Engaging Methuen Readers

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Fun with the Public Domain!

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Every year on January 1, a new set of works enters the public domain. These include books, films, music, audio recordings, photographs, etc. When this happens, these works become free for anyone to use, adapt, or share. Just as for centuries anyone has been able to publish, perform, adapt and use the complete works of Shakespeare in any way, now in 2021 we are free to use anything originally copyrighted in 1925, as outlined by Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

The really cool thing about 1925 is that it produced works that are still remembered and widely read today, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, or Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith. Any creative fan of Gatsby or these others can now make their own film, play, graphic novel, sequel, prequel, board game, action figure, or video game based on the book, or just straight up publish their own edition of the original text. Considering that many of the most enduring works in English literature were based on something else (Shakespeare and Chaucer, for example, rarely if ever wrote any original stories), the creative possibilities of freely building off of existing works are endless and very exciting.

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Also exciting is the fact that 1925 was well into the Silent Era of film, and included famous silent stars (and masters of elaborate and dangerous stunts) Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, with their films Go West and The Freshman now open to all. Public domain films are exciting not only because of their free access, but also because of the possibilities this opens for their preservation. Film stock degrades over time, is in some cases flammable, and often few original copies survive. A large percentage of films from the Silent Era are permanently lost. Giving the public the opportunity to freely share digital copies of these films means that everyone can now play a part in keeping them from disappearing forever.

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So where can you find public domain works for yourself? In short, anywhere. A Google search of any of the works I’ve mentioned here will find you a free digital copy to read, download, or stream. If you want to explore public domain works in-depth, though, there are a few major online libraries. For books, there is none better than Project Gutenberg. Though they don’t have Gatsby yet, as of January 5, 2021, they have an incredible selection of practically every public domain author you could ever want. You name it: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, their works are all available for free on your computer, phone, or tablet. You can even get really fun stuff like Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, any number of nearly forgotten Jules Verne adventures, or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes! And for film, as well as books and other media, there’s Internet Archive. Just a peek at their silent film collection shows a vast number of films starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, all free for you to stream, download, remix, and adapt to your liking. They also have audio recordings and images, including material from NASA, which, due to its being a publicly-funded institution, has always been fully public domain. As a caveat, not everything on Internet Archive is guaranteed to be public domain, but keep in mind that absolutely any book or film from before January 1, 1926 is completely unrestricted.

So have fun! Read, watch, download, share, adapt, preserve! Whether you knew it or not, these works are all part of your personal library now and forever, and that library is growing every year. Who knows what you’ll find, and what you might do? The possibilities are endless.

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Free Charging Stations


Isn’t it awful when there’s a big storm and you lose power for hours? Or you are studying in the library and your phone is about to die? We’ve got you covered! We are installing charging stations like this one on each floor of the library to help with your device charging needs!

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Peterson’s Career Prep

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium is pleased to introduce a new database, Gale’s Peterson’s Career Prep, to our arsenal of employment- related resources.

Peterson’s Career Prep accommodates job seekers at all levels, whether entering the workforce for the first time or searching for new opportunities after years of employment. This database is accessible for all mobile devices. Peterson’s Career Prep as some nifty features that can help you explore career choices and can pave the way to successful job:

  • The Visual CV Resume Creator allows users to create résumés and cover letters. You will have access to résumé samples from 5,000 industries!
  • Career Assessments contains assessments to help define your interests, values, personality, and workplace preferences. The Career Assessments tool can also help match your interests to appropriate college programs.
  • Career Database includes a database of career information that uses the most recent data available from O*NET and the U.S. Department of Labor. Potential career matches are suggested based on your assessment results. Includes helpful information for individuals transitioning out of the military and translating their skills to civilian occupations.
  • The Job Search tool provides listings (internship, part time, full time) that are sourced from Indeed and are updated daily.
  • The Virtual Career Library includes helpful articles and tips focused on writing résumés and cover letters, networking, and interviewing. Bonus worksheets and workbooks can be downloaded for patrons who want to dig deeper into career exploration or their assessment results.

Attributed to the Gale blog article by Kristin Fust, Product Manager

Funds provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

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Libraries Are Wonderful: Harness the Power!

Get your library card now and gain access to all our resources in building and online.  Feel the power of the card! From the comfort of your own home, you can get ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, Consumer Reports Magazine, database, participate in book groups and programs, AND MORE! Come visit us!

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On Walking…

It’s free, it’s fun, it’s still allowed… it’s walking! During our current circumstances I, like many people, have rediscovered the simple joys of taking a walk outdoors. Walking is good for our physical health (provided we practice our social distancing), and just as importantly, it helps us to clear our minds and focus on the here and now.  On my own recent walks, I have discovered many delights, from local architectural details to wildlife, that I would normally miss when driving. Speaking of which, even the drivers seem more polite these days, stopping for me at crosswalks in a most unhurried fashion!

