Category Archives: library services

More than your Grandmother’s Library…


I bet this picture is what you imagine libraries are like. You would not be alone. It’s not unusual for people to walk into our building, (newly constructed in 2006), and be shocked! It’s not just the bright, modern, physical building that amazes them. It’s our collection. It’s what a 21st century library offers. We are often  asked questions like:

  • Can you take out the DVD’s?
  • You have music? Can I take it out?
  • Can anyone use the computers?
  • Do you have WiFi?

The answer, of course is yes, yes, and yes! We have for years and it’s all free! What they don’t ask, because I suspect, they can’t even image what a 21st century library could offer is:

  • Do you circulated eBooks or Audiobooks?
  • Do you circulate eReaders?
  • Can I access Encyclopedia Britannica from home? Online? For free?
  • Do you have Music I can download from home?
  • Do you have computer and technical ebooks I can use from home?

Again, yes, yes, and YES!!! The library offers 24/7 services. Though it would be cost prohibitive to have the physical building open those hours, we do offer online services that you can access with your library card just by going to our website .

Overdrive allows you to download eBooks or audiobook – for free. You don’t need to pay Amazon prices – check us out instead.

Encyclopedia Britannica is also available for free. It’s not that black bound tomb of a book you or your parents remember either! It’s a colorful teaching-education tool! Broken down by age group and ability, Britannica Online has some pretty nifty features like illustrations you can use for projects, maps, videos, and games.

And did you say you wanted free music? Try Freegal – download music with your library card. Oh, and did we tell you get to keep the music you download? All you need is your library card!

Have you been looking for the most up-to-date computer books but don’t want to pay the $50 or more? Did you know you can access these books from Safari Books Online? Safari Books offer an “online collection of over 3,000 computer and technical ebooks, covering programming, design, desktop publishing, ecommerce, online business, hardware and more, from publishers such as O’Reilly, Wiley, Pretence Hall, and many more.” It too, is free with your library card.

We are always trying to keep up with our community needs. We offer free movie showing, author talks, writing groups, children’s programs…the truth is, I could go on and on! We recently started a baking section which includes cake pans which you can check out – again for free. So far, our circulating cake pan collection has been a great success! We understand that not everyone can afford to purchase items they may only use once. That’s why we encourage you to get and use your library card. The truth is, if you haven’t been to a library lately, you really haven’t been to a LIBRARY!


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Get Ready for Summer!!!

A gentleman friend sent me this video. One of my library ‘assistants’ showed it to me and asked for a reaction. Frankly, I was appalled! I couldn’t believe what I was viewing! I’m always careful about what I eat. Not that burritos are bad for people – but I’m a hamster! Hamsters don’t eat burritos!  What if my children friends have a hamster friend of their own? I would hate for them to give their hamsters the wrong foods. I like setting a good example for the children who come in and say “Hello” to me. I love them! I want them see me eating my vegetables, (as they should do) and like any self-respecting hamster would do. Some would say I’m a vegan, I say,  I’m watching my health-line and my waistline. Darling, I want to fit into my bikini when it gets warm. So if you’re trying to get bikini ready too, or you just want to eat healthy, remember the library has all sorts of cookbooks on Paleo, Mediterranean, and Vegetarian diets so you can get started. After all summer will be here before we know it!

Speaking of which, I have to let you all in on a big secret! The staff have been working on plans for a big summer reading program! Now I don’t know all the details, but I’ve heard them throwing terms around like “Sparking a Reaction” and “Fizz, Boom” something or other! I believe it involves Literary Elements! I’ve heard terms like “Time Travel”, “Time Lord” and some mention about a doctor whom apparently is nameless. Now, forgive me, because, I’ve only heard bits and pieces. I had to sneak onto Amazon to buy a listening device so I can try and obtain more details for you! Just call me Ms. Snickers the Spy! *Giggle* So keep your eyes on this page – as soon as I can overhear more information, I’ll pass it along to you!


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Au revoir Miss Snickers!

It is with great sadness we bid farewell to Ms. Snickers, our Children’s room visiting librarian. After a longer than anticipated stay with us, Ms. Snickers has been called back to her home at the Boxford Library. Originally, her stay was scheduled to be for 21 days, but problems with renovations at the Boxford Library extended her stay. While a member of the Dracut staff, Ms. Snicker’s engaged in public relations, encouraging children and adults to read “anything they could get their paws on”!

“She was great fun”, commented Diane Annunziato at Ms. Snicker’s farewell party. “She brought smiles to the entire staff, and her knowledge of children’s literature was second to none!” When news of Ms. Snicker’s departure was announced to the staff, it was decided that Ms. Snickers should be rewarded with a vacation from the harsh New England weather before returning to Boxford. Because rates are cheaper for Robo Hamsters, the staff was able to pool together the funds to send Ms. Snickers on and all expense paid Disney Cruise! Thankfully, she was able to fly out of Logan late Tuesday night before this last snow storm hit. Au revoir Miss Snickers! Thank You for all your help – and Good Luck back in Boxford – we’re sure the children missed you while you were gone! (We’ll miss you too!!!) Last we looked, she had already tweeted a picture of herself on the cruise and writes:

Snickers on a Disney Cruise

Having a splendid time! Thank you to everyone in Dracut!

