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Monday, June 30, 2014

For Family Researchers

Are you interested in your family's history? If so, we have many resources to get your started in genealogical research, including books, found in the 929 section. There is also an online resource, Ancestry.com, which you can log into here at the Library. Other Library online resources include Newsbank's America's GenealogyBank and America's Obituary and Death Notices, which can be accessed in the Library and from your home computer (you will need your valid Nesmith Library card for account authentication).

Additional resources links can be found on our website here.

A little-known resource is In the First Person An Index of Letter, Diaries, Oral Histories and Personal Narratives.
In the First Person is a free, high quality, professionally published, in-depth index of close to 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world.

It lets you keyword search more than 700,000 pages of full-text by more than 18,000 individuals from all walks of life. It also contains pointers to some 4,300 audio and video files and 30,000 bibliographic records.

The index contains approximately 20,500 months of diary entries, 63,000 letter entries, and 17,000 oral history entries.

Stop by the Library to browse our genealogy sections (nonfiction or Reference).

Photo of "unidentified soldier in Union frock coat holding Company G, 12th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment forage cap," courtesy Library of Congress.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Helen Keller!

Helen Keller was born on this day in 1880. I don't believe she needs any introduction, except to say she was one remarkable woman!

Noted poet, Langston Hughes, wrote this poem about Keller, which serves as a nice birthday tribute today:
Helen Keller

In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul's own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes [811 HUG].

Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Buffy's Blog. Enjoy your weekend!

Photo courtesy Library of Congress. Although the bearded gentleman on the porch in the photo looks a lot like Walt Whitman, it's not. The photo is from 1907 and Whitman died in 1892.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


The two best things about summer are ripe tomatoes and fresh picked peaches. There's nothing that beats a warm juicy peach! If you eat enough of them, you'll have plenty of peach pits. And what can you do with a peach pit besides grow another tree? You can carve it into a miniature work of art. Here's a man who does just that:

If you decide to plant your peach pit, look for The Fruit Gardener's Bible by Lewis Hill [634 HIL] to show you how.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Fun!

Now that the kids have been off for a few days, the novelty of a summer without school may be beginning to wear off. Here's where the Library comes in--tomorrow we have the 2014 Summer Reading Kick-Off Party. Between 1:00 and 3:00, kids can register for Summer Reading, make crafts, nibble on snacks, fill out raffle tickets, and enjoy the Toe Jam Puppet Band! No registration is required. The afternoon of activities is made possible through the sponsorship of our Friends of the Library of Windham [FLOW].

On Friday it the teens' turn for a Summer Reading Kick-Off Party. It will take place between 1:00 and 3:00 and will include mentalist, Christopher Bolter. Teens will have the opportunity to make their own ice cream sundaes! Participants can win door prizes and book bucks. No registration is required. This party, too, is generously sponsored by FLOW.

At the Library, we like to encourage kids to read whatever interests them, however, if you child needs to read from an assigned list of titles, please be sure to bring the list with you when you visit. Although we try to order titles that the Library doesn't already own, in some cases, we are not given the lists until too late to receive them in a timely manner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More About Birds

Yesterday, I posted about backyard accommodations for birds. I also came across an online poster for kids (and adults, too) about Minnesota's common birds and their songs. Here in New Hampshire we have many of the same birds. I found the poster helped me identify the source of the birdsongs I hear outside my window, but have no clue as to which bird is doing the singing! (If you have a slow internet connection, you may want to skip this poster. If you do connect, please click on the bird and WAIT a few seconds, keeping your cursor in place. The birdsong will start and will continue--it is not a quick chirp--so that you can hear the full range of song. Patience is the key.)

In addition to many field guides to birds, we also have materials that feature birdsongs and other bird communication.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Facebook--It's Not Just for Crazy Cat Videos

Okay, I admit it, I love the cat videos I've seen on Facebook. However, I more often come across information of real use. The other day a friend (not just a FB friend), posted a link to an article titled, "Why Put Stones in Your Bird Bath?". It was simple idea--by putting stones in the water, you could save the life of a water sodden baby bird. I guess it should be obvious, but sometimes simple truths are the ones that are hardest to discover.

