Local libraries stay busy in summer months

VAN BUREN, Maine — Libraries around the St. John Valley are staying busy this summer with special activities and reading programs for both children and adults.

At Van Buren’s Able J. Morneault Public Library, youngsters already have learned about science, the environment and wildlife, thanks to the Library Explorers program The program, which ended July 6, included indoor sessions that involved reading books and conducting experiments, as well as outdoor activities. Children also learned about what a library is and how to get the most out of the books and other resources.

Nancy Troeger, the former library director and new town manager, also collected flowers, seeds, bones, and feathers from her property for children to study.

The new library director, Justin Martin, said a book sale and a special Dungeons & Dragons day for young teens are planned for later this summer. The library also is hosting a summer reading program through July 11.

“We’re pretty steadily busy all summer long,” Martin said. “There’s never a day when no one is here.”

Along with young readers, the library attracts adults using computer resources and researchers utilizing its extensive genealogical collection, said Martin.

The Long Lake Public Library in St. Agatha, which also serves the community of Frenchville and other residents around the lake, is the only local library taking part in the Maine Humanities Council’s Read ME program this summer.

Read ME is a new statewide summer reading program aimed at Maine’s adults, encouraging them to all read the same books by Maine authors. Participating libraries are offering group programs related to the books, and later will host a public event to discuss the readings.

Long Lake chose “Unknown Caller” by Debra Spark and “The Moth: 50 True Stories,” edited by Catherine Burns. Spark will be a special guest at the Long Lake Public Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19.

The library’s director, Jackie Ayotte, said the program has attracted a steady stream of readers. So much so that the books have not spent much time at the library before being signed out again.

The library is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this summer. Throughout that time, the facility has received great public support, according to Ayotte.

“We have a fundraiser each year, which pays the bills,” she said. “All our other programs are funded by grants.” Ayotte said the library is popular with local residents as well as seasonal visitors.

In Fort Kent, the public library is hosting its annual children’s summer reading program challenge. Each child that signs up gets to put a number on various boxes for each chapter book he or she reads.

The grid of boxes hides “X’s”, and if a reader is lucky enough to land on an “X” the individual gets a  prize.

Paper links also are created for each book that is read and are strung together across the top of the book stacks. The goal is to string a paper chain along all the walls of the library.

Fort Kent, along with libraries in Madawaska and Van Buren also are participating in United Way’s “Summer Read Across Aroostook” on Aug. 2.

More information about summer programs, is available at local libraries.

Photos by Don Eno

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