Engaging Methuen Readers

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Free Online Concert Series: America’s “Great Organ” Perseveres

Pandemic or no, the Methuen Memorial Music Hall continues to have it’s annual Wednesday evening concert series featuring its Great Organ.  This year, due to the novel coronavirus, the series will be streaming from the MMMH’s YouTube channel.

When the Great Organ, shipped from Germany at great peril during the Civil War, had its inauguration concert in the Boston Music Hall in 1863, it was considered a celebrated musical event throughout the country.  This beautiful, gleaming organ was indeed great; having some 6,000 pipes, it was then the largest concert organ in America.  The variables of changing times and maintenance issues led to a decline in the organ’s fortunes.  In 1897, Edward Frances Searles, a railroad magnate from Methuen, MA, bought the neglected organ ‘for a song’ and moved it to Methuen where he had a remarkable barrel-vaulted concert hall built for the purpose of preserving the sounds of this great American treasure.

Since 1947, the Trustees of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall have shared this sonorous object of pride with the community through tours and their annual Organ Recital Series.  This year’s series, running through August 26th,  will be streamed live through YouTube.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear the majestic sounds of the Great Organ and to learn about its curious history!  The music must go on!

For more information on the concert series, the remarkable history of the Organ and the Building, or to donate to this organization, see the MMMH website.

If you are a Massachusetts library patron, you may have free access to The Boston Globe and their recent (6/14/20) article on Methuen’s Great Organ, “Now Streaming From Methuen:  a treasured organ with nine lives” (Jeremy Eichler), through our online database.


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NL Staff: What We’re Listening To

One of my favorite designations for the month of June is National Audiobook Month.  Audiobooks, you kept me from helpless rage when I was stuck in traffic commuting to work, kept my mind engaged when out for a walk.  Thank you for the bibliotherapy when I needed it and for a way to “read” even more books. –Your Editor

Now, let’s hear from the staff of the Nevins Library and see what they have been listening to:

Cover image for Children of virtue and vengeanceAlison, our new Young Adult Librarian, is currently listening to Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Toni Adeyemi and narrated by Bahni Turpin. It’s the sequel to Children of Blood and Bone.  “I like to listen to audiobooks on long drives or when I’m doing chores around the apartment. I get to learn how names and foreign or made up words are pronounced when listening to them.”

Kathleen, Literacy Coordinator and Reference Librarian, latest audiobook was You by Caroline Kepnes, the basis for the Netflix series. The darkly funny inner monologue of villain/protagonist Joe make for a very addictive and compelling listen! 

Cover image for The book of lost friends :Great minds must listen alike, as both Sue and Kirsten from the Reference Department recently enjoyed The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate, as well as her previous novel, Before We Were Yours.  Sue: “They are both historical fiction which is my favorite.  Both books follow dual time periods which making listening to the books interesting since there is a narrator for each time period.  I enjoy the way her writing intersects the storylines and connects the characters.  I also enjoy hearing about the true historical inspiration for the story as well.  Did I also mention that in both books, all four main characters are strong women?”

Kirsten’s previous audiobook was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which was “very good and out of character for me since I’m usually drawn to Historical Fiction.  Was a real psychological thriller.  Thank goodness for audiobooks, I’ve listened to them on the way to work and now will listen on my walks in the neighborhood.  Better way to get me out and walking, give me a good book for the trip!!”

Cover image for The Black DahliaSarah, Head of Readers’ Services, has been getting an earful:  “I’m currently listening to The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy and read by Stephen Hoye.  Even though I own a copy in paperback, I don’t think I could read this at home at night…  and am glad to listen while driving or painting or whatever!  Also, listening to a story from a police officer’s perspective with all the racist and stereotype-filled slang of the period is eye-opening right now.  Previously I listened to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman read by Cathleen McCarron and that was an absolutely wonderful book!   That narrator was perfect – accents and emotional intonations were spot on.”

Our Business Manager, Brenna, has been listening to Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race written and narrated by Debby Irving (local, from Winchester, MA) “I am on Chapter 10 so far and it is enlightening, details and history I was unaware of.”Cover image for Waking Up White

Tatjana, Reference Librarian, has been enjoying Heartland : a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh, read by the author.  “Quite an informative memoir and social commentary on the working poor of the MidWest!  Eye-opening.”

