge the beautiful whales swimming off Maine’s coast, which would capture the imagination of our patrons. Internally, the project came to be known as Project Cetacean!

The incredibly talented artists Melissa Glendinning and Erica Qualey were commissioned to bring the creation to “life,” and they did a superlative job!

Some notable facts about our Migaloo:

  • It was delivered to the library in three pieces, where it was assembled and raised to its current position. That process took over nine hours!
  • The sculpture is supported inside by a wooden “spine” and a combination of PVC piping and Pex tubing. A strip of LED lights runs along its belly, and the eyes are small fish bowls painted with sea glass paint.
  • Our Migaloo is approximately 20 feet long, or the size of a 1-2-month-old baby humpback whale. A newborn humpback weighs about 3000 lbs. Adults can be more than 50 ft long and weigh around 60,000 lbs.

I want to personally thank the Anonimo Foundation, Erica, Melissa, and the wonderful people who helped raise this beautiful sculpture to its present place of rest. Every day I am astounded by the creativity and generosity of our community. Thank you all.

Be well,

Matthew Graff

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.

***

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