The Library is currently CLOSED. The Book Drop is CLOSED. Staff are working from home.
Please continue to hold library materials at home. NO MATERIALS ARE DUE UNTIL JULY 1.
NO OVERDUE FINES WILL BE CHARGED FOR MATERIALS THROUGH AUGUST 30.
THE BOOK DROP IS TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED TO OPEN JUNE 15 pending availability of PPE for staff working with returned materials.
PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ITEMS OUTSIDE THE BOOK DROP OR LIBRARY. Borrowers are responsible for all materials checked out – items must be in a dry and safe location for us to receive them back. If the Book Drop is full, please hold your items and call the Library at 508-839-4649. We will alert you when it is available for returns.
PLEASE RETURN GRAFTON ITEMS TO GRAFTON. No need to overwhelm libraries that may be opening sooner – the delivery system is not in operation at this time.
The Grafton Public Library will remain closed to the public and begin to circulate new materials via NO-CONTACT PICKUP/DELIVERY sometime in July. This estimated date is subject to change pending PPE and other COVID-19 data. We will shift our plan as we have new information.
We do not have a date for reopening to the public or resuming in-person programming at this time.
TumbleBooks has shared Direct Links for each account, which do not require library cards or authentication! The links will log users in with the click of a button. TumbleBooks’ databases are easy to use, and feature unlimited access from home! Your patrons can read as many books as they want, when they want, and on any device. There are no check-outs, holds, or bulky downloads. Books are available instantly. Grafton Public Library’s access will continue through until August 31, 2020.
TumbleBooks’ databases are easy to use, and feature unlimited access from home! Your patrons can read as many books as they want, when they want, and on any device. There are no check-outs, holds, or bulky downloads. Books are available instantly.
Your access will continue through until August 31, 2020. Thanks, TumbleBooks!
The Town of Grafton is suspending physical library operations until further notice in response to Governor Baker’s State of Emergency declaration and to encourage social distancing due to the rapidly changing situation related to the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”). This decision has been made with an abundance of caution after communication with the Board of Library Trustees, town administration, and state departments.
No overdue fines will be charged for materials due; please hold items at home until further notice. A plan to provide virtual services and further updates will be provided on the library website next week. Visit our virtual branch 24/7 at www.graftonlibrary.org/digital.
We are using the Town’s website and Facebook Page to provide updated information on COVID-19 from the local, state and federal level. Please sign up for CODE RED for local alerts. Additionally, the Commonwealth’s 211 line has dedicated staff to answer questions about COVID-19.
Please continue to wash your hands regularly and if you have any flu like symptoms, please stay home
until you have been symptom free for 24 hours without medication.
During the month of April, staff continued to work from home, answering reference questions, helping patrons remotely with technology issues, and continuing their professional development. Some are volunteering in some capacity – tutoring, making masks, and participating in a Library of Congress handwriting transcription project. All have mandatory daily self-care practice of their choosing, ranging from exploring yoga and meditation resources on Hoopla and OverDrive to taking webinars on self-care and finding new practices. Some highlights:
Sarah B., Allison C. and Heidi F.began planning a virtual summer reading program (IMAGINE YOUR STORY is the theme);
Cyndi Z. and her son Graham moved D&D online via Discord; Cyndi has sewn over 400 masks;
Allison C., our Teen Librarian, did many social media posts and produced interactive events on FB and published several newsletters for various audiences;
Allie made reader’s advisory readlikes videos on our YouTube channel and has received over 1,000 views;
Jan P. began working on By The People, a Library of Congress project to transcribe handwritten primary source documents, and has been sharing library resources with her grandchildren, and has sewn a LOT of masks.
Jen M.is producing a Baby lapsit storytime — due to publisher restrictions, they are private;
Sarah B. is producing toddler and preschool storytimes and planning summer reading. She advocated very well for using BeanStack and our purchase of a 3-year contract was approved;
Kristin P. has been learning social media and working on virtual programming and read-alouds;
Sandhya S. has been providing STEAM programming and social media posts;
Eileen L. our accounts manager, has continued to pick up mail, get the bills paid, and worked a few days on site;
Donna B-T., our cataloger, is doing database cleanup from home and returned to work a few days a week to deal with receiving and cataloging new books;
Heidi F. is running book group on SLACK and managing the library email account and voicemail with Susan – they are fielding reference questions, helping with expired accounts and getting into Library databases and issuing virtual cards;
Susan L. has done purchasing via OverDrive to keep new content coming! She has also been checking in on volunteers and home delivery recipients;
Marilyn W. has taken an overwhelming number of webinars and shared her knowledge. Please join me in congratulating her to moving from 35 to 20 hours a week to take on a part time clergy gig.