Here are some books on the subject of walking — from the history of it, to personal narratives of “wild” walkers and a memorable fictional character who is on both a figurative and literal journey.

Cover image for Wanderlust :Wanderlust : a history of walking by Rebecca Solnit (2000)
A cultural history of walking explores the practice, from ancient Greece to the present, delving into Wordsworth, Gary Snyder, Rousseau, Jane Austen, and other cultural and literary icons to show how this basic activity has been imagined throughout history.



Cover image for On trailsOn Trails:  an exploration by Robert Moore (2016)
A groundbreaking exploration of the role of trails in shaping culture, order and history draws on the author’s international travels and findings in myriad disciplines while exploring examples ranging from tiny ant trails and continental hiking paths to interstate highways and the Internet.



Cover image for WalkingWalking by Henry David Thoreau (1862)
This essay, published posthumously, is considered by many to resemble a concise version of “Walden.” Thoreau considers walking to be an effective way to explore both his inner and outer worlds. As he rambles through the woods, his thoughts ramble far and wide until they encompass his hopeful vision for the entire American continent.

Also available as an ebook in Libby (Overdrive)

Using her wits and skills as a hunter to get by, a woman describes her solo 10,000-mile trek across the Gobi desert where she encountered mafiosos, drug dealers, thieves on horseback, temperature extremes, dehydration, ringworm and dengue fever.


Cover image for The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry :The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)
Recently retired, Harold Fry lives in a small English village with a wife who seems irritated by everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next until a letter arrives in the mail from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy, in hospice, is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply, but a chance encounter at the corner mailbox convinces him that he must deliver it in person. So Harold sets off on a six-hundred mile journey because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie will live.


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Let there be music!


Freegal Music

Let there be music:  dance, scream it out, or just chill with the tunes…

Freegal music has upgraded Merrimack Valley Library Consortium member’s Freegal Music accounts to 24 hour-per-day streaming at no cost.

With your library card you can set up a Freegal Music account and search for songs and listen to a playlist all day if you care to.  If you don’t have a library card, you can email for a temporary card good through the end of September 2020.

Heart made of musical icons | Free Vector

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US Census: Everyone Counts!

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to submit your US Census Form.

Every 10 years the United States conducts a Census which is mandated in the Constitution. The 2020 Census will count the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire—online, by phone, or by mail.

Contrary to popular belief the Census will not ask for information such as your social security number, bank account or immigration status. All they want to know is how many people are living in the area at the time of the count.  For tips on avoiding fraud and scams, click here.

Why fill out the Census?:

  • Census data informs federal funding for more than 100 programs, including school lunches, highway construction, and education.
  • Census data impacts voting and political representation. As a result of population changes between 2000 and 2010, eight states gained seats in the House of Representatives and 10 states had fewer seats in the House of Representatives.
  • Census data helps to determine the allocation of funds for Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.
  • Census data will be valuable to businesses, by providing a rich set of data on the communities they serve, including population trends and growth projections.
  • Census data helps to determine the allocation of funding to local police departments, fire departments, and hospitals.

Do you need to fill out the Census? You bet you do!  Be sure to count all members of your family too, no matter how old or young.

If you don’t want to fill it out online you can complete the form and mail it in, or, call the Census Bureau number on the form and answer the questions over the phone.

To help our community to continue receiving funds for schools, hospitals, emergency services and health care needs, please fill out the Census.

Our community counts on it!


Nevins Library: what we can do for you during the Coronavirus Crisis

After closely working with the City and the Mayor’s Office here’s what we’re doing at the Nevins Library to help combat the Coronavirus:

*Starting Monday, March 16th we are cancelling ALL programs from now until a tentative reopening around March 30th. If you are signed up for one of our programs, Children’s, Teen, or Adult, you hopefully have either gotten a call or an email based on what you signed up with.

*Also starting on Monday, March 16th we will be partially closed. If you went through our small water problem during the summer it will be much like that:

*The Lobby and path to the Main Desk will be open Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm

*You can return books, and you can pick up your holds as well.

*If you are picking something up, we recommend that you call first, and we can have it ready for you.

*There will also be staff at all the desks ready, waiting, and able to take your calls if you want us to pull a book from the shelf.

*On and around March 28th we will be re-evaluating the situation and determining if we will open again or stay closed.

*The Book Sale will not be happening from March 20-March 24. And the library Cannot accept Donations for it at this time either. Stay tuned for new dates for it.


Thank you to all our patrons for your understanding! And we hope that everyone stays healthy and safe.

