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Keene Library Participates in Nationwide Reading of "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis

National Night of Readings to Commemorate 80th Anniversary of It Can't Happen Here

In 1936, theatres across the country staged the original play simultaneously

On Monday, October 24, the Keene Public Library will hold a free public reading of the new stage adaptation of “It Can’t Happen Here,” based on the 1935 novel written by Sinclair Lewis. In 1936, the novel was adapted into a play and theatres across the country opened productions on the same night. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of those productions, regional theatres, universities, libraries, and communities across the country will read the new adaptation by Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Tony Taccone and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen.  Written during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis’ darkly satirical “It Can’t Happen Here” follows the ascent of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. Witnessing the new president’s authoritarian tyranny from the sidelines is a liberal, middle-class newspaper editor from Vermont who is caught in the chaos of social upheaval.  “Lewis’ novel reads like it was ripped out of today’s headlines,” says Catherine Behrens, the founder of the Hourglass Readers. “Whether he’s describing Buzz Windrip, the demagogue who wins the presidency based on the promise of making our country great again, or Doremus Jessup, a liberal newspaper editor who simply waits too long to take Windrip seriously, Lewis’ understanding of our political system was precise and far reaching.” 

The new adaptation of Lewis’s classic had its world premiere performance at Berkeley Rep on September 30, 2016. The reading at Keene Public Library will feature the Hourglass Readers and will be directed by Catherine Behrens on Monday, October 24 at 7 p.m.  “Lewis’ novel reads like it was ripped out of today’s headlines,” says Behrens, the founder of the Hourglass Readers. “Whether he’s describing Buzz Windrip, the demagogue who wins the presidency based on the promise of making our country great again, or Doremus Jessup, a liberal newspaper editor who simply waits too long to take Windrip seriously, Lewis’ understanding of our political system was precise and far reaching.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157 or visit Information about the national initiative is available at www.berkeleyrep.or. The Nationwide Reading is made possible thanks to the generous support of Barbara and Rodgin Cohen and Orin Kramer and is presented in cooperation with the Sinclair Lewis Estate.

The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter Street, Keene. For further information about programs at the Keene Public Library, visit the library’s website at or call 603-352-0157.


Join the Big Library Read through Oct. 27

The Keene Public Library invites all readers to take part in the Big Library Read program, a worldwide digital Book club through public and school libraries that connects millions of readers across the globe with the same eBook at the same time. For a two-week period beginning October 13, Keene Public Library users will be able to borrow the eBook "This Is Where It Ends" by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks) from and participate in a worldwide version of a local book club. There will be no waitlists for this popular, powerful and emotional read. Big Library Read is facilitated by OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for eBooks and audiobooks for schools and libraries.

"This Is Where It Ends" is a compelling story of an, unfortunately, all-too-familiar situation: a school shooting. It follows four teens who face what is every student’s worst nightmare: a boy with a gun. Told from the students' perspective, this powerful fictional account is important in its timeliness. At its core, Marieke Nijkamp’s debut young adult novel is a must read, gripping tale from start to finish. 

“Told over 54 minutes, "This Is Where It Ends" is a story of family and vengeance, love and loss,” said author, Marieke Nijkamp. “But to me, above all, it’s a story about how even when a world seems to have stopped turning, when everything has fallen apart, the darkness is never absolute. There is always hope. I hope readers will find hope in This Is Where It Ends too” 

Big Library Read is a free program. To get started reading, all that is needed is a Keene Public Library card. "This Is Where It Ends" can be read on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Chromebook™ and Kindle® [U.S. libraries only]. The eBook will be available with no wait lists and will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, so there are never any late fees.

The Big Library Read program is made possible through a partnership between the New Hampshire State Library, 205 public and school libraries in N.H>, OverDrive, and Sourcebooks, publisher of "This Is Where It Ends." The title was selected based on a survey of more than 5,000 readers, students, teachers, and librarians. To borrow the eBook readers can visit

For more information on Big Library Read, including a book discussion guide, visit

Sign-Up For A Storytime At The Keene Public Library

Storytime BlogStorytimes have started and will continue through February 17. You can sign up on our online calendar of events

          • Preschool Storytime: Tues. at 1:30 p.m. or Wed. at 10:00 a.m.
          • Toddler and Two Times: Friday at 10:00 a.m.
          • Infant Lapsit: Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

We do value your feedback. If you've attended storytime at the Keene Public Library recently, please help us plan for by completing a quick online survey.

