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!

Full STEAM Ahead to Children’s Learning!

Get kids ready for the upcoming school year with STEAM materials they can check out online or in print for Curbside Pickup with Abbot Public Library! If you are new to our Curbside Pickup Service, please carefully read these instructions for how to reserve items and set up an appointment to pick them up after they come in.

Hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection has a number of items for students of all levels. STEAM Lab For Kids not only has science projects, but Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math activities as well. The book explores the connection between art and other STEM subjects, giving kids tools for problem solving and critical thinking. Check out even more fun projects in Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids which combine artistic skills with STEM concepts, such as making pixel art with graph paper. Overdrive also has fun STEM activity ebooks such as STEM Lab, in which you can learn concepts by racing wind up cars or making a homemade guitar.

A similar book in print format to reserve for Curbside Pickup is 100 Easy STEAM Activities: Awesome Hands-On Projects for Aspiring Artists and Engineers. Included are games and projects to help kids learn concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math such as shaving cream rain clouds or a pool noodle obstacle course. 

For young science lovers, the Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs may be just the thing to help kids learn about friction, animals, light optics, pressure, energy, and more! During Curbside Pickup service, there is no checkout fee for DVDs, so you can explore science with Bill Nye for free! Some fictional characters that can help kids learn about STEM concepts are Ada Twist, Scientist (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla) and Rosie Revere, Engineer (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla).

These are just a few of the library’s offerings! Browse through hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection or search for more online science, technology, engineering, art, and math items for kids on hoopla and Overdrive/the Libby app, or reserve physical titles through the library catalog for Curbside Pickup. Read about how the Curbside Service works here.

Enjoy the 2020 Marblehead High School Senior Art Show – A Virtual Exhibit!

The Marblehead High School Senior Art Show, in May, has been a highlight of the Abbot Library’s exhibits program, each year. Working with art faculty member Rachel Branham, and two or three MHS seniors, for whom presenting the exhibit serves as their senior project, the Library has enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to bring the talent and creativity of the High School’s “art majors” to the Marblehead community. With the library and schools closed, this partnership is continuing in a new and exciting way.

This year, show your support for the Class of 2020 from your living room! For the first time, Marblehead High School’s annual Senior Art Show is being presented virtually. Available for viewing as of Monday, May 25th, the exhibit can be found on the Abbot Public Library’s website

Citrus State of Mind by Hadley Kaeyer

The show includes pieces in a variety of media, made both during the year in art class and, more recently, while schools have been closed due to COVID-19. Students were invited to produce artwork expressing the impact of the COVID-19 closure on their Senior year experience. Many pieces have accompanying text further describing this experience. This year’s show was organized as the senior project of Colette Bender and Lily Yates.

Covid 19 by Bella Damon

We encourage everyone to spend time enjoying this virtual exhibit — a wonderful opportunity for this year’s graduating seniors to showcase their creations while maintaining social distancing. The seniors have worked hard this year to produce some remarkable works of art, so visit the show and give these artists the recognition and appreciation they deserve!

A Modern Great Wave by Lucy Tedford

Escape the Art Gallery: A Digital Escape Room

Our friends at Turner Free Library have created an online escape room! In this escape room, you are locked in an art gallery exhibit and you must solve the riddles presented to find the clues that will allow you to escape the gallery. You can challenge your friends to see who can escape first, or work with your family and friends you are quarantining with to solve the riddles together. Test your skills and visit the Escape the Art Gallery now! 

For another escape room, check out the Hogwarts Escape Room from the librarians at Peters Township Public Library in Pennsylvania.

If you’re interested in art, check out the Abbot Public Library’s art collections on hoopla and Overdrive, including Vincent & Theo by Deborah Heiligman, a YA biography about Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, accessible as an ebook through Overdrive and an audiobook through hoopla.

Threads of Connection – Make a Quilt Square for the ICA’s Virtual Quilt

At a time when community is more important than ever, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, has found a unique way to foster this connection through their Threads of Connection Virtual Quilt. Originally an installation by Merrill Comeau in ICA’s Art Lab, this community quilt project has now gone virtual!

The ICA is inviting participants to create a quilt square, using materials from home, that represents what makes you, you. They ask: “What makes you special? What do you love about your community? What are you proud of? What do you believe in?” Think about what makes you unique, have fun making your quilt square, and submit your quilt square to the ICA for a chance to be a part of their virtual quilt community. Be sure to also check out their website as well as their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for inspiration and further instructions. 

After creating your quilt square, take a moment to enjoy these family-friendly titles — available from Overdrive/Libby and hoopla with your library card number — and their stories of community, memory, quilts, and the threads that connect us all: 

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
The Nesting Quilt by Catherine Falwell
Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky
The Quilt by Gary Paulsen
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas

There’s A Podcast For That

There’s no doubt about it: podcasts have taken the listening world by storm. From true crime to politics to self-help, you can find a podcast for every interest and topic. Even some of our favorite museums are getting in on the action and producing their own podcasts in-house! While we can’t enjoy these institutions in person, listening to their podcasts is a unique way to connect with museum collections, stories, and staff.

