Friday, September 18, 2020

Local public libraries beef up activities, programs for public heading into fall season

By Elizabeth Richards

The Raymond Village Library resumed walk-in
services on Sept. 1 and the public is encouraged
to visit and check out library materials, use
computers or shop the library's ongoing book sale.
Both the Raymond Village Library and the Windham
Public Library are set for a number of events and
activities this fall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

As fall approaches, the public libraries in Windham and Raymond continue to serve the communities with online programs, curbside pickup, and limited in-person hours of operation.

In Windham, Library Director Jen Alvino said staff members are prepared for the busy fall season ahead.  

“The important thing to note at this time is that all our programs at Windham Public Library are continuing online,” Alvino said. “We have lots going on and something for all ages, but everything will be posted on our Facebook or done with staff through Zoom.”

These online programs include Story Time and Books and Babies either posted or held via Facebook Live at their usual times each week. Story Time happens on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., and Books and Babies is on Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m.

The Windham Public Library has a regular Book Group and Socrates CafĂ© program offered on Zoom.  On Sept. 22 at 4 p.m., via Facebook Live, Tim Caverly will present The Allagash – New England’s Wild River, a virtual canoeing experience on the 92-mile Allagash River complete with lore, legends and characters that Caverly experienced as a Maine Park Ranger.

For more information and program links, contact Reference and Technology Librarian Ray Marcotte at

The Windham library also offers a writing group, an Author Talk and Art Nights online, Alvino said.

According to Alvino, the library is still operating with reduced hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday because of the pandemic. Curbside pick-up is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We have a limit of 15 people in the building and we ask that people wear a mask and keep their visits under 30 minutes,” Alvino added.

Because of the limitations on number of people and time limit for visits, the library cannot accommodate students after school as they have in the past, according to a notice on the Windham Public Library website. 

“Winsome Wednesdays,” a program designed for grades K to 6, will feature a new video on Facebook most Wednesdays with “a smorgasbord of interesting activities to try out by yourself, or with your family,” according to the description on the website.

The Raymond Village Library (RVL) is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and

Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The library resumed walk-in services on Sept. 1, and patrons can feel free to drop in and check out materials, use computers or shop the library’s ongoing book sale, according to their September newsletter.

Reserving time for computer access at the Raymond Village Library is highly recommended at this time because of the limited availability of computer stations.

Face coverings and social distancing guidelines are in effect, and access is limited to five people in the library at a time. No-contact parking lot pickups of materials to check out are still available by contacting the library for a pickup time.

While the library isn’t currently offering story time, plenty of activities remain to captivate and entertain all ages, Raymond Village Library Board Member Briana Bizier said.

“The Children’s librarian, Karen, who is amazing, still has the story time packets that parents can pick up, and those are for all ages,” Bizier said. “The packets include books, songs and a craft.”

The library has also set up a new story walk at the Raymond Shopping Center, Bizier said. 

The Raymond Village Library children’s librarian worked with the owner of the shopping center and independent stores to display a page from “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault in storefront windows throughout the center. 

This story walk is in addition to the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story walk in the community garden next to the library.

With community assistance, the Raymond Village Library also recently purchased picnic tables to expand their outdoor seating area. Bizier said this area will be available throughout the fall so that school children, and anyone else, can access the free wifi at the library.

Bizier said that in addition to the indoor book and movie sale the library has going, they are selling “some really cool Maine and Raymond T-shirts” as well.  She said that the library plans to hold its holiday basket fundraiser again this year.

The library also will conduct a “Grow with Google” workshop online from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.  This workshop will offer tips on selling online, including the benefits of setting up an online store with Shopify and how to list products on Google Shopping.  Registration will open soon. Interested individuals should contact the Raymond Village Library for more information.

The Raymond Village Library will also host a virtual discussion of “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead, on Monday Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. through Zoom. Participants should contact the library for specific meeting information.

For a listing of additional activities this fall offered by both the Raymond Village Library and the Windham Public Library, the public is asked to review up-to-date information on the library websites, as well as on their Facebook pages. <

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