Our collection contains many books on designing bird feeders, backyard wild life refuges, and water features for gardens. Here are four:

Meisel, Paul. Bird-Friendly Nest Boxes & Feeders: 12 Easy-to-Build Designs That Attract Birds to Your Yard. [690.892 MEI]

Needham, Bobbe. Beastly Abodes: Homes For Birds, Bats, Butterflies & Other Backyard Wildlife. [690.892 NEE]

Nilsson, Malin. Concrete Garden Projects Easy & Inexpensive Containers, Furniture, Water Features & More. [3M ebook]

Projects for the Birder's Garden: Over 100 Easy Things That You Can Make to Turn Your Yard and Garden into a Bird-Friendly Haven. [639.978 PRO]

I also encourage you to "like" the Nesmith Library's Facebook pages, where we post links to information, and also to our events. Nesmith Library main page. Nesmith Library Toddlers page. Nesmith Library Teens page.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Poetry Friday--School Is Out!

Today's the last day of school! Summer's here in full force with sunshine streaming forth.

This is the perfect day for a little poem by John Ciardi from the anthology, A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets [J 811.54 JAR]:
Summer Song

By the sand between my toes,
By the waves behind my ears,
By the sunburn on my nose,
By the salty little tears
That make rainbows in the sun
When I squeeze my eyes and run,
By the way the seagulls screech,
Guess where I am? At the.....!
By the way the children shout
Guess what happened? School is.....!
By the way I sing this song
Guess if summer lasts too long:
You must answer Right or.....!

Kids have a week to relax before the Summer Reading Program, Fizz Boom Read!, begins in earnest, so have some fun at the beach and sing a summer song!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Jone at Check It Out.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


We have the National Gallery in Washington, DC, which collects many artistic masterpieces. It's website is colorful and attractive, but I think the BBC website titled Your Paintings: Uncovering the Nation's Art Collections is heads above the NGA in its general appeal to public. It invites active engagement with the site visitor, which in turn leads to return visits. It also provides basic information about art with its Art Guide, an "easy-to-understand guide covers over 40 artistic styles and movements."

One of the features on the Your Paintings site, is an opportunity for the public to contribute to "tagging" the art, for example, if you were to tag the photo below, you might label it with "beach," "sailboat," "umbrella," "swimmer," "hair care," etc.

I think Your Paintings would be a great way to occupy the time of a young artist over the upcoming summer vacation! (That and visiting our art books here at the Library!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Visitor at the Library

Last evening, as dusk was beginning, we had a visitor outside the library. A handsome gray fox prowled the edges of the woods. I doubt it was interested in reading, but, if it had been, it may have enjoyed one of these:

Banks, Kate. Fox. [JP BAN]

Dodd, Emma. Foxy in Love. [JP DOD]

Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Zelda and Ivy: The Big Picture. [E KVA]

Marshall, James. Fox Outfoxed. [E MAR]

Wiley, Melissa. Fox and Crow Are Not Friends. [3M ebook]

Willems, Mo. That Is Not a Good Idea! [JP WIL]

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Battle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill (also referred to as the Battle of Breed's Hill) took place June 16-17, 1775. As one of the first battles in the American Revolutionary War, it was the one that let the British know that the Americans were a force to be reckoned with.

Massachusetts writer and historian, J. L. Bell has been posting over the past few days, at Boston 1775, about participants in the Battle. It makes for interesting reading. A history of the battle can be found in Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution [973.3312 PHI, AB/CD 973.3312 PHI, and 3M ebook].

New Hampshire citizens played a role in the battle, too. Every NH 4th grader can probably tell you about John Stark and his participation. We have several items which cover NH's role, one of which is Frederic Kidder's History of the First New Hampshire Regiment in the War of the Revolution [and] Henry Moore Baker's New Hampshire at the Battle of Bunker Hill [973.3 KID], our facsimile edition was published in 1973.

It has long been told that the powder and arms seized at Fort William and Mary in New Castle, NH, six months before, were used in the Battle of Bunker Hill. You can read more about the capture of the fort here.

Map courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Belated Happy Father's Day!

Yesterday was Father's Day as you all know. I hope it's not too late, however, to share this Father's Day video with you:


Otters are fairly intelligent little mammals I guess, and, they've made great subjects for a number of children's books including this unusual one: Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners by Laurie Keller [JP KEL]
Mr. Rabbit wonders if he will be able to get along with his new neighbors, who are otters, until he is reminded of the golden rule.

Look for informational titles about otters in J 599.769.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Poetry Friday--Roller Coaster

On this day in 1884, the world's first roller coaster, built by LaMarcus Thompson, opened in Coney Island. For five cents a rider could get the thrill of a lifetime on the ride that was called the "Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway."

Roller coasters are vastly popular even today, as evidenced by the screams coming from Canobie Lake Park* on a summer's night! The Yankee Cannonball Coaster is an old-fashioned wooden coaster that has been at the park for decades. The ride requires that a rider be a minimum of 48" tall, and I'm willing to bet that for years now, children have considered reaching that height, and being able to take a ride on the coaster, as a right of passage.

