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Library News

Keene Public Library Offers Writers’ Workshop Series

Library Resumes Monday Night Writers’ Group  

All Keene area veteran and first-time writers are invited to a series of writing workshops for advice and assistance on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Randy Koons, a volunteer leading the library’s writers group, encourages aspiring authors to “please ask questions, share their work, and provide insight into the experience.” All short and long form fiction writers are welcome. The group led by Koons runs through Monday Nov. 9, 2015. On Monday Oct. 12, the library will be closed and the group will not meet. All programs at the Keene Public Library are free and open to the public. The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter St. 

Keene Library Holds After-Hours Halloween Horror Movie and Game Marathon for Teens

The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce a special Halloween event for teens on Friday October 30, 2015 when teens and young people at least 11 years-of-age and older are invited to enjoy some spooky horror films and games in the basement of the Keene Public Library after hours.  Please note that this event is held after hours and teens under the age of 18 will need to have a permission slip signed by a parent or legal guardian. Permission slips can be picked up at the Youth Desk on the 2nd floor of the library located at 60 Winter Street,

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

Celebrate Batman Day at the Keene Public Library

The Keene Public Library invites fans to Batman Day at the library on Saturday Sept. 26 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Stop by to watch some films and TV episodes, make crafts featuring your favorite caped crusader, and check out our awesome graphic novel collection. The library is located at 60 Winter Street. First appearing in the comic book Detective Comics #27, which hit newsstands on March 30, 1939, featuring artwork by Bob Kane and a script by Bill Finger, Batman emerged from the shadows to become the world’s most popular Super Hero and dominate all media.  In feature films, TV shows, radio, video games, publishing and merchandise, this most human of Super Heroes has battled some of fiction’s greatest villains using his intellect, cunning and an arsenal of gadgets to further his quest for justice.

The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter St. All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the library at 603-352-0157.


Celebrate your freedom to read

Read a Banned Book

Throughout the country, most children are starting a new academic year. Teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye," and "To Kill a Mocking Bird," may not be included in curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators.

Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 513 in 2008. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.

It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," "Slaughterhouse Five," the Harry Potter series, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series,  remain available. For a list of the most challenged books in 2014 and information about why they were challenged,  check out this infographic.

The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children.  However, challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents!

In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and the Keene Public Library are sponsoring Banned Books Week September 27-October 3, 2015, an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society—the freedom to read freely—and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. The Keene Public Library and thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by participating in special events, exhibits, and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened. 

The American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the ALA; the American Society of Journalists and Authors; the Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores sponsor Banned Books Week. The Library of Congress Center for the Book endorses the observance.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.

Star Wars Reads Day and the Global Cardboard Challenge Return to the Library

Library Hosts Star Wars Reads Day and Cardboard Challenge Activities on Oct. 10

The Keene Public Library invites fans to a special event at the library on Saturday, October 10 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The library is located at 60 Winter Street. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Star Wars character.  

The fourth annual Star Wars Reads Day will again feature Star Wars fans together in a nationwide multi-publisher initiative. Last year, events took place all over the world, and this year Star Wars Reads Day is expected to grow even bigger as fans gear up for the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December. “Star Wars Read Day comes at an exciting time," says Carol Roeder, Director of Publishing at Lucasfilm. "Reading and Star Wars have gone hand-in-hand since 1976, when the novelization of the original Star Wars movie was released. Over the years, many fans have discovered the joy in reading through Star Wars books, and we hope to continue encouraging more people to read."

Activities at the Keene Public Library include crafts, and art projects. We'll also watch some Star Wars related movies and enjoy Star Wars theme refreshments. And, if you're interested, you can head

Activities at the Keene Public Library include crafts, and art projects. We'll also watch some Star Wars related movies and enjoy Star Wars theme refreshments. And, if you're interested, you can head next door to the Kay Fox Room to build Star Wars items from cardboard as part of the Global Cardboard Challenge. There will also be Star Wars themed refreshments available to enjoy!! 

This year, the Keene Public Library is participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge, which also occurs on Saturday October 10. The Challenge will take place in the Kay Fox Room from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. “We combined Star Wars Read Day with the Cardboard Challenge and we are hosting a space related event and we be encouraging kids and families to build space vehicles out of cardboard” says Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services at the Keene Public Library.  The Global Cardboard Challenge, now in its fourth 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 and open to the public. For more information, please contact the library at 603-352-0157.

