We hope this message finds you well. After two years living with COVID the Friends of the New Salem Public Library, continued to support the library and provide services to the community.
Friends’ Ciderfest and Raffle On a beautiful October evening, over 30 participants were treated to the lovely views of the Quabbin—complete with a rising moon—at Carol Hillman’s New Salem Cider. We tasted 4 varieties of cider and enjoyed tasty snacks while master cider maker William Grote spoke about the cider making process as well as a fascinating history of cider in New England. The first ever Ciderfest was a great success and we are grateful to William, Carol, and her crew for their generous support, and to Carol and the New Salem General store for donations for raffle baskets filled with local delicacies. Celebrating Diana Smith On Sunday, October 3 we celebrated Library Director Diana Smith’s retirement after 23 years of service. Diana was an integral part of the library’s transformation from a one room lending library to the beautiful community asset it is today. During her two decades as Library Director, Diana created a calm and welcoming environment while also providing innovative programming. She worked to keep the library’s technology up to date and ensure that community members had access to computers and ereaders. Diana was recognized by the Trustees, the Friends, community members, and her family for her contributions and dedication. State Representative Susannah Whipps also attended the event and presented Diana with a certificate to acknowledge her accomplishments in New Salem. Cooking with Nalini On February 25, 2021, the Friends of the New Salem Public Library collaborated with Quabbin Harvest Food Co-Op (Orange, MA) to present “Cooking with Nalini” a free program via Zoom. Nalini Goordial, along with store manager Julie Davis, instructed participants to make Sambar, a South Indian lentil and vegetable stew made with lentils, tamarind and a unique spice blend called sambar powder. This was an interactive event, with participants able to ask questions, learn new cooking techniques and even to cook along with Nalini! A pice packet was available for free to the first 10 registrants (courtesy of the Friends), and all participants received a copy of the recipe. If you are interested in more of Nalini’s recipes, check out the monthly Spice Club at the Quabbin Harvest Food Co-Op. Reading Aloud for Grownups After a truncated 2020 season, the Friends’ pandemic pivot to Zoom brought back one of our most popular events—Reading Aloud for Grownups. We kicked off the 2021 season in January with veteran readers Dee Waterman and Andy Lichtenberg. Both have extensive theatrical backgrounds and did not disappoint in entertaining the audience of almost 30 with their literary selections. In March, Mira Bartók regaled the audience with two speculative stories about libraries and Lisa Finestone entertained with a story by Grace Paley. For 2022, expect Reading Aloud to continue, a wonderful winter tradition organized by Dorothy Johnson. Used Book Sale A year of pandemic lockdown left folks with a lot of reading accomplished and books to donate to the Friends’ Book Sale in September. We asked for donations, and you did not disappoint. The Community Room quickly filled with fiction, memoir and biographies, sports and nature, and art and photography, and boxes and boxes of children’s, middle grade, and young adult titles. Volunteers sorted them so all were set to leave in the arms of new eager readers. On September 18, from 9 to 1, a steady stream of shoppers safely navigated the space and other than the masks, the world felt pretty normal once again. As one buyer was overheard saying as he filled bags, “It’s like firewood. You need to stock up for winter reading.” We couldn’t agree more. The sale raised more than $200. Gardening Ideas to Nourish Land, Soul and Community On June 1, 2021 the Friends sponsored a very inspiring program about gardening called “Gardening Ideas to Nourish the Soul, Land & Community” with Deb Habib of Seeds Of Solidarity, a productive agricultural and educational center in Orange, MA. This program was offered for free Zoom and attracted the interest of local ardeners. Ms. Habib described the process by which she and her partner were able to convert abandoned land of poor quality into a thriving solar powered artistic oasis that produces abundant food using earth friendly no-till methods. She also described creative techniques such as using a colander as a container to plant salad seeds and from which fresh salad greens could be harvested. Her enthusiasm for her land and work was contagious and the program was well received. A Reading with Dorothy Johnson As the library reopened, we had the fortune to host our first in person activity. On September 1st , long time New Salem resident, playwright and poet, Dorothy Johnson Entertained the Friends by reading from her new poetry collection, My Heart remembers. Dorothy had the audience laughing, crying, and pondering our own life experiences. Sally Bellerose and Susan Stinson On April 29 th we were delighted to have Northampton-based writers Sally Bellerose and Susan Stinson join us on Zoom, read from their novels, and respond to our questions. Sally is the award winning author of The Girls Club and read from her terrific new novel, Fishwives. Susan, also an award winner, a former Writer in Residence at the Forbes Library, and author of a number of novels, poetry and essays, read from her recently reissued novel, Martha Moody. We are indeed fortunate to have such accomplished writers in our midst. Annual Appeal The Friends of the New Salem Library are dedicated to providing extra resources and programs to the New Salem Public Library. We invite you to take part in our Annual Appeal and Membership Drive. Any amount of $10 or more makes you a member, with the benefit of voting at our annual meeting and, if we have your email, receiving advance notice of events. Our library is the heart of New Salem. Donations to the Friends help fund programs, services, and equipment not included in the library budget. This appeal is our primary fundraising activity, but we want more than donations. We want your energy and your ideas. Are there programs you’d like to see or ideas we haven’t thought of? Volunteer on your terms and with what time you have to offer. If you enjoy planning events, we’d love that! If you like taking photos, we can use that! We thrive on a mix of talents and experience—some of us are long-time residents, others are newbies. Most of all, we all have a shared sense of loyalty to the mission of the library and an enthusiasm to keep people engaged. Please consider joining us. Anyone who supports the library can become a Friend
Warm regards, The Friends of the New Salem Public Library
Board of directors: Anna Channing Lisa Finestone Marny Ashburne Betsy Bergantino Jo Boskind Barbara Frank Martha Hanks-Nicoll George Perides Karen Stevens