We continue to issue library cards for remote access to library databases and electronic resources.
I have joined the Return to Work team for the Town of Grafton.
I have drafted a press release for reopening — we are getting emails, Facebook messages, and blog post comments asking when we will reopen to the public.
I have drafted a Phased Plan for reopening with input from staff and Town Administration. Current plan is for staff to report June 15 and take book drop returns, and begin no contact curbside pickup/home delivery 2-3 weeks later.
When we open to the public, we would be required to do contact tracing for anyone who enters the building from staff to patrons to service and delivery persons. This is in conflict with ALA guidelines. Even during a public health emergency, libraries should continue to adhere to their mission and stand by the law and ethical standards that govern the provision of library services. Please review: https://chooseprivacyeveryday.org/protecting-privacy-in-a-pandemic-resource-guide/. I would recommend continuing curbside/delivery as long as possible for safety and privacy reasons.
I put together a supply list of sneeze guards, footprints, stand here decals, gloves, gowns, masks and paper bags and shared with the RTW committee – we are trying to centralize ordering. ToG will provide 3 cloth masks per employee and paper masks for the public (when buildings open to the public). We will need gloves and masks for the book drop, 9 sneeze guards, footprints to show a path through the building, stand here signs, and caution tape to block off furniture/rooms.
I have drafted a list of staff returning/working from home (due to age, immuno-compromised status, children at home, and ability to work from home, etc.) and shared with Town Administration and HR. Staff who can continue to work from home have been encouraged to do so.
I have participated in phone/zoom calls and meetings for Board of Health, Library Construction Project, Building Committee, Grafton Community Preservation Plan, and Department Heads as well as RTW committee.
I did advocacy for MA Libraries participating in Virtual Library Legislative Day including sending personal invitations to Rep. Muradian and Senator Moore, and advocating at the national, state, and local for library worker protection and funding.
I participated in 3 webinars:
ALA Connect Live: COVID-19: Well-being of Library Workers
Working Together on Planning, Policy and Legal Issues for Reopening a Public Library: The Board, the Attorney and the Librarian
MBLC Zoom call regarding the MA Public Library Construction Program grant (MPLCP)
Additionally, I was a panelist on a National Library of Medicine webinar “Leading with Compassion during the COVID-19 Crisis”
I did some collection development, ordering materials via Overdrive.
And, as always, managing staff and budget and building and the construction project.
The staff has continued to provide fast service to patrons who contact the library and found creative ways to offer programming.
To clear up some misinformation, our construction site has been continually staffed, and due to 19 days of rain in April, there was a lot of rainwater pooling on site (not contaminated groundwater). As of the end of May, the foundation work has started!
APRIL 2020 STATS
Staff produced 39 programs with 259 views! Adult services hosted 5 online book discussions and co-hosted GUM Jam for a dozen participants. We posted a number of interactive games and activities on Facebook. A report on the Winter Reading Program was forwarded under separate cover on May 6 – We had 202 people register to participate in the program. Since the Library closed before the official end of the event, I will not have total numbers of badge counts until we are back at the Library and give patrons a chance to pick up any unclaimed badges. Allison sent out a Winter Reading Program survey and had 38 patrons respond, including some who did not participate in the program…
CIRCULATION IS DOWN due to our closure. Staff checked out 132 items in April. We circulated 3,010 digital items from OverDrive and Hoopla, a 26% increase from March. We purchased 202 digital ebooks and eaudio for all ages. Bookflix had 344 hits. Tutor.com had 41 hits in April, and we are renewing our contract in July and increasing available hours from 2-9pm to 9am-9pm at no extra cost.
Cyndi did 10 socially distanced notarizations for a neighbor closing on a house; since the Governor signed an emergency order to do virtual notary services, we will use Zoom going forward. No passports, per Department of State. No test proctoring due to closure. No volunteers or museum passes. No computer use, but 97 wifi sessions (at least 8/day were internal from the Folding at Home project).