And if you want to real along at home, you can follow along with preschool storytime by visiting Colleen's Preschool Storytime Blog

Image:  Story hour W.P.A recreation project - Dist. no. 2 / Shari.  Ill[inois] : Federal Art Project, WPA, [between 1936 and 1939]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 

Through Storytimes, we hope to:

blue bullet     Share the best of children's literature and illustrations;

blue bullet     Introduce the library and its services to children and families;

blue bullet     Teach children that the library is a helpful, friendly place where they can find materials to enrich their lives;

blue bullet     Encourage children to become lifelong readers;Toddler Two Times at the Keene Puublic Library

blue bullet     Provide children with group activities and experiences;

blue bullet     Promote language development and provide verbal learning experiences;

blue bullet     Promote reading aloud at home by parents and caregivers.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to use this opportunity to teach children listening and cooperative skills. The library has a few tips that can help make Keene Public Library Storytimes more fun and rewarding.

Lapsit Time

This series is for newborn and one-year-old babies and their caregivers. Each session is full of songs and rhymes, clapping hands and smiling faces.

Toddler Two-Times

These programs are for walking and talking toddlers up to the age of 36 months and their parents or caregivers. Each session features simple songs, rhymes, and fingerplays.

Preschool Story Time @ your LibraryPreschool Storytime Fun at KPL

This storytime is for children three to six years of age that have not yet started kindergarten. Each storytime is a 30 to 45-minute celebration of language. Storytime includes several books, songs, poems, and other book related activities such as crafts and creative dramatics.

These three programs are held in four sessions throughout the year. Registration is ongoing throughout each session. As long as there is room in the program, we will sign up newcomers. Call the library at 603-352-0157 to find out the dates and times for these storytimes. Alternatively, you can check online on the library's children's program>

Multi-Age Drop-In Story Programs

The library also offers a drop-in storytime each Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. There is no need to register. All you have to do is show up!

Scheduled Storytime Series

You can sign up for storytimes one month before they are scheduled to begin.

blue bullet FALL STORYTIMES:  September 6 through October 28, 2016 
blue bullet WINTER STORYTIMES: January 2 through Feb. 17. 2017
blue bullet SPRING STORYTIMES: March 20 through May 12, 2017
blue bullet SUMMER STORYTIMES: This drop-in series begins the week of June 12, 2017

Don't forget, the library as lots of additional special family and youth programs. Check our online calendar for details.

And, you can drop in anytime for stories on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

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After 10 years, downloadable books, magazines continue to be popular with N.H. public library patrons

In 2006, 20 public libraries in New Hampshire came together to form the N.H. Downloadable Books Consortium as an economically efficient way of providing audiobooks to patrons.

Ten years later, 205 libraries belong to the consortium, e-books and magazines have been added to the collection, and both the number of titles available and the service’s popularity continue to grow.

In the past 12 months, patrons at libraries belonging to the consortium have checked out e-books 449,423 times and audiobooks 369,187 times. If these materials had been individually purchased by patrons for their own use, the total cost – based on a conservative estimated average price for the materials – would be more than $10 million. The actual purchase price for all materials in the consortium last year was about $267,000.

Throughout the state, patrons are adapting to the wide variety of devices that can utilize this service, downloading 19,856 audio and e-books over the course of the year, an increase of almost 10% over last year. 

The service is popular at the Keene Public Library where there is a total of 3408 registered users of New Hampshire Downloadable Books who downloaded 9,665 electronic books and 10,101 digital audiobooks.

Magazines are new to the service. The collection has grown to more than 60 titles, which have been downloaded across the state 51,210 times in the past 12 months. Keene Public Library patrons downloaded 1,073 magazine titles during the period.

Public libraries participate in the N.H. Downloadable Books Consortium by paying an annual fee. Materials are available for registered library patrons to download to their electronic devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To download an item, a patron needs to have an active library card from one of the 205 participating N.H. libraries.

The consortium is managed by members of participating libraries and is facilitated through the N.H. State Library. It is funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.

