News

1.19.23 | Community Support Helped Us Get New Floors! Thank you!

Dear Friends,

I like thinking about how many utterances it takes to make a phrase commonplace. Who was the first person to utter the dust has settled? That’s the phrase on my mind today as I notice the relative calm of the library. After all the floor work done between late December and early January, the dust has finally settled here. If you came to Skidompha for the first time this week, you wouldn’t know that a couple of weeks ago, we were all doing our best to maneuver through the commotion! For all of you who were part of the scene of our commotion, thank you for your patience. We hope you are enjoying the new floor and carpet as much as we are.

For those of you who have read my letters for a while, you know I work to point my mind toward gratitude. Much of our funding comes from grants and donations. Many people think of books and programming when they think of supporting the library, but the facility needs constant attention, too, especially being over 20 years old. The grants, donations, and support you give allow us to do work like fixing up the physical space, adding computers, or fixing the boiler or water heater; for that, we are so grateful.

We hope to see you soon at Skidompha!

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

1.12.23 | Winter Bees

Dear Friends,

I spent some quiet time with the bees this past weekend. Coffee and a big red chair (IYKYK) in the company of our bees bring me pretty close to nirvana. Winter is a time for rest for them. They stay pretty still, conserving energy and making trips outside the hive for “bio-breaks” when the sun is strong enough and the temp gets around 50 degrees or above.

Some may say that the bees are far more interesting in the warmer months. They are far more active at that time, for sure. But winter bees offer their own fascination. The queen takes a well-deserved break from her spring and summer egg laying and stops egg production. With no baby bee pheromone in the hive, the workers sense they no longer need to be nurse bees, and the job transition process from nurse bees to foragers is temporarily biologically stopped. These winter bees live a lot longer—6 months or so—than their spring and summer brethren, who generally live around 6 weeks. The prolonged winter lifespan allows the winter hive to continue while the queen takes the winter off.

Winter warmth is typically a big issue for bees, but it’s not so much of an issue for our bees living in the library’s spa-like environment. Wild bees will cluster together around the queen to keep her warm and protected during colder months. Workers will work themselves in and out of the cluster, similar to how penguins move in and out of their group, allowing those on the outside to warm up before they rotate back out again. Very selfless! While clustered, bees will shiver and vibrate their wings to generate more warmth to heat the cluster. All this takes energy, and the bees will eat their cache of honey over the winter to meet their caloric needs. Since our bees remain warm all winter in the library, they don’t need the same quantity of honey stores their outside cousins do.

May the bees serve as a gentle reminder that the library is a nice place to warm up on a cold winter day. I hope some of you take time to sit in the big red chairs upstairs to visit the bees. The next time you visit our hive, you should place your hand slowly and gently on the plexiglass over a large group of bees, then place your hand slowly and gently on the plexiglass over a vacant spot in the hive and note the temperature difference. I’m grateful to the library for keeping people and bees warm!

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

1.5.23 | Welcoming The New Year | Renovations Update

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! We are returning from our holiday break rested and excited about so many of the plans, programs, and projects we have in store for 2023. We hope you also have many things to look forward to inside and outside of the library.

I’m writing this note from my office today, the day before we reopen for the week, and I’m surveying the scene inside of the library. I shared a picture with our staff a few days ago showing the tiler’s progress as they prepped the floor and laid new tile, and I’m reminded that all around me, there are new beginnings. The floor in the back was in rough shape. Some areas needed patching, and others needed leveling—particularly the threshold between the back entrance and the backroom hallway. Even the center doors need to be slightly shaved to allow them to clear the tiling.

Thank you for being so patient as we manage the commotion. The back entrance and public bathrooms will be closed this week through January 7th. However, the children’s room bathroom will remain open during this time. We ask that you use the front entrance to access the library during this period.

Before our holiday break, we worked on carpeting in the youth services room, my office, and behind the circulation desk. It has certainly been a time of transition in more ways than one!

Our physical space is a tangible example of new beginnings, and we have book groups and community programs planned to support things new and old as well. You’ll find more info for our upcoming programs below. We hope to see you often in the new year.

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

12.15.22 | Welcome to Skidompha, Chloe!

Dear Friends,

You may have noticed a new yet familiar face here at Skidompha. I am very excited to announce that Chloe Deblois has joined the library as our new development director! Welcome to Skidompha, Chloe. Chloe’s presence will strengthen our team and provide much-needed energy and direction to this critical role. Chloe knows this community so well and is excited to deepen her connections to library supporters. She has creative ideas to broaden our reach and increase accessibility to the many wonderful programs and resources we offer.