4/21 Yes, we can set up online chat – we have a widget on our website, and have responded to questions via FB, email, phone and even text message all hours the library was open – 10-9 Mon-Thu and 10-5 Fri & Sat. (took a while to set up!) -BG
4/8 Yes, we have access to the New York Times via Gale databases (it is embargoed — current day not available until the next day) – Go to libraries.state.ma.us -HF
NO LOG 4/28 No, we are not accepting returns yet.
4/22 No, the Library does not yet have a plan for disinfecting books when we re-open -we waiting on guidance from state and national organizations doing research on the longevity of the virus on library materials -BG
4/8 No, we do not have online access to the Wall Street Journal – but you can access with a BPL e-card . -HF
4/21 During the GPL Mystery Book Group: “Thanks Heidi for organizing these reads and for bringing us joy during these stress filled days.”
4/18 “I can’t wait for the addition to be finished! I drive by it everyday and voted for it multiple times.”
4/10 Patron Facebook comment about online toddler storytime: “Luke LOVED it! He watched it twice! Nice to hear a familiar voice again.”
4/3 “Heidi, Thank you so much for going above and beyond to help me with my question. You not only called me twice but also sent me detailed instructions. Since you were able to help me so much, I was able to sign up with Hoopla and Overdrive.”
The Widows of Malabar Hill, inspired by the woman who made history to become India’s first female lawyer, is the first installment of a new mystery series. Sujata Massey introduces us to Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Parsi family living in Bombay of the 1920’s. She attended law school at Oxford, and now works for her father’s firm, but because she is a woman, cannot fill the role of solicitor and appear in court. She instead is tasked with examining paperwork and doing research for contracts, wills, and settlements. She chafes at this, since she is entirely capable of being a full-fledged attorney, but it is simply not done at that time in that place.
She is assigned to review the execution of the will of a wealthy Muslim mill owner, Omar Farid, who has left behind three widows and several children. The widows live in full purdah, strict seclusion, never leaving their home or speaking to any men from the outside. Perveen notices inconsistencies in the signatures on the settlement paperwork, and fearing the wives are being taken advantage of, she is granted permission to speak to them in person for clarification. As a woman, she is uniquely able to do this. But her inquiries spark conflict within the Farid household that escalates to murder. Now she must add that factor to her sleuthing about what is really going on within this cloistered space, as she attempts to ensure the family is protected.
Perveen, a sympathetic heroine, is sharp, strong-willed and independent, but also compassionate, with a painful back-story, fleshed out within a secondary plotline. She fights for justice in a system where women’s rights and relationships shaped by religious and cultural norms are complicated and fraught. These conventions frustrate her, but she is insightful enough to recognize she must stay within the rules to achieve her ends.
The characters are unique and well-described. You sympathize with Perveen as she wages an uphill battle in a man’s world, in which some of her best attributes get her in trouble and are a source of impatience and derision even among those close to her. In this novel of place, the author deftly provides richly drawn cultural and period details of social interaction, architecture, politics and gender dynamics as a backdrop to the drama unfolding in Perveen’s life and that of her clients. Multicultural Bombay comes to life with engaging descriptions of the city itself, the enigmatic world of the Muslim purdah and Parsi cultural traditions, especially as they affect the lives of women.
This story can be enjoyed by both mystery and historical fiction lovers alike. It provides a fascinating setting, engaging characters, a mystery with twists and historical detail in which a strong female lead is both a source of sympathy and admiration. If you enjoy this book, the next in the series is The Satapur Moonstone. For more from this author, you may also want to check out her first set of mysteries, eleven volumes featuring a current day heroine Rei Shimura, set in Tokyo, the first of which is The Salaryman’s Wife.
As a fan of time travel stories, I can say that Oona Out of Order wasn’t among the most thrilling (The Time Traveler’s Wife), or romantic (Outlander) or darkest (Doomsday Book) I have read, but it did contain elements of those terrific reads. What set it apart was a unique wrinkle. The protagonist, Oona Lockhart, at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, as she turns 19, faints and awakens thirty two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. She soon learns that this is her new normal and that every New Year’s Eve the same drama will play out, depositing her in a random year of her life. She is still the same woman, emotionally and mentally, on the inside, but inhabits the body of whatever year the next dislocation brings. These time travel rules seem a little complicated, but you soon get the hang of it as Oona adjusts to her internal vs. external age. And it is quite a romp. Often with no knowledge of the intervening years, the relationships she finds herself in, not to mention the current technologies and pop culture fads, she often is just getting used to things when her birthday rolls around, and she is wrenched to a new existence as the cycle repeats. It is understandable that she struggles to feel grounded, despite supporting characters like her mother Madeleine and confidante Kenzie who serve as guides and attempt to provide her some structure as she faces life’s triumphs and heartbreaks.
