Westbrook Public Library

The Westbrook Public Library sits nestled against a small forest and away from the hustle of Route 1 in Essex, CT. The first thing I noticed when heading towards the building was the beautiful landscaping. The garden club is taking very good care of the trees, shrubs and potted plants. The flowers were so colorful and drew my eye up towards the crisp building.

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It is apparent that the Westbrook Public Library is proud of it’s building and yet, the tropical turquoise accent was a fun and unexpected detail.

In the lobby I was excited to see a box to recycle cell phones and a place to drop off canned goods. From my first steps I could tell that this library was invested in its community which became more apparent as I walked past the front desk and was greeted with an enormous community bulletin board.

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Westbrook Library has incredibly high ceilings that have been accentuated by huge white beams. As I explored the library, I imagined I was walking through the belly of a massive ship. A ship that was not made of wood but of a dreamy cumulus cloud. Maybe my imagination was running or maybe I was just feeling sleepy because it was kinda dark in there.

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It appears that Westbrook Library prefers  to rely on natural light and that makes sense considering it’s spanning windows and luscious forest backdrop.

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This public library has incomparable views of the woods. It was truly magical but if I were doing research I think I would have to bring a flashlight.

The day I visited Westbrook Public Library was overcast and pretty dark. I found myself gravitating towards the windows (not the shelves) to give my eyes a good scratch and a refocus.

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On the other hand, the children’s room had all their lights on and more people were in this room using the computers, reading the paper and hanging out.

It was during school so no kids were in the children’s room, but I smiled at all the adults that were using the light.

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Westbrook Children’s room is so sweet. There are several places for caregivers and children to sit. Many chairs, couches and crannies for reading and exploring.

My absolute favorite part was the beach pebbles that decorated the book shelves. Very unique and very appropriate for tiny hands cultivating their sensory skills.

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After visiting the Children’s Department, I noticed a room for magazines and planted in the middle was AN ACTUAL CARD CATALOG!!!! I swooned, I sighed, and I took way, way, wayyyy too many pictures of this treasure. Turns out, the librarians at Westbrook Public Library still regularly use the card catalog!

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Like many libraries, Westbrook Public Library is more than just a place for books. The natural surroundings provided a calm while the busy bulletin board begs you to get involved. This is not the busiest library but I felt welcomed by the friendly staff and was truly grateful for a quiet moment.

Book Sale Magic

Hello Friends!

Did you know that I love books? I can’t help it. I love borrowing books, I love talking about books and I love buying books. I especially love buying books when the proceeds support a library.

Many libraries have a designated nook where they sell donated or “deselected” books (deselected means they were pulled from the library’s collection). Recently, my partner in all things library- Brainerd Memorial Library- had an enormous book sale and I was so lucky to get a sneak peek at all that it takes to put together a SUPER library book sale.

Here is the recipe for a successful library book sale:

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ONE Organized Director

Planning a book sale can take months. A good director brings people together and makes some tough decisions. They are supportive of staff, supply refreshments and foresee all the bumps in the book sale road. A director smiles and makes you laugh even when a volunteer (me) throws half a box of vintage encyclopedias away (whoops!)

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PLENTY of Library Friends


Carrying and sorting books is exhausting and every book sale needs a group of cheerful people that aren’t afraid of a little dust, a little sweat and a whole lot of questions about where books should be shelved.



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GOBS of Donated Books

A successful book sale must have a solid community of people that love to read and love to support their library. It is only through donations that a book sale can really shine.






I am so happy that I participated in this process. I met some awesome library friends who love their library as much as I do! We traded recommendations, shared high fives and had fun! We raised some money and had the opportunity to support the community.

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Friends, if your library ever has a book sale I suggest you volunteer. You will be surprised by how rewarding the experience is and how many books you’ll want to take home.

It was a lot of work but it was so worth it. HUGE high five to Brainerd Memorial Library!

Thanks for checking in.

Hop Picks for September 2018

Hello Friends! I am so excited about this post!