PEMcast from the Peabody Essex Museum launched in 2014 and is hosted by Chip Van Dyke and Dinah Cardin. They aim to connect the museum and its collections to broader cultural issues through conversations and storytelling. Their dedication to high-quality and engaging content has even earned a Silver Muse Award from the American Alliance of Museums. Episodes cover everything from music to historic homes to the maker movement and public art. 

The Museum of Science’s Pulsar: A Podcast, described as a “playground for the mind” is another great museum-created podcast. Produced by the Gordon Current Science and Technology Center of the Museum of Science, Pulsar tackles your biggest science questions, including what it’s like to live in space, how to use technology to preserve our cultural heritage sites, and how Cliff, a 65 million-year-old Triceratops fossil, arrived at the Museum.

All caught up on the latest episodes of your favorite podcast? Maybe looking for a new one to dive into? Check out these awesome, popular titles inspired by your favorite pods and podcasters:

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark 

From Overdrive/Libby: “The instant #1 New York Times and USA Today best seller by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the hit podcast My Favorite Murder! Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation. In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.”

Unqualified by Anna Faris 

From Overdrive/Libby: “A hilarious, honest memoir—combined with just the right amount of relationship advice—from the popular actress and host of the hit podcast Anna Faris is Unqualified. Anna Faris has advice for you. And it’s great advice, because she’s been through it all, and she wants to tell you what she’s learned. After surviving an awkward childhood (when she bribed the fastest boy in the third grade with ice cream), navigating dating and marriage in Hollywood, and building a podcast around romantic advice, Anna has plenty of lessons to share: Advocate for yourself. Know that there are wonderful people out there and that a great relationship is possible. And, finally, don’t date magicians. Her comic memoir, Unqualified, shares Anna’s candid, sympathetic, and entertaining stories of love lost and won. Part memoir—including stories about being “the short girl” in elementary school, finding and keeping female friends, and dealing with the pressures of the entertainment industry and parenthood—part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast, Anna Faris Is Unqualified, the book will reveal Anna’s unique take on how to master the bizarre, chaotic, and ultimately rewarding world of love. Hilarious, honest, and useful, Unqualified is the book Anna’s fans have been waiting for.”

Alice Isn’t Dead: A Novel by Joseph Fink

From Overdrive/Libby & hoopla: “From the New York Times best selling coauthor of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead, performed by the voice of the Alice Isn’t Dead podcast, Jasika Nicole, with an exclusive essay written and read by Joseph Fink. “This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.” Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country. Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job as a long-haul truck driver and begins searching for Alice. In pursuit of her missing wife, she will stumble on a forgotten American history of secret deals and buried crimes, an inhuman serial killer who has picked her as his next target, and an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.”

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

From Overdrive/Libby & hoopla: “From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live. Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge. Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “KING CITY” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels. Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it. Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “KING CITY”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.”

Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry 

From Overdrive/Libby: “Serial only told part of the story… In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland. Syed has maintained his innocence, and Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, has always believed him. By 2013, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in hopes of finding a journalist who could shed light on Adnan’s story. In 2014, Koenig’s investigation turned into Serial, a Peabody Award-winning podcast with more than 500 million international listeners. But Serial did not tell the whole story. In this compelling narrative, Rabia Chaudry presents new key evidence that she maintains dismantles the State’s case: a potential new suspect, forensics indicating Hae was killed and kept somewhere for almost half a day, and documentation withheld by the State that destroys the cell phone evidence — among many other points — and she shows how fans of Serial joined a crowd-sourced investigation into a case riddled with errors and strange twists. Adnan’s Story also shares Adnan’s life in prison, and weaves in his personal reflections, including never-before-seen letters. Chaudry, who is committed to exonerating Adnan, makes it clear that justice is yet to be achieved in this much examined case.”

Sadie by Courtney Summers

From Overdrive/Libby & hoopla: “An innovative audiobook production featuring more than thirty voices, Sadie explores the depth of a sister’s love — poised to be the next story listeners won’t be able to pause. A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister, Mattie, in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him. When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late. Courtney Summers’ Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep listeners riveted until the last chapter.”

ARTfull at Home with the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum wants you to get your creative energy flowing! Part of their ARTfull at Home program, they have put together a handy virtual guide of creativity prompts to inspire kids and kids at heart alike to create art with what they have.

Designed to get little ones engaging with their built and natural environments in experimental ways, the guide includes a list of objects from your home or backyard that can be used for art projects, as well as prompts for creating, such as sound sculptures, shadow art, paper planes, and looking for patterns in nature. 

The deCordova has a lot of other great virtual content, including an ARTfull at Home Story Time featuring Andrea Beaty’s Iggy Peck, Architect (you may also know Iggy’s friends Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist, too!). They’ve also got a lot of content for the not-so-littles (i.e., grown ups), like a virtual tour of the sculpture park, that is not to be missed.