Remember, you can always access audiobooks in several different formats, including cd, e-audio, and PlayAway, through our catalog.  Happy Listening!

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LibraryReads: Hall of Fame June 2020

LibraryReads Hall of Fame:  June 2020

The LibraryReads Hall of Fame designation honors authors who have had multiple titles appear on the monthly list since 2013. As of the October 2018 list, when an author’s third title places on a monthly list via library staff votes, the author moves into our Hall of Fame.

Alpha Night

by Nalini Singh

ISBN:  978-1984803627

“This continuation of the Psy-Changeling series features the shapeshifting wolves of Moscow and their pack alpha, Selenka, but it also brings back many characters from previous books. Another enjoyable, fast-paced paranormal romance from Singh.”

Cathy Shields, East Lyme Public Library, Niantic, CT

Read-alike: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston
Read-alike: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Read-alike: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Read-alike: The Last Wolf by Maria Vale

Cover image for DANCE AWAY WITH ME.Dance Away With Me:  a novel

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

William Morrow
ISBN:  978-0062973054

“Phillips’ slow-burn romance centers around a grieving young widow who is drawn into the life of a frustrated artist. The story’s darker turns are lightened by humor drawn from the small-town Tennessee setting. Highly recommended.”

Rose Miller, Orange Public Library, Orange, CA

Read-alike: Blue Hollow Falls by Donna Kauffman
Read-alike: Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne
Read-alike: Sanctuary Cove by Rochelle Alers

Cover image for The DilemmaThe Dilemma

by B.A. Paris

St. Martin’s Press
ISBN:  978-1250151360

“If you knew something that was certain to change everything, would you keep it a secret to hold on to tranquility for one more day? Paris’ driving narrative, alternating between the perspectives of a husband and wife, guarantees your book group will be divided over this very question.”

Lorri Steinbacher, Ridgewood Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ

Read-alike: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Read-alike: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Read-alike: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark: a novel

by Riley Sager

ISBN:  978-1524745172

“Maggie’s father wrote a famous book about the family’s paranormal experiences when she was a child living at Baneberry Hall. Twenty-six years later she returns to the house to finally face what happened long ago. This suspenseful and compelling book keeps you guessing to the very end.”

Ashley Borer, Normal Memorial Library, Fayette, OH

Read-alike: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Read-alike: The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
Read-alike: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

Party of Two

by Jasmine Guillory

ISBN:  978-0593100813

“In the fifth book of the Wedding Date series, sparks fly between a smart, independent lawyer and a charming, impulsive senator. Guillory thoughtfully incorporates serious issues into her books while keeping the tone light and uplifting. Sweet, sexy, and a lot of fun.”

Jayme Hughes-Gartin, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH

Read-alike: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Read-alike: Rumor Has It by Cheris F. Hodges
Read-alike: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Read-alike: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Read-alikes provided by NoveList and the LibraryReads community.

Courtesy of LibraryReads Hall of Fame Authors

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Juneteenth in the Valley

Juneteenth (combining the date, “June” and “nineteenth”) is the oldest,  most celebrated annual holiday of the emancipation from slavery in the United States.  The Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices and allies will be hosting a Juneteenth celebration at Doherty Field in Andover, MA on Friday June 19th, 6-7:30pm. The commemoration will include historical presentations, spoken word, community conversations, open mic, and remembrances of Black lives lost due to racial and systemic injustice.  The MVBBV encourages you to bring your families, friends, blankets, and masks for this special evening. Bottled water and light packaged snacks will be available. Parking is available.

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Virtual Author Program: Nancy Thayer

The Nevins Library welcomes back Nancy Thayer!

We love Nancy and are so glad to spend some time with her online!

Nancy will be joining us via Zoom to discuss her latest novel, GIRLS OF SUMMER (available for purchase 5/26) on

Wednesday July 8, 2020 06:30 PM  Eastern Time (US and Canada)


One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly–and very handsome–local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior. Lisa’s children worry about the potential for their mother to suffer another broken heart, all while finding complicated potential romances of their own. As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

To join us in this special Zoom event, you must click here to register.  You will then receive your invitation link to the event.  For questions or further information, contact Sarah Sullivan at 978-686-4080 x16 or

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Summer Reading Kickoff with Wildlife Encounters

Believe it or not, the Summer Reading season is almost here, and the Children’s Department will kick it off with a live Zoom broadcast from Wildlife Encounters – which means everyone gets a front-row seat to see the animals!