Here's a poem by Lisel Mueller, which considers a ride on a roller coaster without getting sick, as another right of passage moment:

There is less difficulty--indeed, no logical difficulty at all--in
imagining two portions of the universe, say two galaxies, in which
time goes one way in one galaxy and the opposite way in the
other....Intelligent beings in each galaxy would regard their own
time as "forward" and time in the other galaxy as "backward."
--Martin Gardner, in Scientific American

Somewhere now she takes off the dress I am
putting on. It is evening in the antiworld
where she lives. She is forty-five years away
from her death, the hole which spit her out
into pain, impossible at first, later easing,
going, gone. She has unlearned much by now.
Her skin is firming, her memory sharpens,
her hair has grown glossy. She sees without glasses,
she falls in love easily. Her husband has lost his
shuffle, they laugh together. Their money shrinks,
but their ardor increases. Soon her second child
will be young enough to fight its way into her
body and change its life to monkey to frog to
tadpole to cluster of cells to tiny island to
nothing. She is making a list:
         Things I will need in the past
                 transistor radio
                 Sergeant Pepper
                 acne cream
                 five-year diary with a lock
She is eager, having heard about adolescent love
and the freedom of children. She wants to read
Crime and Punishment and ride on a roller coaster
without getting sick. I think of her as she will
be at fifteen, awkward, too serious. In the
mirror I see she uses her left hand to write,
her other to open a jar. By now our lives should
have crossed. Somewhere sometime we must have
passed one another like going and coming trains,
with both of us looking the other way.

From Alive Together: New and Selected Poems [811.54 MUE].

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted today by Catherine Johnson. See you there!

*Salem/Windham Appreciation Day, with $15 Admission for residents of these two towns, is Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Soccer Rules!

Soccer rules in most nations around the world, just not, in the United States. That doesn't mean there aren't ardent soccer fans in this country who are interested in the World Cup! The World Cup games begin today and continue through to July 13. World Cup fever is running high, especially with those who have family and friends in other countries. Everything you need to know about the games is found on the official FIFA website.

Google Maps has a special feature called Brazil's Painted Streets, which shows the Brazilian peoples' love for World Cup soccer that is expressed every four years in a special way!

We have lots and lots of soccer-related materials on our shelves--everything from a kids' soccer dog story (You Lucky Dog by Matt Christopher [J CHR]) to DVDs on soccer skills training (Backyard Soccer Drills [DVD 796.334 BAC]).

Logo from sportskeeda, which has it displayed as part of "FIFA World Cup--Official logos (1930-2022)".

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


If you're a user of Facebook, you probably end up viewing a lot of baby animal videos, or reading stories that require 3 tissues to make it through to the end. On occasion, something comes through that actually makes you stop and think. One such post came through for me this week from Susan Cain is the author of the bestselling Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking [155.232 CAI, also 3M ebook]. Cain talked about how teachers are learning that "quiet" kids are often more thoughtful than the hand-waving, "Me Me!" class sharer, and that insisting that all kids must be more active in class, may not be a good teaching strategy. Look for her post of June 10 that begins, "Teachers at Greenwich Academy in Connecticut have incorporated the lessons of Quiet into their curriculum!"

Cain has an informative TED talk on introverts that you can watch below:

Little Dancer Part 2

Yesterday I posted about Degas's "Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer," a bronze depiction of a ballerina. The sculpture can be viewed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. (Reserve our Library Museum Pass here.)

If you take your kids to the MFA to see the Little Dancer, look for Degas and the Little Dancer: A Story about Edgar Degas by Laurence Anholt [JP ANH], Marie in Fourth Position: The Story of Degas's "The Little Dancer" by Amy Littlesugar [JP LIT], or Degas and the Dance: The Painter and the Petits Rats, Perfecting Their Art by Susan Goldman Rubin [J 759.4 RUB] before you go.

The Little Dancer is a popular subject for writers for children, and she even appears in at least one adult novel that I know of, The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [F BUC, also 3M ebook]. Here's the publisher's summary:
1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of "civilized society." In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.
I read the book and it is well-written, thought provoking, and would make for a great book discussion group choice.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Little Dancer

Edgar Degas created the sculpture, La petite danseuse de quatorze ans (Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer) in the late 1800s. A bronze casting was made after 1921 and it resides today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Other materials include gauze, used in the tutu, and satin, which is the ribbon in the girl's hair.