For more inspiration to jumpstart your creative projects at home, check out these titles from our digital collections:

Books for Art Project Inspiration:

Art Lab for Kids and Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake

Art For Spring (from the Outdoor Art Room Series) by Rita Storey

Books About Artists:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, ill. by Melissa Sweet

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Mary GrandPré

Viva FridFrida Kahlo,a by Yuyi Morales

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Books About Art & Design in Our World:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (also available on hoopla as an audiobook)

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, ill. by Rafael López

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (also available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along!)

Kids in the Kitchen: A Curated Collection of Cookbooks and Activities to do at Home

Our friends at the Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science, and Institute of Contemporary Art have been hard at work creating fun and educational STEAM content that you can do at home, even in the kitchen. We’ve rounded up the best-of-the-best kitchen science activities for the whole family to try!

Watch Boston Children’s Museum’s Kitchen Science for Kids YouTube series, which includes how-to videos on making butter, composting with kitchen scraps, and fermenting your own veggies. Their Beyond the Chalkboard site is another great resource for food-related activities, from becoming an effective food detective, to designing a healthy dip for fruits and veggies, to making art with food. Be sure to also check out their daily activity archive for more wonderful and engaging content! 

At the Museum of Science, learn about acids and bases using blueberries and other ingredients in your kitchen! Take a peek at their #MOSatHome page for even more fun family STEM activities, virtual exhibits, and presentations (including a snake taking a bath!). 

And over at the Institute of Contemporary Art, check out their guide for eco-dyeing fabric for crafting using fruit and veggie scraps and other kitchen materials. Interested in more great activities? Their Art Lab at home has everything from DIY flip books to virtual quilts (maybe made with all that fabric you just eco-dyed).

After you’ve tried these awesome activities, work on those kitchen and nutrition skills with this curated list of cookbooks for junior chefs:

On hoopla:

Stir Crack Whisk Bake: A Little Book about Little Cakes by America’s Test Kitchen

This interactive board book walks little bakers through making the tiniest of sweet treats — cupcakes!

Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer & Caroline Craig

This cookbook takes you from the garden to the kitchen with handy tips & tricks for starting a kitchen garden and how to turn your harvest into healthy, delicious, kid-friendly meals.

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke 

Using basic kitchen ingredients, everyone from toddlers to big kids can whip up these exciting experiments at home!

On Libby:

Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, this instructive cookbook teaches budding mini chefs basic kitchen techniques and over 50 yummy recipes.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

Part craft and activity book, part how-to and cookbook, master chef Barton Seaver’s National Geographic Kids Cookbook teaches you how to start a kitchen garden, host a family cooking competition, and everything in between.

On hoopla & Libby:

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

From the pros at America’s Test Kitchen come over 750 kid-tested and approved recipes for all skill levels with the goal of empowering young chefs to feel confident in the kitchen.

On Overdrive and hoopla

The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson 

*a hoopla Bonus Borrow through today

This colorful cookbook includes the most kid-friendly recipes from the vegetarian hit The Forest Feast

Stream Video Lectures for Free with The Great Courses!

So…you’ve caught up with all your chores, binged on Netflix, baked too many cookies, and played endless board games but are still–well, bored? Maybe it’s time to challenge the little gray cells with some adult education courses from a renowned company: The Great Courses! In case you haven’t heard, hundreds of video lectures by professors eminent in their fields, some from Ivy League universities, are available to stream through the Abbot Public Library for free. If you were to buy the DVD versions of these courses, you would be paying up to $50 for just one course! There are a multitude of diverse lectures to choose from; you can browse them here.

From cooking tutorials via the Culinary Institute of America, to expert discussion of how stress can work for you, to the history of India, to dog training tips, to music appreciation—there are offerings for everyone. Tune out the news for a while and tune in to Great Courses–who knows where your curiosity might lead you?

Great Courses videos are available via one of our streaming services, RBDigital. If you’ve never logged on before, please visit our FAQ page for instructions. You can stream on your laptop, desktop, most mobile devices, and even on your TV (instructions for streaming to your Smart TV are also in our FAQs). Here’s to new voyages of discovery!

Visit Our Museums — Virtually!

Did you know: the Abbot Public Library offers free or reduced passes to fourteen of the Boston area’s best museums and attractions?

While these organizations are closed for the time being, they have been working hard behind-the-scenes to bring the museum experience to your home! We will be collecting fun activities and virtual tours created by museum staff and sharing them here with you, along with ways to get the most out of your virtual visit using the library’s digital services. In the meantime, please show our museum partners some love by visiting their websites and social media — there is a lot of wonderful content to find there!

To stay inspired and engaged at home, check out these websites: 

Boston by Foot

Boston Children’s Museum

Cape Ann Museum (our newest museum pass!)

deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum

Harvard Art Museums

The House of the Seven Gables

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Arctic Fox at Stone Zoo

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Science

New England Aquarium

Peabody Essex Museum

Zoo New England

Check back here to the Abbot Public Library Blog for other ways to use the library and to enjoy cultural institutions from home!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum