Category Archives: Do it!

Off the Shelf: The Monthly Newsletter of the M.G. Parker Memorial Library

From the Director

The warm weather has set in and soon summer will be here.  I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I like better than sitting on the beach with a book in hand. I tend to read lighter fiction during the summer months.  I want something that entertains but doesn’t take me forever to get through.  Romance and Thrillers fit the bill for me.  I also really enjoy reading Women’s Fiction  over the summer.  I enjoy authors like Lynsay Sands, Barbara Kingsolver, Elizabeth Adler, Mary Kay Andrews, Amanda Stevens, and Lisa Jackson.

While I enjoy a quick-read in the summer, I know many folks prefer to pick up those weighty tomes that they don’t have time to read during the rest of the year.  A summer vacation with your family or without might be a great time to pick up a meatier book. Perhaps you have been waiting to revisit Gone with the Wind or the Harry Potter series. Whatever your reading preference, the Dracut Library is here to hook you up; whether you want your book in print, audio, or eBook format.  Do you have a student who has required reading over the summer? We’ve got the lists and books.

Don’t forget to visit us for any of the great programs being offered this summer.  There’s something for everyone!

Looking for something to do with the kids? Why not check out a Museum Pass to an area museum, zoo, or park.  These passes are provided by the Friends of the Dracut Library.  They would love to know what passes you are using, or if there are passes you would like to see offered.  Why not take out a moment to fill out our Museum Pass Survey?

Lastly, I would love to hear from you.  Is there a program that you would like to see offered? A book you would like to have us purchase?  Would your community group like to partner with us on a program?  Drop me a line.

Groundbreaking Reads
Adult Summer Reading Program

Kennedy shot! Amelia Earhart flies solo over the Atlantic Ocean! Lindberg baby kidnapped! Titanic sinks! U.S. sends man to the moon!

These events changed how we think about the world and our place in it.

Join us June 24th through August 30th for a summer of Groundbreaking Reads.  Dig into not only fiction, but also topics such as gardening, philosophy, and current affairs.  What you choose to read is entirely up to you!  You can register to participate any time, beginning June 24th.

Each week, log in to enter your reading.  Each book you read gives you a chance to win one of eight prizes.  You will also receive an entry for each library program that you attend from 6/24/13 – 8/30/13.  On August 30th, we will randomly draw eight winners from all entries received. Prizes will be on display in the lobby throughout the summer.

For a list of recommended titles, visit our Groundbreaking Reads board on Pinterest.

Our summer reading program is sponsored by the Friends of Dracut Library, the Massachusetts Library System, the Boston Bruins, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Dig Into Reading
Children’s Summer Reading Program

Dig into a summer filled with books, prizes, music, performers, science programs, crafts, Legos and more… with an “Underground” theme!Each summer we reward children for keeping up with their reading skills during their summer vacation.  It’s so important for children to read on a regular basis.  Studies show that children who read a few minutes each day will start school in September ahead of those who don’t.  That’s why we will reward children for reading a minimum of 15 minutes per day.  Starting June 27th, children can earn prizes after five days of reading.  Up to 10 prizes may be earned over the course of the summer.  Check out our list of recommended reads.This program is for children ages 2 through those entering grade 5.   Pre-readers may count books read to them.  Our High School volunteers will be here to hand out prizes at the following times:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday, Friday – 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Need something to do with the kids? Why not bring them to one of our great summer programs, including musicians, stories and crafts, bingo, a stuffed animal sleepover, and a sensory story time for children who have an autism spectrum disorder or other special needs, to name a few.

Beneath the Surface
Teen Summer Reading Program

Teens entering grades 6-12 are invited to join us for a summer of fun.  Beginning June 27th, visit the library or register online to participate.  The first 25 teens to sign up for the program will receive free summer reading pins and bookmarks.

Complete 5 or more books (only one school required reading book will count toward your total), and receive a prize! Check out our list of recommended reads!

We are also offering a variety of teen programs this summer.  Visit our Calendar of Events to find out more about any of the following programs:

Movie Nights : City of Ember & Tremors
Anime: Vampire Knight
Henna Tattoos
Game Day: Zombie Flux
Altered Book Craft

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Filed under all ages, Do it!, from the director, library services

Alcott and Hawthorne and Thoreau, oh my!

LouisaMayAlcottIn the quiet town of Concord, Massachusetts lies a treasure trove of history.  Something many do not realize is that much of it has nothing to do with the American Revolution! Concord was the home of some of the most prolific writers of the mid-to-late 19th century.  There are so very many one could name, but 4 stand out in my mind: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau.

Louisa May Alcott is most famous for her novel “Little Women” (which is set at Orchard House, a museum on Lexington Road that you can visit even today!), but there is far more of her work available here at the library. Some of her other books include “Little Men”, “Jo’s Boys”,   “Eight Cousins”, “Rose in Bloom”, and “Hospital Sketches” (this one was originally published under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard). Her very first novel, “Flower Fables”, was published in 1854, and dedicated to Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson; both families were extremely close.

One reason they may have been so close is that they lived only a 5 minute walk away from each other! Ralph Waldo Emerson (whose home, Emerson House, can also be toured in the summer months) is known far and wide for his philosophical and “transcendental” writing.  The Transcendentalist movement swept through the region, and soon Emerson was leading the charge for this new way of thinking with his work.  You can find many examples of his introspective and far-reaching thoughts here. Why not see what this Transcendence is all about?