Oona Out of Order contains lighthearted elements, poignant moments, and has a dizzying quality as our heroine attempts to negotiate her newly disjointed existence. You come to admire her for facing up to the challenge with wit and self-awareness. She leaves a note for the next iteration of herself every year, but soon finds that following her own advice is of little help. Oona discovers that with some things she can take advantage of knowing the future, such as her finances. Others, like relationships and making important life decisions are a little more difficult to navigate, which serve to highlight the unpredictability and imperfections we all encounter.
I enjoyed the different time travel “rules” and found myself rooting for Oona to make it through the labyrinth her life has become and be happy. The characters are well drawn and there are just enough twists in the plot to keep you going. Not the most dramatic example of the genre, but unique, thought provoking and touching. You want to press on because you never know from one year to the next what unusual complications Oona will face. You want to know how she will manage it, and what will be revealed. An enjoyable, escapist read, even if you aren’t necessarily into time travel. This is more of a story about love, commitment and self discovery than anything else.
The Only Woman in the Room is the fictionalized account of a remarkable woman, Hedwig Kiesler. Set in pre-WWII Austria, this daughter of a Jewish family has begun a career as a stage actress, known for her beauty and talent. Forced into marriage with a notorious arms dealer, as the trophy wife she is privy to many dinner parties and clandestine meetings involving the Nazis and other political and military figures. But her glamour masks a formidable intellect and she absorbs a great deal more than those who dismiss her as an airhead realize.
This is the backstory of the famous Hollywood icon, Hedy Lamarr, who later goes on to display her intellectual abilities in the scientific field. She and her business partner are among the earliest to work on spread spectrum technology to develop radio guidance systems for torpedoes. This glamorous figure had more than one dimension it seems. While starring with the likes of Clark Gable and Cary Grant, her scientific work was drawing the support of figures such as Howard Hughes for this precursor to the wireless communication we use today. She had not been recognized until recently for these and other scientific accomplishments.
The Only Woman in the Room is somewhat of a hybrid Romance-Historical Fiction-Biography. It recounts Lamarr’s journey from Austria to Hollywood, mostly concentrating on her early adult life, unhappy marriage to her controlling and abusive husband and the strange existence of having to be in a nest of vipers, as the accommodating hostess to her husband’s unsavory business associates. The stunning and talented Hedy uses her position in society to actively hide her Jewish roots. The emphasis often is on her beauty, including a lot of descriptions of hair, make-up and clothes. We are treated to her inner thoughts as she navigates her situation as well as her sometimes fraught familial ties.
Despite the fascinating story of Hedy Lamarr, she comes across as somewhat of a lightweight in this telling. Her character is rather watered down. The story lacks more expansive detail and texture, which would have given it, and the characters, more depth and richness. Hedy Lamarr is a brilliant, fascinating and strong female figure, but her characterization here is in contrast to her accomplishments. The emphasis in this book is not on the truly remarkable elements of her story. It becomes difficult to make the leap from early Hedy to Hedy the scientist. If you didn’t know it was based on a true story you might think it an unlikely plot, based on the characters as drawn. The story of her scientific work is given a bit of a short shrift, especially for anyone who likes more detailed and involved historical fiction. The author appears to rush events at the end, when expanding upon them would have fully fleshed out the picture of this fascinating woman.
Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, I did enjoy the book. I had a vague knowledge of Hedy Lamar’s interesting background but was not familiar with the specifics. Some in my book group were totally surprised by the story and were inspired to look into Lamarr’s life in greater detail and read other accounts. This is a testament to Marie Benedict’s ability to spark interest in a topic. I personally think all good historical fiction has the potential to do just this. If you enjoy The Only Woman in the Room, and would like to know more, you might be interested in Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes, Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Shearer or an or an autobiography: Ecstasy and Me, My Life as a Woman. You might also try other books by Marie Benedict in which she has shined light on hidden roles of women in history such as Carnegie’s Maid and The Other Einstein.
