“Here’s to Dear Old Falmouth”

Head of Technical Services, Kim DeWall, gives an update on the yearbooks project!


Here’s to Dear Old Falmouth: Good News for Falmouth Public School Alumni

Because of the overwhelmingly positive response to the Library’s Digital Archives, which hosts editions of the Falmouth Enterprise and the Town of Falmouth Annual Reports; we are quite excited to announce that our print collection of Falmouth Public School Yearbooks will also be digitized and hosted thanks to the Library for the Commonwealth program, a partnership between the Boston Public Library and the Digital Commonwealth.  This free program, open to Massachusetts-based libraries, is a great opportunity for the Library to expand our digital services by creating greater access to our local collections.

The collection dates back to the 1931 edition of the Lawrencian, named after Lawrence High School, and continues on to present editions of Falmouth High School’s the Clipper Compact.  The collection also includes several editions of The Broadcaster, the yearbook of the Henry W. Hall School.  The collection is now at the Boston Public Library and will undergo the digitization process this fall. We do have some duplicate copies of yearbooks, so check in with us if you happen to be looking for a yearbook while they are being digitized, as we might still have a duplicate copy in the Reference Room.

So, here’s to dear old Falmouth, here’s strength to you!

Mindful Movement & Meditation is FULL, but …

We are delighted that the three workshops scheduled with Dr. Sang H. Kim in October on mindful movement and meditation are full, however, we know that many of you that wished to attend are now on a waiting list.  So, we wanted to give you some other ways to connect with Dr. Kim. One of the ways is to check out one of his books, either Power Breathing or Mindful Movement. Another option is to go to his web page, One Mind One Breath, which is packed full of advice on mindful movement and meditation, including videos and instructions!

Friday Reads: “Sex on the Moon”

The September meeting of the Narrative Nonfiction Book Club was another well attended event.  We discussed Ben Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon: the amazing story behind the most audacious heist in history.  Moon rocks and a meteor thought to be from mars were stolen from the Johnson Space Center in Houston by Thad Roberts, and two female accomplices, all young NASA interns hoping to become astronauts.  When they tried to peddle the rocks over the Internet, one suspicious mineral collector in Antwerp contacted the FBI and the criminals were caught red handed.

During our discussion we shared our thoughts on how Thad’s Mormon upbringing and banishment from his home around age 21 influenced the rest of his life, as well as how he re-invented himself when he entered the prestigious NASA internship program.   When discussing why such a brilliant and hard-working young man would risk his reputation for so little reward (he wanted only $100,000 for the rocks, when they were estimated to be worth $7 – 20 million) we debated about how convinced we were by the author’s argument that Thad Roberts simply wanted to give his girlfriend a piece of the moon.

We found lots to talk about with this book.  If you like your nonfiction really dressed up like a novel with plot, detailed descriptions, sex and suspense, then give this one a try.

Next month starts a new series of books with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, the standard-bearer for narrative nonfiction.  Pick up a copy at the reference desk and join us on October 6 at 10 AM in the Hermann Foundation Meeting Room to share your thoughts.

Friday Reads: West of Sunset

What do you call it when one book leads you to another which leads you to another?

Earlier this year I read A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s posthumously published memoir of his early days in Paris when he was a young and starving writer.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how he met up with so many names of the day, such as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox Ford, so I happily put it on the Staff Picks cart, where it is constantly checked out.

That book led me to a fun new novel called The Hemingway Thief by Shaun Harris in which the author imagines that Hemingway secretly orchestrated the famous theft of his briefcase full of all of his writings that he bemoaned in A Moveable Feast.  Written as a hard-boiled who-done-it, The Hemingway Thief is a flight of fancy that entertains while getting you to ponder the actual mystery of that briefcase and what would have happened had it been found.  Would Hemingway be Hemingway?  I’ll be putting this on the Staff Picks cart after it comes off the new books shelf.

Having enjoyed Harris’ creative caper (Aside:  I usually read nonfiction) when I saw another novel based on the real life of a classic writer, I was eager to give it a try.  And wouldn’t you know it … Hemingway makes several short appearances.   West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan explores the final three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life when he was destitute and ill and his wife, suffering from a mental illness, was in a sanatorium.   He tries to salvage his dying career and hang on to his family, while falling in love with a beautiful younger woman and getting swept away by depressive, alcohol-soaked jags.  Somehow, through nuanced writing we can empathize with his devotion to all of the women in his life: his wife Zelda, his teenage daughter Scottie and his mistress, Sheilah in this well-researched novel.  I am also putting this one on the staff picks shelf and I suspect it will be checked out this afternoon.

So, is reading this succession of books the literary version of Internet surfing or more like following clues in a scavenger hunt?  I feel I’m not finished with either Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but my latest book could lead me in a new direction altogether with mentions of Humphrey Bogart and its being set in Tinsel town in the 1930s.  Now that was a ripe time and place.  Maybe the novel Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner will be next.  I understand it features a hat from the set of Gone with the Wind for which Fitzgerald was hired to write briefly.  Well, whatever it is, it will have to wait until I am finished with my Narrative Nonfiction Book Club book.  I can’t wander away from nonfiction for too long.

Faith Lee

President Obama’s Summer Reading List

Every summer we are eager to see what summer reading books President Obama might have brought with him to the Vineyard. Way back in 2009 we actually sent the President and his family CLAMS library cards, along with a copy of Cape Cod and the Islands : where beauty and history meet by Kathryn Kleekamp and a history of the Falmouth Public Library.  We never heard back, but every summer we hope that he might actually visit one of the many lovely public libraries on the Vineyard.

