Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Weeks For the Price of One

    April 10th through 16th is National Volunteer Week. Our mother was always a volunteer, though we didn't attach any special significance to the word. It was just what she did. And when we were pressed into service, volunteered so-to-speak, we thought that we were doing what all offspring of volunteers were supposed to do. After a couple of years of weekly trips to the nearest library in the next town, our mother decided we needed a hometown library. One of my earliest memories of volunteering was sorting boxes of books in the large room above the Redman's Hall in the small town where I grew up. After that, Mom decided to start a volunteer ambulance core, and I was enlisted to draw a depiction of the half-scale Cadillac ambulance for the fund drive. I could go on and on with our mother's efforts, but the point of this tale was her simple definition of volunteering. "Doing something to make the world a better place."

    April 10th through 16th is also National Library Week. Libraries make the world a better place. The authors whose works of fiction and non-fiction entertain and inform strive to achieve this goal. A volunteer can help to make the library a better place. There are often singular or routine tasks that can be performed by volunteers, thus freeing up staff to accomplish other tasks. The Summer Reading Program at the Fort Plain Free Library is one program that particularly lends itself to this type of service. Should you be interested in volunteering in any capacity, stop in at the library and leave your name, phone number, what you would be interested in doing, and we will get back to you. You never know where a simple act of volunteerism might lead. When Mom and my sister became Candy Stripers at the hospital, my sister went on to become a nurse and hospice volunteer. After a career in business and years of volunteering, my youngest sister went all the way and started her own non-profit, staffed by volunteers. Mom's library efforts (now housed in our old eight-room schoolhouse) started me down the printed path. As for that Cadillac ambulance I drew, it eventually materialized and arrived just in time to deliver my firstborn!

    On Tuesday evening, April 26th, from 6:00 – 8:00, The Fort Plain Free Library will host a program on Iris Folding. Participants will learn how to create beautiful, spiraling patterns using this simple technique. While this program is free, open to the public, and presented by volunteers, seating is limited.

For further information, please call the library at (518) 993-4646.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NetLibrary Access

Did you know that as a cardholder at the Fort Plain Free Library, you are able to download digital versions of popular bestsellers, book club favorites, and books by award-winning authors free of charge? Over 1,200 titles are available with an additional 30 added each month. Books may be downloaded to your home computer and to many portable listening devices including portable music players, portable media centers, pocket PC's, and some select smart phone devices. Books you choose are circulated for three weeks and are guaranteed to be available whenever requested.

The download service is available 24/7 from the NetLibrary web site that provides access to the downloadable audio book collection that the library has purchased and made available to patrons. First time users must create an account following the directions at After creating an account, users will be able to log in directly to the audio book website without going through a verification process.

Further information on this opportunity or tips for getting started will be provided in person at the library or by calling the library at (518) 993-4646.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yer Old Sod!

An Irish Country Courtship (Patrick Taylor), Death of a Gentle Lady (M.C. Beaton)I spent most of February reading myself through Ireland. Just when I thought I was ready to revisit Jan Karon's Mitford, North Carolina, where did she take her readers but to Ireland via In the Company of Others? Aside from catching a glimpse of people of another time and place or catching up with already familiar characters in their time and place, there is often another gift to be found when reading fiction. I came away with several thoughts beyond the storylines of these excellent books. It's nice to read about people who are satisfied with what they do and care about the people in their charge. They are sturdy, unpretentious, and dependable. They and their likes are the foundation of a community. Moreover, they slow things down for us and, by example, teach us to appreciate the people we know and the beauty of the world around us.

While on the topic of the Irish and upcoming St. Patrick's Day, The Little Book of Irish Family Cooking by Ruth Isabel Ross offers up two interesting recipes, Apple Amber and Bread and Butter Pudding. Check the book out of the library and try one of these recipes for the upcoming holiday. Irish Crochet Techniques and Projects is available on interlibrary loan for those who are a little experienced in crochet. You may want to Google "Mountmellick," Irish Whitework, embroidery as well.

A friend sent me her favorite St. Patrick's Day recipe for Corned Beef Casserole.
Take ten ounces of medium wide egg noodles, par cook, drain, and place in large bowl.
To this, add one twelve ounce can of corned beef, shredded, eight ounces of sharp, diced cheddar cheese, one can of cream of chicken soup, and one cup of milk.
Pour into a greased 2 ½ quart casserole and top with ¾ cup buttered breadcrumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes.
Serves six. Very good!

On Tuesday evening, March 15th, beginning at 6:00pm, Sherri Byrne will present a program dealing with natural fragrances in the home. She will offer recipes for furniture polish, rug deodorizer, bath salts, dusting powder, and potpourri. Materials are provided by the library, but enrollment is limited to fifteen, so please register at the library prior to the program to make certain there is a spot for you.

For further information on programs or publications, please call the library at (518) 993-4646.