Get the Smartest Card @ your library®

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and the Keene Public wants to make sure that all children in Keene have the smartest card of all – a library card. Snoopy is Honorary Chair for Library Card Sign-up Month 2015! Snoopy, the world-famous beagle has been known as The Flying Ace, The Masked Marvel, Man’s Best Friend, and the Literary Ace, among other personas. The Keene Public Library has created a special display in the Youth Department in Snoopy's honor. Throughout the month, we will encourage visitors to voice support for cats or dogs.

Public library programming and books for children make a difference in the lives of students. By providing school-age children with engaging programs and amazing collections, students from all backgrounds become excited and enthusiastic readers. Our main event for Library Card Sign-up Month will take place on Saturday September 19 at 2 p.m. when Bad Kitty visits the library for a library card celebration.

Throughout the yeear, students of all ages can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement. Students (and parents!) can get help for any kind of academic question in math, science, English, social studies and writing. Librarians and in-person volunteer tutors can help but a Keene Public Library card can connect you to a virtual tutor in English or Spanish between 1 p.m. and midnight daily. The virtual tutors work with students in kindergarten through 12th grade and even AP level class work and intro-level college coursework. Connecting with a virtual tutor is easy. You just need a library card and a computer or mobile device with internet access. To connect click here or on the quick link on the library's homepage.

Today’s libraries aren’t only a place of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where students can collaborate using new technologies, learn how to use a 3D printer or just relax with peers.  Our library offers access to a variety of print and digital resources, including [list online resources that students can access from home with a library card, like e-books, online homework help, online databases, etc.] that can be accessed in person or online.

“Our library provides access and programs for students of all ages,” says Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services. “For preschool age children we offer early literacy and lap sit storytimes to encourage school readiness, for older children and teens we supplement education with hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM ) programs and innovative makerspaces, and for older teens we have information and tools to help prepare for college and mentoring programs. There’s really something for everyone and it’s all free with a library card.”

"A library card has always been the most important school supply of all," says library director Nancy Vincent." Getting a library card is easy. All Keene residents need to do is bring proof of residence to the library.  Minors will also need to come with their parent or guardian.

Observed since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month is a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Keene Public Library at 60 Winter Street, call 603-352-0157 or visit

Keene Public Library Announces Chautauqua Programs

Actors/Researchers Bring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X to the Heberton Hall Stage

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 10 at 6:00 p.m. with pre-show music performed by Stuart Fuchs and presentations by Marvin Jefferson as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Charles Everett Pace as Malcolm X at 6:30 p.m. 

The religious leadership and political action of these two leaders provide a vision for racial justice, a call for social and economic equality and human rights. After each presentation, audience members can ask questions to the historical character and the researcher/performer. Before the presentation and during intermission, Stuart Fuchs will play guitar and ukulele. Fuchs is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, and an innovative and compassionate teacher.  He is a lifelong minstrel and plays a wide variety of styles of music on acoustic guitar and ukulele including folk, classical, jazz, rock, sacred and world music.  He also plays Latin percussion, Bolivian charango, Australian didgeridoo, Native American flute, Tibetan singing bowls, and yes - hunting calls and amplified toys.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is probably the most famous figure from the African American Civil Rights movement. King organized and led protests and marches for desegregation, suffrage, and other basic civil rights. A Baptist minister, King championed the use of nonviolent protest. He helped form and was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization designed to bring leadership to the expanding civil rights movement. King publicly opposed the war in Vietnam. At the time of his assassination on April 4, 1968, King was leading the war on poverty in the “Poor People’s Campaign.” With his powerful stage presence and in-depth scholarship of the rights movement, Marvin Jefferson is certain to inspire Keene audiences through his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Malcolm X was a Black Muslim minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. After rising from an early life of drug abuse and criminal behavior, he became a respected, yet controversial political figure in the 1960’s and a leading supporter for the cause of universal human rights. Malcolm’s driving quest for knowledge, self-critique and conversion to Islam changed his life. Pace's performance brings to light how marginal outsiders become influential insiders.

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 questions and answer period with the character and then questions and answers 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 26 at 7 p.m., the book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley” will be discussed. In the book, the Black leader with assistance discusses his political philosophy and reveals details of his life, shedding light on the ideas that enabled him to gain the allegiance of a still growing percentage of the Black population. On Wednesday September 2, the book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Martin Luther King, Jr. will be discussed. "Where Do We Go From Here" is King's fourth and last book. In it he looks back at the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s and discusses the question of what African-Americans should do with their new, dearly fought for freedoms found in laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Parking is at the rear of St. Bernard's Church adjacent to the museum. Both books will be available from the Keene Public Library.  

The Keene Chautauqua is planned and presented by the Keene Public Library with grant funding from the New Hampshire Humanities Council and support from the Friends of the Keene Public Library, the Trustees of the Keene Public Library, and the City of Keene’s Martin Luther King, Jr. / Jonathan Daniels Committee. The Chautauqua is free and open to the public. Contact Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157 for more information.  

Has a librarian made a difference in your life?

Librarians touch the lives of the people they serve every day. The I Love My Librarian Award encourages library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. We want to hear how you think your librarian is improving the lives of the people in your school, campus or community.

Each year 10 librarians are selected. Each librarian receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York City, hosted by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school.

Nominations for the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award are open through September 28.

Nominate a School Librarian

Nominate a Public Librarian

Nominate a College, Community College, or University Librarian

If you want to resubmit a nomination from a previous year, we've made it easy.

Sign up here to be notified about future I Love My Librarian Award activity.

Questions?  Email Megan McFarlane, Campaign Coordinator, American Library Association.

In the award’s first seven years, library supporters nationwide sent in more than 14,000 nominations for their librarians. A total of 70 librarians have won the award to date. Read about the previous winners: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009,and 2008.

Get A Library Card And Meet Bad Kitty At The Library On Sept. 19

The Keene Public Library will sponsor a Bad Kitty Library Party on Saturday Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. for children and their families. Bad Kitty is a character from a series of picture books and first chapter books written by Nick Bruel. The books are about a housecat named Kitty, who often wreaks havoc about her owner's home. The first Bad Kitty book was published in 2005. The Keene Public Library invites children to celebrate 10 years of Bad Kitty with reading, games, and other fun.

Although children of all ages are invited to this library event, the program is specially designed for children in grades K-3.This free event is part of the American Library Association’s Library Card Sign-up Month. The event will feature read-alouds, games, crafts, refreshments, and a visit from a life-sized Bad Kitty character (bring your camera!). 

September is Library Card Sign Up Month. After the party, Keene residents may want to sign up for a library card Library cards are free to Keene residents and may be obtained with current identification at the library’s circulation desk. In addition, the library provides library cards to all full time students attending a school in Keene. A parent or guardian must accompany children under the age of eighteen when they apply for their library card. 

Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.  

“A library card has always been the most important school supply of all,” says Gail Zachariah, Keene Public Library Youth Librarian. “Kids can come to the library to get homework help and check out books, but they can also check out free music, DVDs and use the Internet to make after school life a little more fun. There’s a lot happening at the Keene Public Library.”

A recent study by the American Library Association also showed that families use libraries to spend time together. Forty-four percent of survey respondents report taking their children to the library for this reason.  

This event is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Keene Public Library and the Endowment Fund of the Trustees of the Keene Public Library.

For more information on how you can sign up for your library card, visit the Keene Public Library at 60 Winter St., call 603-352-0157 or see the library’s Web site Library hours during the school year are Monday through Thursday 9 am until 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Public Library and Amateur Astronomy Club Host Public Viewing

The Keene Public Library and the Keene Amateur Astronomers Club are collaborating and celebrating Observe the Moon Night with a public viewing session on Saturday Sept. 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Ashuelot River Park. This public viewing is dependent on the weather. International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is an annual event that is dedicated to encouraging people to ‘look up’ and take notice of our nearest neighbor, the moon. From looking at the moon with a naked eye to using the most sensitive telescope, every year on the same day, people from around the world hold events and activities that celebrate our moon.

The library has a Moon Viewing Kit, which includes binoculars, a tripod, and other useful items and a Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch Astronomical Telescope. Both are contained in carrying totes and are suitable for families and individuals to check out of the library. The telescope and binoculars are loaned for one week at a time to individuals that have signed the use agreement and waiver. The lunar binoculars are a gift to the library from Lunar and Planetary Institute. The New Hampshire Astronomical Society provided the telescope. It is easy to use and robust. There is nothing to assemble. It has a wooden base, not the usual spindly tripod legs. The telescope is of manageable size, but has a relatively large optical tube. This means that the Moon and deep sky objects will show far more detail than one could see with the common beginner’s telescope. It also has a large field of view that allows the object to stay in the in the eyepiece longer. 

All programs at the Keene Public Library are free and open to the public. For more information about these or other events, please contact the library at 603-352-0157.