Your Library Rocks – Use it!

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Oscar Fever @ Your Library


The Oscars may be on March 2nd, but Oscar Fever is happening at the Dracut Library in February! On Saturdays, from February 8th-March 1st, (with a special Tuesday & Wednesday happening during February School Vacation week!), we’ll be premiering free 2014 Oscar nominated films. Registration is required – so make sure you check out our Events Calendar and register a.s.a.p!

Captain Phillips , rated PG-13

Captain Phillips , rated PG-13

Saturday, February 8th from 1:00pm-3:15pm.

“The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.” (from IMDb)




Blue Jasmine, rated PG-13

Blue Jasmine,
rated PG-13

Saturday, February 15th from 1:00pm-2:30pm.

“After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal, elegant New York socialite Jasmine moves into her sister Ginger’s modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again.” (from



Despicable Me2, rated PG

Despicable Me2,
rated PG

TUESDAY, February 18th from 3:00pm-4:30pm.

Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. (from IMDb) This film is nominated for two Academy Awards.




The Croods, rated PG

The Croods,
rated PG

WEDNESDAY, February 19th from 3:00pm-4:30pm.

“After their cave is destroyed, a caveman family must trek through an unfamiliar fantastical world with the help of an inventive boy.” (from IMDb) Nominated for one Academy Award.




Dallas Buyers Club, rated R

Dallas Buyers Club,
rated R

Saturday, February 22th from 1:00pm-3:00pm.

Matthew McConaughey stars in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts – who he once would have shunned – and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.” Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience. (c) Focus Features

Gravity, rated PG-13

rated PG-13

Saturday, March 1st from 1:00pm-2:30pm.

“A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.” (from IMDb) Nominated for 10 Academy Awards.


Please remember to pre-register for these movies by clicking here :

Dracut Library Events

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Uses for Your Library Card

People always ask us what they can do with their library card.  So we thought we’d give you some ideas:

Take out books on knitting OR drop in to our weekly Knitting Club, every Wednesday from 6pm-8pm

Take out books on knitting
OR drop in to our weekly Knitting Club, every Wednesday from 6pm-8pm

Don't know what to make for dinner? We have a huge selection of cookbooks! We can even help you plan least our books can.

Don’t know what to make for dinner? We have a huge selection of cookbooks! We can even help you plan dessert…at least our books can.

Train Daisy. Or Max. Or Scooter. We have books and DVD's to help you learn to be a better friend to your furry loved one!

Train Daisy. Or Max. Or Scooter. We have books and DVD’s to help you learn to be a better friend to your furry loved one!

Learn to garden. Just because it's fall doesn't mean there aren't things to do in the garden. And then there are the houseplants...

Learn to garden. Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do in the garden. And then there are the houseplants…

Join our YA Anime Club for ages 12-18!  Watch cool Anime and Geek Out!

Join our YA Anime Club for ages 12-18!
Watch cool Anime and Geek Out!

Watch a movie like "Hunger Games" or TV series like "Walking Dead"

Watch a movie like “Hunger Games”
or TV series like “Walking Dead”

Learn to meditate.  Or learn about a new culture or religion. You have the power in your Library card!

Learn to meditate.
Or learn about a new culture or religion.
You have the power in your Library card!

Take out a Museum Pass  Visit the Zoo, New England Aquarium, Butterfly Place, Boston Children's Museum...the fun is endless!

Take out a Museum Pass
Visit the Zoo, New England Aquarium, Butterfly Place, Boston Children’s Museum…the fun is endless!

Unlock Your Mind!!! Open Yourself to the World. Your Library Card is your key!

Unlock Your Mind!!!
Open Yourself to the World.
Your Library Card is your key!

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Filed under adults, all ages, children, DVDs, library services, teen

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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The Oncoming Storm: 50th Anniversary of “Doctor Who”

DoctorWhoOne cannot surf the internet, watch television, or visit a mall without stumbling upon a glimpse at the world of “Doctor Who”.  This show is now in its 50th year, nearly unprecedented in the world of television.  As a self-professed “Whovian”, I am delighted to let you in on a little secret: you need not pay a dime to experience the fascinating world of The Doctor.  It’s all right here at your public library!

First off, nearly the entire series featuring Doctors 1-8 (from its pilot episode in 1963 starring William Hartnell as “The First Doctor”) is available on DVD format through the MVLC.  From cavemen of the earliest days of humans on Earth, to the dreaded Daleks, you can enjoy almost 50 years of aired (and UNAIRED!) episodes.  Check out some of the original series here.

“Doctor Who” accelerated into popularity again in 2005 with the introduction of the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston.  New special effects, companions, and monsters came along, and the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, brought the show to new heights.  The Eleventh Doctor, played by relative newcomer Matt Smith, is now in his third season, and the show currently airs here in the States on BBC America.  You can see all seven of these new seasons through us by clicking this link.