And, if you have any questions or concerns that have not been addressed here, feel free to contact us 978-686-4080

While we will happily pull things from the shelves for you to read, remember, we’re not just a physical space anymore either. We have many things that you can do from home, all you need is a Methuen Library card.

libby logoOverdrive/Libby – Not only can you read eBooks and listen to Audiobooks through Libby (all you need is a phone or tablet), but, now you can read magazines through the app as well! It’s a one stop shop for all sorts of entertaining things.

Mango "M" Logo with Mango in small letters underneathMango Languages– It’s a fun language learning program teaching practical conversation and cultural awareness for the world’s most popular languages including English.

Gale Databases – If you’re working on homework these databases provided by the state have many different journals, magazines, even newspapers, and some academic books too. Your teachers and professors will smile when they see you haven’t used Wikipedia.

Freegal LogoFreegal – You can download 5 free songs a week with this app or on their website.


Here’s a LINK to all our Online Databases. Or, just go to our Website and poke around a little. I think that you’ll be surprised by how many different things you can see and do through it.

Here are some more links to COVID-19 Resources:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Page

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Page

City of Methuen Health Department Page

Steps to Prevent Illness (CDC)

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Try our new library app: MVLC Mobile

Introducing our New App!

Can’t come to the library?  That’s okay, we have a new way to have the library right at your fingertips!

It’s called MVLC Mobile. (You can get it either on Google Play or the Apple App Store)

It will let you search our catalog (you can even scan an ISBN at the store and search for the book that way). You can see what our upcoming Events are. What our Hours are. Or if you’re out and about, find where the closest library is and if they’re open.

If you’re a member here at Nevins Library, or one of the other MVLC libraries you can also sign into the App with your library card number and pin/password. Then you’ll be able to check your library account and renew books if needed. As well as put all those books you looked up at the bookstore (and didn’t buy, don’t worry, I won’t tell) on hold.

In addition, you can link all your family members accounts. All managed from just one app! And, if you tap on the little card that says ‘My Barcode’, well, you don’t have to worry about forgetting your card at home anymore! Just, don’t forget your card and phone.

As the pictures show, you can connect to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. And follow us if you’d like, there’s lots of good stuff on all three! Just tap on Social in the menu.

You can read and listen to (or place on hold) Overdrive books, right from the app. (For eBooks I recommend choosing the HTML option unless you have Adobe Digital Editions or the Kindle app on your phone/tablet). Or log into some of our Online Resources like Flipster & Freegal.

Honestly, this App really has everything but the Librarians.

But, have no fear, if you need a librarian to get this set up, to log in, or figure out how to use any part of it, we’re still here! Come on in and see us in person, give us a call at 978-686-4080, or Contact Us through our website if you need a hand.

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Holiday Blues Are Real. Here Are Some Resources For Dealing With Them

Feeling down because of the holidays? You’re not alone! Holiday time is a major cause of depression, so much so that the disease has come to be associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. There’s no need to mourn your negative feelings. You’re not a Scrooge or a Grinch, you’re just stressed out by the travel, eating unusual foods, and adjusting to family members you probably don’t see over the rest of the year. No wonder you need a minute!

These resources are meant to be useful, but they’re no substitute for expert care. If you need help right away, contact a mental health therapist, the Samaritans, or, if you feel that you might be in danger, 911. If you’re in recovery and struggling with proximity to alcohol, try contacting SAMHSA’s free national helpline.


The APA Holiday Stress Resource Center

This is the mother lode of holiday depression resources. Got an uncle who gets political? They have a resource for that. Worried that you’re going to destroy the turkey? They can help you there, too.

The Cleveland Clinic’s Guide To Managing Holiday Stress

This well-known clinic treats holiday stress like any other ailment: by itemizing the symptoms and treatment. This can be very useful for anyone who’s not sure if they’re just down or if their mood will pass with the old year.

Every Imaginable Holiday Stress Topic From

From being grateful in hard times to enjoying the holidays if you’re in recovery, this list of articles runs the gamut. If it doesn’t cover every single source of stress out there, then it surely must come close.

The Mayo Clinic’s Guide To Holiday Stress Management

From setting a realistic budget to doubling down on your healthy habits, the good doctors at the Mayo Clinic know how to manage the holiday blues.

Hospice Foundation Of America Holiday Grief Support

The holidays are particularly hard if you have recently experienced a loss. In this situation, it’s especially important for you to take care of yourself. Hospices across the country run special support groups around the holidays, but this web page can provide additional help.

Editor’s Note:  For locals, the Merrimack Valley Hospice will be having a special “Coping With the Holidays” grief support group Tuesday December 17th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at St. Michael’s Parish in North Andover.  Free and Open to the Public.  For more information and to register, please call 978-552-4510.

Cat Cafes Across the U.S.

Sometimes you just need a moment to get away and de-stress. Use this North American directory of cat cafes to find a place to quietly drink a cup of tea and pet a kitty nearby. You can always tell your family you’re going out on a food run.