Engaging Methuen Readers

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Tales from the Home of the World’s Worst Weather!

The Nevins Library presents:

Tales from the Home of the World’s Worst Weather!

Thursday,  March 30, 2017   7:00 PM  –  8:30 PM

While many places on Earth experience severe weather, few are inhabited by humans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Mount Washington Observatory has been operating a continuously-staffed scientific outpost on this remote peak since 1932, providing the Observatory many remarkable stories and an intimate knowledge of the mountain.   They have amassed one of North America’s longest continuous climate records, and developed an intimate understanding of the place known as the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.”

Click here to register for this interesting program or call 978-686-4080 x 16.

For more information on what it’s like at the Mount Washington Observatory, check out

Among the clouds: work, wit & wild weather at the Mount Washington Observatory  by Eric Pinder; [foreword by Mish Michaels]

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Eyes on the Sky

Did you know that Nevins Library is now loaning a telescope kit? It’s true! We’re loaning a giant box of optical wonder complete with a real live telescope, an instruction book, a pair of binoculars, and a couple of pillows in case you get tired. Stargazing does tend to happen quite late at night.


The telescope, snugly nestled in its bin, waiting for you to borrow it

There’s a wait list right now, but the sooner you get on it, the sooner you can get your star


The telescope, ready to stargaze

fix. Contact us about that. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can look for when you turn your gaze to the heavens above us. Or, since we’re really just riding a tiny sphere that is screaming pell mell through the endless void of space, the heavens that are all around us. All the time. Even when we can’t see them through the comforting blue illusion that is our sky.



In the olden days, before TV, people still wanted to watch “Adventure Time” all night. That’s when we first cast our eyes starward and made up awesome stories about all the rad dudes and dudettes who lived in the sky. This was, like, the nineties. We didn’t know any better.

1068424Today, we still look at constellations because sometimes Netflix is slow. Start with Robin Scagell and David Frydman’s Stargazing with Binoculars, your all-in-one guide to observing the universe from an ocularly enhanced perspective. Of course, for more lore about the stars themselves, you might want to check out Mike Lynch’s Minnesota Star Watch, a vividly colorful book that will give you a thing or two to look at in the night sky.


The word “planet” originally meant “wanderer.” That’s because, while stars always appear to be in the same positions relative to one another night after night, the planets zip around the sky in predictable, but more dramatic, patterns. They’re also impossibly beautiful and pristine otherworlds, powerful testaments to the grandeur of nature. And humans might live there someday. Think about that. Someday, 966360the majestic desolation of Mars could have dog parks and McDonalds and registries of motor vehicles and smog.

But until you can drive through Olympus Mons for a spaceburger, learn about the planets with Dava Sobol’s The Planets, a journey through the solar system that doesn’t even require you to leave your chair. Sobol is also a fantastic writer who will keep you gazing at the page for as long as you’ll gaze at the planets.

The Past and Future of our Universe

Did you know that when you look at the stars, you’re looking into the past? It’s true! Light itself takes a long time to travel from the far-flung reaches of the universe, meaning that when it reaches your eyes it’s been on the road for long enough that it’s definitely run out of car games and music. (Our closest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is four years away if you’re traveling at the speed of light. We estimate that light from this star listens to Dizzy Up the Girl by the Goo Goo Dolls over 94 million times over the course of its trip to your 667725eyeball. Do not judge its musical tastes. It’s been out of the loop for a while.)

And if that blows your mind, think about this: when does that light ever stop? And what happens when it does?

The universe is a wild and wooly place, and a telescope is only the key to its box of wonders. Stephen Hawking is on hand to explain it to you in The Universe in a Nutshell, and if you want more of the crazy awesomeness that is reality, check out Simon Singh’s The Big Bang: the origin of the universe, too.


Yes, aliens! Statistically speaking, they’re out there somewhere, but why the big hush? Where are our interstellar neighbors? Are we not forthcoming enough with the welcome 1220933cookies?

Maybe not. According to Paul Davies, chairman of the SETI Post-Detection Task Group, the lack of contact with alien life could mean any number of things. He lays it all out in his book, The Eerie Silence. In it, he does not suggest cookies. However, in my humble experience, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. If you happen to see any interstellar visitors while gazing into the night sky, remember that. Aliens deserve a welcome wagon, too.



Contact the Nevins Memorial Library to reserve the telescope today!

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8 Books About Chicken Coops

Did you know that there’s solid evidence suggesting that the common domestic chicken is the closest living relative to the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex? It’s true! No wonder they’re such jerks! Let’s invite a whole bunch of them into our lives.


Backyard projects for today’s homestead

by Chris Gleason

Don’t move: improve! Chicken coops are among the projects here, but you’ll find yourself embarking upon a complete DIY-a-thon if you dare crack its cover. Be warned.

Art of the chicken coop

by Chris Gleason

Yup, this guy again. Turns out that he really knows his stuff. If you and your chickens really want a beautiful coop, this is your first stop. Think of your chickens and their yearning for beauty.


DIY chicken coops : the complete guide to building your own chicken coop

by John White

This book claims that even a novice woodworker can build a chicken coop. I personally dare you to try.

How to build chicken coops: everything you need to know

by Samantha Johnson and Daniel Johnson

You know that this one’s legit because it’s backed by the Future Farmers of America, an educational group that helps young people enter the rewarding profession of farming. See that kid on the cover? She has literally forgotten more about chicken coops than you know right now. Not after you read this book, though!