TV on DVD is not all the “Doctor Who” your library has to offer!  There are many new adventures available through novelizations and graphic novels. The novels come in a great compact hardcover, easy to bring along on your own travels! Find some new favorites in our catalog.

“You want spinoffs? I’ll show you spinoffs!” There are two wonderful series that come right from the adventures of “Doctor Who”, following the travels of Captain Jack Harkness (sometimes companion to the  Ninth and Tenth Doctor) and Sarah Jane Smith, a former companion from earlier days of the show. These series are available through us as well! Find Sarah Jane and Captain Jack in “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and “Torchwood”.

Taking a long car ride? Take in the sights of the Universe as a Doctor’s Companion with an audiobook! Many of these titles are read by actors from the series, and a few by The Doctors themselves. Click here to begin searching for new favorites.

Phew! Now that you’ve brought yourself to “Whovian” status yourself, you can pop to the mall for your favorite T-shirt! And all because of your local public library. Enjoy! And keep an eye out for the TARDIS.

~written by Laura Sanscartier

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Location, location, location


It use to be that the only address we needed to give people was our physical location at 28 Arlington Street in Dracut, Massachusetts. That was before the digital age and the need to have a 24/7 presence. Let’s face it, we don’t live on a 9-5 time table anymore. We want to reserve DVD’s at ten o’clock at night. Or register for a library program long after the librarians have gone home. We want (and sometimes need) to access these services with mobile devices. I’m no exception. I’m never without my smartphone and want the places I frequent to be where ever I am.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that you’ll be seeing a lot more of us. Not only do we have our website but we are becoming more visible on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We plan on using these formats to not only keep you informed about library programs, but to provide you with suggested reading lists, as well as entertainment. Another upgrade you’ll be seeing is our use of QR codes for mobile devices. These special barcodes are made for use with your smart phone. They will bring you to reading lists (did you ever want to know what the second book in a series was?), our event calendar (so you can register right from your phone), as well as our social media outlets. Don’t be afraid to use your smart phone in the library – surprises may await you! And when you’re not in the library, book mark us on your phone. In your pocket or your purse – we are your mobile librarians.

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Geek the Library

geek /gēk/verb

1. To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for.
2. To possess a large amount of knowledge in.
3.To promote.

I recently attended a workshop on a national campaign called “Geek the Library.”  This public relations campaign is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and is intended to let libraries know our residents better.

The concept evolved from a theory that a community‐centered public awareness campaign—one that uses similar strategies to many ‘super’ brands—could be an effective approach for libraries to make an impact locally. Like other brands, public libraries are also challenged to create an effective message, identify the appropriate audience, and change perceptions in a way that will impact current and future behavior.

The campaign is simple one.  It asks residents one simple question; “what do you geek?” Everyone has something that they are passionate about—something they geek. Maybe you geek football or hip hop. Maybe you geek organic gardening or volunteering. Or maybe you just geek the weather. Whatever you geek, fun or serious, the library supports you.

We intend to kick off our “Geek the Library” campaign this coming June.  Look for posters, book marks, banners, buttons, t-shirts and more!  Join in on the conversation.  By learning what you “geek” we start a conversation about the ways the library can support everyone, no matter what their passion.  It will also help  us focus our programming and resources on the things that matter to you.

I would love to hear from you.  You can contact me at any time at, or at 978-445-5474, extension 301.

Geek is Coming

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eBooks & beyond

We know what you’re looking for and we’re here to help! Did you get a Kindle, Nook or iPad? Maybe you just want to download some eAudiobooks for your iPod. Here are a couple of sites we recommend. First start here! Yes here at the library.

One-Click digital is a newly purchased resource for Dracut library card holders. It is an eAudiobook service that allows you to check out eAudiobooks from anywhere! We’ll be purchasing new material from Recorded Books on a regular basis, so the selections are always changing. What is so great about this service? It allows multiple users to listen to a book at the same time. Most people don’t realize that with other services like Overdrive, only one user at a time can use the material – which can translate to longer wait times.  We like One-Click and hope you will too!

Overdrive, available to all MVLC libraries, offers both eAudiobooks and ePublications. The plus side is that it offers ePublications not just eAudiobooks.  The downside is that you may have to go on the waiting list in order to get it. Overdrive only has a set number of copies available for use (yes, MVLC has to buy these copies!), so in the case of a wildly popular best seller, you may have a better chance of getting the actual hardcover book faster than the eAudio or ePub. If you’re not the impatient sort, then this won’t be a problem.  However, if you are technologically challenged, you may have trouble just getting started with Overdrive. If that’s the case, please call us – we don’t want you having a frustrating library experience!

It’s no surprise that publishers don’t like the idea of libraries buying an eBook and leading it to countless people free of charge. After all, publishers are in the business of selling books not giving them away. Project Gutenberg, founded in 1971 by Michael Hart,  is the oldest digital library in the world. It’s goal is to digitalized cultural works and make them available for distribution as eBooks. This is an amazing resource for everyone! From the Holy Bible to Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. It’s a wonderful resource and, with the help of volunteers digitizing works, is an ever-growing collection.

Know of any great eBook & eAudio sites we should know about? Please let us know – we’re always looking for resources to share!

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