While Matthew is on vacation – hopefully seeing a great many whales and enjoying the ocean – I am filling in for this week’s “hello” to all of you. In thinking about what, precisely, I wanted to say, it occurred to me that I mostly just wanted to take a moment to appreciate the physical space of the Library, and invite you to do the same.
A friend observed to me this week that she has become “the sort of person who comments on the light changing,” which I thought was simply delightful. Beyond that, I understand exactly what she means. Every afternoon, the light on the second floor of the Library hits a point where it is perfectly golden, and casts the sort of shadows that suddenly make Edward Hopper paintings make sense. The view out the windows over Main Street and to the water is worth seeing at any time of day, but the late afternoon really shows it at its best. It is a wonderful time and place to sit, and enjoy the moment.
Even on a cloudy or rainy afternoon, it can be exceedingly cozy to sit in one of the chairs upstairs with a book, and watch the rain roll in. So, regardless of the weather, I hope you are having a lovely day, and that you get the chance to enjoy an afternoon in the Library soon.
Adult Services Librarian | Communications Coordinator
Skidompha Public Library
It is important to me that Skidompha be a place that inspires interest, curiosity and wonder. That it be filled with items that engage and prompt people to stop and look, and engage. Our books–Skidompha’s foundation–tick all those boxes, but other modalities exist: beautiful and unique plants, clever book displays, Migaloo and the bees, the fish, complex quilts, and art. Every work day I walk through the back doors of the library and am greeted each day by the gorgeous artwork hanging there. Sure, there are days when my mind is on the one hundred other things that need to get done before lunch, and I forget to pause and appreciate the artwork, but I’m practicing pausing more often and bringing awareness to my day.
Artwork hangs in the space officially known as the Carey Art Gallery. The artwork changes monthly, and Rachel Zoller, one of our Librarians, organizes and supports this space, and makes certain that we always have a diverse collection of artists and mediums in our Gallery. Rachel works with the artists to build the calendar, and often we are booked almost a full year out. I appreciate Rachel and her efforts immensely for all her work in this department.
This month’s show hanging in the Carey Art Gallery features the work of Kathleen Thornton and Linda Healy. Kathleen works primarily in acrylics and takes inspiration from the Maine environment. Linda is a weaver and an artist. She reframes the colors and patterns found in nature within the geometric constraints of warp and weft, often giving a nod to her Swedish heritage and historic Scandinavian weaving techniques.
Please take an extra minute to pause and engage with the artwork the next time you find yourself in Skidompha. Note the time, effort, and creativity the artist has devoted to each piece, and appreciate the art that surrounds us all.
Whose talents will we showcase next? Come and find out!
Skidompha Public Library
The recent snow brought me the mid-winter blahs. Yes, I know it’s February in Maine, but I could use a shot or two of Vitamin D and Vitamin Sea! I’m back at work, though, and I’m feeling energized by the thrum of creativity in the library. It’s fun to notice the movement of this shifting seasonal energy. It reminds me of the wind, which I watch blow the snow and sway the trees outside my window as I type. I’m sure the extra daylight we are enjoying and the prospect of spring drawing closer does not hurt either!
We have many new programs to highlight, and I love the energy they’re raising in Skidompha. We have a new playgroup for toddlers! On Wednesday mornings, from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m., the kids’ room will open up for toddler playtime. This is a chance for parents and caregivers to visit and help toddlers explore books, toys, and instruments. No parkas or boots are required!
Our artist-in-residence, Will, is here on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to help teens explore synthesizers, experimental electronic sound, and more. I attended Will’s soldering class and learned about circuit bending, circuit boards, and how to solder! Will is a great teacher and resource, and I strongly urge you to check out their programs. Continuing our trend of creative and non-traditional book clubs, we have an upcoming Cookbook Book Group for teens starting March 10. This group is scheduled on Fridays at 3:30 pm, and Kristi will have snacks and books to share! Explore recipes, cooking processes, and ideas for meals and snacks.