“Downloadable books and magazines are an important part of what’s available at libraries throughout New Hampshire,” said Michael York, state librarian and acting commissioner of the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources. “Belonging to the Downloadable Books Consortium allows member libraries to expand what they offer to their patrons at a fraction of the cost it would be to make the purchases on their own.

“It’s yet another way that New Hampshire’s libraries work together to get more ‘bang for the buck’ for our residents.”

The New Hampshire State Library promotes excellence in libraries and library services to all New Hampshire residents, by assisting libraries and the people of New Hampshire with rapid access to library and informational resources through the development and coordination of a statewide library/information system; by meeting the informational needs of New Hampshire’s state, county and municipal governments and its libraries; and by serving as a resource for New Hampshire. For more information, visit

If you need assistance downloading N.H. Downloadable titles to a device, please contact Cary Jardine at the Keene Public Library at 603-757-1838.  

The Hampstead Stage Company Performs Frankenstein on Oct. 1

Hampstead Stage Company’s original adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will be performed in Keene Public Library’s Heberton Hall located at 60 Winter Street on Saturday, October 1 at 3 p.m. The performance is free and it is suggested for adults, teens, and families with children at least nine years of age. The production explores Victor Frankenstein’s maddening journey of creation and failure, with just two actors playing multiple characters. Dr. Frankenstein, delirious from chasing his creation across the world, recounts his tragic past as a warning to humanity. This dark tale comes to life with a spark, revealing the truth behind Dr. Frankenstein’s creation and the irreversible horrors that unfold quickly after. This production of Frankenstein is “alive” and certain to leave you with chills, pondering the question: “Who really is the monster?”

All programs at the Keene Public Library are sponsored by the Friends of the Keene Public Library. Programs are open to the public. For more information, please contact the library at 603-352-0157.

Keene Library Hosts Cardboard Challenge on October 1

The Keene Public Library invites families to join the worldwide celebration of creativity and ingenuity known as the “Global Cardboard Challenge.” On Saturday, October 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., school age children will exercise their imagination and create and design objects with cardboard. Kids will be challenged to see what they can build out of cardboard, recycled materials, and imagination. The event is free and materials are provided, but feel free to bring supplies from home as well. Adult supervision is required for children under the age of ten. The Keene Public library is located at 60 Winter Street. The Challenge will be held on the library’s lower level. 

Global Cardboard Challenge, now in its fifth year, focuses on child creativity and is inspired by the short film, “Caine’s Arcade.”  ‘Caine’s Arcade’ tells the story of a chance encounter between filmmaker Nirvan Mullick and Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old boy who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s East Los Angeles auto parts shop. The resulting 11-minute film has been widely cited as one of the most inspirational stories of 2012 and helped launch the Imagination Foundation with a mission to celebrate creativity the role communities can play in fostering it. 

Last year’s Global Cardboard Challenge had over 125,000 participants from 46 countries including Chile, Hungary, Kenya, Indonesia and Pakistan. Kids designed and built arcade games, gadgets, castles, robots, rocket ships - anything they could dream up. They practiced collaboration and creative problem solving, and learned about math, engineering, design thinking, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and more along the way. For more information, visit

All programs at the Keene Public Library are sponsored by the Friends of the Keene Public Library. Programs are open to the public. For more information, please contact the library at 603-352-0157.

Insightful Exhibit! of Tactile & High Contrast Art on Display at Library through Sept. 7

A special exhibit featuring highly tactile, high contrast work from the League of N.H. Craftsmen and the N.H. Association for the Blind will be on display at the Keene Public Library through Thursday, September 7, 2016. The exhibit can be seen in the library 's Youth Department on the second floor. To celebrate the exhibit, the library will hold a special intergenerational story and activity time on Thursday, August 25 at 11 a.m. During the program, which will feature a braille storytime and art activity, some of the creators of the artwork will be here. Sighted and visually impaired visitors are especially encouraged to interact with the work through touch. Each piece has a unique texture and accompanying description in both printed Braille descriptive text will be provided for visually impaired visitors.

The League of N.H. Craftsmen is a non-profit, craft education organization. Its mission is to encourage, nurture, and promote the creation, use, and preservation of fine contemporary and traditional craft through the inspiration and education of artists and the broader community. The N.H. Association for the Blind works to advance the independence of persons who are blind and visually impaired. The Association helps people with vision loss continue to live safely and independently -- at home, at work, and in their community.

