Curbside, Show-Offs, and Resources for 5/14/2020

Hiya, everyone out there in library land!

Today, I bring you a grab bag of of fun Upper Valley and Vermont resources!  There’s also information about curbside service starting on Monday (yay!) and the Baxter Show-Off Show that rolls into town on Monday, as well! Let’s delve right in….

Montshire Live at Home – Creepy Crawly Cockroaches
Join Montshire Educators, Rebecca and Amy, Friday at 11:00 am for a live Zoom webinar featuring the museum’s hissing cockroaches and another surprise visitor! Ask your insect questions, play some bug pictionary and see the cockroaches super close-up! Upon registering you will be sent the Zoom Webinar link. The webinar is free, but space is limited so please register for this event in advance. Upon registering you will be sent the Zoom Webinar link. The webinar is free and will be recorded and available at the Montshire at Home resource page if you cannot attend the live broadcast.

Math Among Peers (MAP)
MAP is an entirely free, student-run source for virtual math help during this time of learning at home with offering peer support and preparation for fall classes!  Started by Miriam Viazmenski, a junior at Hanover High School.  Miriam says, “I love sharing my passion for math with others and have enjoyed tutoring peers for several years. My idea for this project grew out of the need for instructional support in the face of our new educational reality. I have organized a group of high school students enthusiastic about sharing their love of math with peers.”  You can check out the Facebook page at the link above or sign up here.

Green Mountain Chronicles
The Vermont Historical Society has re-released their vintage Green Mountain Chronicles radio program from the 1980s as a podcast series. The episodes tell the history of Vermont in the twentieth century using archival sound recordings and oral history interviews.  The latest episode is about the 1918 Flu epidemic. Other episodes focus on the introduction of the telephone in Vermont, the Long Trail, the popularity of the trolley, and more. 

Each week, HOP@Home virtual stage brings adventurous artistry into your living room. The Hop offers a varied weekly line-up of online programming including live-streamed performances, film recommendations and live chat, digital dance parties for kids and grown-ups, and projects cooked up by Hop directors.  Tonight, don’t miss a free show with local fiddler Patrick Ross as he recreates from home the great music and joie de vivre of his band Atlas Key, and this weekend, he’s back with his daughter Ophelia performing shows for the younger crowd!  There’s lots more coming up, and quite a few recordings of past presentations.  You can find some of the recordings at their YouTube page.  (Kids might be particularly interested in Simon Brooks’ wonderful storytelling videos.)

Musicians as Mentors
Every Tuesday at 2pm through June 2, Musicians as Mentors will present a 30 minute ZOOMCAST with a guest recording artist!  This presentation is provided for free by the Upper Valley Music Center.  Parent permission for those under 18 is required.  If you have any questions, email

And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for…. (Drum roll, please!) Curbside pickup begins Monday, May 18th! How will it work, you ask?  Read on….

1. Choose the materials you’d like to request.  Feel free to place holds online if you’re comfortable doing so.  If not, just send your requests to me at, and I’ll place the holds for you.  You can also call the library at 763-2875 and leave a message specifying which items you’d like.  Remember, some items (such as puzzles) may not be entered into the system, so if you know we have something but you can’t find it in the catalog, just let me know.

2. Using gloves, I’ll gather your requests, disinfect the covers, and place them inside a grocery bag.  Then, I’ll set the bag on the back porch.  It will have a tag with your name and instructions for disinfecting or quarantining items once you get them home.

3. I’ll contact you via email and/or phone when your items are ready.  (If you can only pick up items at certain times, email me to let me know, and we can make arrangements.)

How long is the lending period?
The lending period will be one month for all materials – old and new, books, DVDs, games, puzzles, you name it.  As usual, we’re not crazy-strict with return dates, but please consider that others might be wanting to read the material you’ve checked out (especially if it’s new).

Can I request items through interlibrary loan?
The interlibrary loan service was put on hiatus for a spell, and libraries are just beginning to start it back up.  Once there’s a sufficient number of libraries using the system, we’ll start back up, too.  I’ll let you know when that happens.  

How will returns work?
Please return materials in the book slot in the front door and not the book drop in the back.  (The height of the book drop makes it difficult to retrieve items safely.)  If you have any items out currently, please return them using the book slot as soon as you are able.  