Adults, are you tired of staying home in the evening? Looking for something to do with friends that does not involve Netflix or a bar? Get in on the fun with our new monthly game nights! We had our first game night on Friday, February 24th, and it was a blast. Thirteen people attended—many of whom were new to the library—and spent the night being together, playing games, laughing, and sharing in each other’s company. It was really lovely. Our next game night will be on Friday, March 31, from 6:00 – 9:00. Bring your friends, some snacks (no alcohol, please), and a favorite game to play. Or choose one of the games we will have on hand for you!
Along with these great offerings, our staff is already getting excited and looking ahead to summer reading programs. We’ll look forward to sharing news of what’s next, and we hope to see you sometime soon at the library!
Skidompha Public Library
Through these weekly letters, I am afforded the time and opportunity to reflect on our work at Skidompha. It’s important to me to share our news and to let you know that in between ordering for our collection and helping you to check those books and other media in and out of the library, our team is also working to bring programs and services to our community that will support and enhance. And it’s a lot of fun to do some “horn tooting” to show off some of the exceptional work our staff does here at Skidompha. During my three and a half years at Skidompha, I’ve always had news to share.
Many of our programs aim to address needs in our community, and this year we have been working with CLC YMCA, Healthy Lincoln County, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine to address food literacy.
Between February and May of 2023, Skidompha Library will offer a series of workshops focused on meal planning, kitchen skills, food safety, the social impacts of food, and more! The first offering in this series is a 6-week Cooking Matters workshop offered by Lincoln County SNAP educator Larissa Hannon and hosted by the Central Lincoln County YMCA. These family-friendly cooking classes will allow participants to practice making fun and tasty recipes. The first workshop will take place on Saturday, February 18, at 9:30 a.m. You will find more information about this first workshop below. Registration is required. To register, please email Larissa Hannon at email@example.com or call 207-622-7566 ext. 204.
We will announce additional workshops in the coming weeks! The Focus on Food Workshop Series is made possible through funding from the John Andrews fund and partnerships with CLC YMCA, Healthy Lincoln County, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine. We are grateful for their generous support and for these important collaborations.
In 2019, Feeding America estimated that residents of Lincoln County experienced a food insecurity rate of 12.2% (n.d.b), which was almost 12% higher than the national average for that year (Staker, 2022). The children of Lincoln County alone experienced a food insecurity rate of 19.9% (Feeding America, n.d.a) in 2019 – a staggering 36.6% higher than the national average (Stacker, 2022). Though more recent survey data has not yet been released, it is a reasonable and logical assumption that the global pandemic and recent price inflation have only exacerbated issues of food insecurity in Lincoln County.
In recent years, libraries have begun offering food literacy programs as one way to address and combat issues like food insecurity. The Food Literacy Center defines food literacy as “understanding the impact of [one’s] food choices on [one’s] health, environment, and economy – and understanding that these impacts are not experienced equitably” (n.d.). To help patrons explore this definition, librarians around the country have started to offer resources and programming that focus on topics such as meal planning, understanding nutritional information, accessing food in different contexts, culinary skills, and the environmental impact of food consumption, among others (Dodge, 2020).
Skidompha Library has been fortunate to have forged a partnership with Healthy Lincoln County and now offers a Little Free Pantry of freely available food, snacks, and hygiene products here at the library; however, we are taking our efforts further by joining the food literacy movement and offering access to food literacy programming and resources.
We are grateful to all of you who take the time to read our news each week and support the library financially through your patronage, borrowing books and media, and attending things like these and other library events.
Skidompha Public Library
Dodge, H. (2020). Gather ‘round the table: Food literacy programs, resources, and ideas for libraries. ALA Editions.
Feeding America. (n.d.a). Child food insecurity in Lincoln County before COVID-19. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2019/child/maine/county/lincoln.
Feeding America. (n.d.b). Food insecurity in Lincoln County before COVID-19. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2019/overall/maine/county/lincoln.
Food Literacy Center. (n.d.) What is food literacy? Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.foodliteracycenter.org/what-food-literacy.
Stacker. (2022, February 5). Counties with the highest rate of food insecurity in Maine. https://stacker.com/maine/counties-highest-rate-food-insecurity-maine.