I have been traveling down a rabbit hole and spending  a ton of time reading  GRAPHIC NOVELS!!!! 

A graphic novel is a novel or non fiction piece presented in comic book form. Comics are not just for kids any more and there are SO MANY fantastic graphic novels aimed for a more mature (insert your own definition of what that means, I am still trying to figure it out) audience. If you are looking for something to read but don't have a ton of time I HIGHLY suggest you pick up a graphic novel. They are a quick and incredible experience.

If you  are hesitant about this genre please take a look at some that I have experienced, LOVED and actually, haven't quite recovered from.

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Here by Richard McGuire is a superb novel that tells the story of a living room. Okay, that sentence may sound silly but with minimal written narrative, this book chronicles the history of a single corner. It explores the history of all the events that happened in this particular space over hundreds of years. It illustrates what the space looked like a thousand years ago, before the settlers came, in 1800, 1950 and so on. The illustrations are a unique and simplified style that forces you to ponder every page. 

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This novel documents the human experience throughout the ages  and with that, there is incredible violence, tragedy and tender moments of joy. 

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The layout of this book is stunning. Like visiting a breath taking art exhibit, I was actually moved to tears. While pouring over this book, I began contemplating the meaning of time, my place in history and how we treat the littlest moments in our lives. Powerful stuff. 

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Hostage by Guy Delisle is the harrowing account of Christopher Andre, who in 1997 was kidnapped while working as a humanitarian in Nazran (Russia). The stark and shadowed illustrations fuel the tension as Andre waits, and waits, and waits to be rescued. He is chained to a radiator while his captors decide what to do with him. This novel is a nail-biter and a unique depiction of true events. I didn't know much about Russia during the 1990's and I learned quite a bit through this novel.

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Graphic Novels are also an excellent way to quickly learn about foreign affairs or political tension.

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The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui is the memoir of Bui's family's emigration from Vietnam to the United States. Her family became refugees shortly after the Vietnam war ended and this book is an incredibly heartfelt example of the power of illustration and memoir. 

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The illustrations, with sweeping strokes of black and trails of rusty red give the novel an "old world" feel while the narration handles the complex issues of war, displacement and identity.  Bui's illustrations fold her parent's past in Vietnam with their life in the US in an incredibly raw way.

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Saga by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples is a riveting series of fantasy/science fiction, which I usually don't read. Saga is the story of Alana and Marko, who are in love but their worlds are at war. They choose to be together and run away, and have a child named Hazel who occasionally narrates the story. To many societies Hazel is considered an abomination, and that is where the saga begins. This magical family is running from monsters, fighting constant bigotry and often facing an evil that simulates the pure evil and ignorance that we can experience in our world.

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Whenever I think about these novels my heart skips a beat. The side stories and minor characters are just as powerful as the protagonists and I am always surprised by the artwork. I have yet to find their equal in creativity, sociological commentary, political commentary and illustrative genius.

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This series is STUNNING and so bad a**!!!

That being said, I also feel the need to mention that Saga puts the GRAPHIC in graphic novel. They are extremely violent and full of nudity. I don't know why I feel the need to write such a disclaimer because if these novels didn't have the visual aspect I wouldn't even mention it but the artwork may be shocking to some.

Here are a few things I have learned from my new found appreciation for graphic novels:

1. There are hundreds of graphic novels written for adults. These books hold all the themes and drama of a typical novel but with GORGEOUS Illustrations. 
2. Graphic Novels are a terrific way to learn about a time in history without dedicating hours reading a novel or biography. I don't think the writing is simpler, I think every word is more deliberate. 
3. Great illustrations can actually help a story! Reading in the comic form took some getting used to but once I was comfortable I could dedicate an hour to an incredible story and feel like I learned so much. 
4. Graphic Novels are an experience. In this fast paced world who has time to read 1,000 pages? If you like to read but can't find the time... seriously, try a graphic novel. 

If you have tried a graphic novel, what was your experience? What are some of your favorites?

Thanks for checking in.

"Let's Loiter and Learn Something"