Recently, the Little Dancer was moved from where it was being shown as part of the "Boston Loves Impressionism" exhibition. The exhibit included 30 works voted upon by the people of Boston as their favorites out of 50 selected from the MFA's collection. The exhibit closed on May 26 and the Little Dancer was moved into the Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery of European Impressionism, which reopened last Wednesday after being closed for renovation.

Make it a point to borrow the Library's Museum Pass (donated to us by the Friends of the Library of Windham) and visit the Little Dancer where you'll see she's none the worse for her journey on a dolly!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Night of Battle"

It's been 70 years since the invasion of Normandy, otherwise known as D-Day.

War is cruel and hardest on the common man. For today, I'm sharing a poem from an anthology published in 1978, The Poetry Anthology, 1912-1977: Sixty-Five Years of America's Most Distinguished Verse Magazine [811.08 POE]. The poem is by Yvor Winters, a poet I wasn't familiar with. There's a brief biography here. It turns out that although I didn't know Winters, I do know of many he taught at Stanford University--Donald Hall, Thom Gunn, and Robert Pinsky among others.
Night of Battle

Europe: 1944
as considered from a great distance

Impersonal the aim
Where giant movements tend;
Each man appears the same;
Friend vanishes from friend.

In the long path of lead
That changes place like light
No shape of hand or head
Means anything tonight.

Only the common will
For which explosion spoke
And stiff on field and hill
The dark blood of the folk.

First published in Poetry magazine, December 1946.

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up head over to Carol's Corner.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Remembering D-Day

Caption: General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the day, "Full victory--nothing else" to paratroopers somewhere in England, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe. Date: June 5, 1944. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces. Although novels and films focus on heroes and their feats, it is also good to remember the frontline soldiers and sailors, without them, the invasion could not have succeeded. There were many casualties--more than 9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded--and for that we still mourn, even after 70 years.

The campaign, like Gettysburg in the Civil War, has been written about and filmed extensively.

Yoga for Little Ones

Oops, this should have posted yesterday, but somehow it didn't, and a meeting yesterday morning took me away from the library, so I didn't catch it in time!

On Monday we had YogaPlay for Tots, led by Annika Klescinsky, which appeared to be a whole lot of fun for toddlers and moms. (We have more photos up on Facebook.)

If you missed the session, or if you want to continue yoga with your little one, look for one of these items from our collection (this is only a partial list of what is available on the subject):

de Brunhoff, Laurent. Babar's Yoga for Elephants. [JP BRU]

Harper, Jennifer Cohen. Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance. [FT 613.7 HAR]

Luby, Thia. Children's Book of Yoga: Games & Exercises Mimic Plants & Animals & Objects. [J 613.7 LUB]

Whitford, Rebecca. Sleepy Little Yoga. [JP WHI]

Yoo, Taeeun. You Are a Lion!: And Other Fun Yoga Poses. [JP YOO]

Monday, June 02, 2014

Book Discussion Groups

Love her or hate her, there’s one thing about Oprah that can’t be denied—she is responsible for the ongoing interest in book discussion groups around the country. We have a number of book groups in Windham that meet in private homes, and there are at least two groups that meet at the Library each month. These groups all utilize the Library to find multiple copies of books for their participants. We are fortunate to be a part of the GMILCS consortium, with its dozen member libraries to help us fill requests. We’re also a part of the state of New Hampshire’s interlibrary loan program and through cooperative borrowing we can often fulfill book group requests.

There is also another service in NH that is provided through the generosity of New Hampshire Library Association, NH public libraries, civic groups, and book clubs—READS-TO-GO.

READS-TO-GO, overseen by a volunteer committee of librarians, provides book discussion kits containing 15 books and discussion questions, to libraries and book groups throughout New Hampshire. Books found in the kits have been vetted by the committee and are considered highly discussable. New kits contain recently published books that are in high demand. Kits from the service’s beginnings, back in 2007, may contain books that are no longer "hot," but are still very discussable. There are currently 125 titles to chose from! More information about READS-TO-GO can be found here . Kits may be reserved and borrowed by a Nesmith Library cardholder. Please contact the Library at 432-7154 and ask to speak with Lois Freeston.

The Nesmith Library currently houses these five READS-TO-GO kit titles:

The READS-TO-GO site also contains discussion questions that are available for anyone to use. Good online sources for book discussion questions are LitLovers and Reading Group Guides. Links to other resources may be found on the READS-TO-GO site.

If you’re a member of a civic or discussion group, or, if you want to contribute to the continued success of the READS-TO-GO service, consider picking up the costs of a new kit (approximately $180). Your book club will be the first to use the kit! (Email Diane Mayr dmayr@nesmithlibrary.org for more information.)