His list this year is as follows:

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

We can’t help but notice that one of these titles was mentioned on the book radio show that I do the last Wednesday of every month with Mindy Todd on WCAI!  Local author, Peter Abrahams just last month recommended Barbarian Days: a surfing life by William Finnegan. Do you think the President was listening?!



In Search of Falmouth Yearbooks

The Falmouth Public Library is searching for two volumes of the Lawrencian, the yearbook for the Lawrence High School, to borrow so that we might have a complete set to digitize. The years we are completely missing are 1932 and 1971, but we are also interested in yearbooks from 1931 to 1937. If you have copies of any of these years, we would love to borrow them, so that we might include them in our digitization project of the Falmouth yearbooks. They would be returned to you as soon as we are done with the project. We know our Falmouth Enterprise digital project has been enormously helpful to people, and we think this project will be as well. You can email us at info@falmouthpubliclibrary.org if you have any questions about the project or have a yearbook we might borrow. Many thanks!

Friday Reads: Codex 632


The Staff Picks collection is an eclectic mix of books, audiobooks, music CDs and DVDs that library staff members have enjoyed.   Sometimes when staff write their comments they’ll point out that while the work they are recommending might have a weakness, it really is worth your time despite it.  To me, this is one of the great aspects of Staff Picks – you know ahead of time that you might encounter a rough patch, but the overall journey is a rewarding one.  With that in mind, I’d like to share a Staff Pick card written by our library director, Leslie Morrissey about the novel Codex 632: the Secret Identity of Christopher Columbus by José Rodrigues Dos Santos:

“I have to give this book a mixed review.  The historical information in the book is absolutely fascinating, but the story itself seems to be simply a vehicle which provides the opportunity to support the history found in 15th century documents.

The story starts out with Thomas Noronha, a professor of history and  expert cryptographer who is hired to continue the investigative work of  scholar who is found dead in his hotel room.  The narrative takes the reader around the world, from Lisbon, to New York and Rio in search of the true identity of Christopher Columbus, a puzzle no historian has been able to solve.

What makes the book worth reading is the depth of information the reader is exposed to in terms of writings, personal letters and government documents, all of which reinterprets what most of us have been lead to believe is true.

The book has been translated from the Portuguese.  I found the facts to be infinitely interesting.  I’m glad I stayed with it despite the weak story line.  The last sentence creates and AHA! Moment for the reader.

This book may be for you but it’s not for everyone.”

Look for this and other Staff Picks on the black shelf near the new books.

Friday Reads: Guideposts magazine in LARGE PRINT


We know that many Falmouth patrons prefer large print format for their books because it is much easier on the eyes than regular print.   So we are dismayed that very few magazines are also published in this format.  We’ve had the classic, Reader’s Digest in large print and for a while now and we have been looking for other suitable titles to add.  Well, we are very pleased to announce that we finally found one:  Guideposts.

Guideposts is a small, monthly magazine published by a nonprofit organization, (also called guideposts) which was founded in 1945 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and his wife.  Their website (guideposts.org) states, “Guideposts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hope, encouragement, and inspiration to millions of people across America and the world. Through uplifting magazines, books, websites, a prayer network, and outreach programs, Guideposts helps people deepen their faith and inspires them to reach their true potential.”  They describe their magazine as having “stories that show the power of prayer and God’s work in our daily lives. These captivating stories will inspire you to put your faith into action and overcome your problems, achieve your potential, and help others.”

Our first issue arrived this week and you can find it in the periodicals room, filed alphabetically by its title, between Granta (a literary magazine) and Guitar World.  As you can see, we have a variety of magazines that we hope will suit many tastes.   Past issues can be checked out – just lift the shelf to find them.

Introducing … our new Website!

By now you have no doubt noticed that we are sporting a new look on our website.  Don’t worry – all the helpful information you have come to rely on, like our events calendar, this blog and lists of great books recommended by the staff are still here.  Things we have done differently are:  …  re-organized  pages to make what you want easier to find, ….  made our databases more visible, … added more pictures of the library … and lots of new information, such as library policies and more ways to contact us, so you can reach the department you need.  Be sure to check out the spiffy new Teen and Children’s pages.  A patron recently told us he didn’t see any information about our special collections when he came into the building.  We listened and made sure that there is now a webpage devoted to our special collections, which you can find under the “About” tab.

I’d also like to point out that our weekly newsletter that is delivered to your email also has a beautiful new format.  We have added pictures and limited the news to highlights only, so you won’t be bogged down by a long column of text.  The full events listing will still be published as is in the Friday Enterprise and on our events calendar online.  If you don’t already subscribe to our newsletter, look for the link on the homepage and sign up!  If you already subscribe, look for it in your inbox.

If you have been following along with library news these past nine months or so, then you have probably noticed that we have been actively asking for opinions from everyone about how we are doing and how we can improve.   We want to be sure everyone knows we are here for them and we can help in innumerable ways.   Need a good book to read?  We can recommend several.  Need information to solve an issue?  We’ll find it for you.  Want to learn a new skill or craft?  We have books that teach many things from making a terrarium to building a barn and, who knows, it might be one of the several programs we offer for free throughout the year.  In addition, we have meeting rooms for the community to gather for author talks, lectures and workshops, as well as display areas for artists to show their work.  We are a community hub.  We hope our new website reflects all this and that you find it attractive and easy to use.   Some pages are still under construction; so I hope you will excuse us if you come across one.  We are working hard to make it the best we can, as quickly as we can.   We hope you like it!