Children will learn about seven species, including a Fennec Fox – you’ll love its huge ears – and an alligator, and they’ll be able to ask questions at the end of the program.

To join us at this special Zoom event, on June 23, 2020 6:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada), you must click here to register.  You will then receive your invitation link to the event.

If your plans change after you register and you won’t be able to join the program, please call us at 978-686-4080 x26 to cancel your registration so that children on the waiting list can take your place.



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LibraryReads June 2020: top ten books librarians love!


 June 2020 LibraryReads List

Mexican Gothic

by  Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Del Ray
ISBN:  9780525620785

“A perfect gothic mystery with an updated sensibility that will appeal to the modern
reader. Noemí is a Mexico City socialite in the 1950s. When her father receives a
disturbing letter from his niece, he sends Noemí to check on her cousin at the remote house where she is living–a grotesque and rotting English-style mansion, built on dirt imported from England by the colonialist eugenicist family she has married into. Lush descriptions and the creepy atmosphere make this a good choice for readers who liked The Witch Elm, The Little Stranger, or The Haunting of Hill House.

Lorena Neal, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL
NoveList read-alike: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

The Boyfriend Project

by Farrah Rochon

ISBN:  9781538716625

“In this contemporary romance, three women who were two-timed by the same man become friends. The unique, funny premise cleverly serves as a catalyst for why the women are trying to make changes in their lives. The romance is lovely and finds ways in which the couple struggles to be together. Give this to fans of Mia Sosa and Alisha Rai.”

Ann Carpenter, Brooks Free Library, Harwich, MA
NoveList read-alike: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Cover image for Devolution :Devolution:  A Firsthand Account of the
Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

by Max Brooks

Random House
ISBN: 9781984826787

 “Nobody imagines the end of the world quite like Brooks! Here he takes a group of privileged idealists, sets them in a beautiful utopia where they can escape the headaches of the city but suffer none of the inconveniences, and then brutally removes all the comforts they expect to be delivered. Throw in some hungry Sasquatch and things get really interesting. For fans of Blake Crouch and Jeff VanderMeer.”

Amy Hall, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, CO
NoveList read-alike: The Abominable by Dan Simmons

Cover image for The Empire of GoldThe Empire of Gold: a novel

by S.A. Chakraborty

Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062678164

“This is a story about colonialism and cycles of trauma, giving an in depth look at the politics and psychology of a land warred over by ethnic factions for centuries. Highly recommended to anyone looking for an imaginative fantasy with complex characters, well developed relationships, and insightful social commentary. For readers who enjoy N.K. Jemisin and Tasha Suri.”

Lauren Mitchell, Neenah Public Library, Neenah, WI
NoveList read-alike: Books of Ambha by Tasha Suri

The Girl From Widow Hills: A Novel

by Megan Miranda

Simon & Schuster
ISBN:  9781501165429

“Miranda returns with another engrossing psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story is primarily told from Olivia’s unreliable perspective. News reports, book excerpts, and other media are also used to fill out the story, which keeps the plot moving. For fans of Conviction (Mina) and The Other Mrs. (Kubica).”

Megan Coleman, Cecil County Public Library, Elkton, MD
NoveList read-alike: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

The Guest List: a novel

by Lucy Foley

William Morrow
ISBN:  9780062868930

“A wedding celebration on a remote island off the coast of Ireland turns eerie and
nightmarish in this gothic atmospheric mystery. A good choice for fans of Ruth Ware.”

Bill Anderson, Scott CountyPublic Library, Scottsburg, IN
NoveList read-alike: Go To My Grave by Catriona McPherson


The Last Flight: a novel

by Julie Clark

Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781728215723

“Claire and Eva both have reasons for wanting to disappear, so when they happen upon each other at the airport, they decide to take the other person’s flight. However, when one of the planes crashes, the danger they thought they were leaving isn’t far behind. For readers who enjoyed The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine and The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.”

Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL
NoveList read-alike: Layover by David Bell

Cover image for LIES THAT BIND.The Lies That Bind: a novel

by Emily Giffin

ISBN: 9780399178955

“Cecily is fresh off a break up and meets a “too good to be true” stranger in a local dive bar. For fans of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.”