Building chicken coops for dummies

by Todd Brock, Dave Zook, and Rob Ludlow

Yup, there’s a For Dummies about this. Come on, it’s a chicken coop! How hard can it be? (She says, ignorantly.)

Chicken coops: 45 building plans for housing your flock

by Judy Pangman

No two coops should be alike. If you and your neighbors all get in on this, you might be able to build every one of these cute and innovative designs. Your only other alternative is to go into business. Sorry, you now know too much about chicken coops to back out.


Reinventing the chicken coop : 14 original designs with step-by-step building instructions

by Kevin McElroy and Matthew Wolpe

Fourteen? Just fourteen? Before you scoff, consider how badly you want a modern art version of a chicken coop. For the conceptual performance artist who also likes breakfast.

Backyard chickens’ guide to coops and tractors


At this point, if you don’t know how to build a chicken coop, then there’s nothing more I can do for you. Godspeed, and may free-range options present themselves to you in droves.


History’s Mysteries @ your library!

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How Many Birds Can You Find?

black-capped-chickadee-1520300_2During President’s Day weekend this year, February 17th-20th, there is an amazing science project that families or individuals can do (and the statistics that you all will compile help professional scientists with their work).  It’s called the Great Backyard Bird Count.

You don’t have to come to the library to participate, you don’t even have to leave your home or neighborhood. It’s easy to participate:

  1. Login or Register for the count via (you can do this at home, or, if you’d like some help, come on up to the Reference Desk and we can get you all set up).
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC (Monday’s even a holiday for most). You can even count for longer than 15 minutes if you wish!
  3. Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist on eBird for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.
  4. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device.

The eBird mobile App is available on both iTunes and the Play Store.

There are also two other awesome Apps that may help you in IDing birds, Merlin ID, which is also available on iTunes and the Play Store. And the Audubon Birds of North America App which is available on not only iTunes and the Play Store, but the Amazon App Store.

Or, if you prefer the heft of a book that you can page through, we have field guides like:

sibleyguideThe Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley

peterson80sA Field Guide to the Birds by Roger Tory Peterson

allthebackyardbirdsAll the Backyard Birds: East by Jack L. Griggs

audubon_birdsofamericaThe Birds of America by John James Audubon

For more Info (and a really, really cool checklist), here’s a PDF file you can print out at home (we’ll have some here too!!).

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Helping you help yourself: self-help books at the library

self-help-graphicTypically, we think of the New Year as a time for reflection and self-improvement, but if there’s something bothering you, there is no time  like the present to begin working to improve it!

Often, patrons will approach the reference desk asking for the “self-help section.” Due to the number of topics that fall under the umbrella of what one might consider “self-help,” books of this type are shelved in many different locations.

Some common authors and titles that patrons are looking for include books like

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki

I’ve recently written a brief guide to getting started on self-help. For each of the different topics that you may be looking to learn more about, I’ve listed the call numbers where you can find books to suit your interest, as well as some suggested titles. Whether you’re looking to improve your financial, physical, spiritual, or marital health, we’ve got books for you! Please ask at the reference desk, or find the brochures on the shelves near the large tables on the second floor.

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Operation Delta Dog @ the Nevins Library

Operation Delta Dog @ the Nevins Library

November 15,  2016 from 7:00 PM—8:00 PM

How do dogs become service dogs?
How do these service dogs help Veterans’?

Find out this and more when
Operation Delta Dog visits Nevins Library.

Click here to register

Peaked your interest?  Click here for the Operation Delta Dog website and read/view more about service dogs with these suggested titles at your local library.

Service Dogs:  a guide to choosing and training your own service dog by Dee Bogetti (Non-Fiction)


Through a Dog’s Eyes (DVD – PBS Documentary)
Follows the inspiring stories of people with disabilities as they experience the heartwarming and sometimes challenging process of being matched with and receiving a service dog.


Weekends with Daisy by Sharron Kahn Luttrell (Non-Fiction)
A volunteer service dog trainer discusses her relationships with an endearing yellow Labrador puppy and its felon partner in the Prison PUP program, describing coming to terms with the inmate’s past and the program’s requirement to release the dog after training.


Service Dogs by Linda Tagliaferro (Children’s Non-Fiction)
Describes the history, selection, training, and accomplishments of different dogs who help people with medical problems.


Primal Force by D.D. Ayres (Adult Fiction)
Jori Garrison trains dogs for Warrior Wolf Pack, which provides service animals for disabled veterans.  She just wants to live her life in peace with her beloved dogs. No men, no complications. But it’s hard to play it cool when a lethally hot male is on her tail–and the attraction is fierce, mutual, and dangerous.


 Until Tuesday:  a wounded warrior and the golden retriever who saved him by Luis Carlos Montalván
Shares the inspiring story of how a sensitive golden retriever emerged from a difficult past as a prison pet and trainee at a home for troubled youths to become a dedicated service animal to the author, a decorated and traumatized Iraq War veteran.


A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Munroe (Adult Fiction)
Young Miller McClellan struggles with his older brother’s return from the war with PTSD and his family’s financial difficulties, a situation that escalates over the holiday season when Miller becomes lost in the woods at the side of his brother’s service dog.