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Library News

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.

Keene Library Holds Teen Library Lock-in

The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce their participation in the Nationwide Teen Library Lock-in on Friday, July 29, 2016. Keene teens, along with teens throughout the nation, will come together and enjoy a night they will not soon forget. The event at the Keene Public Library starts at 6 p.m. All youth ages 11 through 19 are welcome! A parent consent form is required for participation; Forms are available here and at the library.

Libraries across the U.S.A. will meet virtually, play, and have a blast on July 29. The lock-in is in its 6th year with libraries as far away as Alaska participating. During the evening, there will be online visits from well-known authors, contests, popular crafts, and multi-player games. Contests include a photo scavenger hunt, a Minute To Win It competition, a Minecraft tournament, and a Breakout Box challenge. Authors participating in the virtual discussions include Wendy Higgins, Kristen Simmons, Kara Thomas, and Miranda Kenneally.

Please remember that participants will not be allowed to stay if they do not have a signed consent form with them. Food will be served, so please indicated food allergies on the consent form.

All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information library programs, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Keene Library Celebrates Harry Potter

The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce a special Harry Potter party to be held at the library located at 60 Winter St. on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 6 p.m. Come explore the magical world of Harry Potter and celebrate the newest book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” with crafts, trivia, readings, and science experiments. The book will be published on July 31 as a play and is the eighth story in the Harry Potter Series. It picks up 19 years after the end of  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”  We find Harry working for the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father of three children.  The plot centers on Harry’s children, particularly his youngest son Albus. In addition to Harry, Ron, Hermione,  and Ginny, Draco and his son, Scorpius appear in the play. Written by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” will also be presented as a play in London’s West End.

All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information library programs, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Young People’s Writers Workshops to Be Held at Keene Library

The Keene Public Library is pleased to offer a free eight-session writing workshop series for young people entering fifth through eight grades. The series will be held Monday, July 25-28, 2016 and August 1-4, 2016. The camp is for young people, whether they like Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman or Rey. Participants who will be in the 5th through the 8th grade next fall will meet for two hours each afternoon to develop writing skills in a safe and supportive environment and will create a superhero, as well as learn and practice elements of writing such as character development, setting, plot, and conflict. The camp is sponsored by the National Writing Project in New Hampshire. For more information about this or other library programs for young people, please call the Keene Public Library at 603-352-0157 and ask for Gail Zachariah.

Keene Library Hosts Maker Camp for Young People Thursdays through August 11

There are three more Maker Camps this summer: Thursday, August 4 and August 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Keene Public Library, 60 Winter Street.

Kids are natural builders, explorers, and makers and these special programs on Thursdays are a great opportunity for young people to try new projects and develop new skills. 

In the style of the popular “maker movement,” Maker Camp will inspire kids to play around with typical maker “stuff” such as tools and constructions, get their hands dirty making projects, fix some things, break some things and have a blast doing it. On August 4th, young makers 8 years-of-age and older will tinker with mechanical wonders and paper circuits. Skills learned will include mechanical physics, woodworking, construction, basic electronics, and sensors. On August 11th, young makers will create awesome electronic instruments with crazy sounds, and then write some music! Skills learned will include circuit bending, synthesizers, programming, electronics, and music.  

The Keene Public Library was selected to participate in the Maker Camp program by parent company Maker Media, which serves the growing community of makers who bring a do-it-yourself mindset to technology.

These workshop opportunities are part of the library’s Summer of Making. The Keene Public Library is proud to be one of the 42 Maker Corps Host Sites. Maker Corp is a professional development program that combines online training with hands-on practice to create and provide maker education programming within youth-serving organizations. The Maker Corps program was created by the Maker Ed as a national commitment to connect makers to community-serving institutions and to expand the capabilities of local community education institutions helping them to implement new maker-oriented activities. For more information about the library’s involvement with Maker Corps, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Summer Reading Winds Down at Local Library

Summer reading at the Keene Public Library is winding down. More than with more 420 children, teens, and adults have in the participated in the various summer reading programs at the Keene Public Library. There is still time to participate but you will need to act quickly. This summer, participants received prizes for reading and competing in special challenges such as attending a library program, writing a book review, making something, and showing a library card. Each time a challenge was completed, participants were entered into a grand prize raffle for a Kobo Arc Tablet. The last day to record books, challenges, and time spent reading is Sunday, August 14.

The final summer reading program is scheduled for Friday, August 12, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Department. During this end-of-summer-reading event storyteller, Rona Leventhal will present “Mysteries, Puzzles, and Mind Twisters: Stories to Ponder and Play.” How can you twist words meant to be your demise into saving your life? What are the clues that the wise judge uses to solve the crime? What mysterious things happen when your journey takes you to unexpected places? Join award-winning storyteller Rona Leventhal as she spins tales of mysterious shapeshifters, mind plays, and creative solutions to problems that will leave you pondering the stories for days! Rona Leventhal is an international storyteller who has put smiles on the faces of thousands of listeners for the past twenty-five years with her exuberant and dramatic storytelling style.Guests are invited to come early before the library closes at 6 p.m. We will have fun activities for you to do while our storyteller sets up.

The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter Street. All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the library’s website at or call 603-352-0157.