Stephanie Hall, Topeka Public Library, Topeka, KS
NoveList read-alike: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh


Cover image for Take a Hint, Dani BrownTake a Hint, Dani Brown: a novel

by Talia Hibbert

ISBN:  9780062941237

“Dani and Zaf have been low-key flirting forever when a gallant moment is turned into a viral video and the pressure is on for these two to become a couple. This is a fabulously fun and meta take on a classic romance trope, the fake relationship. For fans of The Wedding Date and The Kiss Quotient.”

Jessica Trotter, Capital Area District Libraries, Lansing, MI
NoveList read-alike: A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

Cover image for The Vanishing HalfThe Vanishing Half:  a novel

by Brit Bennett

ISBN:  9780525536291

“Centering on two twin light-skinned black girls who grew up in a strange town in the Jim Crow south, this book explores racism, colorism, sexism, and familial relationships through the interweaving storylines of vivid and complicated characters. For fans of Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson.”

Pamela Gardner, Medfield Public Library, Medfield, MA
NoveList read-alike: A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton


 Courtesy of

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Open for Curbside Delivery!

Although the Library building remains closed, as of Monday June 1st, we will have Curbside Services again.

Please note that during the pick-up portion of these services, per the state guidelines, all parties will need to wear masks and protective gear if they are not under 2 years of age and are physically able. And will be required to be as socially distant as is possible.

Here’s are the Services we’ll have:

Book Pick-up

Place Your Order

Request material via the catalog on our website (, our app (download MVLC Mobile from your App Store), emailing us (, or calling 978-686-4080 while we’re open for calls (10am-6pm Mon.-Thur., 10am-3pm Fri.)

Wait for notification that your hold is ready for pick up. This will be a phone call or an email.

We’re sorry, but, not all items will be available for pick-up (like the telescope, kits, and other specialty items). We will also be limited to lending only Nevins Library items for some time.

Ready For Pick-up?

Call us at 978-722-2666 to to reserve a pick-up time. Appointments are available Mon.-Thur. 11am-5:45pm, Fri. 11am-2:45pm.

Please understand that we have limited reservation slots, to keep social distancing protocols for everyone’s health and safety.

At Your Reserved Pick-Up Time

Plan to arrive at the library during your reservation time.

Pull through the parking lot, turn around in the upper lot, and park along the building near the ramp entrance. There will be signs to guide you.

Call 978-686-4080 and press 2 for Circulation when you arrive.

Staff will check out your items, bag them, and then bring them to the table located on the ramp. Please retrieve your bag once staff has stepped away.

Can’t leave your car? Let us know when you make your reservation or when you arrive, and we can accommodate you.

Return Your Borrowed Items in the Book Drop

The book drop is emptied daily – sometimes more than once!

Items coming back into the building will need to spend time waiting “in quarantine” before we can check them in.

Don’t worry – we’ll track when we brought them in the building, and we will check them in with that date!

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Bookish Confessions: the right book at the right time

I checked out Lev Grossman’s The Magicians from the library five times.  Not because I loved it so much and wanted to re-read it, but because it just didn’t “take” on tries one through four.  What kind of an idiot wastes their time trying to read a book, voluntarily, over and over again without getting into it, especially when there is access to an almost infinite number of other interesting books?  A book nerd.  A very determined book nerd.  A book nerd who is studying readers’ advisory and has had the famous phrase “the right book for the right person at the right time” drilled into them.

When it came out in 2009, The Magicians garnered rave reviews from professional journals and readers alike, as a noteworthy literary fantasy for adults.  That sounds great, said I, and picked up the book, only to return it largely unread.  Maybe it will catch my attention more if I read it in the winter, I thought?  Nope.  Over the years, several friends and colleagues suggested it to me as a book I would like.  Yes, but no. I guess it was just the wrong time.

Cut to the pandemic of 2020 and stay-at-home orders…I’m working from home and have The Magicians at hand.  With no reading pressures on me and time to spare, I finally found the right book at the right time.  I am a little over halfway through the book and all indicators point to a satisfactory finish in the next week.  All I had to do to get into the book was wait for a world-wide pandemic.  Who knew?