How will you handle returns?
Using gloves, I’ll retrieve items and then quarantine them for 10 days before handling them.

If you have any questions or concerns, send me an email or give me a call.  I’m happy to chat any time.  

And, in other news, the Baxter Show-Off Show will roll into town on Monday!! What’s the Baxter Show-Off Show, you ask?  Well….

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages! Step right up and join Baxter’s Show-Off Show! Come one, come all to an unbelievable online event filled with daring crafts and awesome arts, marvelous stories and mind boggling poetry!

What have you created during the quarantine? SHOW IT OFF at Baxter’s Show-Off Show!

Painting, music, poems, science experiments, works of clay or wood or metal, videos, knitting and crocheting projects, art parodies, origami, photography, gardens, stories, Lego constructions, computer programs, comics – even face masks! Whatever it is, here’s your chance to SHOW IT OFF May 18-22!

Just send a photograph, document or file of your Show-Off to Shana any time or post it on Baxter Memorial Library’s Facebook page May 18-22!  We’ve already received some spectacular creations – you don’t want to miss out on the excitement!

Next week is BIG! I can hardly wait!

Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind,

Curbside Resumes and Literary & Science Resources for 5/12/2020

Extra, extra! Read all about it! Baxter Memorial Library will begin providing curbside pickup again on May 18th (coinciding with the upcoming, amazing Baxter Show-Off Show)! Get those requests ready, library friends, and I’ll provide more info in the coming days.

Today, though, I have some fun and intriguing resources for both word aficionados and science buffs.  The first resource is such a wonderful idea for lonely book lovers that it makes my heart sing just thinking about it.  For those of us who are natural introverts but who are still weary after being stuck at home for weeks on end without any meaningful social contact, this may be just the ticket.  Most Zoom meetings, for me at least, still require a hefty amount of emotional preparation, but a reading party hits the sweet spot – a feeling of being around others while still being able to relax.  Simply put, I don’t have to be on

WordGeek Series: Silent Reading Party
On Thursday, May 14th from 7-8pm, The Space On Main is hosting its first Silent Reading Party! Make yourself a snack, pour yourself a drink, and read whatever you feel like reading silently to yourself. Relax as musicians Don Sinclair and Jenn Grossi (D&J Music, Summer Street Music) delight your ears with acoustic music. It’s an excellent excuse for you to make time for you, take a break from your day-to-day, and feel a little less lonely while inside the comfort of your own home. This event is by donation. Proceeds will be split between The Space On Main and our guest musicians. Tips to the musicians are encouraged. If this is a hit, they’re thinking about making it a weekly event with a different musician each week!

Have you been taking time to write during the quarantine?  Check out this free interactive writing class sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council!

Writing Class with Melanie Finn
Join novelist Melanie Finn in three online sessions via Zoom starting on Wednesday, May 20 at 4pm. Participants will write a short story set in the Northeast Kingdom, based on a local newspaper story of their choice, and will evolve their work over the sessions. The workshop will include one-on-one feedback, group discussions, and required “homework.” The subsequent workshop sessions will meet on Saturday, May 23 and Saturday, May 30 at 4pm.  Register via the online form by Monday, May 18.

And now for some science-y resources:

VT Ecostudies – Loon Behavior and Rescues
Wednedsday, May 20 at 9am, Eric Hanson will present a webinar focused on the life and conservation of loons. Loons are unique in that we can watch these interactions during every daylight hour. He’ll go over results of 25 years of banding research in Wisconsin by Dr. Walter Piper detailing what is happening during loon territorial interactions, when and where chicks return to, and other stories. In addition, he’ll share some rescue stories, some successful, some not, but always interesting.

VINS, ECHO, Fairbanks and Montshire museums have come together to offer science- and STEM-based resources to Vermont kids.  There’s a LOT to delve into.  Create giant bubbles or learn to sprout seeds with Montshire’s video tutorials, inflate a balloon with baking soda or try your hand at an engineering design challenge at ECHO, take a virtual visit to the Fairbanks planetarium, or learn about the descendants of dinosaurs at VINS – and much, MUCH more!

And remember to take photos of your experiments and send them to me so I can post them during Baxter’s Show-Off Show, May 18-22!

Stay well!

Show & Tell – for Everyone!

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages!
Step right up and join Baxter’s Show-Off Show!
Come one, come all to an unbelievable online event filled with
daring crafts and awesome arts, marvelous stories and mind boggling poetry!

