Message to the Marblehead Community from the Abbot Public Library – Current and Upcoming Services

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As we begin our third month offering curbside pickup service, as a way for patrons to safely borrow books, DVDs and other tangible items from our collections, we have been gratified by your very positive response to this structured individualized service. Most recently, funds generously provided by the Friends of Abbot Library have allowed us to add a new online system, to our curbside service, providing the ease and convenience of scheduling your pickup time, yourself, online. 

Looking ahead, health and safety priorities for both patrons and staff, in the new world of COVID-19, will continue to guide all our decisions regarding the introduction of in-building services. We envision this process as gradual and selective, to include browsing of newly acquired materials, access to computers and printers, and availability of copiers – all by individual appointment. We are eager to open our doors to you and are working hard to prepare our spaces and design procedures to safely offer these services, while continuing our curbside service in a more sheltered setting, as the weather turns cooler.

The date we reopen for in-building services (which will be by appointment only) will depend on the timetable for two major projects being undertaken to protect the health of patrons and staff.

We expect that our building will be ready for initial in-building services in the second half of October. The actual date will be largely dependent upon the timetable for two major projects being undertaken to protect the health of patrons and staff. One project is the fabrication and installation of plexiglass enclosures for all four of our public service areas. The second is the thorough cleaning of the library’s air circulation duct system, which will significantly improve both air flow and air quality. 

To help us in making sure that we use our limited resources to best match our users’ service priorities, we have created a survey for you to give us your input. You will be able to access this survey via the link on our websitewww.abbotlibrary.org — as an attachment to the email being sent to all our active Marblehead cardholders, and, in paper format, in our curbside service location at the back entrance to the Library. Please take a few minutes to complete and return our survey. Your valued responses will guide us, as we move forward! 

We sincerely thank you for your patience and support as we reshape our services to meet your needs, in this unprecedented time.

Post-Turkey Viewing: Holiday Movies on hoopla – And Don’t Forget Your Bonus Borrows!

With Thanksgiving Day nearly upon us, we here at the Abbot Public Library are beginning to think about our post-prandial plans. Wash the dishes—tick. Take a long walk—tick. Eat pie—tick, tick. And after that? Get cozy with some films that’ll help get us in the mood for the rest of the holiday season—big tick. If you’d like to join us, read on!

Thankfully, hoopla has anticipated our cravings and has curated a collection of 62 “Best of Holiday” titles. There’s a smorgasbord to choose from. Of course, there are the romances: some from Lifetime, and at least one from Harlequin (A Very Country Christmas). Kids’ options abound, with everything from Caillou’s Holiday Movie to the family-friendly, dog-centered Alone for Christmas—which is also a Bonus Borrow title through the end of this month! You can also catch some of the BBC series Christmas specials you may have missed: Call the Midwife: Christmas Special 2018, The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass, and Murdoch Mysteries: Home for the Holidays.

Indulge in some classics like the 1955 Miracle on 34th Street and The Snowman, or watch the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Henry Winkler in One Christmas, which is based on an autobiographical short story by Truman Capote.

And if, after the tribulations of 2020, you just need a holiday-themed laugh, we have you covered. For ex-con shenanigans, try All Is Bright, starring Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Hawkins. Or join a New Zealand family as they attempt to return Santa to the North Pole in Kiwi Christmas.

If you’re running low on borrows this month, don’t forget that you can watch, read, or listen to anything in hoopla’s special Bonus Borrows collection through the end of November—without using any of your monthly allotment!

If you’re new to hoopla, you can visit our FAQs page to get started. If you do not have a library card, go here.

Happy holiday watching to you and yours!

Marblehead Racial Justice Team Will Be Hosting A New Conversations on Race Event This Monday, November 16th!

In the past, Abbot Public Library has teamed up with the Marblehead Racial Justice Team to bring our patrons a series of events, and we’re pleased to announce we’ve added a program, to take place Monday, November 17th, starting at 7:00 pm: Continuing Conversations on Race: What does it mean to “Do the Work?” 

You will be able to access the event on Zoom by clicking this link or by dialing +1 929 205 6099 from the New York Time Zone (for other time zones, click here to find the right number to dial) and enter the following Meeting ID: 463 613 7679. 

Find out more about the program in the description below!

Over the last few months there have been more and louder calls for us to “Do the Work.” But what is the work we can personally undertake? Our conversation will begin with a general discussion of the current state of racial justice in Marblehead and in Massachusetts and what work needs to be done. We will consider work to address systemic racism, both in our society and in ourselves.

