Director’s Note: We <3 Our Volunteers

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

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, 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

Director’s Note: Olympics at Skidompha

The Winter Olympic Games have begun in South Korea, and I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me feel more fiercely patriotic than watching our athletes compete for gold and glory.
From my armchair I glide along with our speed skaters, thrill at the intensity of focus exhibited by our curlers, and ride the emotional highs and lows of our skiers, snowboarders, and professional sledders in the luge competition. Was anyone else reduced to tears during the ladies figuring skating free skate??
However, if you are one of the many people out there who have forgone your cable subscription and find yourself without a window into PyeongChang, never fear! The Library has you covered! For the entirety of the Olympic Games we will be showing NBC coverage in our Atrium during regular hours of operation, where you can pull up a red comfy chair and tune in to one of the greatest shows on Earth. The best events are still to come!


Have an inspiring week,


Pam Gormley 
Executive Director

Director’s Note: Votes for Women!

Director’s Note

Though we may still have six more weeks of winter – according to some prognosticating ground squirrels – I believe that we should look past this, and focus instead on the bright things ahead in 2018.

For Skidompha Library, 2018 represents not only the debut of our first full season of programs for the whole family, but also comes with the expectation of another summertime Community Read Event, the excitement of live performances thanks to our partnership with River Company Theater, and participation in a timely national discussion. 2018 is already being heralded as “The Year of the Woman” for political and social reasons, but it also represents a very significant anniversary in the story of the women’s suffrage movement.

After more than 80 years of protests, parades, outreach and argument, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, mandating that voting rights could not be restricted on the basis of sex, was brought before the House by President Woodrow Wilson. It would take another two years for all 50 states to ratify the amendment and make it law, but it was the tipping point that made women’s rights more of an inevitability. As we prepare to join the national celebration in 2020 of women’s right to vote, this year we will be highlighting women authors, women in history and great women thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Keep an eye out for upcoming events such as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the 150th anniversary of “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and a very special event for the release of the forthcoming movie adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle. (Remember Harry Potter Day last year? Well, hold onto your tesseracts! We’re at it again!)

Have a great week,

Pam Gormley

Executive Director

Mid-Winter Reading Challenge


Challenge yourself to read a little differently this winter with the Mid-Winter Reading Challenge!

Always wanted to try reading a graphic novel, or a book that inspired a film? Now’s your chance!

Read a book in just 5 of the 13 categories, and you will be entered to win a $50 Gift Certificate for the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop, or a Skidompha Beanie!

Please pick up your challenge card at the library circulation desk.
Good luck!

Skidompha Library Winter Survival Guide

It may not feel like it today, but there is no denying that winter is here, and will be for some time yet.

While a very common and normal response to this might be to 
shutter the windows, stockpile bottles of water, rolls of toilet paper, cans of soup, and set a timer for April, there is another way!

Here is the SKIDOMPHA LIBRARY WINTER SURVIVAL GUIDE for getting through the season without climbing the walls, or risking the mental health of yourself or your loved ones:

  1. Read a book that reminds you that there are seasons other than winter. (We recommend “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett, exploring the deep connections between two interwoven families, full of humor, heartbreak, and summers spent together in Virginia.)
  2. Yes we know it’s dark and cold, but get out of the house and come to one of our FREE Thursday night movies. There will be hot popcorn and people to talk to other than your dog.
  3. Go out for a walk in the snow. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to come back inside and feel your toes and fingers again.
  4. Drink hot chocolate. Not only will it keep your hands warm, chocolate releases serotonin and endorphins that lessen pain and decrease stress. Bonus points if you drink hot chocolate with a friend while talking about that great book you are reading, “Commonwealth.”
  5. And last but not least, CALL YOUR MOTHER. Complain vigorously about the weather (this is scientifically proven to burn calories), invite her to go see a movie with you while drinking hot chocolate, and suggest that she also read “Commonwealth.”
We’re all in this together!


Teens! Come join us during your February break!