What have you created during the quarantine?
SHOW IT OFF at Baxter’s Show-Off Show!

Art pieces, music, poems, science experiments, works of clay or wood or metal, videos, knitting and crocheting projects, art parodies, origami, photography, gardens, stories, Lego constructions, computer programs, comics – even face masks! Whatever it is, here’s your chance to SHOW IT OFF May 18-22!

Just send a photograph, document or file to Shana any time
or post it on Baxter Memorial Library’s Facebook page May 18-22!

See you at the show!!

Home Education in the Time of Coronavirus

(Apologies to Gabriel García Márquez)

Dear Library Friends,

We live in interesting times.  Curse or not, it’s our new reality, at least for the foreseeable future, and we’re each trying to make the best of it, in our own ways.  We’re learning how to be with each other (and without each other).  We’re learning how to occupy ourselves and our children in new ways.  We’re taking on new and different work responsibilities, or else we’re learning to live with being un- or under-employed.  And many of us are also learning how to take charge of our children’s education – at a time when our children are also struggling to adjust to this same new reality. 

Home education isn’t easy, but it can be simple.  I know because I’ve been there.  In addition to homeschooling my now-22-year-old son from kindergarten through his senior year, I also published a magazine on home education. 

That’s how I can say that, without a scrap of doubt, you can do this.  It will take some getting used to, sure, but I know you can do it.  And I’m here to help in any way I can.

First, you should know that, in the home education community, it’s well understood that, when a child leaves school to begin homeschooling, there’s a period of time when very little that resembles learning takes place.  It’s a period known as “deschooling” or “decompressing.”   For some children, this might take a few weeks; for others, a few months.  Don’t worry.  It will pass.  Be gentle and provide guidance and learning opportunities, but try to abstain from forcing too much.  Remember, our children are experiencing the same upheaval to their lives that we are, and stress simply isn’t conducive to learning.  Be patient.

Second, don’t feel like you have to be an expert at everything.  You don’t.  Instead of always teaching, sometimes homeschooling is learning along with your children.   Learning with kids shows them that learning never ends.  We’re always learning new things – from the moment we’re born until the moment we die.  It also allows children to see learning in action.  We can model how to learn – perhaps the most critical skill of all.  

Third, make learning fun Endless worksheets and quizzes may fill time but may also make your job harder down the road.  Children thrive on novel experiences.  (We all do, really.)  If things get too samey, children are likely to push back and eventually refuse.  Instead, find fun ways to learn – together.  Consider allowing a child’s interest to fuel their learning (there’s math in knitting and baking and playing piano, there’s history in Greek/Egyptian/Norse mythology, there’s English in writing a letter to a pen pal, there’s science in growing a garden…).  If this sounds like something you’d like to try, and you’re wondering how to work with a particular interest, please let me know.  That’s what a librarian is for, after all.

Fourth, talk.  A lot.  It’s amazing how everyday conversation, seen in a different light, is actually learning.  Talk all day long.  About everything.

And finally, don’t worry that it’s all on you, that, if you fail at this homeschooling thing, you’ll scar your child for life.  It’s a common fear, but an unnecessary one.  I’ll leave you with something I wrote years ago for the magazine:

“So, you’re not his teacher, then….”

Well, yes I am. He learns many, many things from me. He asks me questions, he discusses things with me, he debates me. We talk. A lot. I bring him things I think will interest him. I keep an eye out for books, movies, websites, articles, games, magazines, exhibits, and people to feed his passions. He assumes I will do these things for him. He knows I will use the power I have as an adult to make the world more accessible to him. Yes, I am his teacher.

But, so is every person he meets, the neighborhood pool, our community, the pets we own, the Internet, the books he reads, the artwork he sees, every insect that catches his interest, the music that surrounds him, trees, television, dirt, stores, every place he visits, everything he notices.

Teachers are everywhere. In fact, my son, himself, is a teacher – an amazing, inspiring teacher.

Remember, you can do this.  And if you have any questions, any nagging worries, any anything, really, I’m here.  And so are all the other parents treading these unfamiliar waters.  You are not alone. It takes a community to raise a child, and the community of Sharon, though mostly virtual at the moment, is brimming with people ready and happy to help.

Stay safe, stay kind, and stay well,