Then, in smaller groups, we will discuss what our personal vision for racial justice is, and some actions we will take to advance that vision. To conclude, we will share our visions and actions, and perhaps we will hear some ideas that will prompt us to add a few more to our own lists.

Please join us for an invigorating conversation and some ideas to start “Doing the Work” for racial justice.

These ongoing conversations are a safe and welcoming place in which we explore our own privilege and biases, our questions, and continue to learn and grow by hearing each other’s stories so that we can best make a difference. It is a place for listening, conversation, and engagement.

Discuss the Poetry of Rita Dove This Sunday At APL’s Virtual Poetry Salon!

Join Marblehead poet Claire Keyes on Zoom this Sunday, November 15th, from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm for a friendly conversation about the poetry of Rita Dove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The first African-American U.S. Poet Laureate, Dove was also the first woman to fill the position, and the youngest at 41. She is known not only for the layered eloquence of her language and ideas but also for portraying the black experience, both on a personal and collective front.

Access the Zoom event at 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 15th by clicking this link or by dialing +1-929-205-6099 from the New York Time Zone (if you’re in a different time zone, find out what number to call here) and entering the following information: 

Meeting ID: 960 3810 8180

Passcode: 497729

Dove’s book, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, will be the primary focus of Sunday’s Salon, which we have in print format to reserve for Curbside Pickup (please carefully read these instructions if you’re new to our Curbside Pickup Service). This event is free and open to the public. We hope to see (or hear) you there!

New in Nonfiction: Spine-Tingling True Spy Stories

If you find spy stories thrilling and captivating, the Abbot Public Library has recommendations from our newest collection additions.

Our previous post on nonfiction spy stories introduced brilliant British historian and writer Ben Macintyre. His series of books on 20th century espionage were very highly regarded.

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy is Ben Macintyre’s newest book, very much anticipated by his numerous readers and fans. It is a story of the most celebrated female spy (alias Agent Sonya), who had worked for the Soviet Union. Her long (1907-2000), very effective espionage work, full of many accomplishments, and her colorful personal life make her an excellent subject for a nonfiction spy thriller. Ben Macintyre has excelled at creating a narrative centered around this very complex and extraordinary person. You can find a review in The New York Times here. Reserve a print copy for Curbside Pickup or check it out in ebook format on Overdrive.

Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs by Nancy Greenspan is a biography of one of the most infamous spies of the Cold War, another true-life story of a spy who belonged to the same ring as Agent Sonya. 

A brilliant scientist and a Nazi fighter, Klaus Fuchs immigrated to Great Britain and soon joined the atomic bomb research project… at the same time handing the materials over to the Russians. Unlike previous biographies of Klaus Fuchs, Greenspan’s book features a biographical account of a very complex character, portraying him as a passionate person with very strong ideological beliefs that motivated him to share secrets with Cold War enemies of the British and Americans. Very well researched due to access to numerous German, British, and American archives, as well as Fuchs’s correspondences, the story, full of tension, captures readers entirely. Here is The New York Times review.

In addition to spies, the library also owns books on American spymasters and the Intelligence Agency itself, their accomplishments and failures:

Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes is an incredible story of the CIA and the British Intelligence Service cooperation in cracking the most damaging spy ring of the Cold War in the 1960s. Barnes uses tools and his skills as a fiction writer to make this real-life story as fast-paced and compelling as fiction.

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War: A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson, war correspondent and writer, is a story of the spying world during WWII and, later, the Cold War, through the eyes and lives of four remarkable, very talented American spies who helped shape the earliest CIA operations. Read The New York Times review here.

The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future by Chris Whipple is a fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the CIA recounted through the actions of its directors. The book is well-documented and based on interviews with every living CIA director. It delivers an informative history of the agency, describing how it works and what the director’s job is.

Reflecting on some of the operational failures, the author proposes some reforms to improve the agency’s performance. Here is a NYT review.

As always, these books can be reserved through the library, either in print or digital format, and sometimes both. 

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/the Libby app with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for Curbside Pickup.

Register Now For Our Virtual Pastel Painting Workshop!

“Snail Mail” by Janet Schwartz

You can now register for our limited virtual workshop, Fearless Pastel Painting with Janet Schwartz! Eight participants will be led by the presenter on Friday, November 20th through a two-hour workshop from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm using provided pastels. 