Kids Buddy Up To Promote Reading At Keene Public Library

Young children and older teens and 'tweens interested in developing a love of reading need look no farther than the Keene Public Library. The program called “Book Buddies” pairs young rookie readers with trained veteran readers. Students entering Kindergarten, first, second, third, or fourth grade are encouraged to sign up now so that they can be matched with older students entering the fifth through the twelfth grade and adults. For four weeks starting July 6, 2017, these “Book Buddies” will meet regularly at the library to read, write, and talk about books. Meeting times are Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

The “Big Buddy” mentors promote an interest in books, reading, and writing as well as encourage the “Little Buddy” to practice new reading skills at home. With the help of “Big Buddies,” young children will gain confidence in their reading and themselves while building an interest in books and a love of reading and writing. 

The library is currently recruiting both Little and Big Book Buddies. Applications are available in the Library's Youth Department. You can also download pdfs of both Little Buddy Applications and Big Buddy Applications. Big Book Buddies should plan on attending orientation. Orientation will be held on Thursday, June 29th at 3:30 p.m. If you are unable to attend this orientation, please contact us and we will try to schedule something else.

Little Buddies may be struggling with reading or they may just want a little extra help. Please provide as much information as possible so that we can match pairs according to schedule needs. Book Buddies may strike a chord with teens and 'tweens looking to do something especially meaningful this summer.  

This is the thirteenth year of the Book Buddy Program at the Keene Public Library. To get ready, the library has been beefing up its collection of beginning readers. Some of the popular themes for beginning readers are animals, comics, superheroes, and humorous books. 

Registration for Book Buddies has begun and will continue through June 29th. Participants will be notified as soon as possible.

For more information, please call Amy Kraemer at 603-352-0157.

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Keene Library Participates in 2nd Annual Readathon Day

The Keene Public Library is pleased to join Penguin Random House and the American Library Association (ALA) to support the second annual National Readathon Day, which will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2016. It is a day dedicated to the joy of reading and giving, when readers everywhere can join together in their local library, school, bookstore, and on social media (#Readathon2016) to read and raise funds in support of literacy. This year, Readathon Day is presented as part of ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign, and will benefit ALA's Every Child Ready to Read initiative, a program that supports the early literacy development of children from birth to age five in libraries across the nation. The Keene Public Library will make it easy to participate by providing library card holders with Book Grab Bags with a variety of books from science fiction to romance. Check out a bag and challenge yourself to read whatever is inside."We are thrilled to partner with Penguin Random House on National Readathon Day 2016," said Sari Feldman, president of ALA. "Not only does Readathon Day present an opportunity to generate excitement amongst readers of all ages, but it also enables children and students everywhere to get involved in an effort that supports youth literacy. The transformational power of reading is fundamental to the value that libraries provide to their communities each and every day. During #Readathon2016, individuals can contribute to ALA and Every Child Ready to Read by visiting the Firstgiving Fundraising page at and sharing with their friends and family. All readers are encouraged to join in Readathon Day fun on social media, using the hashtag #Readathon2016. Visit the official website,, for more information on how to get involved online and in person at local reading parties. The Keene Public Library uses Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®,a national research-based program, developed in 2001 and updated in 2011, that empowers library professionals and other early childhood allies to build relationships with parents in their communities and model parent-child engagement activities to build early literacy skills. The initiative makes the road to school readiness and success less mysterious for parents and more fun for children while incorporating the latest early literacy research and strategies for developing pre-reading skills. The initiative’s core message speaks directly to any busy parent: “Talk, sing, read, write, and play with your children!” Last year’s inaugural Readathon Day put the national spotlight on reading in support of the National Book Foundation’s literacy programs. This year, #Readathon2016 shines a light on libraries and early childhood literacy through ALA and Every Child Ready to Read. The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter Street. The Friends of the Keene Public Library sponsor this program. All library programs are free and open to the public. Please call the library at 603-352-0157 for more information about public programs.

Beethoven’s Wig to Perform at Keene Public Library

The Keene Public Library is pleased to present a special family musical performance presented by Beethoven's Wig on Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. The library is located at 60 West Street.

Created by lyricist and lead vocalist Richard Perlmutter, Beethoven’s Wig is comprised of five singers who perform as featured artists with symphony orchestras and ensembles. This solo performance presents Beethoven’s Wig songs (along with stories and anecdotes, comedy and audience participation) accompanying himself on piano.

Beethoven’s Wig songs are filled with fact and fancy about the world’s greatest composers, and their music and concerts open the door to “serious music” for all ages. Richard Perlmutter gets the audience into the act by encouraging them to sing along, dance the Can Can, and answer classical music trivia questions. Entertaining anecdotes about classical composers and their compositions are woven throughout the performance.

Beethoven once said, "If my music had words it'd be a lot more popular." His wish has come true!  Modern day “co-writer” Richard Perlmutter has added lyrics to Beethoven (and Bach, Mozart, et. al) that have propelled the works of the old longhairs to the tops of the charts, and introduced them to new audiences everywhere.


Beethoven’s Wig has performed as a headlining artist at world-renowned venues, performing arts centers, festivals and museums. The group has been featured on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Today Show.” Two of their albums have reached #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List. Beethoven’s Wig has won four Grammy Award Nominations and three of its albums have been honored as American Library Association “Notable Recordings.”   The Friends of the Keene Public Library generously sponsor this free event. The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter Street.