The library is located at 60 Winter Street. For more information, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Indie Author Day @ the Keene Public Library

The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce that it will be participating in the first annual Indie Author Day on Saturday, October 8, 2016. This event, which will be hosted by libraries across the country, is designed to bring local writing communities together in their libraries to participate in author panels, book readings and signings, workshops, presentations, and more. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. with introductions. Panels and presentations will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. There will be time to meet and great local indie authors throughout the day. Then, at 2 p.m. EST, everyone will join a digital gathering featuring Q&A with writers, agents, and industry leaders that will bring together the larger indie community.

As independent publishing becomes ever more popular, many authors still struggle to find an audience. Indie Author Day will offer an opportunity for local authors to make connections with readers in their own community and learn more about how to navigate the fast-changing world of self-publishing.

The Keene Public Library is currently looking for local authors who are interested in participating in the day’s events. Writers of all genres and of works for all age groups are welcome to join us. Participation is not limited to Keene residents; members of surrounding communities are more than welcome to take part. Anyone interested in participating should contact the library by calling (603) 603-352-0157 or emailing

Keene Public Library Announces Chautauqua Programs

This year, the Keene Public Library, the Horatio Colony House Museum, and the New Hampshire Humanities Council will present the annual Keene Chautauqua. The event will take place in Keene Public Library’s Heberton Hall on Thursday, September 15 at 6:00 p.m. with pre-show music and presentations by Marvin Jefferson as Paul Robeson and Gwendolyn Briley-Strand as Wilma Rudolph at 6:30 p.m. The two presentations will deal with the complex relationship between race and sport in America and how some gifted individuals achieved success on the playing field despite difficult living conditions and economic circumstances.  After each presentation, audience members can ask questions to the historical character and the researcher/performer. 

Paul Robeson, son of a former slave, was one of the most well-known African-Americans of the 20th century. He was a renaissance man: a social activist, singer, scholar, actor, All-American athlete at Rutgers, intellectual, lawyer, linguist, humanist and advocate for international peace. Marvin Jefferson, who will bring Robeson to life on the Heberton Hall stage. Previously, he portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Keene Chautauqua in 2015. He has  portrayed Robeson in Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland. 

Actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand will portray Wilma Rudolph who won three gold medals in track and field during the 1960 Summer Olympics, making her the first American female to do so. She is regarded as a civil and women's rights pioneer. Briley-Strand has portrayed Rudolph with the Maryland Humanities Council.

Although many people have sat in the Chautauqua audience in Keene, they may not know of the important Chautauqua tradition. Former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt is believed to have said “was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America". Chautauquas were highly popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, bringing the most timely educational lectures and programs to small towns throughout America. The first Chautauqua was held at Lake Chautauqua in western New York in 1874. In 1878, the New York Chautauqua initiated our country’s first book club. Chautauquas were immensely popular for many years. Reborn as a public humanities program in 1976, today’s Chautauquas feature scholars portraying significant historical figures in first-person performances followed by a question and answer period with the character and then a question and answer with the scholar. 

Those who would like to study up before the big event are invited to participate in book discussions at the Horatio Colony House Museum located at 199 Main Street. On Wednesday, August 10 at 7 p.m., Paul Robeson’s book “Here I Stand” will be discussed. The book was originally written in 1958 and is not an autobiography but an explanation by Robeson to the charges brought against him when he was blacklisted for his outspoken activism. On Wednesday, August 24, the book “(Re) Presenting Wilma Rudolph” will be discussed. The author Rita Liberti won the 2016 North American Society for Sport History Book Award for the work, which tells the story of Wilma Rudolph and explores race, class and gender issues. Parking is at the rear of St. Bernard's Church adjacent to the museum. Both books will be available from the Keene Public Library but it will not be necessary to have read the books to attend a discussion.

The Keene Chautauqua is planned and presented by the Keene Public Library with grant funding from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  The Chautauqua is free and open to the public. For more information contact Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157 or

OverDrive Has a New Look!

On Monday, July 25, 2016, the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium (OverDrive) is rolling out its redesigned website. Same great content with a whole new look! Click here for an overview of some of the major changes. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cary Jardine, Digital Services Librarian, at 603-757-1838.