Register online here or by calling 781-631-1481, Ext. 201 during Curbside Pickup Hours (Mon-Fri 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Sat 9:30 am – Noon & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm). If you call in, please make sure you speak directly to a staff person so we cannot guarantee you a spot! After you register, you will receive information about how to pick up your free! pastel kit in our Curbside Pickup location, as well as how to access the event via Zoom (you will need a computer or iPad in order to participate). 

This program is funded by the generous support of the Marblehead Cultural Council. 

Read the full description of our event on our website or join the Facebook event!

Something to Be Thankful For: November Is Bonus Borrows Month on hoopla!

Believe it or not, there have been some good things about 2020. In the spring and summer of this year, hoopla introduced a hugely popular Bonus Borrows initiative, meaning that patrons could borrow from a generous group of titles in various formats without using any of their monthly borrowing allowance. Guess what? The Bonus Borrows are back!

Just in time for the longer autumnal evenings ahead, you’re being treated to over a thousand new titles to choose from in five formats: audiobook, ebook, movie, television, and comic book. In the “Bonus Borrows – Nov 2020 – All Audiobooks” category, you’ll find a number of classics in both adult and children’s fiction. What better time than now to catch up on that book you’ve meant to read since high school, or to introduce your kids to beloved favorites? Sign on for the literary adventure that is Moby Dick or get a taste of thwarted love in Edwardian America with The Age of Innocence. For the little ones, Beatrix Potter is well-represented, with classic titles like The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and The Tailor of Gloucester on offer.

If you’d prefer to read rather than listen, then you’ve also got an ample curated collection of ebooks to choose from: “Bonus Borrows – Nov 2020 – All eBooks.” Here, you can browse some cozy seasonal offerings from the likes of Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott or go on an adventure with Jules Verne in Around the World in 80 Days—and of course, there are 257 titles to try, modern books included.

With the 358 films included in “Bonus Borrows – Nov 2020 – All Movies,” there’s something to please every viewer, as holiday movies, documentaries, and features are all well-represented. There’s so much on offer that you’ll just have to take a look yourself! The TV Bonus Borrows selections have an educational focus, which may be particularly welcome right now.

And if all of that isn’t enough, hoopla has truly outdone itself in the comics category, offering two different collections, one with standalone titles and first volumes, and another with “Series You’ll Love”. Truly a feast for the eye!

So, in this season that celebrates abundance, make sure that you take advantage of all the goodness on offer through November 30! If you are new to hoopla, please visit our FAQs page to learn how to set up your account. And if you don’t yet have a Marblehead library card, you can start your adventure here!

Have a Household Party This Halloween!

If you’re planning on playing it safe and staying in this Halloween, it’s not too late to plan a household party. 

The most important part of a Halloween party is making it look good. Learn how to craft costumes, create decorations, or just make some fun crafts to celebrate on Halloween. You can even draw and color Halloween pictures with your kids!

Music makes the perfect backdrop for Halloween crafting or cooking and baking up some Halloween treats. The music on hoopla is available with no wait! Choose from any of the titles here and enjoy the sounds of the spooky season. To make sure the music is child-appropriate, simply click “Children’s titles only” to the left. 

There are plenty of cookbooks with delicious spooky Halloween treats you can check out on Overdrive/Libby and hoopla. Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook is in ebook format on Overdrive and hoopla, complete with almost 100 recipes, each with a full-color photo, of frightening delights such as Boneyard Dirt Pops, Spiderweb Black Bean Burgers, Chilling Jack-o’-Lantern Smoothies, and more, and it even has tips for setting up a Halloween buffet. Include the Pillsbury Dough Boy in your celebration with Pillsbury Halloween Fun! Below are some more cookbooks with recipes for main dishes, deserts, beverages, and more to make your Halloween full of delicious fun! 

Check out this collection of children’s Holidays & Celebrations Halloween ebooks with more ways to celebrate on Saturday with the family!

Celebrate National Cat Day With These Cat Stories!

October 29th is National Cat Day, and what better way to appreciate cats than a good cat book? Take a look at our previous blog post, Cat Stories To Purr-use!, or browse through the titles below! 

If you’re feline like a good cozy, Rita Mae Brown and Lilian Jackson Braun both have a series of cozy mysteries with cats! The Mrs. Murphey Series by Rita Mae Brown, which you can check out in ebook or e-audio format, features Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her cat, Mrs. Murphy in the small town of Crozet, Virginia. In the first title, Wish You Were Here, victims receive a postcard with a tombstone and the message, “Wish you were here,” before being found dead. Mrs. Murphy and her corgi companion, Tucker, help find clues to save their human friend.

In Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series (previously mentioned in Cat Stories To Purr-use!), read or listen along as Jim Qwilleran solves mysteries with her siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum in Pickax City, Moose County, Michigan. 

Black cats have the unfortunate connection with bad luck if they cross your path. In Black Cats and Superstitions, Chloe Rhodes explores the stories behind legends and superstitions and how fear of the supernatural leads people to performing rituals and wearing or hanging talismans to repel evil spirits.

Positive Magic: Nonfiction About Witches and Witchcraft

We previously discussed fiction titles featuring witches, including popular titles such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling and Hocus Pocus, the movie and the ebook/e-audiobook (on Overdrive or hoopla); as well as some lesser known titles which include Hannah Abigail Clarke’s novel The Scapegracers or Hallmark Channel’s romance movie The Good Witch.

If you want to learn facts about witchcraft, check out the following nonfiction books. Discover the different traditions and practices of witchcraft, spells you can cast, crystals to help enhance your spiritual energies, and more!

The Witches’ Almanac is a yearly publication founded in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper, modeled after the Farmers’ Almanac. This publication features not only time-specific information such as the annual Moon Calendar (weather forecasts and horoscopes), but also legends, rituals, herbal secrets, mystic incantations, interviews, and stories that are relevant and interesting even after the dates for the issue have passed. If you want to know this year’s moon calendar, check out the Spring 2020 – Spring 2021 issue

How do you know if you’re a witch? What are the different practices of witchcraft? The Weiser Field Guide to Witches: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, from Salem to the Land of Oz by Judika Illes answers these and more questions you may have about the subject, and the book introduces witches from fiction and real life. Gabriela Herstik’s Inner Witch: a Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft is a handy introduction to various aspects of witchcraft, including understanding the meaning of the different tarot cards, learning the different chakras, creating your own grimoire and altar, using herbs and crystals for divination, and more. 

Below are some other nonfiction titles you can check out to learn more about these subjects. The print books can be reserved now for Curbside Pickup after staff return to the building on November 2nd.

also on hoopla in e-audiobook format

Popular Titles on CD Audio at APL

Everyone has been saying that 2020 has been an “unprecedented” year, and they’re not wrong. Here at the APL, we realize that, in the midst of it all, you may have missed a few fabulous listens along the way. If you have an inkling that you did, you may want to check this curated list  of CD audiobooks in the catalog. Most of these titles are not brand new–some were published in the spring, some over the summer, but we think it’s worth highlighting them now.

If you’re addicted to the adrenaline rush of the thriller, then there are several strong options for you. In The First to Lie, Hank Phillippi Ryan serves up a novel of betrayal and obsession with revenge that plays out among several characters pushed to life-or-death breaking points. The tale is expertly narrated by Audie Award-winner Cassandra Campbell, who has the likes of Where the Crawdads Sing to her credit.

You can return to a world of espionage with a long-awaited fourth series entry from Olen Steinhauer after an eight-year hiatus. In The Last Tourist, CIA agent Milo Weaver must re-engage with a group of assassins he thought had been successfully eliminated. His quest takes him to the Western Sahara and involves a new young CIA analyst in a nail-biting plot.

In a novel that resonates eerily with our present reality, Paul Tremblay offers a thriller-cum-horror tale in Survivor Song. Set here in Massachusetts, the novel centers on a terrifying, fast-spreading, almost supernatural pandemic with zombie associations. In this case, you may just feel a bit better about the current state of affairs after you’ve finished listening to award-winning Erin Bennett’s narration!

For a gentler listening experience, Phaedra Patrick–beloved author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and other quiet novels of self-discovery and second chances–has published The Secrets of Love Story Bridge. After heroically rescuing a woman from drowning, the protagonist, a confirmed sceptic about love, begins a quest to discover her story and find her again. If you’re feeling a little battered by this year’s events, then perhaps a hot cup of tea and a date with this charmer is in order.

Don’t miss two other titles, either: Richard Ford’s short story collection, Sorry for Your Trouble, which considers Irish-American experience in both historical and contemporary permutations, and Alicia Keys’ memoir, More Myself: A Journey, “an intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression.”*

We hope there’s something for everyone to discover here! You may place holds on any of these CD audiobooks and get them via our popular curbside pickup service. If you do not yet have a library card, you can get started here.

Please note that the building is closed to staff for air duct cleaning this week, but we will resume Curbside Pickup Service on Monday, November 2nd. 

*Description from the publisher.