Skidompha played a central role in Chloe’s formative years. Throughout her childhood in Newcastle, she was a devoted attendee of the children’s library, and her family regularly volunteered for Skidompha’s planning and fundraising efforts to transition to its new building. After graduating college with a degree in philosophy, Chloe returned to Damariscotta, where she spent a fulfilling time working with books and the public at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop. She has a passion for nonfiction, history being a particular favorite, and loves learning about how stories connect, comfort, and strengthen us. She is excited to join Skidompha’s team and its role in the community. Please stop in to say hello the next time you find yourself at Skidompha and offer her your support.

Just a reminder that our holiday closure is from December 24 – December 31, 2022. We’ll reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. Please make sure to get all of your books, music, and movies ahead of time! As a reminder, the Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop will be open during the holiday week, including both Christmas Eve day and New Year’s day.

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

12.8.22 | We’re Looking for an Artist in Residence!

Dear Friends,

Skidompha has hosted incredible artists and writers over the years through programming, gallery showings, and camps and workshops for children, teens, and adults. Staff and patrons have benefited from the creativity in and around their community, and the library’s physical space is full of creative energy.

This creativity is forward leading; one idea, one program inspires and makes room for the next, and Skidompha is thrilled to invite Lincoln County artists to apply to our new Artist in Residence Program. This opportunity will allow the artist to develop a plan to utilize the library’s collection, create work that addresses the importance of intellectual freedom, and engage with all patrons, emphasizing work with local teens. The artist will retain ownership of the work they create and work with Skidompha to set a timeline for displaying their work at the library.

We are so excited about this opportunity, and I want to thank Kristi, our teen librarian, for bringing this awesome idea to the library. This is a paid position that requires working eight hours per week for twelve weeks, beginning in January 2023. Scheduling is flexible but must take place at the library during library hours. While we encourage artists to create their own work, there will also be an educational component to this position, including opportunities for patron observation, participation, and instruction.

Qualifications
  • Demonstrated experience as a working artist
  • Experience working with teens/youth
  • An understanding of current challenges facing public libraries
Interested candidates should send a resume, portfolio, and proposal to Kristi Favaloro at kfavaloro@skidompha.org by December 20, 2022. 
We can’t wait to hear from interested artists and look forward to seeing what comes from this opportunity.

Make sure to keep reading for updates. Many of our ongoing groups are pausing for the holidays.

The Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop wants to remind you that they will be open through our holiday closure, including Christmas Eve day and New Year’s day. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers!

Be well,

Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

12.1.22_Planning Ahead for Carpeting and Our Holiday Closure

Dear Friends,

This week I want to let you know about some upcoming service disruptions at Skidompha in December. Let’s start with the good news, Skidompha has recently received a very generous grant that will enable us to replace some of the flooring. Hooray! The bad news? Installing that flooring will cause some interruptions to our regular daily library services, but we will do our best to minimize the inconvenience.

Starting on December 1, the main circulation desk will begin moving our furniture and nick-nacks into the computer room for temporary storage. We are replacing the carpeting behind the circ desk over Sunday, December 4, and Monday, December 5, and we will begin moving our belongings back on the morning of Tuesday, December 6.

The Children’s room will follow, with new carpeting laid down on Sunday, December 11, Monday, December 12, Sunday, December 18, and Monday, December 19. As you can imagine, this will require a lot of planning and work. That week, including the leadup to and a few days after, children’s services will be closed for regular browsing and checkout. Kristi and Jessie will have books available in the Atrium for lending and browsing. They are happy to put bags of books together for you to pick up. Just email or call ahead of time.

This renovation is no easy, quick task. Jessie and Kristi will need to move all the books and all the shelves (phew!) to facilitate this project. Please be patient and throw them a friendly smile or word of encouragement when you see them.

Finally, per our tradition, Skidmompha will be closed on Christmas Eve and through the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, at 9 a.m. Over the last few years, we have loved gathering books and media for you to enjoy during our holiday break. Please make arrangements early and check out those books and resources you want for the holiday break, or ask the librarians to put together a bag for you.

Be well,
Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

11.24.22_Sharing Our Gratitude

Dear Friends,

Today I am reflecting on my good fortune. I am warm and dry. I live in a wonderful area with kind and caring neighbors. I work with superlative people—truly the best of the best. Every day I get to do what I love, help, and create connections. I have a beautiful, warm, loving, and supportive family and a crazy ginger cat. For all of this, I am grateful. Thank you, everyone, for enriching my life so much.

Though we are closed today, we’ve added a gratitude tree in the atrium that we’ll keep up through the weekend. We invite you to write down things you are grateful for and tape them to the tree, and we invite you to pause and see what others have shared.

Whether you are spending your day with friends and family today or, like me, are spending it on your own, whether you have the day off or find yourself working, I hope there are moments of good fortune to celebrate.

Thank you for being a part of Skidompha.
Be well,
Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

11.14.22 | 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