Next door to Orchard House sits Wayside, the home of another friend to the Alcotts and Emersons; the Hawthornes.  Nathaniel Hawthorne’s haunting (and sometimes gruesome) tales are read by nearly every student of American Literature.  While “The Scarlet Letter” is his best-known work, this is the mere tip of the iceberg. His novels and short stories are more than enough to keep the mind occupied for at least a year. Some of my favorites include the novel “The Marble Faun” and the short story “Rappacini’s Daughter”. Give them a spin and save a few for Halloween!

Of course, Henry David Thoreau’s life in Concord runs like a ribbon through the entire town, connecting everyone.  Thoreau spent time with all of these writing families, as a tutor, confidante, and friend. His work “Walden” is a must-read for many nature, philosophy, and Massachusetts enthusiasts. Thoreau experienced the outdoors and simple living for 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days on Walden Pond. You can go here to find many other works  from both before and after his time on the Pond.

There is so much wonderful writing to be discovered just by coming to the library and trying out even one book on this list! Check out one of Alcott’s novels, and read it with your children. Enjoy a walk in the sunshine and bring along a copy of essays by Emerson or Thoreau. You could even take a stroll through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord and have a haunted experience of your own with a good Hawthorne story.  The possibilities are endless.

~written by Laura Sanscartier

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Filed under adults, all ages, Do it!

Coat Drop Off

Did you get a new coat or jacket for Christmas? Have you considered donating your older coat or jacket to those in our community who are in need? We are collecting coats in our lobby for the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell. They provide vital services to the vulnerable in our community who are in need of food, shelter and support. No one asks to be homeless, but we can help those we are in a small way. Drop off your coats or jackets (hats, mittens & gloves are welcome too!) in the giant gift box in our lobby now through the end of January (last year you helped us fill the box 7 times!)  On behalf of those who need our help to stay warm this winter, THANK YOU!

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Filed under adults, Do it!

Coat Donations Accepted Here!

Did you get a new coat or jacket for Christmas? Have you considered donating your older coat or jacket to those in our community who are in need? We are collecting coats in our lobby for the Lowell Transitional Living Center in Lowell. They provide vital services to the vulnerable in our community who are in need of food, shelter and support. No one asks to be homeless, but we can help those we are in a small way. Drop off your coats or jackets (hats, mittens & gloves are welcome too!) in the giant gift box in our lobby now through the end of January (last year you helped us fill the box 7 times!)  On behalf of those who need our help to stay warm this winter, THANK YOU!

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Filed under all ages, Do it!, Go!

Watts new?

Through a generous gift from the Friends of the Dracut Library, we are now able to make available electricity usage monitors and infrared themometers. Use them to evaluate your home electricity usage by plugging in an appliance. Or use the infrared themometer to see where your home is leaking heat or cold air! Ask for them at the circulation desk and check them out!

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Filed under adults, Do it!, friends of the library

How to backup your Google account

If you’re like me and have an android device or are a sworn user of Gmail, than you may want to follow this informational advice from our friends at WikiHow (and we’re sure your mother would have told you the same thing: back it up!)

A lot of information sent over email these days can be very important, such as account and password information, bank statements, university grades, business reports, and general correspondence among friends and family. It’s always possible, though, that any data you store on the Internet could get wiped out. On February 28, 2011, Google confirmed that many Gmail users had temporarily lost access to their emails.[1] If you’re worried about ever losing your emails to a similar glitch, it’s probably a good idea to regularly backup your Gmail account. By configuring an email client on your computer, you can download your emails onto your hard drive by following these steps located at

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Filed under adults, Do it!, electronic resources

Yup, There’s an App for that! …

Did you see something in a bookstore and want to know if your library has it? Do you need to find a local library? Or find out if there is a library which has a CD of your favorite (but not yet famous) rock band? We’ll there’s an app for that! That app is RedLaser which harnesses WorldCat, the world’s largest database of bibliographic information built continuously by libraries around the world since 1971. The RedLaser app from iTunes is $1.99 and perfect if you are a bibliophile or just a thrifty shopper. Click the links for more information.

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Filed under all ages, Do it!, electronic resources, Find It!

Letters from Santa!

The Friends of Dracut Library are offering a special gift for your child at this holiday season: a personalized letter from Santa Claus to your child! It’s very simple: Fill out the form neatly (links to the form are below) and drop it off at the Circulation Desk or in the Children’s Room along with a donation of $3.00 per letter. Checks can be written to the “Friends of the Dracut Library.” Forms need to be received by December 10, 2010. Don’t wait late requests will only be processed based on time and availability.

Children 0-5 years old

Children 6 years and older

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Filed under children, Do it!, friends of the library, Uncategorized

Goodreads = Goodtimes

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you come to the library, find what looks like a great book, but you aren’t really sure if you’ve read it before? Do you have index cards listing every book you’ve every read? Or do you simply take the book home only to read the first 4 pages and realize you’ve already read the book? Are you a person who would like to join a bookclub but just don’t have the time?

If the answer is yes then is for you!

  • Get great book recommendations from people you know.
  • Keep track of what you’ve read and what you’d like to read.
  • Form a book club, answer book trivia, collect your favorite quotes!
  • See what your favorite authors are up to
  • Share your writing

And if you’re also a Facebook user you can download an app that will allow you and your friends to share the goodtimes in Goodreads!

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Filed under adults, all ages, computers, Do it!, electronic resources, Find It!

Halloween How-to’s

Halloween is an event which requires planning for maximum impact. We found these instructions on WikiHow while browsing our Twitter news feed. Do you want to make a Haunted House on your front yard? What about making fake blood? Need more Halloween ideas? Come to the library where you can find books on everything from how to carve a pumpkin to how to make great Halloween treats for your spectacular, spooky Halloween party.

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Filed under all ages, children, Do it!, electronic resources, teen