I recently came across an oldie on my bookshelf, The Transit of Venus, by Shirley Hazzard, and read a few basic reviews. They were for the most part glowing, and the book was the 1980 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Shirley Hazzard is an Australian-born writer of both fiction and non-fiction know for her distinct style of prose. The writing is beautiful, almost reminiscent of an earlier period when phrasing was often more lyrical, almost poetic. Using exquisite language, with complex construction and nuance, she does have a way of capturing a character’s thoughts, a complex situation, or a point of view which I found unique and clever.
The Transit of Venus is a love story, albeit a gloomy version of the genre. It is the story of two orphaned Australian girls who, upon entering adulthood post WWII, escape to England away from the overbearing, narcissistic female relative who has begrudgingly raised them. What follows charts the course of their and loves and losses over the next 30 years. Caro is a dynamic, glamorous soul with accompanying drama. Introverted Grace settles into a more conventional situation. Sprinkled throughout are a series of wholly unappealing lovers and husbands.
The plot is rather shallow, because it takes a back seat to the prose, and the lack of weight and clarity left me unsatisfied. The characters were an unhappy, brooding, unfaithful and unappealing lot. Their portraits obtuse, I found myself not caring about them. The saga launches ahead in time to the 1960s and ‘70s with an introductory list of a few famous events which occurred during those decades. But despite her obvious facility, the author doesn’t successfully evoke those times.
Her use of the language is impressive by any measure, but Ms Hazzard is an acquired taste. I often found myself really having to concentrate to follow her. This isn’t in itself a bad thing. But it got in the way of me enjoying the book. The fancy wording, delightful and insightful as it often was, did not always enhance the story. I actually like a lot a description in a book and I don’t mind having to consult a dictionary, but it turned into a bit of a chore. Almost self-indulgent, it was a little too clever by half. The dialog was too elegant and cerebral to be believable. Who talks that way?
To be fair, I did read it piecemeal, a chapter each night, so I never really got on a roll. Perhaps with larger chunks of time devoted to it, I would have gotten into the flow of her style. It just required a little too much perseverance for a novel. Shirley Hazzard, who passed away in 2016, is considered to be a brilliant writer and I was fascinated and impressed with her wordsmithery. I was starting to get the hang of it in the latter stages, but admit I was impatient to finish.
I personally would not recommend this book, but I am in the minority. Lovers of literature consider this one of their favorites. So if that dichotomy piques your curiosity it may be worth a try. You will know immediately in the first few pages whether or not the writing style is for you. The story in itself isn’t very gripping or interesting. You will find no mystery, drama, passionate romance, or twisting plot lines. But a few pages in, if you find yourself captivated by the stylings of Shirley Hazzard, you may enjoy The Transit of Venus.
Age of Learning is providing you with free at-home access with the unique code SCHOOL4374 to their online learning programs ABCmouse, Adventure Academy, and ReadingIQ while your child’s school is closed. These research-based educational programs include thousands of digital learning activities, and they can help preschool, pre-k, elementary, and middle school students keep learning while schools are closed. All three programs can be used on computers, tablets, and smartphones, and you can add up to three children per account!
ABC Mouse – PreK-grade 2
A selection of online books, educational games, puzzles, art activities, and printables for preschool and early elementary students.
Direct Link: https://www.abcmouse.com/redeem
Looking for something to do while you’re staying at home? Try our Stay-at-Home Bingo! Whether you complete a few activities, get a bingo, or go for them all – use these activities to help pass the time. Our pink bingo board is for teens and adults and our yellow board is for kids and families.
Links to additional resources to help you complete prompts are after the bingo boards.
This is an at-home activity and opportunity to connect with other crafters and sewers for a good cause!
Make a face mask to prevent the spread of germs. Create one for yourself, your family members, or hospitals/medical offices in need! Watch the video tutorial below, then connect with those in need. Post a comment here, or visit the DIY Face Mask Event Page and post a photo of what you made.
Use a tightly woven fabric (100% cotton – sheets or flannel suggested)
Keep in mind face masks will be worn by all genders.
Elastic can be purchased online through Joanne’s Fabrics, Michael’s or AC Moore. One of the many suggestions, however, is that fabric ties are more comfortable and last longer after frequent laundering than elastic if you want to find a video with directions using those instead.