WRITE-ON: The Skidompha Teen Writing Workshop
Tuesday, February 20th through Friday, February 23rd
10 am to 3 pm daily at Skidompha Library.

“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”  Elizabeth Gilbert


Unleash your creativity and tell your story! In this four-day creative writing workshop, you will work with other teens interested in creative writing. We’ll play writing games and complete prompts to get your creative juices flowing. We’ll peer-edit, discuss style choices, and offer reflections as a group. If you’re interested in storytelling, this group is for you!

Sign-ups will begin in January. If interested, please email Youth Services Coordinator Kelsey Gibbs. This group is open to teenagers in 9th through 12th grades. Admission is FREE, but class size is limited to 8 slots, so early registration is encouraged!

Skidompha Library Holiday Book Guide

Shopping for the bibliophile in your life?
Let our librarians recommend some gifts for the upcoming holidays!

For the CHEF:
“The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine” by Erin French
No one can bring small-town America to life better than a native. Erin French grew up in Freedom, Maine (population 719), helping her father at the griddle in his diner. An entirely self-taught cook who used cookbooks to form her culinary education, she now helms her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, in a historic mill in the same town, creating meals that draw locals and visitors from around the world to a dining room that feels like an extension of her home kitchen. The food has been called “brilliant in its simplicity and honesty” by Food & Wine, and it is exactly this pure approach that makes Erin’s cooking so appealing–and so easy to embrace at home.

The Smallholder’s Handbook: Keeping & caring for poultry & livestock on a small scale” by Suzie Baldwin
This book is a detailed manual for starting, planning and managing your own smallholding. Suzie explains the level of work involved, how much space you need and how to prepare your land. There are chapters on keeping poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese), as well as pigs, goats and sheep, cows and bees. She also explains why having a variety of animals makes the best use of your resources and how many of each type to keep. Comprehensive advice includes choosing breeds, transporting, feeding, housing, daily care and wellbeing, as well as international legislation that applies to livestock.
“A Strange Scottish Shore” by Juliana Gray
Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing that, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea and married the castle’s first laird.
But Haywood and Truelove soon realize they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide. When their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, their quest takes a dangerous turn through time, which puts Haywood’s extraordinary talents-and Truelove’s courage-to their most breathtaking test yet.
In the Midst of Winter: A Novel” by Isabel Allende
In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster, a 60-year-old human rights scholar, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor’s house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz, a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile, for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue”by Mackenzi Lee
This hilarious and swashbuckling teen historical fiction novel was named one of summer’s 20 must-read books by Entertainment Weekly! A New York Times bestseller!
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.


“Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” by Rachel Ignotofsky
A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times best seller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

The Story of the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop

This week I would like to tell you a story…
35 years ago the Skidompha Board of Directors was deeply saddened by the passing of one of the great champions of knowledge and culture, a bright and spunky woman named Mary Wallace Smith, who died in 1982 at the age of 86.
Mary was a trendsetter in her day, believing that Skidompha Library could stand at the epicenter of pleasure and learning for the communities it served, a model example to the world of the best a “modern” library could be. Mary was also a tireless advocate for resources for children, and did much to increase the library collection and services for young ones in the 50s and 60s – a legacy that continues with our robust programs and resources for kids and teens today.
But her greatest accomplishment for the community was the visionary idea of starting the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop in 1968, originally located in the carriage house of the Old Skidompha Library at 170 Main Street (currently Sotheby’s). Mary filled shelves and shelves with donated books for the singular purpose of raising money for her beloved library. And it worked. The Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop became a significant source of funding for the library – one that has helped to keep Skidompha thriving even in uncertain times.  
The shop now welcomes its second and third generation of customers into the light-filled rooms at Backstreet Landing, where it overlooks the Damariscotta River. Next time you’re in, say a quiet thank you to determined Mary Smith, and take a look at the plaque above the fireplace honoring her memory and extraordinary service to the cause.
Have an inspired week,
Pam Gormley 
Executive Director